What I Learned When My Blog Received 10,000 Visitors In 24 Hours

In August I wrote a blog post about a few things I do to help me sleep titled Three Simple Ways That I Optimize My Sleep. At the time I posted it on my blog, I did a little more promoting of the post than my usual activity by posting it on Facebook and posting on Twitter three times, not just once (with slightly different titles). It paid off and I received the most ever page views in one day for that post: 59. I was happy about the increased traffic but not blown away by just 59 pageviews.

The post was kind of an experiment for me. Most of my previous blog posts were shorter and not very in depth. This was the first post where I used citations and referenced research to back up my points. I also spent more time writing this post than any one post previous to it and enjoyed writing it a lot (although when I missed my self imposed completion deadline it caused some stress). I recognized in my own reading habits that I tended to gravitate towards in depth articles that use research to back up their points or showcase data from research. This post was my attempt to put a few of my lifehacks on my blog and back them up with scientific research. Sleep was a good focus point because I had been obsessing about sleeping better for quite some time and experimenting with different ways to optimize my sleep.

Fast forward to this past week and I had just finished writing my most recent blog post about deleting social media off my phone and I was itching to try some new ways to get some traffic pointed to my blog. After I posted the article to my blog I decided to submit the post to Hacker News just to see what kind of traction I could get. For those that aren’t familiar with Hacker News, it is a user submitted news site where very smart, tech oriented people, can submit news stories and then others vote on the stories they find interesting. The ones that get up-voted stay on the front page longer and signal that it is worth reading.

After my submission I received 155 pageviews. It blew away my old record but it really didn’t get the traction I was hoping for. It also didn’t get any up-votes on it so it was kind of disappointing. A few hours later after checking my stats again, I decided to give it another go and see what happens with my most in depth, well written post about optimizing sleep. This time it was a different story and with in the first 30 minutes I had well over 155 pageviews. Then it was 1,000. Then 2,000. Then 3,000 and it kept going up. I was also getting up-votes and comments right away. By the end of the day I had 6,419 visitors and 7,019 pageviews on my website. It kept going the next day, too. I had managed to stay on the front page through the night and I was getting just as much traffic through the morning. By the end of the second day I had an additional 3,845 visitors and 4,269 pageviews. I was blown away by the traffic I got from that post…over 10,000 unique visitors from all over the world in 24 hours. In addition I had received 52 up-votes, over 50 comments on Hacker News as well as a few more on my site.

Then the wheels started turning in my head and I started thinking about what all of this meant. What was it about this article that was so much better than the other one. Here’s what I learned:

  • Write good quality content. No one on Hacker News knows who I am or probably cares who I am. They clicked on my post because it had a good title and then the content was well written. It was obvious from reading it that it took some time to put together and I cited a lot of important material to back up my points. I also included a ‘why’ and ‘how’ to each major point I made. I explained why something was important and steps for the reader to take action on their end.
  • Post links to your blog posts on high trafficed websites that your target audience reads. Hacker News was a great forum for my post and it clearly was the sole reason I received so much traffic in that short amount of time. Reddit is also very popular and can cause the same huge traffic spikes when a post becomes popular. Most people aren’t going to find your most recent blog post through a Google search. You need to seek out the places they do frequent and get your post on there.
  • Post a link to your blog with a catchy title to pull readers in. If you want to learn about about good, catchy titles, just view your twitter feed and see what tweets make you want to click on the links. It’s basically the same thing with blog post titles. It’s a short preview snippet of the full article and how it is written can make all of the difference.
  • Have a way to capture the readers when they come to your site. Right now I have links to my Twitter, LinkedIn and RSS feed. I don’t have an email opt-in or a well written about page…I basically got all of that traffic and wasn’t able to retain any of it (except for a few people who might have added my RSS feed). I missed out on an opportunity to have my site setup in a way to gain a larger audience for future posts. This is an area I will be improving upon soon after I finish building my latest website.

I am still amazed by the traffic my post received and I can’t wait to see what kind of traffic numbers I can get in the future! It was a very exciting 24 hours.

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