You want to make, create, run and start your own Viral website like buzzfeed, Viralnova, Distractify, Upworthy, cracked e.t.c; Then this detailed tutorial is for you. Please note that to be successful with this niche, you need to be prepared to work hard, get the right Website templates and invest money upfront!!
I run a viral news website with focus on South Africa (75%) and 25% ( USA, UK and other countries); I have learned a lot of interesting issues and I’m glad to share it with you.
And on this particular day, I got close to 114,000 traffic ( per day): this naturally translates to approximate USD120 ( I average between $120 – $155 per day) that I made for that particular day.!! ( See below)
Requirements to make a viral website like Buzzfeed
Before proceeding, I recommend you bookmark this page on your browser and also link back to it. This will make it easier for you to come back, read further and be able to fully implement the suggestions!!
The first task is to set up your website or blog. I recommend the use of WordPress because it is simply the best content management system ( CMS) out there at the present. Also, with WordPress, you can also set up a content submission or back end post submission in which case, publishers, writers, journalists can publish related posts on your site ( though its optional).
To set up your site, you need the following:
- A Domain Name
- You Need A Hosting for the Domain name and your contents
- You need to Install WordPress Themes And Related Plugins
- Fully Configure your website
- 1# Domain Name
First, you need a domain name for the site, and after that, you have to host the domain name on a powerful VPS hosting server that would be able to accommodate high traffic ( thousands per day).
The secret to achieving success with viral websites is using social media e.g. Facebook, twitter e.t.c. to send thousands and even millions of visitors traffic to your site.
For example, the image I showed above is a viral news website with focus on South Africa: I use a premium tool to get targeted 250-400 twitter followers every day. The tool is Manageflitter, check out reviews about this App
However, you need to check and be sure whether the name you want to use for the domain name is available, you can use the tool below
- 2# Get A Powerful WebHost
This is the second most important step you need to take. But the good news is that, Bluehost, mentioned above offers WordPress and VPS hosting. Once you make up your mind to host with them, you will not pay for the domain ( you will be saving about 14-15 dollars).
Bluehost is preferable because if you sign up for hosting, you will get a free domain name. Read these important guidelines on how to set up a blog or website ( very important)
NB: Please note that the VPS package ( sign up and get discounted Monthly Web Host At Bluehost; use the form above for the domain check up and web hosting or through my free offer below at the end of the post ) is mostly required because you need a web server that can handle thousands and millions of traffic from different sources!!
- 3# Install WordPress, WordPress Themes And Needed Plugins
By the time you buy the hosting, Bluehost will guide you on registering and configuring your site. And, because WordPress platform is the best CMS ( Content Management System) software out, just look out for the WordPress logo ( for the installation), click on it and follow the stipulated guidelines.
However, you will need to buy premium website templates ( called WordPress themes): Free themes are not advisable because you need specialized Viral templates that will have the features expected to run a successful Viral websites. Just buy and download their templates ( the ZIP file). Examples of such templates and where you can get them is listed below:
You can get the above templates and other recommended WordPress themes from the tutorial lists below:
I recommend you read ‘how to set up a Website using WordPress‘ (I wrote this must read guidelines and it purely explains the technicalities involved; broken down in simple language and how to do it yourself). If you encounter any issues, share it in the comment section or you want to hire me to help you, ) then, contact me)
However, there are some important factors that are extremely crucial for you to have on your website. Lots of people who started a viral website without having these things in place eventually got their Google Adsense Account banned. Now, let us proceed:
- Secondly, make sure that these pages are all NONINDEXED AND NOFOLLOW
In addition, if you check the link I mentioned above on how to set up your site, you will see the lists of needed/highly important plugins you need to install to have a fully functioning site. But, have you noticed one thing about Buzzfeed, Viralnova and other viral websites?? They have something like quiz and answer section. To get this is easy, just download and install the below quiz plugins that will give the exact experience with those on Buzzfeed:
And you can also check the WordPress Repository to get free plugin version ( Though it is not recommended because of security)
At this stage, this is all you need to know about the technical details and installation, if you need help, just reach out to me.
Promotion, Content And Social Media Uses
The journey is about to start!!
Secrets of Viranoval/Buzzfeed
The major secret of all these Viral websites like Buzzfeed, Upworthy, Viralnova, Distractify, cracked, Imgur e.t.c. is because they create viral contents, rely on social media traffic ( thousands and millions of it) to those contents, make use of above mentioned quiz plugin which help them increase engagement and conversions and they set up the site using a a mobile responsive design for improved Google Adsense earnings!!
