Lessons Learned From A Hacker News Traffic Spike
tl;dr Prior to 11 June 2012, only 2,645 visitors had visited our blog. One HN submission sent 2,958 visitors to our blog in one single day. This post documents the experience.
On 11 June 2012 at 14:00 GMT we submitted one of our blog post links to Hacker News. By luck or good timing this submission made it onto the Front Page. It didn’t stay there for long, but this is what happened behind the scenes.
For context we have sent plenty of other submissions to Hacker News, mainly out of curiosity to understand why some submissions go viral while others die a slow and lonely death. We were surprised this one made it through the noise.
We are recording this blog entry i) to share the details with anyone who may care and ii) we had only had 2,645 visitors prior to this event – we received 2,958 visitors in one day.
This experience confirmed that traffic doesn’t matter, good content is important and being unique matters. Otherwise your time and effort is wasted on your audience.
Anyway, here is the commentary:
+ First Hour:
1. Submitted Link to HN:
..00:00 AM Sydney Time
..07:00 AM San Francisco
..10:00 AM New York
..14:00 PM London GMT
..15:00 PM London
2. Tweeted HN Link on Twitter:
— Spark N Launch (@SparkNLaunch) June 11, 2012
3. We retweet two tweets made by Hacker News bots:
(Link to Blog Post)
Startup Myths – I shall not be fooled again by gurus goo.gl/fb/OFRTv
— Hacker News YC (@HackerNewsYC) June 11, 2012
(Link to Hacker News)
Startup Myths – I shall not be fooled again by gurus bit.ly/OiWdHg
— HN Front Page (@HackerNewsFP) June 11, 2012
4. Traffic is slowing ticking up to around 200 visitors.
5. HN Link upvoted to 4 points in first hour, 2 comments.
6. Blog post is now on front page of HN (hangs around 20th position).
7. Site traffic hits 800 in first hour with approx 25 hits per minute.
8. Bulk of referral traffic now directly from HN frontpage (news.ycombinator.com), followed by other HN pages, Google Reader, Twitter.
9. HN Link disappears off front page.
10. Traffic flow continues at rapid pace.
+ Next Day:
1. Traffic flow takes a steep dive downwards. Record 281 visitors that is well above our previous average.
** Previous day had two links within HN discussions that directed traffic (250 day prior)
** Before this, traffic was barely ticking over (<20 visitors).
2. Few visitors navigated through to any other parts of the blog. One person reblogged the post, two others left comments.
+ The Aftermath:
1. Over the next 10 days we record c. 380 visitors. Still legacy referrals from the HN site, Google Reader and Facebook.
2. The visitors to the specific linked blog post had diminished.
3. Hopefully some positive lessons learned about running a blog.
You might also enjoy:
+ The Startup Dictionary – Learning the Lingo #3
+ Learning From Other Startups – 6 Real Life Stories
+ Startup Myths – I shall not be fooled again by gurus
+ The Bootstrap Challenge – Walking the Talk
Where to next? Check out a random article.
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