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How I got 7,000+ views in one day for my first blog post

Two weeks ago I created a brand new blog for SpreadTheWorld. I wanted to start some SEO efforts that will generate traffic to my product. I know SEO is a long term game, I thought that maybe I can leverage the content through distribution.

The Content

To kickstart my blog I wanted some good content that provides value to the readers. I don't bother much about keywords, for now, I just wanted something valuable that will help both SEO & marketing.
My first post was about one of my favorite topics: How to use Reddit as an IndieHacker.
I wrote a long post (750 words) about my experience and how you should use Reddit at each stage of your start-up. Then I cleaned it up with Grammarly and Hemmingway - to remove mistakes and improve readability.

My goals with that blog post were (in that order):

  • Grow my Twitter audience
  • Create some traffic to my product
  • Grow my audience in different communities.

I created some call to action for this. I added a CTA at the end of the post redirecting to my Twitter: 
"Do you want to launch on Reddit? DM me on Twitter, I’ll be happy to help → Twitter"
The footer of each blog post was designed with a CTA to bring traffic to my product.

Distribution

I posted the article on the blog. It generates no traffic at all, no surprise, it's the very first post.

Then I posted to IndieHackers, on a Saturday. Not the best day to share content, I got only 12 upvotes and a few comments. I also tried Reddit (on a weekday) and got small traction on /r/Entrepreneur: 56 upvotes and 25 comments. Nothing extraordinary for a community with 900k members…

As I'm trying to start using HackerNews I also posted the link of my post to HN with the title: "How to Use Reddit as an IndieHacker". It got no upvotes, I just watched the post drawing in the "New" section and disappear :/

I thought: "ok, my post wasn't that good, I'll write a new one and try again".

Retry!

A few days later, I read a tweet from someone explaining that you should re-post your content on HN. That can make some results and the community is ok with that.

So I tried. I just made a small modification in the title: instead of

"How to Use Reddit as an IndieHacker"

I did

"How to use Reddit to get your first users"

I know that getting the first users is a real pain (that's why I created SpreadTheWorld), so I figured that, maybe, it will catch more attention.

I checked an hour later and the post got a massive spike on my analytics tool! 
hackernews spike analytics
The post just exploded! At this time I got 36 upvotes and was #5 on the homepage!

Homepage of Hacker News

That day was crazy! My blog post stayed on the homepage for almost 8hrs, brought me, 6000 visitors - sometimes more than 100 concurrent users!
I also got 100+ comments on the HN post, I spent the day answering them and trying to keep the momentum going!
I also monitored Twitter to thank every shout-out and try to create some momentum there as well.
Here is the live Tweet

Final Stats

A week after the post, here are the stats:

  • 7.2k visits on my blog
  • 25 new followers on Twitter
  • 350 visitors on SpreadTheWorld homepage
  • A few sales only (during the first 8hrs), a few more afterward

The conversion wasn't good!

I told you earlier that I had some CTA on the blog + on the bottom of my post to convert the audience.
They didn't work! A very few people clicked on them, the bottom of my post was too muddled and the text was too vague:

muddled footer cta

I updated it to:

improved footer cta

And it worked! The conversion rate jumped from 0,6% to 2,3%:
And I also added a CTA in the header (the day after) - a lot of visitors wasn't going to the end of the post:

cleaned header with CTA

The conversion is now way higher, almost 10% of the blog visitors go on the product page!

I did all these experiments during the rush, so I kind of miss this wave of visitors, but I'm ready for the next one!

Takeaways

  1. Distribution is super important, more than anything else. Create a good product/content and post it to every (big) community. You never know if it's going to work so just share it!

  2. Retry, if it does not work on a platform try to submit it to another one. If it still doesn't work update the content/title and re-post it!

  3. CTA is crucial. Understand before posting what your goals are and monitor the conversion (I didn't do it, I regret it…)

  4. You need months to leverage good content!

Do you need help to grow your audience or distribute your content? DM me on Twitter I'm always happy to help!

Original blog post: https://blog.spreadtheworld.net/posts/my-first-post-hit-hackernews-homepage/

  1. 2

    Thanks for sharing your experience, it may be pretty useful.

    What I don't get is I could not find the link to your blog from your webiste. Did you hide the link on purpose?

    Another question is how being #5 on HN helped you make sales.

    Thanks!

    1. 1

      Regarding the link, it's just because I didn't update the product page yet. Not sure if it's a good idea…

      It's hard to say exactly how many sales it brought, I'd say a couple

  2. 2

    That's actually helpful. I love you shared before and after, just shows what a difference can minor quirks make!

    1. 3

      Yes, what I learned here is that you should talk about the problem you're solving in the title (better if you have a CTA in the title as well).

      You want people to click on that title - or even upvote without reading it. That's hard!

  3. 2

    Congrats Xavier, I've become a fan of your marketing strategy and learning a lot. Thanks for sharing your success stories. I've personally tried Hacker News a couple of times but the article got lost without any traction. I guess we need to time it properly with a great title. Also, need some luck?

    I guess it has been around 20 days since you wrote that post, are you getting traffic from Google now?

    1. 2

      I just checked, and yes actually I do. But I'll need more efforts if I want to make it efficient :)

      Here are the stats for the brand new blog:

      google performance blog spreadtheworld

      1. 1

        This is not bad considering your blog is brand new without any backlinks.

  4. 2

    Great example of how to maximize a CTA — always use words that describe the user's goal, rather than the action itself (ex. "get your first users" instead of "get access"). Easily one of the most overlooked yet most powerful aspects of marketing.

    1. 1

      I was quite surprized by this traffic spike, my CTA wasn't optimized at all :/

      The good thing about having hundreds of visitors every hour is that you can test & iterate quickly :p

  5. 2

    Nice changes on the blog, I also liked the 2 version much more. You got a lot of insights on a really short amount of time, what are your next steps to continue growing?

    1. 1

      You don't like the new font?

      I'll launch on HN & PH and a bunch of others places, and create more content!

      1. 1

        On the contrary, I like the update you made to the bottom of your post and the CTA. I was just looking at your database, will send you a DM on Twitter.

        1. 1

          Glad you like the new version!
          Sure about DM

  6. 1

    My mind always goes to building an email list - so you can easily write the people who showed interest and not lose them.

  7. 1

    Thanks for sharing. Super practical. Keep us posted about your next wave.

    1. 2

      I definitely will!
      I build in public, mostly on Twitter so I'll try to share as much as possible

  8. 1

    This comment was deleted 5 months ago.

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