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Ask HN: What are your secrets to growing your side project?
26 points by hsikka 7 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 14 comments
Hey all! I recently started working on a little side project, and its jumped to 35 users! So, I wanted to see what the wise folks of HN do to keep their project growing, in any capacity or using any metric they see fit!



My key recommendation is to think in terms of building an audience, rather than marketing your product. Who are the people interested in buying your product? Create a community around the content that appeals to these prospective customers. Provide genuine value.

Once you establish yourself as an authority in that field, or at least someone who can reliably provide useful advice, selling your product becomes significantly easier. In some cases, people will even want to give you money just to support what you do.

If you sell a product or service for, say, wedding photographers, create a blog that covers topics relevant and radically useful to this particular niche of photographers. Perhaps make a YouTube channel on the topic, hang out in the forums and groups where wedding photographers are, leverage social media, etc.

Find out what they need and satisfy that need, not just with your product but with your content as well.

And how do you aggregate/consolidate your efforts through various channels? Mailing list. Nothing beats email.

Make sure you collect emails from day one and keep your list warm by providing great content regularly to those who subscribe.

Occasionally, you'll drop in a soft sale and special discounts for your loyal subscribers. You'll be surprised at how many will buy from you because they know who you are and trust you on the subject manner.

There are of course paid strategies if you have the budget, but I would first focus on organic audience building.

Best of luck.



There were two discussions when this came out, oddly with the same number of comments:

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=15002079 (Aug 2017, 68 comments)

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14942902 (Aug 2017, 68 comments)

A list I compiled of 4 HN user authored books on marketing and their launch discussions:

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14041248


This is an amazing resource, thank you!


Posting your project on HN can help, but I think you already know that.


By the way, you can checkout my little corner of the web here: https://learnsearch.xyz/


Your site loads nothing with JavaScript disabled.


Enable JavaScript then.


Yeah, good point. I should circle back and fix that


You are asking the secrets to growing your side project while answering to a post about "make it work without javascript". Priorities. There will be this "small" population that browse the web with js disabled (I don't necessarily blame them) but don't focus your time on them for now at least. Grow this project with everyone else and if someday you get big enough to care, then care about this elite group. I say this as someone who hates too much js bloat on sites but hey, it is about market and growth. So don't get your priorities mixed up in the beginning.


Probably better to ignore people with javascript disabled. They just make work that doesn't improve the project for most people. Not catering to everyone is a good rule of thumb...the technical name is 'market segmentation.'

Or to put it another way, a person who really wants the site to work without javascript will send a patch. A drive by comment is not a patch.

Good luck.


Based on our experience, once you finished the MVP, you should focus on SEO, HN can drive some traffic, but it won't last long. Good Luck!


I want to tell you, our network are blocked totally by China government. I cant use VPN now, so I can't login Gtalk. I tried to sent email, but I'm not sure you'll receive it, So i leave message here.

Most important, I don't know, how long will it continue. So sad.


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