Being at the Top of Designer News

A breakdown of what I learnt from being at the top of the design discovery website, Designer News.

654 words 3 minutes 16 February, 2015

On 29 January 2015 I posted a new story on Designer News, asking for feedback on this website.

What started off as a few hits, eventually resulting in 1000's of people visiting the site in one day. This entry looks at how you can too make the most out of a story on Designer News.

We will take a look at:

  • Timing
  • The Story Title
  • Worry
  • Feedback
  • Conversation
  • Action

Timing

Posting at the right time will make sure that your story gains the maximum amount of exposure.

I posted my story at around 9:00am GMT to first coincide with the morning visitors in the UK, as people were starting their work day. Posting the story early meant that I wouldn't miss the early visitors, but also meant that people visiting on their lunch-hour would also have a chance to see the story.

Another benefit of posting at 9:00am GMT is that if your story becomes popular, you'll be prominent to the morning and lunch-time visitors from the USA.

The Story Title

Keep it simple, stupid.

Use key words that you feel people are interested in. Above all else, keep it simple and short. In the case of my story I used:

Minimal Portfolio Design.

  • Minimal: A timeless trend that has stretched through all design disciplines, from architecture to user interface design.
  • Portfolio: The majority of creative people will want to keep and maintain one. This will spark their interest and intrigue.
  • Design: A very relevant word that summarise the core topic of the story.
Panda app with Minimal Portfolio Design as the first position

I use Panda as my new tab in chrome, and have Designer News docked to the left of this. For me, I see a lot of stories going in and out of Designer News and short titled ones catch my eye. Having a short and simple title also ensures that it won't be concatenated.

Worry

With a surge of visitors to your website, you start to worry about the fine details.

So you've managed to time your story, and have got the perfect combination of words for your title. You've gained some traction and your story has become popular. By now, hopefully a lot of people will be seeing your story, and are likely to follow your link.

This is where you start to worry about every little detail. This isn't a bad thing! You start to question what you've posted, and the content within. This gets you thinking about the finer details, the flow of everything, and whether your content is meaningful.

Feedback

Assuming popularity, your story will receive feedback from all around the world. Take advantage of this, listen, and make use of it.

Graph to show the rise in users during the story's popularity Graph to show the rise in users during my story's popularity.

The views on my website went from less than 10 per day, to the peak of almost 7000 views, followed by 1500 the day after. This brought with it plenty of very useful feedback from various countries and cultures.

This exposes you to people with many different expertise, allowing for feedback from angles you probably didn't think about.

Strangers leave good feedback. With no personal attachment to you, they will give good honest constructive criticism, that may sometimes, at first glance, seem harsh.

Conversation

Show that you value the feedback, and keep the conversation flowing.

People have taken the time to leave you feedback, acknowledge this and show your appreciation. It is also a good chance for you to reply with your initial thoughts of how you can approve upon the feedback, for later reference.

Action

Feedback from all around the world, from varying types of people is eclectic. Take action on this.

Make sure you take the time to act on the feedback, look back at the conversations and take action.

I, for example, adjusted my logo and enhanced my portfolio section based upon the feedback I received.