📢 Community Q&A - How should we monetize Hashnode/Devblog?

First of all thanks for being a Hashnode member. You motivate us to work harder everyday and therefore a big shout out to all of you. 🙌

We've been running Hashnode for more than 4 years now, but the love and traction we are seeing right now is better than anything we have seen before. Ultimately, a business has to make money and we think this is the right time to start thinking about it.

We have a bunch of ideas, but we need your help. I'll outline a few of the potential monetization options -- please go through them and write down your ideas/suggestions/feedback in the comments below. We would like to involve the whole community in figuring out a suitable business model for Hashnode.

Here is what we have in mind so far:

💡[Devblog] Buy us coffee

We charge ~ $2/month (buy us a coffee) for a premium account. It'll give you certain privileges such as:

  • Ability to create multiple team publications
  • Ability to integrate Adsense (we can discuss this further)
  • Private blog posts (for your eyes only)
  • More customizations with custom CSS & JS
  • More integrations (e.g. ability to add Mixpanel and similar options)
  • Deep Analytics
  • Static Pages, Custom 404 pages and so on
  • Early access to new features
  • Pro account badge
  • ... and so on

There will always be free accounts. Pro account will be a way for us to raise money directly from our users by providing premium features. If this makes sense, we can discuss further and decide final list of premium features to offer.

💡[Hashnode] Marketplace

Marketplace is another monetization option. We'll build something like Upwork inside Hashnode and help developers monetize their skills. For every transaction, we will charge a small fee. There is a lot of scope for improvements here and we believe we can create a better dev-centric marketplace inside Hashnode.

💡[Hashnode] Recruitment

With Devblog, we are onboarding smart developers into the platform everyday. We can build a hiring platform in Hashnode to match developers with tech companies and charge the companies a fee for every successful hire. Hiring is still very difficult and tricky -- this has the potential to go big and if done right we can build a very successful business.

💡[Devblog] Training and Courses

We already have authors who are using Devblog to publish articles on various tools and technologies. We can enable authors to release paid courses and tutorials and help them make money -- these courses can be both video and text based. Like the marketplace, we can charge a fee every time we help an author make a sale.

💡[Devblog] Revenue Sharing via ethical ads

Hashnode is turning into a network of independent dev bloggers. Although our promise is to keep Hashnode ad-free, we can consider inserting "ethical ads" into the blog posts and share the revenue with authors. I don't want to go down this route, but we would like to know what all of you think. If you feel comfortable with this idea, please provide your feedback and suggestions. If the majority of the community doesn't agree with this, we'll not pursue the idea. But if this gets traction, we are happy to discuss more and figure out a way to make this happen. But be assured that we'll never insert ads into your blogs without your consent.


We are still brainstorming and discussing these options internally. If you have any feedback or ideas for improvement please add a comment. If you have a different idea, we are more than happy to hear it out. Do post it even if it sounds silly! 😉

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19 answers

💡[Devblog] Buy us coffee

money.jpg

I'd be more than happy to pay a couple dollars a month. I believe a lot of developers who have been with hashnode for a while will be happy to do this. This should be an option anyway I think. Providing premium features is always a good idea because we don't want to have a barrier to entry for anyone but we also need to make sure hashnode is still around. Personally I think this is the best option, but recruitment would probably be the most profitable.

💡[Hashnode] Marketplace

This is a good idea. Anything like that or fiverr.com would be cool to see. Especially considering it would be focused for devs. Would that mean that groups or companies could also offer services on the marketplace - I imagine it would just be individual devs for now. If this option is chosen then definitely go down the route of transaction fee.

💡[Hashnode] Recruitment

I like this. Hashnode could charge a flat 5% of the salary (+ $50 per advert?) and make enough money and also undercut every recruiter out there. I know hashnode charge $300 now? for posting a job advert. And because Hashnode is specialised for developers I like how targeted this is - it helps everyone involved. So this should definitely be done.

💡[Devblog] Training and Courses

For me this would be a no - just because I don't believe in paying for training or courses unless they are highly specialised and proprietary, e.g. how to setup a cisco contact centre with a hybrid cloud model and remote agents.
However, I can see the appeal and I know some would use it - just not sure how many. But it also does something weird to talking about ideas; I don't wish to be locked out of discussing points in an article or something just because it's behind a pay wall.

