We’d like to spend some time talking about documenting your project and sharing it with the world. For many, the goal is to become an Internet sensation, hopefully for the right reasons. Taking a bit more time to make certain you do a great job of sharing your information will pay off. Here at hackaday.comwe focus on technological wonders but these guidelines should work well at improving the desirability of anything you might want to share on the interweb.
Yes, you need to have a picture to go with your project. Even if you did something that can’t be captured on camera you must have a photo. An example of this is the main photo for our recent udev rules post. It’s just a udev logo with some words but it immediately shows what the article is about.
This is doubly important for concept illustrations, flow control charts, schematics, assembly diagrams, etc. Visual materials complement your writeup. They also encourage readers to spend more time looking at your project, once again increasing the chance that they’ll share this with others.
Multiple pictures are a huge plus, even if some of them are just links to photo sharing sites. There are many examples of posts that show a few pictures and then have a linkpointing to more. Having several eye-catching shot options to choose from increases the chance that someone will blog about your project. Think of the extra photos as your press kit.
2. Descriptions for all levels of readers
Have you just completed something that is cool for everyone to look at but the gory details require specialized background knowledge? Make sure you include a layman’s description of what you set out to do and what was accomplished. But don’t make the mistake of dumbing everything down, many readers are looking for things they can learn from and adapt into their own projects. Strike a nice balance that includes a general overview at the beginning, details in the middle, and a conclusion that gives a broad overview of your accomplishments.
3. Submit it yourself
Hoping that everyone you know will head to your site and then tell your friends about it? Why not be more active? You can submit your project directly to Hack a Day; most popular sites have some way of doing this. If you’ve asked questions on your favorite forum throughout the project, make sure you post an update to all of those threads with a link to the finished project page. We always want to see the fruits of one’s labor so we subscribe to threads that look interesting. This added step will bring the kind of traffic you want: the admirers who wish theyhad pulled off the feat that you completed.
4. Site stability
Often called the Digg effect or the Slashdot effect, having your site go down because of traffic is a bad thing. If you want everyone in the world to take a look at your project, make sure you have chosen a host that can handle the traffic. Clicking through to a dead link will turn readers away (obviously). If you’re hosting on your home server, keep the link to yourself and your closest friends.
5. Post follow-ups
Did you find a way to make your project better? Make sure to post a follow-up, then link it at the bottom of the original post and vice-versa. A great example of this is the twatch, which had a twatch-in-a-picture-frame follow-up. The original project was an interesting one, the follow-up is eye-catching and fun; each builds on the popularity of the other. Once you’ve posted a useful followup, go back to step 3 and promote it!
6. No Spamming, no cheating
Flooding forums or emails that are unrelated to your project is Spam. The same goes for leaving links in comments that don’t have any relation to what you accomplished. If you are trying to syphon hits by tricking people into clicking a link then you are cheating. Become a sensation for the right reason: because people love your project.
Conclusion: it didn’t work
Well, there’s only room for so many sensations. But, if you followed our advice you have a quality writeup of your post and we’re certain many people took a look at it. This builds your reputation and increases the chances that your next project could go viral.