Everyone dreams of making it to the front page of Product Hunt. It’s a chance to show off your creation to thousands of tech enthusiasts.
However, many people post their product, wait for all the visitors to come… and nothing happens.
What to do before you launch on Product Hunt
I have taken the time to go through 500hunters.com and find all top Product Hunt hunters on Twitter (save for a few with private accounts). I added them all to a “Top 500 Hunters on Product Hunt” public Twitter List.
Why does this matter?
When you launch your product on Product Hunt, these are the people whose upvotes carry a LOT of weight. I would recommend following them and genuinely engaging with them.
Would you be more likely to upvote a product from a complete stranger, or someone who frequently likes, replies, and retweets your tweets?
How well you build relationships with some of these people might make or break your Product Hunt launch.
What’s the best day to launch on Product Hunt?
It depends… Are you launching a full-fledged business, or a small side-project?
Weekdays have the most traffic (Monday-Friday all have similar totals based on average upvotes of top products each day), BUT if you launch on a weekday, you will be competing with many other products. The Product Hunt moderators can only choose to feature so many products each day.
Saturdays and Sundays see less traffic, but also see much fewer products. If you have a small side project or are nervous that you might not be featured, you might be better suited to launch on a weekend.
Do I need a top Hunter to hunt my product?
No… but you could.
Product Hunt allows you to hunt your own product, which keeps you in total control of the timing and details. Many self-hunted products by no-name people have gone on to huge Product Hunt success.
BUT — the reason why some people try to get a Hunter with a lot of PH followers to hunt them is because it will notify all of that Hunter’s followers. This used to be a much bigger deal a while ago, when Product Hunt would send an email to all the Hunter’s followers alerting them of the newly hunted product, but nowadays it only gives a little notification in the top right corner of Product Hunt:
This notification is not very valuable though, ever since Product Hunt began sending notifications every single time someone you follow subscribes to an upcoming product. You cannot disable these “_______ subscribed to _______” notifications, so it floods the system and basically makes all notifications worthless (unless someone follows very few people).
So how do I make it onto the front page?
Every product that is submitted gets looked at by a Product Hunt moderator. If your product is SUPER cool, the Product Hunt moderator will give you the ultimate blessing: Automatically featuring it on the front page, even with no upvotes at all. Keep in mind, they rarely choose to feature a product unless it has a filled out profile, so make sure you follow the basic instructions listed on the Product Hunt official blog.
The majority of submissions are not initially chosen to be featured.
How should I format my post?
At a minimum, you NEED to do the following:
- Create a tagline that describes exactly what your product does. Avoid vague marketing speak like “The best way to grow your business”.
- Create a description that gives more detail about your product.
- Add photos or short videos that clearly show how your product works. Avoid uploading videos longer than 60 seconds — it is very unlikely that anyone will stick around for anything longer. Also keep in mind that many people that do watch your video will watch it with no sound, so add captions if necessary.
- Add an opening comment. This should tell people the “why” behind your product, answer FAQs, and provide any additional information deemed necessary. What was the inspiration? How does it compare with this or that competitor?
- Remember that many people will check out your Product Hunt posting, but not actually visit your site. Provide them enough info so they can fully understand what you do, otherwise they will quickly move on to the next product.
If you are going to half-ass any of these things, you might as well not even post your product.
Do I need a GIF for my thumbnail?
No. If your product is easier to understand by using a GIF, then go ahead and use one. However, if you are just creating a GIF to try to “stand out” or “give someone a seizure”, you are probably better off just using your static logo.
If you take a look at past top performers on Product Hunt, there are just as many static logos as GIFs. Product Hunt themselves rarely uses GIFs on their own products and updates that they post.
Is there a way to tell if my product is going to be featured?
Yup, if your product is featured OR is going to be featured the next day, it will show FEATURED:
If your product has not yet been selected to be featured, it will show POSTED:
Typically, feature-worthy products that are submitted after 11 AM Pacific Time will be featured the following day.
Okay, my product is definitely not featured. What can I do?
For products that don’t get automatically featured, it may help to get some initial upvotes. Not just any upvotes though, you need upvotes from some of the Product Hunt Power Users™ — someone who has a lot of upvotes, followers, products made, products submitted, or ideally, all of these things. Click on a user to see these stats in their profile.
If you initially get a bunch of upvotes from people who have never used Product Hunt before, it signals to the algorithm that you are just spamming your friends and family. Upvotes from frequent Product Hunt users carry a LOT more weight than upvotes from new or infrequent users.
The best thing to do is get Product Hunt Power Users involved in your product BEFORE you launch. As mentioned before, you can find many of them by combing through the Twitter list of those Top 500 Hunters. If you create relationships and help others without initially asking for anything in return, most people will gladly support you with an upvote on launch day.
Can you give me an example?
This was possible because A) we had a cool product that people found interesting, and B) we had spent over a year actively participating in the Product Hunt community, upvoting and commenting on other products, interacting with other makers, following them on Twitter, engaging with their tweets, and generally trying to be friendly and supportive of their efforts. Giving an upvote takes about 1 second of your time, but to that maker, it means a TON!
Because of this investment in building relationships, people were happy to help us out when we shared OneUp’s Product Hunt page on Twitter.
The main takeaway is to build genuine relationships and GIVE before you ASK.
And as an additional benefit, you will end up finding a bunch of cool products and inspiration by actively participating in the Product Hunt community :)