Today I’m tackling this topic: how to prepare your blog for a viral post. I’ve been doing a lot of nerdy blog stuff lately. Thinking about blogs and looking at blogs and talking with people about their blogs and platforms and social media strategy. Confession: I kind of love this stuff. I find it fascinating and fun and I totally bored Rob to death this week at our anniversary dinner talking about it.
The internet loves to talk about “viral” blog posts. Some people take this to mean a post that has 10 million hits, but it can actually even mean a post that goes way above the normal reach of your posts. We ALL want to break the internet, right? Most bloggers hope (even if secretly) that a post (or two) will go viral.
It’s not bad to want this! We are blogging because we want people to read our words, right? And a viral post means that a LOT of people will read your words. That is a good thing. Unless you’re not ready! So let’s get ready.
How to Prepare Your Blog for a Viral Post
1. Connect Easily.
Are your social media buttons visible at first glance? You want your links to be noticeable at the top of your page and be sure all the links are correct. If I like a post, the very first thing I will do is go follow that person on my favorite social media channels. Don’t make people search for where to connect unless you don’t want to connect.
2. Capture Readers.
Social media is great, but you ideally want to capture readers onto YOUR platform. I’m talking mailing list, people. A mailing list can be a great asset (read this post if you don’t believe me) so make it super easy for people to sign up. Embed a signup form in the sidebar of your site and link to your mailing list within your post. If you notice a post doing really well, embed a form within the post. Don’t let the readers get away! If they like your viral post, chances are they will like your other posts. Snag them with a little more commitment than a Twitter follow. (Read more about creating an email list here.)
3. Control Your Personal Stuff.
I’ve talked to a few people who were not expecting a post to go viral. Suddenly, the photos of their kids in just diapers or the way they talked freely about certain topics seemed WAY too vulnerable. What if 1 million people DID come to your site today? Do you really want that photo up of your kid? Do you really want to be so open about your relationship with your mom? Maybe you wouldn’t change a thing, but it is a good thing to remember how public your blog really is before you hit publish.
4. Clean House.
I am the WORST about updating things like my sidebar. How things look to you are NOT always how they look to other people. I may click on a blog and get annoyed by the slow page-load or sloppy design issues. But often I don’t see those issues on my own blog. Get a designer or savvy blog friend to take a peek and let you know what things stand out in a good and bad way. When you look at your blog, is it what you would want 1 million people to see?
5. Cultivate Good Content.
When visitors come to your one post, they should not ONLY see that post. You should be linking to your own content within your post (did you notice I’ve already done this? BOOM!) as well as having visuals images for blog posts in more than one area. You could have recent posts or popular posts in the sidebar as well as having Linkwithin or another form of linking below the posts. You could also put related post images in your post yourself. Paula at Beauty Through Imperfection does a great job of that here. Make sure people can easily see all your other great content!
6. Carry Your Blog with a Good Host.
While you don’t want to pay more than you need for hosting, it would really stink if 1 million people want to come to your blog and then it crashes and so 900,000 of them didn’t see your stellar content and then forgot to come back. Right? Right. For more on this, check out this post with insights from Holly Homer.
We may not all have a post that goes viral and maybe you don’t even WANT that. (I’ll be honest: the idea of a million of people on my blog scares me.) But if I were considering that kind of traffic potentially hitting my site, I would pay more attention to detail and make more conscious choices. Keeping these tips in mind will only make your blog better, whether you have 5 readers or 500,000.
If you knew your a post would go viral today, what would YOU do to prepare?
And if you liked this post, you should check out my series: 31 Small Ways to Grow Your Blog!