December 17, 2019

Lessons learned from hitting #1 on Hacker News

Ryzal Yusoff 🇬🇧🇲🇾 @ryzalyusoff

Yesterday, after the third times of posting on Hacker News about my side project - Reader Mode (https://readermode.io), it finally got a break there. Not only that it made it’s way to the homepage but it also hits the #1 position! It attracts a huge amount of visitors to the site and I was on top of the world :D But sadly though, I didn’t read the rules and it was removed from the homepage after just 2 hours there, and after 8 hours, the post got flagged :( I emailed the mod afterwards explaining the situation, and they kindly removed the [flagged] mark, but of course at this point the post was already buried somewhere and could never make it to the homepage again.

You can see the ranking histories here: http://hnrankings.info/21802911/

But after all it was a great experience and I’m so glad that I even had this chance to make it all the way to the homepage and then hitting #1 on HN. And in this post, I just wanted to share what I did right and what I did wrong so that everyone else could learn from my experience :)

  1. Title of HN post matters a lot
    Before yesterday’s post, I already posted twice on Hacker News about Reader Mode, but each with different title. The first time I post, I got 13 points, the second one I got 7 and the the third one I got 62. These are the titles I used for each post:

• Show HN: Increase your readability and productivity with this simple extension (62 points)
• Show HN: Reader Mode – Remove clutter and ads from any article. Instantly  (7 points)
• Show HN: Reader Mode – A fully cuztomizable “Reader Mode” with dyslexia support (13 points)

  1. Do not share direct link to your HN post
    Apparently, you cannot share a direct link to your HN post. If you do this, the upvotes from this link will not be counted, and possibly will get your post buried/flagged.

  2. Do not ask for upvotes/feedbacks/comments from your network
    Again, I didn’t know about this. I know that Product Hunt has this rule, but somehow it never crossed my mind that HN has this rule too! And so yesterday, not only that I shared a direct link to my HN post, but I also did asked for the upvotes/feedbacks when I shared the post around. And this eventually has triggered the voting ring and got it removed from the homepage and got it flagged 😥

  3. Get the pricing right
    It is somehow harder to get people form HN to buy your products compare from people from other places such as Product Hunt, Reddit etc. Especially if you price your product really high. For Reader Mode, I had to change the price twice before I can see sales coming in. Probably because readers on HN have different kind of mentality. For example, if you read the comments, whenever somebody posted a paid/freemium product even, you will get a lot of people saying something like: “Oh i could just program this myself, so why bother paying”. So just to keep in mind, that while HN is a great place to boost and promote your product, HN readers themselves might not be the ones that will pay for it.

So this is it so far. If something else crossed my mind, I will update this post. And one more thing, all of this is just based on my experience, other people might have different ones. So feel free to share your’s or other’s experience here, would love to hear them ^^

And if you have any question etc, feel free to drop a comment or send me a DM :)

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