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Cover image for 8 Steps to Get 100 Stars on GitHub

8 Steps to Get 100 Stars on GitHub

nastyox1 profile image nastyox Updated on ・4 min read

We should start off with proof that this works. Here's a screenshot of the recent viewer analytics for my GitHub repo, which has just started to take off:

GitHub viewer analytics

It's clear from this chart that I spent a little while trying to get stars in ways that flat-out don't work before I found the ways that do. I'm here to help you cut through the crap and focus on the methods that work.

1. Create a READ-ME with a pretty top section

Your READ-ME file is like your repo’s homepage. A good percentage of people will star your project just because it looks good, and not all users will scroll down past the top of your READ-ME, so make the top part as pretty as possible. Here’s how to create a READ-ME, and here’s a place to practice your markdown if needed. A recipe for success is a well-designed logo with a tagline underneath followed by shields and then a colorful splash image. Here's what I did with my repo; it's animated, so you can click here if you care to see it live:

Rando.js READ-ME

2. Be concise

People have incredibly short attention spans. Cut all the excess wording out of your READ-ME and get down to brass tacks. If possible, show the user how to use your project in a quick gif. Here’s how to record your screen on a Mac and PC. Here’s the best online video to gif converter I’ve found.

3. Choose an open license

People don’t like when you’re selling them something. If possible, create a license for your repo that opens it up for free use. I chose the “Unlicense License”. This will be featured next to your READ-ME, and people will see it.

4. Have stars

It’s weird, but people are more willing to star your project if they see that others have already done so. Ask your friends to star your project to get the ball rolling. Do not create fake GitHub accounts to star your own project. GitHub will catch you after about 4 accounts, guaranteed.

5. Upload an eye-catching social card

When people share a link to your GitHub repo, it’ll be accompanied by whatever image you choose for your social card. Make it colorful enough to pop off the screen and provocative enough to be worth a click. Here’s how to upload one.

Rando.js GitHub social card

6. Advertise

There are a lot of platforms to post your project to for free. The ones that have worked best for my JavaScript-based repo (in order) are r/javascript and r/webdev on Reddit, Cooperpress- which runs the the biggest coding email newsletters (contact here), Dev.to, Hacker News, and Twitter. If your repo is JavaScript-based like mine, you can also post to JavaScripting once you reach 80 stars.

7. Engage in developer communities

Once you advertise on these communities, connect with people on them. They won’t find you unless you give them a reason to care that you exist. Find articles on Dev.to you like and actually like them/leave comments. Star projects on GitHub and contribute to other projects. Like and retweet people on Twitter.

8. Respond to feedback

People will respond to your posts on these communities with advice. Tell them that you’ve heard them and actually change your project to fit what the public wants. They’re explicitly telling you how to make the project worth starring, so listen.

And a bonus...

You’re also welcome to leave your project in the comments here for others to check out, but please don’t just drop a spammy-looking link. Include your repo’s title and description with the link so people can get a sense of it at a glance. Something like "Rando.js is a micro-library that simplifies and secures randomness in JavaScript" is perfect. I’ll check them out too!

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Discussion

markdown guide
 

Nice post. The first 100 stars are most certainly the most important 100, and while stars and attention are perhaps a shallow indication of true value, we are humans and we need signals like this sometimes. 😄

 

Motivation is very important, especially for FOSS contributors as other kinds of motivations like salary or pension aren't available. More GitHub social indicators means they'll be more motivated to solve bugs and issues in the project. It also means more visibility of that project to other organisations who support/donate based on social indicators.

 

Great advice, I'm going to add a nice logo to js-coroutines as it's currently looking rather sad! I made an effort with the website but less so on the GitHub. Can't seem to get JavaScript Weekly interested sadly.

 
 

Very cool! You've got one of those projects that's useful enough to get stars no matter what. It looks great!

 
 

Really well done. Nice work!

 

Wow, that's really great! I'd love to know how you made this.:)

 

Very cool. I gave a star too! This post earns you stars too lol.

Can I steal a question? I thought that async functions don’t block main threads... so anything running inside of the async function shouldn’t too?

 

Hey Calvin thanks!

So async functions just wait for each of the operations and then block the main thread again. I wrote the following that shows how js-coroutines works and why it makes a big difference.

