Hi guys! Last week one of the articles from my 🌀 Refactoring newsletter got to the front page of Hacker News! 🎉
I had already tried a few times without success. I will share a bit on what I did it this time and a few takeaways.
How I made it
- I used a catchy title (that wasn’t misleading though). It wasn’t SO clickbaity, but was legitimately weird, and I think people like to click on weird stuff (I certainly do).
- I posted late afternoon, around 18:00 CEST. I had read this is the best time to have more chances to go to the top. To be honest I don’t think timing matters that much. In hours with less visitors you should also have less submissions, and viceversa, but you never know. It’s like superstition at this point.
- I immediately asked 3 friends (really, 3) that I know are already active on HN if they could upvote the post.
The post jumped to the first page after a few minutes. Having tried other times, I suspect if it doesn't within 10 minutes, it never will.
- The post stayed between 5° and 10° position for about 2 hours, before sliding rapidly towards second page. After reaching the second page, the traffic dropped dramatically.
- During the first 2 hours, it amassed about 4K visits.
- The post sparked a heated debate in the comments, with a lot of negativity. I read HN a lot, I know it’s not a very supportive community and I kind of expected this, but I would be lying if I said it didn’t hurt anyway. However, I learned a lot from the feedback, and I am grateful for it. It was just hard to read sometimes.
- I replied to a lot of comments, that in turn generated more comments. That has kept the post on top for longer.
- As for subscribers, the traffic brought about 20 to 30 subscribers. I expected a few more, not lying here — I don't know if this the normal conversion rate for this channel (HN) or my newsletter did a bad job at converting 😄
- The experience was useful and I will continue submitting all my posts on HN. I have tried only 4-5 other times, so the rate of submissions/front page is good so far 😊
- I think by writing consistently you will hit a home run sooner or later, and that might bring 100s of subscribers if the post is in line with the target and stays on top for several hours.
Question for IHers
- Do you have similar experiences with other platforms, such as Medium, Hackernoon, Dev.to, etc? I write there as well, but they never really had much of an impact.
p.s. this is the original post I sent to HN. If you like it and want to subscribe, I would be super happy 😊