Story

Waves of Traffic

Jan 12, 2016

This weekend, Cushion’s expenses page made its way to the top of Hacker News, claiming the #1 spot for the day. I knew something was up when Hacker News bots filled my Twitter feed. Even on a Sunday, Hacker News was able to drive over 32,000 unique visitors to Cushion. I was out of the studio at the time, so I could only watch from my phone, but I was finally able to read through the comments once I returned home.

“Don’t read the comments!” everyone exclaims. Actually, the responses were mostly positive this time around. Hacker News is known for “you’re doing it wrong” comments, but I received a lot less than usual. Surprisingly, the majority of commenters showed appreciation for the transparency and understanding of my decision to spend more money on services early on.

When starting an app, everything feels like a sprint. I remember being so impatient with every day Cushion wasn’t online—I wanted it in the hands of others as soon as possible. Because of this, I knew to spend my own time coding Cushion-specific features and “outsource” parts that were the same for any app (servers, metrics, etc). A monthly bill and a few clicks later, I could have everything set up and running. If I wanted to build everything myself, I would have to take a DevOps crash course and spend weeks crawling through tutorials while Cushion sat idle. I do plan to eventually move off many of the plug-and-play services when the expenses become too much, but at the moment, they’re manageable, and it makes more sense to eat the cost.

These waves of traffic are great for spreading the word and potentially scoring new users (and maybe even new customers). So far, I’ve relied entirely on word-of-mouth for getting Cushion out in the world because I simply can’t afford any sort of worthwhile marketing routes, like advertising or sponsorship. Hacker News drove a huge wave of traffic, but since it was more about the expenses page than the app itself, Cushion only saw ~50 new signups—most of which are probably tire-kickers. But hey, I’ll take 50 new signups any day. The conversion rate might be incredibly low, but 32,000+ more people know about Cushion now. They may not sign up this week, but down the road when they’re ready to freelance, they might recall a freelancer app they once saw on Hacker News.

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Archive

  1. Funding Cushion
    Story
  2. Hiring a Team of Freelancers
    Story
  3. Taking a Real Break From Work
    Story
  4. Slack as a Notification Center
    Dev
  5. Document Your Features
    Story
  6. 300
    Story
  7. Vacations
    Design
  8. Offering Discounts
    Design
  9. Waves of Traffic
    Story
  10. Less Blogging, More Journaling
    Story
  11. Retention Through Useful Features
    Design
  12. The Onboarding Checklist
    Design
  13. Spreading the Word
    Story
  14. From Beta to Launch - The Subdomain
    Dev
  15. From Beta to Launch - Sign up
    Design
  16. From Beta to Launch - Messaging
    Design
  17. Launch
    Story
  18. Authenticating with 3rd Party Services
    Dev
  19. Intro to Integrations
    Design
  20. Inspiration vs Imitation
    Story
  21. The Emotional Rollercoaster
    Story
  22. Designing Project Blocks
    Design
  23. Everything in Increments
    Story
  24. Deleting Your Account
    Design
  25. Designing the Subscription Page
    Design
  26. Rewriting the Timeline
    Dev
  27. Restructuring the Individual Project Page
    Design
  28. Project Blocks
    Story
  29. Redesigning the Homepage
    Design
  30. Multiple Timelines
    Design
  31. Archiving and Estimate Differences
    Design
  32. Multiple Financial Goals
    Design
  33. Zooming in on the Timeline
    Design
  34. Currency
    Dev
  35. Preferences, Accounts, and a Typeface Change
    Design
  36. Sending Out the First Email
    Story
  37. Currency Inputs, Notifications, and Invoice Nets
    Design
  38. Dots and Lines
    Design
  39. Calculating in the Database and Revealing Tendencies
    Dev
  40. Improved Form UX
    Design
  41. Cushion is Online
    Story
  42. Schedule Timeline Patterns
    Design
  43. A Slimmer Schedule Timeline
    Design
  44. The Schedule Timeline
    Design
  45. Plugging in Real Data for the First Time
    Design
  46. Transitions and Project Lists
    Design
  47. Death to Modals
    Design
  48. The Individual Project Page
    Design
  49. Estimated Incomes and Talks with Other Freelancers
    Story
  50. Statuses to Lists and the Paid Beta
    Story
  51. The Timeline
    Story
  52. Invoice Terminology
    Dev
  53. Modal Forms
    Dev
  54. Wiring the Backend to the Frontend
    Dev
  55. Balancing Design and Dev
    Story
  56. Timecop, Monocle, and Vagrant
    Dev
  57. Going with Ruby and Sinatra
    Dev
  58. Ditching local-first and trying out Node.js
    Dev
  59. Switching to AngularJS
    Dev
  60. Building the Table with Vue.js
    Dev
  61. Clients, Projects, and Invoices
    Dev
  62. Introduction
    Story

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