How a perfect launch day looks like

Graph 1

On December 9 I semi-officially announced with a blog post detailing my motivation (“Fighting the language fragmentation“). As the above graph shows, I could not complain about a lack of attention that day. That despite me not really having a well-planned launch strategy.

Even though I was able activate some of my social media followers to have a look at, the main driving force behind the influx of visitors was a post I made at Hacker News, the Bay Area tech industry’s most significant site for user-contributed news and links.

After I added the link to my blog post to Hacker News, it took only a couple of minutes until the entry hit the front page of Hacker News. That hardly ever happened to previous contributions of mine. This time I must have had luck with the choice of headline I made, describing my link entry: “After 7 years of blogging in German, I am switching to English. Here is why”. My guess is that the combination of a clear (implied) statement (that blogging in English is superior to blogging in German) as well as a trigger to capitalize on people’s curiosity and desire for information (“here is why”) turned out to be highly effective.

I made this post at Hacker News without expecting it to get enough upvotes to show up on the front page. But it happened, and the hundreds of users that accessed simultaneously caused my webhosting package to reach its capacity quickly. It was inaccessible for about 45 minutes, which was embarrassing and amazing at the same time (knowing that this meant lots of attention). Via Twitter my hoster recommended me to add the plugin WP Super Cache to my WordPress blog to improve performance in the future. It reduces the load on the server by delivering static HTML pages. Hopefully we’ll see soon how that works out under heavy load.

Generally I do not pay too much attention to metrics like visitors or page impressions. My main driving force is to write things that others like to read – I do not care whether they read it on the site, through RSS in their RSS reader of their choice, in Pocket or Instapaper or wherever.

Nevertheless occasional massive exposure does not hurt. Even if most visitors won’t “stick”, they might remember your blog next time they stumble upon it. And maybe, if it happens a third or fourth times, they become loyal subscribers or followers.

Here is a chart showing where the visitors of December 9 came from (data measured with Clicky).


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