Why we created Devblog - Our vision, goals, and ethics
To put it simply, we created Devblog because we believe every developer should own a blog and stop giving away their content to platforms which put it under a paywall. In this article I am going to talk about our overall vision and explain why we exist.
The Big Picture
We started Hashnode in early 2015 because we wanted to create a friendly and inclusive community for programmers. That's still our core belief and helps us drive our efforts. We have always been fascinated by the idea of being an open and transparent community, so much so that we briefly considered opening up Hashnode's code (& data) and put it on a public blockchain.
Jan 2019 - we learned from our past mistakes and decided to do only one thing and and do it efficiently. Even before building Devblog, we always asked ourselves why can't developers own their content and build up their authority. We started realizing that it takes a lot of effort to create and manage a personal blog. Also, you need constant feedback and motivation to keep going. So, it's very easy to get frustrated and give up the habit of blogging. In fact, that's the primary reason people blog on Medium i.e. the reach. However, Medium recently decided to put content under a paywall and started highlighting only the premium posts.
This reinforces two things:
- People need to publish content on their own domain and start building domain authority.
- For extra reach, you should republish your content elsewhere -- it's your content after all.
To help developers achieve this, we built Devblog. We want to:
- Help developers start a personal blog easily and start building their own authority
- Keep them motivated and give them everything they need in order to be successful at blogging
- Allow them to eject from Hashnode ecosystem anytime and export all their data in case they want to move away
Honestly, there is no reason you should publish your content on a different platform. It's fine if you don't want to use Hashnode, but you should definitely try and build your own personal blog so that you can build your own brand.
Our core offering is now blogging. We are constantly putting efforts to make blogging easy and effortless for our users and we have had great success with it. Our vision is to be the platform that powers every developer's personal blog. We still have Q&A, and it will continue to be there, but our primary focus is to make blogging hassle free. It's nicely summarized in a tweet by Ndagi Stanley.
As an open and inclusive community, we have a strong code of conduct. However, users often ask us what our values and promises are when it comes to Devblog. I think it's a fair question and it's quite important to highlight these values. So, here we go:
It's often said that when you don't pay for a product, you are the product. Well, our promise is that we'll never make YOU our product. We are offering personal blogs for free, but are going to charge for premium offerings such as Team Plans, Pro Features and so on. We are a VC backed company, but we don't want to be too much reliant on external funding. We would rather raise money from our users directly and become self sufficient. So, you can safely start your blog with Hashnode and be assured that we are here to stay!
We'll never put your content behind a paywall and start making money out of it.
There will never be any kind of lock-in. You will always be able to export your content and eject from Hashnode ecosystem anytime.
We are trying to create a business here and ultimately need money to sustain ourselves. In the initial few years we focused on building an engaging community and intentionally deferred monetization. However, we have realized that it much easier to build a sustainable business if we start thinking about monetization early on.
There are several ways to monetize Hashnode. I started a public thread to get opinions of the community members and choose a model that everyone likes. You can read about it here:
Don't hesitate to comment -- we are looking forward to reading all the suggestions (even if they sound silly!).
We have unlocked personal blogs of thousands of developers so far and are getting positive feedback. Here are some of my favorite ones:
Give Devblog a try if you haven't already and help us spread the word! We hate paywall and ads as much as you do -- let's join hands and make blogging hassle-free!
As usual, don't hesitate to comment if you have any questions! ✌️