How to start and make a viral website like buzzfeed, vox, cracked and viralnova

Buzzfeed is the most popular viral website
Buzzfeed is the most popular viral website

Introduction

Viral is contagious, being viral is popularity and finally virality means more money!!! There is something in the air that is already changing the news and entertainment perspective, and this anomaly is being fueled with the explosion and growth of social media.

According to Alexa ranking, the top 10 viral websites, with their estimated worth includes:

Website
Alexa Ranking
Approximate Worth
Buzzfeed.com
135
USD964,000,000
Vox.com
971
USD130,000,000
Upworthy.com
3190
USD73,000,000
Mic.com
1594
USD93,000,000
thoughtcatalog.com
2655
USD79,000,000
distractify.com
4048
USD62,000,000
laughingsquid.com
14120
USD2,000,000
viralnova.com
4268
USD59,000,000
cracked.com
974
USD127,000,000
omgfacts.com
24235
USD2,000,000
The Approximate worth is based on details obtained from worthofweb.com, as at May, 6th, 2016

The focus of this extensive tutorial is to show and teach you in simple terms how you can set up and launch similar sites like vox, buzzfeed and all other forms of viral website.

Let's proceed!!

Scott de Jon, the founder of this site was making around 400,000USD per month before he sold it to Zealot media for a reported USD100 Million
Scott de Jon, the founder of this site was making around 400,000USD per month before he sold it to Zealot media for a reported USD100 Million

How to make a website viral

I would want to approach this task and above question from three dynamic point of understanding:

  1. You make your website go viral or become viral if you publish and posts contents around animals e.g. cats, dogs, horses e.t.c.; This works well because this niche is well loved by young people and if you can post funny things/events/pictures of dogs, cats e.t.c.; then the viral probability of the website is 80% certain
  2. Secondly, if you are focused on publishing funny things, humors e.t.c; then the likelihood of it becoming popular ( i.e. viral is assured)
  3. However, my third point of emphasis is not in the use of sharing or posting funny articles, dogs, animations, humors, trending stories/news e.t.c; but in the dilligent/timely use of lots of social media signals, notably from Facebook and twitter.

My argument is premised on these simple facts because for an article or website to truly go or become viral, such site and contents MUST HAVE a flooded boost from FB and twitter because without these two ( and other social media signals, a viral sensation can never happen!!)

In other words, you can make your website ( no matter the niche e.g. Finance, technology, gist, news, business, fashion, food e.t.c.) become viral if you can:

  1. Send thousands or even millions of traffic from Facebook ( notably)- by 90% and twitter (10%) to the post of interest on the site
  2. Before sending this PAID traffic, its important you build /craft the content around surprise element, news, informative/useful perspective
  3. Before sending the traffic, you must have installed plugins ( for WordPress) that will make it easy for sharing on the social media websites like FB and twitter!!!

Now, that you understand the points that I'm trying to relay across, lets settle down for business!!

7 Steps to To Create And Set Up Your Site

WordPress is an open source platform and its the best platform on which any body can build a successful website because it is easy to use, maintained and you do not have to pay a fortune to have a site.

90% of all viral sites out there are built on WordPress (WP), and without wasting time, you will need the following:

  • Domain name
  • Hosting
  • WordPress Themes
  • 1# Domain Name And Hosting

Buzzfeed is the domain name for the website Buzzfeed.com; viralnova is the domain name for the website, viralnova.com; cracked is the domain name for the website cracked.com.

In summary, you have to make research for a unique, uncommon, short-sentenced name for your domain. e.g. prettydogs, dailyfinancialnews e.t.c.

But, you need to check if the domain name is available. I recommend you use Bluehost to check if the name is available, buy/get it and host it immediately.

On getting the preferred domain name, snap it imeediately before someone else buys it before you. The second step is to host it using WordPress platform. The beauty of using Bluehost is that you can achieve both the domain and hosting on it together. Infact, when you get the domain and decide to host the domain, they will give you discount of about USD3.49 per month and a free one year domain name!!

When you host the site, you will be given the option of setting it using WordPress or other programming language, just chose WordPress, note and write down the initial password and move on. Within 3 minutes, the site will be ready, however, this is just a tip of the iceberg, you need to read this tutorial to the last drop before you can beat your chest that you now have a viral website or blog that will be successful as viralnova, buzzfeed, upworthy e.t.c.

  • 2# Installing WordPress Themes

WordPress themes are basically website templates recommended to give 'body' to the contents of the site. In other words, they are the designs that brings about the feel, beauty and viral concepts of your site.

Guidelines to install WordPress themes and set it up

I usually recommend that people should always go for premium website templates ( themes) because of adequate technical support, search engine optimization ( SEO advantages and security.

To launch and create a truly viral websites, the elements and factors expected of such a site should be programmed in the overall design and that is why I encourage you to check out the below examples:

Examples of responsive Viral Website Templates

This template is exceptionally good for Google Adsense monetization
This template is exceptionally good for Google Adsense monetization

This is a Video Website template

Highly recommended if you want to run a video viral website
Highly recommended if you want to run a video viral website

You can get these templates and a brief overview about them from:

I recommend you watch the video above to fully understand and know how to install the theme and get it working properly.

However, the next step is the most important stage because that is where we will be able to separate the boys from the men in terms of being able to become successful with your new viral website.

