HOW TO: Make your Website go Viral

The goal for most businesses, that have their own website, is to ensure it is viewed by as many people as possible. Getting your website content to become viral is the ever elusive pot of gold at the end of the website traffic rainbow. The beauty of viral marketing is that the small start-up selling from home has the same opportunity as the biggest of corporate businesses; they just need to be a little more creative.

It’s often the adverts or content that is completely whacky, funny and has a catchy phrase that work best. Two great examples of this are the recent Compare the Market and Go Compare adverts.

We’ve created this post to help explain some of the key factors in making your website content go viral.

Build It and They Will Come

To borrow a quote from Field of Dreams, 1989 “If you build it, he will come”. This is true but only if you build something that is interesting, original and relevant to your audience.

If you’ve ever read just a handful of the many articles on driving traffic to a website, you’ll have come across the phrase “Content Is King”. It is not something you can afford to ignore. It’s highly likely that there are thousands of websites offering something similar to yours so you need to make sure yours stands out from the rest. If you want your site to go viral ensure that when people find your website they won’t be disappointed.

Put yourself in your visitor’s shoes. What does this website have that is different? Do they have great How To guides, video tutorials, user generated content, unique and original articles. If you’re struggling for content ideas then research what content is currently going viral online. At present it is very popular to setup a series of video or articles such as the Will It Blend or Old Spice series.

What You Talking ‘Bout Willis? Diff’rent Strokes, 1978

Most people, including myself, can often struggle to think of unique, creative and original content. So here is a quick list of 5 do’s and don’ts to give you some inspiration and get started.
Create large lists related to your website/industry. These are very popular throughout the internet. We recently created 24 Fantastic SEO Techniques to Boost Search Engine Ranking and The Ultimate SEO Tips Guide.
Do an interview with an Expert in your industry and post it on your blog or website.
Create a video that takes a tongue-in-cheek look at your industry or company. Keep it simple and with a touch of humour.
Carry out research in your industry and put together a big statistics article, such as this Twitter report.
Do a “How To” video series.

Let’s Put a Smile On That Face The Dark Night, 2008

One of the main reasons that content goes viral is because it stirs emotion in people, whether it makes them laugh, cry or cringe. People are much more likely to share your content if they connect with it in some way. Many of the most successful viral content have two elements:
• It makes people laugh
• It surprises/shocks people
Take a look at some of the most popular YouTube videos of all time – Charlie Bit My Finger – Again!, Evolution of Dance, Hahaha – Small daring boy.

If the content on your website can stir emotion in people it is far more likely to spread around the web.

You Had Me at Hello Jerry Maguire, 1996

One of the most important factors of any viral content is that is catches your attention instantly. You need to make sure you achieve this and keep it simple. If something goes viral it will reach all sorts of people with completely different views and opinions, likes and dislikes. Each with a different level of computing skill and knowledge. You can’t cater for everyone but you can keep it simple. You should be able to explain the content in the space of 30 seconds, it should take no more than a couple of steps and one of the steps should be/include sharing the content. Can you explain it to your Great Auntie and Wiz-kid Cousin so that they both understand it and love it?

Good Things Come to Those Who Wait

Guinness drinkers of the world understand that sometimes you have to wait for the best things in life. Content that goes viral can often take time, be patient, things may start slowly but if your content finds that one person with the influence to share it to thousands then things will take off.

Connectors and Recommenders

There is one thing that all viral content has in common. At some point they reach the perfect ‘Connector’ or ‘Recommender’. A Connector is someone that has a huge following and by sharing a link on Twitter or Facebook can reach large numbers of people. A Recommender is someone who will be an advocate of your site, more likely to be a return visitor and recommends it to a smaller group of people but with more influence.

So why not start researching who might be that person within your industry. Who has a large twitter following that might like your content? Start a natural relationship with them but don’t force website links down their throat. Drop it into the conversation naturally once you’ve established a stronger relationship.

I also recommend reading our post; How to Optimise Your Blog Post so that if your content does go viral and people want to link to you or comment on you then you get the SEO benefits.

Life is Like a Box of Chocolates Forest Gump, 1994

You can never guarantee your content will spread virally but by following the points raised in this post you can improve your chances . Remember, life may be like a box of chocolates but make sure the sweet your reader gets is the one they want.

This post was written by James Hay, Fasthosts Social Media Coordinator. If you have any questions about this post or any of the other Fasthosts Posts then send us a Tweet @fasthosts and add the hashtag #fhblog

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