Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Impact of Hacker News

When my article about Why Not to Make an iPhone App appeared on the front page of Hacker News, this blog got its largest traffic day ever. In one 24 hour period, there were 6014 visits. It was a lot of fun watching the visitors number explode!

I feel quite fortunate to have gotten that much interest -- especially from Hacker News, one of my favorite news sources. I think many bloggers covet traffic blasts from sources like HN, Reddit, or Tech Crunch. So I thought it would be interesting to look at the analytics of the days before and after my moment in the lime light.

Wow, look at that bump in traffic!

But the interesting metrics here are the average time on site: about 12 seconds overall. About 9 seconds from only. And my bounce rate was around 96%.

It looks like most people never read much of my article at all. It also appears that the majority hit the back button without visiting any other pages on the site - an average of 1.05 pages per visit. 

What About Mobile Devices?

This is interesting. In terms of mobile devices, iPad is the clear winner, followed by Android, and then iPhone. Android above iPhone? Oh yeah, Hacker News. My kind of people. I wouldn't extrapolate this data to the general public.


Out of the top ten traffic sources, Germany had the top average time on site: 21 seconds. The overall leader, however, was Trinidad and Tobago which sourced one visit lasting 17 minutes and 37 seconds.

Thanks Trinidad and Tobago!


Well, based on this one experience, I'd say that the Hacker News traffic isn't very sticky, or terribly interested in my article. I couldn't tell you if the issue was with my content or because of some sort of impedance-mismatch with  Hacker News readers. Perhaps Mobile Apps just aren't their thing.

I also didn't notice any increase in my Twitter followers.

On the other hand, I did get contacted by a few people because of the article, and that's nice. The Hacker News Post also had about 20 comments in it, which I enjoyed reading. You'll notice that my original article had zero comments on it, possibly because nobody made it to the bottom. :)

The final word? Getting featured on Hacker News is a blast. Just don't expect it to magically force people be interested in your writing or your products.

No comments: