October 2, 2019

On the Top of HackerNews

dqmonn @dqmonn

Yesterday, a post on NoHQ got to the top of HackerNews. It was somewhat expected; we had published an exclusive interview with GitLab CEO Sid Sijbrandij all about remote work and building a remote team. As a YC company, I already thought that it might do well on there. All the other posts usually go by unnoticed.

https://nohq.co/blog/sid-sijbrandij-people-dont-want-to-commute-they-ju/

I posted yesterday afternoon, and at peak times reached the #2 on the frontpage (I'm not 100% certain if we might have hit #1 for a few minutes) and I had over 300 users on the site at the same time.

It's not my first visit of the HN frontpage. Multiple of my articles and Show HN visits ended up there. I though I'd include some tips:

  • HackerNews is a tough crowd! My first few comments were all about how I had a questionable <noscript> tag in my code, and how unreadable the site was (at least I learned a thing or two about readability). I got those fixed asap, and was responsive on these comments. People liked that. Don't take it too hard, many of them will try to put you down no matter what. My first ever Show HN post on there was called a "cash grab" - it was a job board.

  • I started off by notifying some people in my network about this post. That's generally not something you should do too often. If the same people upvote you at the start, that could be seen as an upvote ring. If you get 2-3 upvotes right at the start, that can help though.

  • After I had fixed the problems mentioned above, the "real" discussion started. That seemed to have been the boost needed, as my post jumped from Top 50 to the Top 5 shortly after. HN is built around a culture of arguments and discussing, so if your content is not worthy to be discussed (and that's not a bad thing!), don't bother.

  • I had assumed that the HN crowd mostly resides in SF. My posting time of 3pm CEST was therefore a little odd, because SF sleeps at that time. Turns out the crowd is just as active then. Probably even better: Around the SF wakeup time, my post got buried by other news articles and startup news that got posted right at 8-9am. I got a good 3-4 hours of exposure, right at the top.

Results of that day: 7,300 new readers. Only 67 signups (horrible signup rates on HN, always). The good part, I was able to sell one premium membership. That's $200 in my pocket!

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