How my new blog went from 50 to 50.000 views in one week

Intro

About 6 months ago I set up a Wordpress blog with the idea of sharing my experiences in starting a hardware company, both on the business and the electronics side. After posting two articles that were viewed quite ok (3k views), I forgot about the blog for a while. Fast forward to two weeks ago: I posted two new posts on Arduino electronics, which yielded a total of over 50k views.

This post describes how I came to these results and how I think you can do the same.

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My two posts

My goal for writing a blog is to share my experience and knowledge, so others can learn from that. I have learned so much from other blogs that I wanted to do the same for others. So let’s talk about the two posts: The first one was about building a 5$ Arduino clone (Arduino is normally around 25$), the second post was about running an Arduino board for weeks or even months on a battery (normally works only for about a day).
After each post, I submitted a link to HackerNews and Reddit (/r/electronics and /r/arduino sub-reddits) and just waited.

HN frontpage and 50k views

Both times not much happened for the first half an hour. But as time progressed, I saw some upvotes on both sites and a few hunderd views. Then both times after one to two hours, more and more upvotes came, traffic increased to above a thousand and people started sharing on Facebook and tweeting (Thanks for liking and sharing!). Once that happened, traffic started to explode: thousands of views and in excess of a hunderd tweets. Both articles got on the fron pages of HackerNews and both sub-reddits. Result (see chart above): 16k views for the first post, in excess of 25k views for the second post (thanks for all the upvotes btw!).
HackerNews frontpage
More than 100 Tweets and facebook Likes:
Likes and Tweets

Featured on Lifehacker!

In the meantime, someone at lifehacker had found my post on a 5$ Arduino clone and had written a post about this. I never knew, only from the fact that I suddenly got a lot of traffic from lifehacker and found the post there. Result of being featured on lifehacker: About 10k views in a couple of days.
Featured on Lifehacker

What I learned and how you can do the same

After these two posts, I wrote another that was not neraly as succesfull as the first two posts, which made me analyze the difference in succes and thus probably value to the end reader.
  1. First and foremost, you have to provide real, genuine value to your readers. Something that they really appreciate and that gives really good or hard to find information.
  2. It helps a lot to have a to-the-point, eyebrow-raising title. Something that people think: Really!?
  3. Mostly by coinsidence (it’s the default setting) I had share buttons, which were used really a lot by my readers.
  4. I added some pictures, which give the post a visual appealing.
  5. Share your post on social bookmarking sites like HN and Reddit, but only if you have something really worthwhile to link to!

What I didn’t do

I don’t have comments on, since I don’t want to be approving comments all the time: HN and Reddit have perfect systems for that. I don’t have a catchy domain: I use just standard, free wordpress.com, with a standard theme (if you do want to have a domain name  and/or wordpress hosting: Bluehost is pretty cheap and I heard great things about them). and finally I just produced – what I thought – was good content, NO upvoting or other manipulation: If it’s good, then they WILL come.

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