How to increase your traffic by 30k visitors from Hacker News

grald • 16 February 2020

Have you ever heard about Hacker News? It is a new born site main topics of which are about IT and running business.

However, my post isn't about seo campaigns, it is about using sites like Hacker News as the grounding platform of a good organic traffic.

How is it real?

Meet Adriaan van Rossum

Adrian van Rossum is a CEO at Simple Analytica - analytical company that specializes on privacy.

Nine months ago he registered on Hacker News as an ordinary user. Now this news site gives more than 60% of overall Simple Analytica's traffic - 30,000 of visitors!

9 months

In what way have he made this probable? As far as SA data traffic was open, I found out that its the sharpest traffic rises mostly corresponded to the most frequent Adriaan's actions as a fan of Hacker News.


Having systemized his HN activity, I picked out 4 major features to take a page from.

Point 1: The titles do matter!

However, if marketing specialists prefer Homer Simpson archetype, the most appreciated narratives on Hacker News are written in a Professor Drink's style. Scientifically cold statements with no fakes, no abstract hyperbolas and no emotions.

Frink archetype

For instance, the top post is entitled "I sell onions online". If this article had more words like "the best five tips to gain great money from selling onions on the internet easily" - no one would have read it.

The same did van Rossum. His popular articles are headed with:

  1. Our servers got moved to Iceland.

  2. I created a privacy focused Google Analytics.

Point 2: comments, comments, comments!

You know, even the simplest, but informative comment on Hacker News can be shown thousands times.

Moreover, creating helpful remarks, you can add clickable links - and that's enough to get fresh traffic!

To make his comments bringing attention, Adriaan looked for relevant discussions on privacy, expressed his opinion or gave bits of advice… and linked his Simple Analytics products below!


Surprisingly, it worked - 590 HN users clicked on his site.

Point 3: how to launch

Hacker News has an uncountable number of active users. In general, as far as the site gets 1k followers daily - as much posts are published.

So, how not to be lost in this overwhelming posting flow? How to make your nick become well known?

  1. Usually launch your post to less popular topics. Then lower post frequency won't remove your content.

  2. Choose any problem related to privacy and suggest some tips to solve it. Your experience is valuable.   


Point 4: what is correct sharing

Sharing posts on HN is not so easy as it looks at the first sight.

Site algorithms are extremely smart and they don't let anyone jump to posts with already prepared direct links. Don't even try!

In addition, the site allows only one voting by the one IP. Thus, all visitors are real people who accidentally find your content.

Nonetheless, if you keep wanting to share articles, Adriaan recommends to post links on the latest Hacker News - and then fans will get your content.

Latest news

Look: no one HN author asks for upvotings. Otherwise, you stop being a respectful user and become a simple minded like oriented blogger. 

Summing up, 

This project lasted for 9 months and, in general, involved articles, reviews and questions.

The most interesting thing is that Adiraan did no advertisement - he was a real user on Hacker News. Someone, who had no intention to market and gain money from others. Someone, who was curious of computer privacy and had excellent reputation. 

It was a quite fortunate experiment.

As the result, this strategy was highly yielding: approximately 30k of users of Hacker News trusted Adriaan and went after his site. It is fantastic, doesn't it?


Having gone through this case experience I understood that all I needed was truly my audience. There is nothing better than readers passionately liking your articles and sharing the same interests with you. So, after achieving this great goal you don't need to be tighten up by strict marketing rules anymore.

Just get connected with your fandom folks, make them pay attention to your content. If they have questions - explain every point, share tips how to overcome difficulties. Constant communication with followers - that's the spirit!

Result: Being just a Hacker News user Adriaan achieved 30k visitors to his own site.

Tags: Digital Social Media SEO