In our article „How Product Hunt Influenced Our Growth Rate“, we’ve mentioned Hacker News as a major source of success stories and it has now happened to us: we‘ve landed on the front page of Hacker News / ycombinator.com! Even better, we’ve made it up to the third place. But how were our numbers impacted by this?
How did this happen?
In our blog post dedicated to Valentine’s Day „Bye Bye Tinder, Flirting in the Support Channel...“ we portrayed in a funny way the problems that female employees have to deal with in Tech-Support. Although the somewhat loose style of writing, that we deliberately chose, caused some disagreements, we talked in the blog post about a topic that has been a thorn in everyone’s side for a long time – but that was hardly discussed by anyone.
It appears that this has made a person to share our article on Hacker News, which led to a fast increase in the number of visitors to our website. During the day our post received 100 upvotes and 104 comments – and with this occasion we reached the third place on the front page.
What has it actually delivered?
There are numerous success stories of startups, which became known through Hacker News. Probably the most famous story is the one of Dropbox that held the first position on the home page for quite a long time with their then new tool. Unfortunately we were not featured as long as Dropbpx, as each post loses relevance after a certain time and sled downwards. This downgrade can only be compensated by new upvotes. A post generally falls after a few hours – for us it took around 8-9 hours to fall outside the top 20 and thus to no longer be displayed on the front page. This comes to highlight once again the magnificent popularity that Dropbox generated considering that they were able to maintain the top spot for a over a day.
Our article was shared on Hacker News on February 12, 2016 and it was read during that day by 7,631 visitors. A week later, this figure rose slightly to 8,979 readers – this shows how quickly the traffic declines if you no longer appear on the home page. Simultaneously, the article was shared 55 times on Twitter and it also brought us numerous inquiries from agencies that were looking for new content.
How many blog visitors converted into users?
It is important to note here that the blog post was not directed at a specific target group and it was positioned more as a contribution to a very sensitive topic. We were also already aware that this article would not contribute directly to the user growth – and this was not the intention behind it. Lastly, it is also interesting to note that the number of new registrations remained almost unchanged, despite the article and its large number of visitors.
What have we learned?
There is a big difference between sharing articles and sharing products on Hacker News. With good content you can secure a good positioning on this website, however it is a completely different story to have a revolutionary (yes, I have to use this word in this context) product featured. However, there has been the nice side effect that a large number of readers shared the article on social media and thereby enabled a further distribution of the article – this virality was extremely high in this case, which is yet another proof of the social character of Hacker News: „If an article is on the front page of Hacker News, then it must be good, so I can share it without hesitation“. But we have also noticed here what a difficult task it is to guide blog users to the actual product that we are offering. Thus, this kind of blog posts better assist branding efforts than contributing to user growth.
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