The following is a guest post by Andrew MakGregor from TrustActivity
Every day, when it comes to the Web, we hear the word "viral".
This is some content on the Internet that spreads at the speed of light. But what exactly makes a post such a big hit?
Is it out of viral advertising strategies? Or is it just sheer luck? If you are a content marketer, or an entrepreneur trying to gain some online attention, going viral is an amazing feeling. But what happens when you do go viral?
Here are some of the protect your advantage and leverage your success.
Immediately protect your content.
If this has not been established yet, make sure that you have your copyright notice displayed on your site. Be detailed and explicit on how people can reuse or reprint your work. For example, if other bloggers would like to blog about some of your posts, you can allow them to use the photo or a snippet of your content, so long as they link back to your blog. Being permissive with use of your content can give you unexpected benefits like better SEO. Use one of the Creative Commons licenses if this is what you prefer.
Another possibility is to never allow people to use your content and repost everything on their own site. Watermark your original photos, even if it means you need to delete them from your content and repost them again. If you catch someone copying your content, do not be afraid to contact the owner of the website and to require them to take the post down. Although this means that your content may not be spread as widely as it could, you make sure that when it appears online, it is always in a way that you deem acceptable. This is great if you want to avoid unwelcome associations like with adult content.
Grab the opportunity to monetize your site even further.
Even if you only had one piece of viral content, it could be a great new exposure for your entire website.
Grab this chance to earn some more profit. Establish a strategy to reap its rewards. One of the best points to work on is to increase your opt-ins and collect more emails. Implement a signup form on the page to accomplish this goal. With the right plugin, you can get this done in less than 15 minutes.
Add some Adsense and Amazon banners on your site, but remember to never overpopulate your page with ads. This will bring in extra revenue that can potentially pay for an even better hosting plan. Assuming that you can generate hundreds of clicks per hour, it is possible that you can draw a few hundred dollars per day.
Get a better hosting package.
It is typical for some websites to use a shared hosting. However, thinking about switching to a more stable hosting should be one of the first things to consider if you are going viral and expect a surge in traffic.
After all, shared hosting can only handle so much traffic before it shuts down your website temporarily. Long loading times are the bigges reason for low user engagement numbers and is something all webmasters should be mindful of. Watch the traction of your content.
When you foresee some viral growth or an increase in your traffic, switch to a more reliable hosting package right away. A dependable provider will make sure that your website stays live no matter what. On top of that, even if your site goes down, a trustworthy service provider is more easily contacted to get your site's situation fixed.
Try your best to retain readers.
Receiving thousands of visits for a single post in a short amount of time is amazing, but keeping the traffic flowing is another battle to win.
In order to gain regular readers, you need to establish a proper call-to-actions on your site. Furthermore, you should start engaging with people as this is the perfect chance to engage the surge of visitors and turn them into a serious and continuous flow of happy users.
Make it a habit to respond to every comment you receive regardless of its content. Whether it is a positive or a negative comment, it still helps you build up your public image. It may appear like a towering challenge, but if everything else has been established (such as a reliable hosting, better call-to-action, and established ads), you can respond quickly and reliably. Furthermore, everybody loves to hear from the author of the content that they enjoy.
Study your stats and learn from your analytics.
It is easy to celebrate when one of your posts has finally gone viral. However, this is not the time to pop a bottle of champagne yet.
The work does not end here. If you are lucky, this might not be a 15-minutes-of-fame after all. But you can never get too uncomfortable to let this happen.
Check your stats and study your page views, traffic numbers, conversion rates, click-through rates, bounce rates, referral sources and average session time. By analyzing the numbers behind the viral post new traffic flow, you may unearth nuggets of insight. For instance, which posts are viral on their own? And which posts incent users to follow up by visiting other pieces of content? With a bit of time spent on this, there is a good chance that you can learn what resonates most strongly with your users.
The truth is, planning for a viral post is like predicting rain by staring at the sky, i.e. next to impossible, especially if you are not the type that consistently watches over your analytics. But if you think you have quality content, and it has started to be quoted and reposted elsewhere, this is the chance to take your site one step further and establish yourself as an authority in your niche, whatever it may be.
As soon as the craziness ends and the dust setttles, your preparation and nurturing of your users will have gained you valuable new followers and subscribers.