Yes, you can design a site to go viral. You can generate traffic through word-of-mouth and linkbaiting, and that’s how I intend to get most of my traffic to my new one. It includes some social techniques mixed with my lessons learned from the last two sites which sadly, no longer exist.
So that you don’t have to watch your best efforts go to waste as I once did, here are some tips to help you on your way.
The Internet is way, way to big for vanilla. Vanilla is everywhere. So, find a topic and either approach it from an unusual direction, be controversial, be humorous, but be different.
Make it a “.com”: I don’t care if your site is a company or not. When I say “Dot Com” to anyone, they know what it is, because the term is a pop culture phenomenon now. My last sites were “.net” because I was trying to be compliant, but it doesn’t matter. If you have to take a pencil and pad and hammer out URL’s until you can get something you can use with a “.com” extension, do so. It makes your URL much easier to remember.
Give it a catchy URL:
Another big problem of mine I’ve since fixed, and again, if you have to go at it all day with a pencil and pad, invent a catchy URL. Catchy URL’s are preferably short and memorable in some way. To go viral, they should also be fun. “Google.com” is fun, and look what happened to them.
Make it interactive: In Web 2.0, it’s the only way to go. Blog comments, forum postings, and other forms of visitor interactivity are not only expected nowadays, but are a good way to keep your previous visitors returning.
If someone wants to social bookmark you, make it easy for them: Mass bookmarking programs, Feedburner Feed Flares, and other things exist so that if your visitors want to bookmark you on their choice of social bookmarking sites, they can. Find the mass bookmarking tool that works best for you, and use it.
Images: You have to have them, if only in your header. I’m still working on my site’s images, but you’ll need them in the end. And not just any image, but fun, unusual, or interesting images.
Respond to your visitors:
Do you have a unique sense of humor, insight, or anything else that helps you stand out from the crowd? Use it to respond to your visitors. Write about their emails. Talk about their issues. They’ll tell their friends about how cool you are, and others will come to visit you.
If you’re designing a site from scratch and want to go viral, remember the tips above. You can get started on the right foot, and will help your advertising efforts go the extra mile with a little viral intent.