My story of launching on Hacker News. Topping Product Hunt. And blowing up on Reddit.
I have registered over 30 domain names. I have built almost as many websites. They have all failed.
The guys at work are bored of me talking about ‘my latest side project.’ I was bored of talking about my latest side project. I needed a hit. Badly.
This past week I finally did it. With a good product, some help from the online community and a little luck.
Read on to see how I got to the top of Product Hunt. Smashed it on Reddit. And got big love from Y Combinators’ Hacker News.
A little about the site
Makerbook is a hand-picked directory of the best free resources for creatives. It was inspired by Bram Kanstein’s StartupStash. StartupStash is a directory of resources and tools for the startup community. Coming from a creative background I thought, why can’t I make something similar. But for the creative community?
Figuring the site would feature a list of resources I have bookmarked. I came up with with the name ‘Makerbook’.
I registered the domain name, and set about making the site in WordPress. I added all of the sites I knew. I also spent a number hours researching some additional sites to fill out the other categories. Completing the 8 panels on the home. Photography, mockups, graphics, textures, audio, video, fonts and finally colours.
The two rules for featuring resources were simple. They had to be free. And they had to be of a high quality. It was not about quantity. I didn’t want to cram heaps of crappy links onto a page just for the sake of having lots of links. Just the best, free sites.
With the site finished. It was time to let some folks know about it.
First stop. Hacker News
I’m a big fan of Y Combinators’ Hacker News. You can submit stuff yourself. No waiting or approvals needed. I posted the site to Hacker News. About 10 minutes later I checked my Google Analytics. The real time visitors started shooting up. 50. Then 100. Then 200! It was awesome. Such a buzz. I ended up getting around 116 up votes from the community on Hacker News. The Hacker News crowd is tough. After this I felt, maybe. Just maybe. I was onto something. Sweet.
Better call Bram
Getting featured on Product Hunt has always been a goal of mine. Unfortunately I couldn’t post stuff myself. What could I do? I reached out to Bram Kanstein the guy who made StartupStash and asked him. I have never met Bram. I messaged him on Twitter. Shortly after Bram messaged me back. He dug the site and said let’s hunt this! I was super stoked. Later that day I had a date and confirmation time. Makerbook was going to be being featured on Product Hunt. Boom! It’s go time.
Within hours of getting featured on Product Hunt the site shot to the top. And stayed there. All day. This was awesome to say the least! Seeing people comment and up vote throughout the day was great. I was checking back every half an hour. Watching the up votes steadily rise. Mentions on Twitter came thick and fast. Traffic to the site spiked out. Mental. Reading and responding to the comments from people was also really nice.
The internet is beautiful
After the success of getting featured on Product Hunt. I thought that was it. I was wrong. I had tried to post the site to Reddit myself earlier on. But I got denied. Something about not posting your own stuff. Never mind. Some champion by the name of ‘Eskays’ posted the site for me in the ‘internet is beautiful’ sub Reddit. Then things really went ballistic.
At one stage the site was clocking 731 visitors at once. The day rounded out with over 131,000 page views. In one day. Bear in mind I had only launched this site 4 days ago and it has only 10 pages. Zero spend on marketing.
Thank you Poland
A site called Wykop in Poland picked up on the site. That also sent a shedload of traffic may way. A big thank you to the folks in Poland and Wykop.
The internet responds
There were too many lovely shout outs to name, literally thousands via Twitter, Product Hunt and of course Reddit. Here are just some of the awesome ones I got. I’ve been truly humbled by the responses from the tech and creative community.
The site stats over the 7 days
Here’s a snapshot of the Google Analytics from the site.
Total sessions: ( 109k unique visitors )
Total page views over the 7 days:
Here’s where all the traffic came from:
A full round up of final stats
Over the 7 days since launch. Here is a breakdown of the numbers.
- Total page views: 345k
- Total unique visitors: 109k
- Number of referrals from social media: 50k
- Up votes on Product Hunt: 1097
- Up votes on Reddit: 1856
- Email subscribers: 251
- Total resources suggested via Typeform: 119
What’s next for Makerbook?
I will be updating the site with new content, keeping it fresh and featuring only the best, free and most relevant stuff. A number of poeple have also requested that I include a tools and a 3D section to the website which I’m looking into at the moment. At this point 17% of visitors to the site are return visitors which great.