In essence, create a super powerful viral contents or even share a compelling trending news on your blog/site, then send massive amounts of traffic to it from social media websites ( majorly Facebook, twitter, Reddit and of late Pinterest).
- 4# Open a Facebook Page And Twitter Account Immediately!!
For a start, you need Facebook and twitter to become successful. In the case of Facebook, approach it this way:
- Open a Free FB Fan page ( using the domain name) and grow your followers ( likes aggressively). Two ways to go about this is to invest some little funds in advertising your page. Before this, after opening the page, invite your friends and loved ones to like the page. One thing you should do is to make sure that your Facebook profile cover picture reflects your viral message ( e.g. use pictures of Dogs, cats, birds e.t.c.) and if it is a viral news, just use an image of a news centered design for your cover profile.
- Again, when placing your Ads, don’t use a general approach, but simply place your advert targeting followers of a particular viral website/blog and then concentrate it to your region. Eg. lovers of BuzzFeed living in the UK or Canada e.t.c; This approach gives you a targeted FB audience.
- Again, based on numerous case studies, you might simply want to boost any post you share on FB; this has also been proven to work excellently well.
Honestly, from my own personal experience, growing FB followers by advertising to get likes is good but it is a complete waste of money. What works for me is that I simply boost the posted article on Facebook. I get immediate engagement, likes and traffic is sent to the article immediately. I honestly advise you forget about buying likes or growing your likes. Just boost the post or simply advertise the post. See the image below of my own activities.
For example, I boosted an article, titled ‘ See the Top 15 Animals That Don’t Give A Damn About Our Stupid Human Laws”, In the audience, I chose All for ‘Gender’ and age bracket ‘ 14-50″ and then I chose ” United States and South Africa” as my location. The most interesting aspect is ” Interest”, I simply chose: Animal, BuzzFeed, CollegeHumor, Cracked.com, Distractify, Dog breed, Dog Lovers, Funny or Die, Funny Videos, Imgur, Upworthy, Viral Stories, vox, Cats, Dogs”
- However, it is equally important to know and understand some few concepts about FB Algorithm changes in relation to how it spreads your contents and on the advertisement. The following are useful tips:
- Embrace the use of Facebook Mobile Newsfeed Ads and its Newsfeed; You get value for money much more than the Ads by the sidebars!!
- Make use of bigger Right Hand Side ( RHS sidebars) Ads: while the only disadvantage is that your Ads are limited to PC and desktop users, but it also holds huge potential if you embrace this.
- Excellent Ad budget distribution: This is what lots of business owners have been craving for. Unlike the previous practice, you can place Ads and with your budget, it is now being spread throughout the day ( meaning a USD30 budget can run throughout the day unlike before).
In the case of twitter, just grow your followers using Manageflitter ( Dont boost your posts on twitter because it expensive). The trick with twitter is to build and grow your followers. If you share an article on twitter, all your followers sees it on their timeline ( if they are online). This is the big difference between Facebook and twitter. Trust me, this is the honest truth. For example, I have 59,800 followers on twitter for my niche website I told you about.
For Facebook, if you have 100,000 likes and you share an article, only 7% sees it on their timeline ( i.e about 7,000 – and this means only 7,000 will be able to see it and definitely not all the 7,000 will be online at that time, meaning approximately 3000 will see it!!)
5# Get viral website ideas, write compelling contents, interesting pieces!
The next step is for you to start writing and publishing viral contents. One vital way to get those viral website ideas is taking a peep at the established/popular viral sites, twitter, and Google trends; you will get more insights and clues as to what is required and needed for your write ups.
One important question that might be disturbing your mind is ‘ how can I get the right content that has the potential to go viral?
This is an important question because according to one popular proverbs ‘ He who ask questions on what is the right path will never be misled’. The below point is a revelation on the path I usually undertake:
- I tried to check out the top funny viral websites out there e.g. BuzzFeed, cracked, viralnova e.t.c. and try to figure out old articles that have the most shares ( whether on twitter, Facebook e.t.c.)
- To determine that, I simply go to buzz sumo, and typed in the name of the site e.g. viralnova or simply type in any title I obtain from their site. Buzzsumo will highlight different posts with their corresponding number of shares. Check out the posts and only pick out those ones that are old
- Sit down, rewrite those stories/content and publish them on your post
This strategy has proven to work exceptionally well and I recommend you give it a try!!
Now, after publishing the content(s) on your site, make a scheduled routine and share the links and images on both Facebook and twitter. For optimal results, follow this guideline:
- For example, for a single post; publish the links to your post on FB in about 4 hours interval. Post the images/videos one by one in the post to FB with a link back to the original source( Do this using a timeframe gap of 4-5 hours per day)
- This means you should be prepared to publish at least 2-4 articles per day
And if you are not good at writing creative contents or simply if the load is too much for you, I recommend you outsource the project to a writer. From experience, search for freelance writer on Linkedin or go to guru or odesk to hire good writers.