The truth is anybody can easily do the above mentioned guidelines ( i.e buying domain and hosting, then installing the themes).

Therefore, please pay attention to the below proven guidelines.

  • 3# Install Social Media Sharing Plugins

One of the core concepts or rather the major factor that makes a website, content or post go viral is the ampliication and spread brought about by the multiplier effect of sharing such on social media sites, most especially Facebook, twitter, and Pinterest.

From personal experience, after setting up your site, you need to install a activate the below recommended WordPress plugin for optimal effect and reach.

Watch this video to install SumoMe App

Sumo Me: This is a free plugin and I recommend you install it. Two core advantage of using this plugin is the mobile responsive attribute the sharing buttons will display and secondly, all videos and images automatically has social sharing icons ( e.g. Facebook, twitter, Google+) on them. This means, you can share your images and videos directly to your profiles and visitors can also do the same.

This gives you an overall win-win solution!!

This plugin will naturally give your content the viral push!!
This plugin will naturally give your content the viral push!!
  • 4# Invest On Facebook And Twitter To Build Your Audience

From case studies on viral websites and also from personal experience, the success to any viral website is the use of Facebook and twitter signal advantages.

I've said it before and will continue saying it ' if you are not ready to invest meaningful funds to grow your followers on both, then forget about this project'.

How do you go about this?

  • First, you need to make and open a free account for your FB page. Remember, the page should be in the name of your domain. Find the below illustration:

Let's assume your domain name is 'comedyuncensored', then your FB page should be facebook.com/comedyuncensored

  • Set aside a daily budget of 5USD ( total, 100-150 USD) for FB ads. Streamline your campaign to mobile audience and a targeted niche audience. ( e.g. people that loves buzzfeed)
  • Run the campaign and monitor it ( From experience, you should be able to get between 250-550 followers a day from just USD5)
  • Run this campaign till you have nothing less than 200k followers.

The second step to take is to also open a free twitter account in the name of the purchased domain, set it up and grow your followers. How?

  • Set up the twitter account
  • You will need to manually grow your followers. In this aspect, twitter is difficult and tough than FB, but I discover that your post has more reach than that of FB.
  • However, you need to apply some little bit of cautious automation to grow your followers. I suggest you try out tweepi.com ( highly recommended)
  • And finally, try as much as possible to have nothing less than 60k followers.

Once you achieve this above objective, then read the next line of action.

Post Content - Promotion - Repetition

This is another piece where you need to work hard and at the same time automate some tasks. Lets get started!!

  • 5# Get shareable contents and post it

One of the nuggets for a viral content is the ability for it to be shared. This means it should be interesting, helpful, funny, trending, shocking e.t.c.

If you are looking in the line of buzzfeed, upworthy, Viralnova, cracked e.t.c., then your content must resonate with the nature and type of contents they are publishing.

One tool that will be of great help is buzzsumo; with Buzzsumo, you can know the particular content with good number of shares e.t.c.

Buzzsumo will give you the needed post idea!!
Buzzsumo will give you the needed post idea!!

So, come up with such content or related content!!

And if you are looking simply for the power of social media to amplify your posts ( e.g. lets assume you are in technology or finance niche, then your content must be helpful with "suspense attribute".

  • 6# Promote and repeat

Facebook algorithm will not allow your posts to be seen by all your followers. So, you need to be wise. It has been proven that about 10% of your FB followers gets to see your post, and out of that, only 3% gets to click through to your site!!

That is why you need to have nothing less than 200k followers and this brings us to one of the most important action, which of course calls for argument from some myopic people.

From personal experience, try and share your posts on FB three times (3x) i.e the same content 3x after publishing it within 24 hours gap. however, FB filters duplicate content. The solution is to use:

  • Twitterfeed
  • dlvr.it

Engage this free services by feeding your RSS/atom/feeds to their automation queue; set it up at different times ( at least 6 hours gap) and watch the automation bringing you full result.

Secondly, if you have the time, I encourage you to do it manually by just changing one or two lines in the posted title ( this works excellently well).

For optimal results, try to always share your images also ( and not just the posts) on FB.

What about twitter?

Do the same on twitter. For instance, I make sure I tweet the same content ( but with diferent headlines) about three times on twitter within 24 hours.

This proven trick is what is called repeat and rinse. It works absolutely fine.!!!

Important Warning

It is important to draw your attention to this often neglected issue.

Over 99% of viral website publishers monetizes their site using Google Adsense, and unfortunately, most newsbies ( i.e beginners) tend to either get their Adsense account banned or if they are just applying tends to get rejected. Why?

  • Follow and obey Google's Quality Guidelines ( See their blog)
  • Most Viral sites do not contain original content ( and even if they do), you are still getting your stories, ideas, inspirations from somewhere else. Therefore, always state your sources in all your posts. E.g source of your images, and if their is any quote or reference, state the source
  • Some pages are important for you to have on your site. In-fact, before you start publishing contents, make sure you have the following pages on your site:
  • Contact page
  • DMCA Page ( very much important)
  • Disclaimer Page
  • About Page
  • Disclosure

To have an idea about these pages, just check out other sites and use their own pages to draft out yours.( check the ones for buzzfeed and viralnova for example)

This is very important!!

Reference

For full understanding on launching and running a highly successful viral websites, I recommend you read/check out:

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