On the 16th of March our blog post “Why Ireland is the best place in the world for a start-up” reached page 1 of Hacker News. To many people this might not mean much, but to us it was a fulfilment of a long held ambition. We peaked at number 5 on page 1 and we were there for around an hour. Anyone who is familiar with the Hacker News feed will know that this results in a significant amount of exposure in the tech world; some even consider it the equivalent to featuring on TechCrunch.
We were obviously delighted with the achievement and the hours where we were on page 1 were mixed with excitement and action. There were comments to be replied to; spelling/grammatical errors to be fixed and hosting companies to call.
As a result of getting to number 5 we had a huge spike in traffic. Our analytics shot through the roof and we got over 6000 visits within 12 hours.
As I am sure you can imagine we couldn’t keep our eyes off the real-time analytics during this period.
See below a screenshot of our real-time data analytics.
From the below you can see the majority of the traffic came from North America & Europe with a few hits in Asia and South America.
A lot of people visited the article on our blog, but very few decided to actually check out our site. This may be due to the fact that the post had very little to do with the product we offer. We provide a niche service for a select number of Irish destinations (with plans to expand internationally), which automatically excludes more than 90% of Hacker News readers.
Similarly we had very few new Facebook likes or Twitter followers. With the former I suppose it is to be expected as Hacker News and Facebook are very different platforms, but I would expect that people may choose to follow us on Twitter. The article was tweeted 130 times, however less than 10 of the tweets referenced us as the author. This is something that had us scratching our heads!
The real benefits came from the back-links. We were linked to across all platforms and numerous other sites which resulted in plenty of SEO juice coming our way. Long may it continue!
For anyone who would like to see their blog posts on page 1 of Hacker News, here are a few tips.
Our article was published just a few days before St Patrick’s Day meaning it was very timely. If it was published in June I doubt it would have had to reaction it had.
Give first-hand experience
The articles that always grab me on hacker news are those written about first-hand experiences. People are looking to learn on hacker news and nothing beats honest first-hand experience from someone as a way to learn, especially from a fellow entrepreneur.
It goes without saying that honesty is the best policy. Keep whatever you write as honest and as to the point as possible and it will be appreciated. People aren’t looking for intricate tales; they are looking for facts from which they can learn.
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