How to: Make the most of a viral blog post!
It's every bloggers dream, right? One of your awesomely crafted blog posts has suddenly become quite the big deal on the Internets and your traffic has quadrupled (if not more) overnight.
You have officially gone viral.
Here's a virtual high-five to you.
Now all there is to do is screen shot your Analytics page and tell your Nan, right?
Umm... actually. No. Not unless you want all those lovely new readers to just disappear again in a few days time.
You see that's the problem with viral traffic. It's kind of like a tidal wave. Usually it sweeps onto your blog when you least expect it, probably crashes your site a few times, breaks a few things, and then it disappears just as quickly.
As someone who has had this happen a few times (there's was hair donut-gate of 2012, and the Under 500 calorie meals episode of 2013), I am here to tell you that yes, this whole viral things is super rad and you should enjoy it (the Internet officially thinks you rock, and that is pretty darn cool). But that you also have an awesome opportunity to actually gain your self some extra long-term raving-fan-type readers if you act fast enough, and all it takes is making a few of these simple blog post tweaks.
How to optimize your viral blog post to keep your viral traffic!
Step 1 - Identify
Firstly, if you notice your blog traffic has suddenly spiked, it will usually be to one specific page or blog post. So jump into your Google Analytics and find out which one that is (it's not always your most recent one!)
Step 2 - Polish
Go back over your post with a fine tooth comb, and check it for any typos (if you are incapable of proof reading your own work like I am, then there will definitely be a few), or any places you can polish and shine up your words so they are the best reflection of you and your blog. This might also include improving your formatting or even images, you want to make sure that this post is basically the best ad ever for how awesome you and your blog are.
Step 3 - Interlink
It's an oldie but a goodie, but scattering a few links to some related posts throughout your blog post is a great way to keep people clicking through, and discovering more content. You can either do this by turning words and phrases within your blog post into links, or you can add a list of suggested posts either in between paragraphs or at the end of your post.
Step 4 - Pin-bait
If you are going to do even just one of these things, then I think this one has got to be the most vital. And that is to make sure you've included some sort of Pin-bait image within your post. This could be something like a pretty meme-style quote that you encourage people to share, or you could place all the steps into a nice tall image with the blog title over the top (remember taller is always better when it comes to getting things shared on Pinterest).
Step 5 - Optin bribe
I am not above offering bribes to get people on to my email list, in fact I am quite obsessed with it. And if you have an optin bribe, and also a post that is going viral, then you would be crazy to not promote that awesome bribe with a nice clear Call To Action within your post.
Something like "Love this, then you'll really love my awesome FREE blah blah blah, just click here and join my email list and it's all yours".
Step 6 - Affiliate links
This one all depends of course on the type of blog topic you cover, and also if you are even in any relevant affiliate programs. But if you are, then here's a great chance to jump in and add a few extra affiliated links, or suggest a few more products. You are probably going to have to pay your host a bit extra this month anyway, so why not try and make some extra money out of it.
Step 7 - Ask a question & reply to your comments
It depends on what type of post you wrote, and also the source of traffic, but usually a bunch of extra visitors means you will also get a bunch of extra comments, so make sure you keep an eye out for them, and be sure to respond asap, so then not only are people more likely to then leave even more comments, but those commentors will probably come back again (and maybe again after that too!). And even better if you can pop a question or "Call to comment" as I have nicknamed it at the end of your post, as this can really help to kick off those comments too.
Step 8 - Share it around!
If one of your posts has gone viral, then that means it probably rocks, so why not tell anyone and everyone about it. Share your awesome success (and a link to the post) on your social media (peole love to celebrate your wins with you, they really do!), even include a link to that post in your side bar, or as an example on your About page. It never hurts to put your best foot forward here as well.
And one DON'T - What ever you do, or what ever changes you make, just make 100% sure you don't do anything that changes your URL (or permalink) on that post, otherwise all that lovely traffic will just be hitting your 404 / error page, and that's never a good look!
So that's it, not you can kick back and crack the champagne. You've earned it!
Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub.com