Going Viral

One of my clients has had a bit of online luck: an article at her website was bookmarked at one of the big bookmarking sites, and she’s getting thousands of visitors a day from it. Views for that particular page are up 91,600%.

I’m calling this a bit of luck because that’s what it is. The client in question is off on a cruise, the page has been at her website for years, it’s been bookmarked before, but this time it just somehow caught people’s fancy and traffic is taking off.

You can find advice on how to try to fake this effect elsewhere. I don’t think that faking things is ever good business in the long run, but I’ll tell you how to be poised for this kind of good luck, and what to do with it when it happens.

  • Have good content. A keyword-stuffed ad or computer-generated article isn’t going to go viral. What’s more, if you have good content at your website, your visitors will find it useful and come back to visit you again, which is the whole point, whether you get that 15 minutes of internet fame or not.
  • Have a call to action. I’ve seen this happen before. One occasion was when a lesson plan at my educational blog suddenly caught on. I was amazed. It was a last minute Leap Day lesson plan, on February 29th, and I figured it would be a help for a few teachers who had forgotten to prepare. I was in-house at the time, and my colleagues and I stood there and watched thousands of visitors arriving and wished we had been selling something. If my client weren’t on a cruise, or someone else had access to the page in question, she could quickly add a contact form offering a subscription, or at least a button saying “Enjoyed this article? Visit my bookstore!” with a handy link. The best plan is to have an opportunity for conversion on all your pages, just in case. (The client is going to find a wi-fi cafe at her next port of call, you can be sure.)
  • Have Analytics installed. My client knew about this opportunity because she is one of my clients. I watch her Analytics, and when I saw the traffic coming in from the bookmark, I alerted her and made suggestions for ways to turn these chance visitors into happy customers. Otherwise, she would never have known. Whether you use Gooogle Analytics or another type of site analysis tool, make sure you’re keeping an eye on your visitors. That way, you can respond appropriately to bits of internet good luck.

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2 responses to “Going Viral”

  1. James McConville Avatar
    James McConville

    Great tip – I’m going to try Google Analytics now…

  2. rebecca Avatar
    rebecca

    Oh, you’ll enjoy it!

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