 

Do not Crete fake GitHub accounts to star your own project. GitHub will catch you, GUARANTEED.

😱😱😱

Nice post. My personal record for star is 3(including me) 😑

 

Looks like it's up to 5 now 😉
My python projects get no stars but like 100 daily downloads for some reason.

 

Yeah I've had that, people come and clone and leave you nothing in return.

 

At least you have the traffic going on.

 
 

Awesome article. Am really looking forward to promoting fractio, an eel based tool for calculating document statistics such as character, word and sentence count. It also calculates estimated reading time and assigns the document a readability score.

 

Really cool to see someone actually using eel! I think screenshots in the README would help increase engagement

 

Thank you ,
I find eel very convenient, unlike electron which I was using prior to eel.

I will be updating the README soon.

 

I would like feedback to ysv. This is a command line program which reads CSV data from stdin and accepts a configuration file name as a command line argument. Its job is to create a new CSV file based on that configuration. Example configuration:

version: 1
columns:
  year:
    - input: year
  make:
    - input: make
    - uppercase
    - replace:
        MERCEDES-BENZ: MERCEDES
  model:
    - input: model
    - uppercase

The purpose is to simplify ETL jobs and clean data before it gets into a database. Stage of development is very early, as is my level of understanding Rust.

I have seen that a lot of tedious work has to be done to clean up data, standardize column names and formats, and this tool aims to resolve that pain using a simple DSL.

 

Such an amazing post. I followed each and every step and honestly my project readme looks more simpler and cooler than ever. Have a look

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These instructions will get you a copy of the project up and running on your local machine for development and testing purposes.

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🧑‍💻 Technologies used

 

It looks awesome. Nice work! Remember, the next step is networking on various platforms so people can see it and give you feedback about the functionality.

 

Yeah will definitely do that. Thanks

 

Trex is a Package management for deno but maintaining the deno philosophy. packages are cached and only one import_map.json file is generated.

Btw awesome post!

 

Really good and informative read! Thanks for sharing.

 

Nice tips! Let me promote some of my projects (and I wish I can reach more people with my works that I work really hard to make):

  • obsidian: A Rust web framework which we aim to make it more developer-friendly (as people always say Rust is hard to learn). It is still on an early stage, and we are discussing about how do we make it become a productivity tool for developers.
  • aion: A friendly Rust utility crate for duration and datetime.
// It allows you to write the duration and datetime like this
2.days(); // Duration for 2 days
2.seconds(); // Duration for 2 seconds
2.hours().from_now(); // Datetime for 2 hours from now
7.days().ago(); // Datetime for 1 week ago
1.weeks().ago(); // Datetime for 1 week ago
 

This is one great DSL to express datetime values! Looks very nice and readable.

 

Thanks! This is inspired by Ruby on Rails where in Rails you only need to write 1.day.ago (without parenthesis). It is even english-ish.

 

Why isn't #1 "make something that people want to use"?

 

My goal with this article is to help people improve their repos, and if they can't figure that one out on their own, I don't know if I could help them. I'd call that #0 on the list. Certainly the most important. Also kind of ties in with #8.

 

This is really good advice. Especially for people starting out with Github when a lot of questions come to mind and block you from actually taking part or doing something because you think "is this the right way to do it?".

The best way is to just do it then iterate as you go along and i think posts like this go a long way to helping people do that.

thanks!

 

Nice write-up. Congrats on your library! I think first and foremost is to create something valuable, something you want to use yourself is a good starting point, and like you discussed I think a lot of people fail to polish up the presentation of their work to make it more appealing

 

Hey @nastyox, followed all your guidelines and getting some traction already for GitGuardian's shield: github.com/GitGuardian/gg-shield (scan your files and detect potential secrets or issues in your code). Thanks!

 

Looks great! The table of contents is a great touch to make so much necessary info feel manageable. Nice clean the logo as well!

 

Nice article I've added two of my projects to JavaScripting. sysend.js library that allow to send messages between open tabs or windows including cross domain. and jQuery Terminal. I have also another project I would like to share which is LIPS Scheme based language written in JavaScript. I need to add logo to master branch README as well, it will be awhile until I'll made 1.0 version that I'm working on in devel branch.

