How To Start a Technical Blog in 2020 | Hacker Noon

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@didicodesEdidiong Asikpo

I am a software developer based in Lagos, Nigeria specializing in building websites and technical writing.

Technical blogging can reinforce your learning, educate people in the tech community, and serve as a good source of income. As a tech blogger, you have the great benefit of becoming a lifelong learner because you need to be well-versed in the field you are writing about to explain the concepts to readers clearly.

Due to blogging’s numerous benefits, different people have asked questions like; what are the best technical blogging platforms? Should I build a blog from scratch or use a network-based technical blogging platform?  

This article aims to answer some of those questions by highlighting some of the best ways to start a technical blog in 2020. I will divide it into network-based and self-hosted tech blogging platforms.

Network-based Platforms 

These are technical blogging platforms with an existing audience that you can leverage when you publish articles. You don’t have to understand how to code to use these platforms or worry about maintaining your blog as well. 

Hacker Noon

Hacker Noon is a community of over 12,000+ contributing writers publishing free high-quality tech stories.

Hacker Noon supports writers by proofreading their articles before it is published on the platform, has in-built blog analytics, strong security, and is web monetized to enable writers to earn money from their articles.

As a network-based platform, it already comes with an existing audience waiting to read the articles you publish on the platform.

Medium

Medium is a community of writers, bloggers, journalists, and experts. – From the description, you can see that medium is not only for people in tech because it has various writers and publications from different areas of life. 

No coding skill is required to create a blog on Medium. It comes with in-built analytics and a paid writer program. 

Medium received many backlashes from the tech community when they added the paywall feature because users were limited to reading five articles for free every month on Medium. Even though these platforms come with many readers, you can’t use your own domain on your blog, and there’s not a lot of customization options.

Hashnode

Hashnode is a content creation platform and community that enables developers to create a blog on their personal domain for free. As a network-based platform, your articles are shared with the community on Hashnode for initial traction and readership. 

You don’t have to create your blog from scratch; hence no coding skill is required and you get to enjoy all the SEO benefits because the blog is mapped to your personal domain name. Blog customization is pretty great as well. 

The platform doesn’t have a paid writer program like medium but it has got web monetization integrated to enable writers to make money from their articles with no popup ads.

Dev.to

Dev.to is an open-source software that powers a community of software developers who write articles and build relationships with other developers. 

As a network-based platform, it comes with an existing audience waiting to read your articles. It doesn’t require any coding skills to set up and is web monetized as well. 

You can’t map your blog to your personal domain, so the traffic goes to dev.to instead of your blog. The platform respects your canonical URLs so you can republish your articles.

Self-hosted Platforms 

These platforms require understanding how to code. You have to create the blog from scratch and also maintain it as well. Self-hosted platforms do not come with have an existing audience like the network-based platforms.

WordPress.org

WordPress.org is a software designed for building websites and blogs. You will have access to different plugins to enhance your blog and total control over every aspect of your blog.

It doesn’t come with a built-in audience, so nobody might read your articles when you publish them except you have a good social media following or have been blogging for a long time. 

You have to manage your own backups and security, so some coding knowledge is required here. There are tons of people using WordPress worldwide, so finding resources to help you build with WordPress is easy.

MDX and Next.js

MDX is an authorable format that lets you write JSX and import components into your Markdown files, while Next.js is a React framework that enables you to build static and dynamic apps quickly.

You need to understand React and Next.js to be able to create the blog with MDX and Next.js. You have the power to customize your blog in different ways and also have total control of your content. 

Since it is a self-hosted platform, there’s no existing audience waiting to read your articles when you publish it.

Gatsby

Gatsby is a free and open-source framework based on React that helps developers build fast websites and blogs. 

Knowledge of GraphQL and React is a must-have to build a blog with Gatsby. I believe Gatsby’s documentation is excellent, so it shouldn’t be challenging if you are looking to explore building with Gatsby. 

Blog customization can be done in diverse ways and you will also have total control of your content. 

As a self-hosted platform, you will be required to build your blog from scratch and maintain it. It doesn’t come with an existing audience, so you may not get a lot of readerships, except your articles are shared on social media platforms.

Conclusion

Network-based and self-hosted platforms are great. It is essential to understand the differences between them and what you stand to gain from using either of them. 

I hope you were able to learn about the best ways to start a technical blog in 2020. Thank you for reading this article.

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I am a software developer based in Lagos, Nigeria specializing in building websites and technical writing.

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