Going viral is the dream of every website owner. The thought of thousands of visitors suddenly discovering your site is extremely attractive, but are you actually ready for it? Can your web host handle the sudden increase in traffic? How do you plan to capitalize on your new found popularity?
Preparing Your Site to Go Viral
Let’s take a look at a few tips for preparing your site to go viral, so that when it does, you will be ready to make the most of the opportunity.
Will Your Web Host Handle the Increased Traffic?
When your site goes viral, thousands or even millions of visitors will click through to view your content or perhaps even purchase a product or service that you are selling. In order to take advantage of that traffic, you need to be sure the server hosting your site will allow you enough bandwidth to meet the page view requests of all your users. Check the terms and conditions of your hosting contract to find out how much bandwidth is allocated for your site, and find out what your host’s policy is if you exceed your data allowance. Getting a sudden upswing in traffic could be costly if it causes you to go over your limit and be charged extra fees.
The worst-case scenario is that your host could shut down your site if you exceed your traffic allocation. If your host has a policy of closing the door on your site once your data limit has been reached, you will need to change your hosting provider if you want to stand a chance of going viral. Imagine how awful it would be to suddenly get noticed on the web and have visitors flocking to your site, only for it to be taken down because there is too much traffic!
Next time you renew your hosting contract, read the fine print carefully. Make sure you know what will happen if your traffic suddenly increases.
Are You Prepared to Capitalize on Viral Traffic?
What do your want visitors to your site to do? Buy your products? Join your mailing list? Decide on your preferred outcome and make it easy for your visitors to accomplish. A pop-up email capture box can be very effective at persuading visitors to give you their email addresses, but you need to make it attractive. Create an incentive for the user to engage with you, perhaps by giving them a free download or entry into a sweepstake in exchange for their email address. If you want visitors to buy a product, you need to display a purchase link prominently on the landing page. There is little point in getting visitors if they don’t engage with your site in the way you want them to, so design your site with your objective in mind.
Can You Sustain the Viral Effect?
Sadly, most viral effects are short-lived. When a mainstream website mentions your site, you will see a sudden surge in traffic, but it won’t last. However, you can make the viral effect last longer by making it easy for visitors to share your pages on social media networks. Add Facebook, Twitter and Blogger share buttons to your site and make sure they are in an obvious location. If you make it easy for people to share your content, the viral effect will sustain itself for longer, so that you have time to reap the benefits.
Enjoy The Attention
Going viral is a sign that your hard work in designing and building your site is paying off. Give yourself a pat on the back! Once the excitement has died down, you need to continue producing great content so that the viral effect happens over and over again, promoting your brand and bringing valuable customers to your door.
Christine Sullins contributed this guest post on behalf of EasyFinance. Christine is a freelance writer. She has worked extensively in website development. Her articles appear on various webmaster blogs.
Picture credit: Nick Youngson