Almost exactly 1 year ago, we launched Exploding Topics on Product Hunt. And we were overwhelmed by the response... #1 Product of the Month!
So we got to work improving the tool.
And today we're proud to show you ET 2.0:
⚡ 3X new trends (1,579 previously → 4,492 now).
👨👧👦 Related exploding trends (on each topic page).
🍒 We cherry-pick the best topics for our homepage so it's constantly fresh.
🔎 Refined trend detection algorithm to detect better quality trends. And MUCH sooner.
🔦 New sources for detecting trends: podcasts, Amazon (+ many more).
📈 Added growth values and descriptions to all topics.
🤖 Turbocharged the search algorithm.
🐕 Refined categories (including pets) and streamlined topic filter options.
💌 Free weekly newsletter with our best Exploding Topics. Plus, expert insight and analysis.
👏 One indie hacker even built and SOLD a SaaS product based off a trending topic he found on ET.
After our first launch, everyone asked for an Exploding Topics newsletter. So we built it and 60K people now subscribe 🙌
Tell us what you'd like to see next from ET in 2021! 😊👂
We made it past 50K email subscribers! 🥳
After starting this project from scratch in April 2019, 51K people now subscribe to our weekly newsletter: Exploding Topics Tuesday.
(This only goes back to November since we moved over from Mailchimp to Aweber then.)
How did we get here? Here’s a rough breakdown:
0 ➡️ 80 subs:
80 ➡️ 200 subs:
200 ➡️ 2,000 subs:
2,000 ➡️ 2,500 subs:
2,500 ➡️ 6,000 subs:
6,000 ➡️ 15,000 subs:
15K ➡️ 51K subs:
51K ➡️ ??? subs:
Our Twitter account seems to be taking off (good source of virality?)
Blog content targeting long-tail keywords
BONUS: Today’s side project marketing launch on Product Hunt (check it out 👉 Post-COVID Trends)
It still blows my mind how many people are subscribed and how fast it has grown. A year ago, none of this would have seemed remotely realistic. 🤯
And yet now, my co-founders Brian, Kyle and I are shooting for 100K subscribers by the end of 2020.
So I hope this helps show fellow Indiehackers how quickly your thing can snowball if you keep on it.
I know I left out A LOT of details. So any questions on specifics, just let me know in the comments. 👋
I've been meaning to write-up a short summary for a while, so here goes:
How we did it:
People loved the site, but...
I'm not going to lie, with Brian Dean working on the project too now, his absolutely massive audience had a huge impact. When he announced the launch to his newsletter we got a LOT of traffic to ExplodingTopics.com. Then we had a product hunt banner on the site, so some of these people then went on to upvote us on PH.
At the same time, I wrote up the Trennd/Exploding Topics acquisition story on Medium and we got a huge amount of traffic from that when it hit #2 on Hacker News.
3K new subscribers (even though we weren't remotely optimized for emails at the time. We had a link in the footer taking you to a subscribe page and that was it.)
23rd in Product Hunt's most upvoted products of the year newsletter
People kept asking what happened to the newsletter, so we've brought that back with a revamp.
Any questions or any other details you want to know just give me a shout!
UPDATE: This is the full story written up:
Trennd was acquired by Brian Dean of Backlinko!!
It’s so crazy… And it’s thanks to you fellow Indie Hackers showing me that it’s possible to build stuff without funding/team and slowly grow an audience around it. 🙌
I hadn’t monetized yet and I was incredibly lucky with how things worked out. 😅
But when I started reading Indie Hackers two years ago, I never thought this would be possible.
I’m writing up the whole story (including acquisition details) which I will post later today.
We’ve got a fresh new look, name and focus now too - Exploding Topics (much easier to remember and easy to spell.) 💃
And we’re launching on Product Hunt today. Both Brian and I will be there replying to comments all day! 🤗
Next up, 5k 💪😁
On another note, does anyone know of good tools to segment web visitors into user groups/personas? Ie. are they mainly content writers, entrepreneurs, affiliate marketers, etc
Right now I want to better understand who the most loyal returning users are. A tool/app that could do this automatically would be amazing? And magic ✨ (Google analytics just gives me gender and age it seems)
This month I scuttled back into my code cave 🦀. This was with the view to making Trennd more robust and sustainable for the long term. That's important, and I’ve definitely made a lot of progress on the backend towards that goal.
But at the same time, I’ve done zero marketing this month 🤦♂️. The hype last month around the Hacker News launch and Twittersphere has naturally died down, along with the web traffic.
The mailing list count is still ticking up everyday though despite this, and we’ve reached a good new equilibrium of 100-300 visitors to the site everyday. Both are green flags to me. (I’m not sure if green flags are actually a real thing. Emojipedia doesn’t think so… 🚩)
It’s way too easy for me to put marketing on the backburner and keep building in general. That’s where I’m most comfortable. Yet, I know full well marketing should be an ongoing crusade, alongside product improvement.
The most successful indie hackers I see around - they have systemized routines that enable them to continually output valuable content.
So my new goal is to figure out my own process to enforce continual, ongoing marketing and stay disciplined. If I have a weekly process that I have to stick to, this should slowly yield results and compound over time.
For instance, writing 1 quality report about a trend and sharing to Reddit/Twitter/etc each week/month could be a good start. If anyone has any ideas or suggestions on this front too, I’m all ears?! 👂
There’s also a more detailed write-up of the month here: trennd.co/blog/august-19-update
Our second month was massive as we launched on Hacker News and the response was fantastic. A lot of quality discussion and Trennd even reached #1 on the front page, albeit very briefly!
No hacks or tricks for this one. But some general good practice when launching on Hacker News:
This Show HN went on to have a huge domino effect onto Twitter. Dozens of people tweeted about Trennd. Amazingly we even got a shoutout from Rand Fishkin. This made my month. 🤩
All of this combined to rocket us above 2000 email subscribers. I’m ecstatic and excited to build this thing out further and see where we’re at in 12 months.
I wrote up a full breakdown of events here:
(And apologies this month’s update is weeks late. It’s only the second one… and I already fell behind! I prefer coding to writing, but definitely need be more disciplined with these.)
Finally posted Trennd as a Show HN. It was literally 40min ago - I’m pretty excited and anxious at the same time!
UPDATE: #2 right now 🤩🤙
You can check out the impact on Trennd’s traffic and subscriber count live on the open page too: https://trennd.co/open
Subscribers: 353 🎉(207 from subscribe banner on home page and 146 from Product Hunt Ship)
Traffic/Users: 2,079 🕵️♀️
Trends: 872 📈
Insights: 52 👁
After the first 5 weeks I’m absolutely chuffed with the results. (That’s British slang for very pleased!)
I hadn’t set any goals, but 353 email subscribers is way beyond anything I expected.
At this initial pre-launch stage, I had mainly wanted to get some initial users to help iron out any wrinkles and bugs, and to point out any big holes in terms of functionality. And we did that.
But I’m even more pumped that the initial feedback was so overwhelmingly positive. And I’ve been able to take a lot of the feedback gathered to improve Trennd in lots of ways.
There's a more in-depth blog post of all the events: https://trennd.co/blog/june-19-update
I ran a public twitter poll to decide on the new name for Trend List. Over 100 people voted and Trennd beat Trendful by a narrow margin! 🎉
Why did I rebrand? I discovered Trend List is also the brand name of a pretty big graphic design website. And there was no need to compete with their Domain Authority from the outset! 😁
It's 100X easier to bootstrap a profitable online business if you ride a big market trend.
Exploding Topics helps you discover what that is!