That Time My Product Made It Onto The Front Page Of Hacker News

I recently soft launched my first product, Outduo, and thought it would be good idea to submit it to the most popular programmer/startup social news website in the world, Hacker News (HN), to try and gain some new users more quickly.

My first attempt at a Show HN submission on the 15th March was almost a complete failure. The post received only 2 points and Outduo received 12 unique page views from it during the same day.

A day later, at around 5pm NZDT, I submitted the link again to Show HN. At first, nothing happened. No points. No comments. Nothing. Then at around 7pm NZDT I happened to log in to my Google Analytics Real Time View and to my surprise I was getting loads of traffic!

It turns out that I had submitted the post at just the perfect time to pick up enough votes to quickly float to the top of Show HN.

Not only was Outduo on the top of Show HN, but it had also made its way onto the front page, and was sitting at spot 15.

Over a period of 24 hours the post accumulated over 20 points and sent over 500 unique visitors to Outduo.

The good:

  • On front page of HN (highest position was 15) for around 4 hours
  • On top of Show HN for 10 hours
  • On page 1 of Show HN for 5 days
  • Approximately 900 unique page views of the landing page over 7 days
  • At its peak, around 50 (Google Analytics defined) active users were on the site
  • ~ 30 signups that can be attributed to HN (taking the total free user base over the 50 user milestone)

The not so good:

  • The Outduo home page wasn’t completely optimised for new visitors (I deployed the current design after the HN rush)
  • A lot of features were missing/not complete at the time (like deleting challenges, password resets, and account editing)
  • A few unexpected bugs were discovered

Lessons learned:

  • Make sure your product is 100% ready for the public with as many basic features as possible before you submit it to HN
  • Optimise your site for conversions because you’ll want to get as many sign ups as possible during the large influx of traffic

Want to see what all the HN rush was about? Start your first challenge on Outduo :)

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