 

Omg the amount of effort... I felt like I went back in time and had to chase my wife all over again....
Not.Js - "All-in-one" type checking, validation, error handling and messaging.
Not.Js - "All-in-one" type checking, validation, error handling and messaging.

 
 

Informative post. I always envy the repo which has a lot of stars and it was very hard for me to go beyond 5. I will try to apply these tips for my next opensource tool and post the result here. Thank you @nastyox

 

This is an amazing article♥️. I would like to advertise React Native WiFi & Hotspot Wizard which is a react native library I am working on to configure WiFi & Hotspot settings programmatically.

 

SyncPaint is a web app for group drawing. Draw together with other people in real time.

Great tips :)!

 

I feel obliged to point everyone to Goodhart's law.

"When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure."

 

Totally agree with that, seems like recently, writing code becoming more and more like Instagram... :(

 

Lets just hope pretty tops on github will stay SFW ;-)

 

Agreed. I remember I was so happy to have reached my first 50 stars and have not move far enough as I am busy maturing the tool than running a campaign. But now, it seems I had bit more time :) Appreciate your stars guys! :D

I just made some of your suggestions on my project yuniql, thanks for the tips! yuniql.io is a database schema versioning and migration tool for postgresql, sqlserver and others. Hope you find this useful in your future projects.

 

Awesome points! Most of them I'm already trying to realize, mostly depends on how much time I can spend on a project. I also like badges in a Readme, to have quick information about the repo at first glance.

Here is one of my own projects:

GitHub logo devmount / you-can-quit

A tool to support your progress in quitting whatever your bad habit is.

 

Nice post. You make a lot of good points. My friends and I are currently developing and promoting SimplQ, a virtual web-based queue management system. Adding here so it gets a little more traction :).

 

For those who use IntelliJ IDEA, I've created a fun plugin waifu-motivator-plugin it's a simple and open-sourced Jetbrains IDE plugin that your waifu motivates you and helps you work on your coding challenges. It's published in the marketplace, you can directly install it from the IDE via Settings | Plugins | Marketplace or you can install it from here

 

Honestly for me it's just the point on a concise intro and example with no fluff.
I don't care about the pretty side as I am most likely there to consume a package or cannibalise some snippets!

A logo or a couple of images are OK, but I personally dislike OTT readme's with tons of large images which mean I have to scroll all over the place to tie bits together!

 

I think there's a lot of difference between repos of js projects, that get a looots of visits when everything is configured, and other projects with different languages.

Django is extremely popular, and I shared the link of my project (on french & english tech websites) in april. I got some stars & views on the repo, but then there have been less and less visits (there is now ~20 people/week visiting the repo).
traffic reffering django check seo

Through the stargazers count is still growing slowly:
stars history django check seo

 

It's daunting to think that a platform like GitHub could begin to become more like a social media platform where instant gratification and validation becomes the key metric, but I guess that will be unavoidable in an environment where popularity drives exposure.

I use GitHub explore more than I use an social feed admittedly (with Dev being a close second) and revel in the chance to read up on how something has been done in the real world. My experience as a "learner" is what motivates me to star repositories.

I have recently just opened up the source to an app I built, Skribul in hopes to receive feedback, teach what I've learned while building something that is "real world" usable. I'm proud of this small project and hope I can share knowledge with more and less experienced developers. Collaboration is more than welcomed.

 

Thank you!
I have created a library Neconfig - configuration module for Nestjs.
There is an issue Required to correct grammatical errors in the README.

It would be great if someone can help :)

 

Very nice post, I'm trying to follow it right now, don't have enough karma to post in reddit yet :( but I'm getting there

I've made a post about my project here on dev.to, is a app to extract styles from a figma project and save it directly in your code
dev.to/____marcell/extract-figma-d...

 

tsParticles - TypeScript Particles

A lightweight TypeScript library for creating particles. Dependency free (*) and browser ready!

Particles.js converted in TypeScript, dependency free (*), improved with new cool features and various bugs fixed and it's currently under development!

github.com/matteobruni/tsparticles

 

This article is amazing!! Also struggling to create a bigger audience to my project!! Thank you so much for the article =)

About TotalCross (github.com/totalCross/totalcross): GUI creator for embedded and mobile devices that allows developers to build apps with low footprint, high performance and using a high level programming language like Java/Kotlin =) We want to provide a "community friendly" alternative to Qt