💡[Devblog] Revenue Sharing via ethical ads

No. As a general rule I'm really against the idea of any ads. I believe this will detract from the community and the experience that hashnode are building. Inserting any kind of ads would damage the flow and look of the blog posts regardless of how ads may be inserted.
Additionally - were devs - who doesn't have ads blocked or turned off in their browsers lol. Finally, I wouldn't consider it a viable business model option from a value perspective - yes revenue can be made from it but not much.

Other ideas

  1. Partnerships with software companies working off a commission based sales model.
  2. Host events/conferences or allow users to come to you to create an event within a city somewhere and charge for setup/door fee.
  3. Sell merch - tshirts, hoodies, stickers (devs love stickers)
  4. Hashnode could offer courses on how can i haz gud dev blog and the like.

Overall thoughts

I'm glad Hashnode is sorting out monetization. I want Hashnode to grow and continue to be around. Overall, Hashnode have many options to monetise the site and the end result will probably be an amalgamation of some or maybe even all of the above (apart from ads :P). I hope my thoughts help with choosing a direction. :)

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Ah, I see what you did there - sneaky! haha. I look forward to seeing how this grows. Let me know if you wanna pick my thoughts anymore - happy to help. :)

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Sandeep Panda,

Thanks for putting out all the points for discussion.

  • Buying HashNode a cofee? Why Not? It is cool that, HashNode doesn't have plans for any paywall and $2 is perfectly fine for a Premium service.
  • Recruitment is tricky and a platform to support Recruitment could be more trickier if not done right and not supported enough by the community around. I like the courage in thinking on this line. Appreciate!
  • Training and Courses: This is the most loved one for me. I would be all happy if HashNode provides this platform. Here also we can have a free vs premium concept so that, it is not fully discouraged thinking it is paid.
  • Ads? Nope!

All the best to you folks, doing great job!

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I can honestly see a lot of benefits to making the platform costs a couple of bucks a month, better support, more of a true filter. I like the idea. You've got my vote.

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Hi,

thank you for the invitation. In general, I agree with Hipkiss. The ideas are great, however knowledge should be free and ads are a no-go (because everyone here uses an adblocker anyway and you as the team promised us a 99% ad-free experience in the past).

What other alternatives are there? Here's some wild brainstorming:

  • Premium accounts on Hashnode
    • Pro: People can unlock "fancy features" and support Hashndoe if they want
    • Pro: Model successfully used by other platforms as well
    • Contra: Fancy features might be distracting
    • Contra: Might not be enough incentive to spend money on
  • HaaP (Hashnode as a Platform). This is a feature I also mentioned in my interview: Provide Hashnode for other subjects than code development and host it for a fee per usage, or get payed for providing an on-premise server container. Might need adapters to other software, though (for example LDAP)
    • Needs good marketing
    • Needs good support
    • Needs bridges to other software
  • Provide statistics and insights for money: how many people viewed posts in a certain node, how many posts were created, which new tags are hyping, etc.
  • Micro-Transactions for features, for example "Feature this question for $10"
  • Bounty-Programs for questions, which give a percentage to Hashnode
  • Hashnode Mentoring Platform. I am a mentor on another platform, on which mentees pay money for mentors, but the platform keeps a certain percentage. Hashnode already has a platform with a user-base (mentor-candidates and mentee-candidates included), so this might take off quickly. Mentors might provide subscriptions or single-sessions

Thanks for the mention :).
Love the last two ideas! I like the HaaP too. Thanks for the link to your profile too, guna have to have a look at that site!

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My opinion-

[Devblog] Buy us coffee - Flat charge and worth paying for any user ✅

[Hashnode] Recruitment - Yes valid, and this can be done with share based model with organizations✅

[Hashnode] Marketplace - Two way process we need to do good amount of validation before we jump✅

[Devblog] Training and Courses - Worth making but Hashnode team has to makesure they have good content because if content comes to concern it directly impacts the platform not the individuals. This again involves validation ✅

[Devblog] Revenue Sharing via ethical ads-A big no for this, because I feel this idea will kill our current or upcoming user base. ❌

I have placed points in an order of acceptance by user.

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I'll go with the Buying hashnode a coffee idea, paying $2/month for all those goodies listed and also getting a premium badge shouldn't be a big deal 😊.

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I like this idea. They should consider it.

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