What #1 on Hacker News Does For Your Stats

May 31, 2010

The Januarist - Stats for May

The Januarist isn’t the most popular blog in the world, but thanks to lots of good content and some great incoming links (e.g. from Wikipedia and Boing Boing), it usually attracts about 100 visits a day (mostly through search engine referrals).

Yesterday (well, on 31 May 2010), a new post called “Why Are the East of Cities Usually Poorer?” was published, which became the #1 link on Hacker News. It stayed there for at least 3-4 hours (I went to bed as it was still #1) – and, as I write this, it’s currently still on the front page at #19, some 16 hours later.

The graph above shows the results – so far, 10,000 visits today. I’m not sure whether this is typical of that position/duration for Hacker News, or whether the long weekend / Sunday evening (in the US, when it was first published) had a positive/negative influence. Either way, it looks pretty frickin’ good on the graph! (Though it does make the rest of the graph look a little pathetic). Coincidentally, that tiny little bump around May 22nd (which was actually 600 visits, so not that ‘tiny’), was also caused by Hacker News, linking to the Interesting Datasets post – though in this case, it didn’t get to #1 (I can’t remember where it reached), but did still make the ‘front page’.

Of course, the business person inside me knows that this traffic is fleeting, and will disappear as quickly as it appeared. And we won’t make a dime from it (we hand-pick Amazon-affiliate related books next to each post, but never really make a sale).

However, it’s all great for the long-term strategy of the blog: this has created tens of quality incoming links from less transient sources (I can see them already in the Google Analytics stats), which greatly improve our trust/PageRank, and therefore our ability to rank with new content. It’s all about the long-term, baby.

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One Response to “ What #1 on Hacker News Does For Your Stats ”

  1. Carl Morris on June 2, 2010 at 8:43 pm

    I loved the post, it was kind of ideal – short, punchy, thought-provoking, relevant.

    I also enjoyed blogging on The Januarist and hope to get back to it when I’ve relegated other things to their rightful place!

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