The hack a day effect

On November 24th of this year I published an article on my blog on how to build an RGB lamp controlled by RFID tags. I first announced the post on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Because of my very limited number of contacts in these social medias, the effect was unnoticeable.

I then published the post on reddit.com. The post generated about 75 more visits in the hours following the post. That was cool but nothing that deserve a complete blog post.

visits

A few days later, for the second time in the short  life of this blog, I have been published on hackaday.com. In less than 2 hours I got more than 500 visits. This is quite unusual for my blog! :) Of course, that is far from what has been described as the slashdot effect, capable of killing your web server for hours, but I was pretty proud of that appearance.

A week later, I published my article on the DIY site instructables.com. This site shows the number of visits on the project page. The page view was going up pretty fast when I got featured on the front page of the site. From that moment on the visits exploded. After five days on the site I have more than 10 000 views. This is more than 10 times the number of visits from hack a day.

An other thing I learned this month is that you can share links with other websites. Eeweb.com offered me to publish my website as the website of the day. I thought that sounds a bit 90’s but I decided to give it a try. After two days featured as the site of the day I received 19 visitors from their website. That’s not a lot of visibility for my projects and now I have to put a link to their website on mine. Done.

But then, can we compare visits on my blog to page views on instructables … I don’t think so. It is much harder to bring visitors on your website than to get page views on a site like instructables. The question is, what ratio of the hack a day visitors actually click on the link to my website. For most visitors the text published by the hack a day staff is enough and they don’t feel the need to visit my blog.

Some people will argue that we must also consider the “quality” of the visitors. That would mean that the 1000 visitors from hack a day are of “less quality” because they come from a site that only gives an overview of the post. That would also mean that  the 300 or so visitors from instructables are “high quality” visitors because they come from a site that publishes the complete article, which means they visit the blog to learn more about your work.

Well, I don’t really know much about all this web mathematics but since it gets real close to marketing I have a tendency to believe this is … bullshit. I like as much my 75 extra visitors from Reddit than the 10 000 viewers of my instructables project. I write a blog to share my project and ideas, the more I am read, the more I am happy.

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