Case studies on News Aggregation/curation and how you can use this model!!
I created a viral website and blog ( news niche) for the following clients ( madailygist.com, firstslice.com, and skynews24.com) and based on their demands/strategy, I created the type that automatically pulls in stories/trends/articles from different sources and have them automatically published on their website without them having to sit on their laptops/PC and do it themselves manually.
In simple terms, to get started, there are two options:
- You write, create and publish your own hand written original contents/stories and then publish them on your site. ( this is the best option because of SEO advantages)
- You aggregate/curate contents/stories from different blogs/sources and then publish the contents on your site. The advantages to this second strategy is this:
- You are not bothering yourself in writing contents
- You are simply sitting, relaxing and pulling in contents from different sources
- This model and approach are cost effective, saves time ( especially if you are the busy type or corporate worker)
I will focus majorly on the second approach in this tutorial as the first method can be done if you can rewrite stories or write a pure content yourself/simply outsource it.
But to get the viral effects using the first method, make sure you get your inspiration from the sources ( Viranova, upworthy, Google trends e.t.c.) and then sit down, write your own version ( add images, videos and try to increase the length of the contents to a minimum of 500 word count). After this, publish the content, have it promoted on Facebook and twitter.
Now to the second method, you can approach it from two angles:
- Copy their stories/contents verbatim ( word for word) and publish them on your own sites, promote them on Facebook and twitter. And to be on a much safer side, just change the title of the posts before publishing. ( though it is wrong but safe)
- The second approach is this; getting stories from the RSS or atom Feeds of different sources and then publishing the contents on your site.
This method is technically called news aggregation or curation ( curation means you are not copying the entire articles, but just the excerpt and then you are linking back to the original sources.
Our goal in this approach is:
- To aggregate, meaning we are copying the entire contents ( full content)
- To place Adsense codes at strategic places ( it is easy if you are using Adsense optimized Themes)
To get this done, the only WordPress plugin that can give you what you need is the wpematico plugin.( https://wordpress.org/plugins/wpematico/)
I recommend you read this guideline on how to start and make a news website ( using the WPematico plugin)
This plugin pulls in contents from different sources for you and has the contents automatically published on your sites.
- Word of Caution:
Don’t publish the posts automatically, set it to draft, then from the draft, edit the title, add one or two details to the contents and then publish the contents. This is important to avoid Google banning your Adsense contents due to duplicate content/copyright infringement!!
Making The Money With Viral Sites
- 6# Use Google Adsense, PPC and PR ( Press Release)
I am sure you are familiar with Google Adsense; 90% of bloggers use Google Adsense. Google Adsense is the best CPA model and I highly recommend it.
Just get their codes and insert it on your website. However, if you are using Viral themes/template that is well optimized as advised above, then you are good to go with high CTR and increased earnings.
If you don’t have a Google Adsense account, you can apply for it here ( https://www.google.com/adsense/start/):
But, that is just a tip of the Iceberg, real money making with Viral website is direct advertisement and the use of PR ( Press Release). Buzzfeed uses PR method to make killing amounts of millions of dollars every month. You make huge money with Viral websites through:
- Direct advertisement
- PR ( Press Release)
- Affiliate Marketing
In the case of Buzzfeed, they accept press release from companies, charge them and then publish the PR on their site. Another way they go about this is:
- For instance, if a company that specializes in animal foods, items e.t.c. approaches them to market their product (s)
- They ( buzzfeed) sits and write out super powerful content about the product and publish it on their sites with links to the products of the company. They charge high fees for this ( ranging from USD2000 to as high as 100,000).
Affiliate marketing is my favourite. Just markets products that are related to the contents on your website and you get commission per sales from what you are helping them to sell.
Recommend Affiliate companies to join:
- Shareasale ( then search for merchants dealing with cats, dogs, baby things e.t.c.)
You can check out my post on ways to make money on a blog/website: ( https://bloggingconsult.org/monetize-make-money-blogging/)
Top 20 Viral News Websites /Popular Viral Websites
- Use Bluehost company to register both your domain name and web hosting.
- Getting your premium website templates from Mythemeshop,
Follow this steps and you are on your way to owning and starting your own viral website. Be committed to the goal and purpose and you will soon start smiling to the bank!!.
Confused, send me your questions through the comment section.If you really enjoy this article, please link back to it, bookmark it, share it on twitter and Facebook. Thank you