Being #1 on Hacker News boosts trafficLast Tuesday my blog post about using a standing desk for 2 years shot to number 1 on Hacker News for a brief but glorious 10 hours.  Below I’ll explain how this impacted my traffic and sales.

Here’s my setup. My blog is of low-to-medium popularity, with wildly varying traffic. My peak month before this article was 6,000 individual visitors, but the recent average monthly visitors was closer to 500.

I have three ways of making money through my blog.

  • Affiliate links. I recommend some books and tools (like the standing desk by Furinno), and I get up to 8% commission from Amazon when visitors buy products through my link. It costs $54.03 on Amazon.
  • Selling apps. I blog about my business ventures, which nowadays involves Power 20 exercise apps for smartphones and tablets. I have a free and paid version of each app; the free versions are ad supported. The paid versions are $2.99.
  • Selling One Month Madness, our diet and exercise program. The program costs $39.

 Here’s what happened. Hacker News stories are often scooped up by other news outlets. Within a day, Fox Business asked me to be on their show, Huffington Post France wrote an article about it, and I was featured briefly on Yahoo’s homepage.  Here’s the video from Fox.

Fox News interview

My blog traffic soared. This combines traffic from Hacker News and the other news outlets:

  • 73,398 visitors on day 1
  • 52,169 visitors on day 2
  • 12, 910 visitors on day 3

Lots more people visited the Power 20 App page:

  • 3,999 visitors on day 1
  • 5,334 visitors on day 2
  • 959 visitors on day 3

And the new (and obscure) One Month Madness site enjoyed a bump as well:

  • 562 visitors on day 1
  • 1,295 visitors on day 2
  • 369 visitors on day 3

The biggest winner was the Furinno company. They sold 1,252 units thanks to my blog.

Here are my profits (These are after the app store fees, and I’ve subtracted my average daily revenue from before the blog post):

  • iOS revenues: $676.06
  • Android revenues: $200.06
  • One Month Madness Revenues: $78
  • Amazon affiliate link revenues: $2,926.72

Total: $3,880.84

I also got some intangible benefits:

  • I spread the word about what I think is a healthy practice.
  • 12 more people subscribed to my blog.
  • 689 new users of the free Android app, and 837 new users on the iOS app.
  • My mom was proud.

I’ve learned that I cannot predict which posts will be popular, and that writing about standing desks will sell standing desks and not mobile apps. But most importantly, I’ve learned that having a popular post on HackerNews leads to a nice, fleeting bump in traffic, but it’s not a business strategy and won’t necessarily make one rich.

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  • timrpeterson

    Thanks for sharing your results!

  • michaelherman

    I’d love to see an update on this in like month. Content marketing can have a pretty long tail. Congrats!

  • ArshadGC

    Good point. I’ll keep an eye on it. I think the social media clicks and further press coverage will contribute to a longer tail.

  • ArshadGC

    Sure thing. Underwhelming numbers, but worth sharing nonetheless!

  • michaelherman

    great article you wrote too, btw.

  • http://plus.google.com/+JeremyMorgan Jeremy Morgan

    Nice work! My blog has been on the front page of HN a few times, but it’s not really a business venture, or something I’m good at making money from. But it did increase my exposure on larger sites and added a bunch of people to my newsletter. It really is beneficial for getting the word about something.

    Again nice work! Glad to hear this is how things turned out.

  • ArshadGC

    Thanks, Jeremy. What is your blog?

  • kevinsyun

    Great post and good insight — thanks for being so transparent

  • Reza Chowdhury

    Awesome piece. Amazon is also only a 1 day cookie – so the results are even more impressive.

  • ArshadGC

    Thanks, Reza!

  • Rubysaleh

    great insight arsh….love it!