Posting Regularly, Hacker News and a Traffic Spike

Ed. Note: We asked Ron to write about his recent experience with using Blogspire and his unexpected spike in traffic from his recent post. Hope you enjoy it. I've been blogging at http://ronfeldman.wordpress.com/ since June of 2008.  However, like many bloggers, I've found it difficult to keep up with a regular practice of blogging. In early March (2012), I got lucky enough to get access to an experimental new Zemanta product - Blogspire. There are two key elements to Blogspire:

1. You make a commitment to post regularly and to spend a minimum amount of time, even 10 minutes per day blogging.

2. Zemanta sends you a personalized set of links every day at your specified time to provide inspiration of what you might want to blog about.

Since March, I've managed to post 11 times, way higher than was average for me before, although I still aspire to do better. I really think, for me, the key to blogging more often is resisting my urge for perfectionism.

I constantly have ideas for blog posts and I actually keep a list.  However, many of those ideas relate to current news cycles and when I don't act on them, they become irrelevant over time. On May 7th, I published a post titled Does Instagram's $1 billion sale explain the $41 million investment in Color?  Now this was an idea I had thought about for a couple of weeks, but I finally decided to sit down and write it on Sunday night May 6th.  The post probably took 20 minutes to write and edit.  I posted it early AM on the 7th.  As usual, I tweeted the link to my post, and added it to my Facebook feed.  Not unusually, I got 1 like on my Facebook post and 2 retweets from my tweet.  The one thing that was a bit out of the ordinary is that one of my Facebook friends, Sarah Ross, with a lot of friends (3,136) and followers (3,717) shared the Facebook post with her friends/followers. I didn't think a ton about it.

 

Zemanta Screenshot

Zemanta Screenshot

 

The next morning on May 8th, I woke up and looked at the Wordpress app on my phone to see how many views my post had received.  I thought that I either must be too tired to focus properly or that the app was broken. It was showing that my post had received over 2,000 views the night before. Note that my next most popular post had received 189 views in total.... I checked the referral traffic and saw that almost all the traffic was coming from Hacker News.  I quickly figured out that someone (not someone I know) had posted my link to Hacker News where it got a bunch of up-votes and comments and stayed on the front page for all of the night and then into the morning.  By the time it fell off of the front page, my post had more than 5,000 views and my blog had more than 7,000 views in a two day period. I was pretty excited. Later I noticed that some traffic was also coming from Wordpress.com's blogs of the day and posts of the day sites.

 

Zemanta Screenshot

 

Zemanta Screenshot

I'm still not sure where the Hacker News reader discovered my blog post, but the only unusual aspect was Sarah Ross's share, so I would guess that it derived from that somehow?

My blog traffic has leveled off since then, but I think it was still a great win and I have a few key takeaways:

1. Even a modest commitment to blogging more can pay off before too long.

2. You never know which piece of content will draw in readers.

3. Perfect is the enemy of good. Simply writing/posting is better than agonizing over creating a masterpiece.

 

 

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