Go Viral in 10 Underhanded Steps

As the cofounder of the most successful blog I’ve ever cofounded, I’m well aware that you reader types are filled with envy toward me, or if not envy, at least a weird, tingly feeling. But you needn’t see a doctor about it, because I’m right here with your diagnosis: tingling sensations are pleasant; enjoy them! Now, Sam and I are nothing if not gluttons for some healthy competition (or unhealthy, now that you’re refusing to see a doctor), so we thought we’d explain how we became so tremendously successful. And trust me, we are successful. After all, we’ve sold nearly 8 items on our store, and my parents only bought 4 of them.

We’ve already taught you how to write a blog post, and in merely 39 steps, no less. But we neglected to explain what to write about.

This post will remedy that oversight. You see, people read our blog not because it’s entertaining or well-written, but because Sam and I, in a freak accident involving leeches, some exposed wires, and the color purple, stumbled upon the exact keywords and components that turn a blog from standard catnip into cat cocaine—you know, in a world where all blog readers are cats and internet virality is a physical drug.

And now, without further hilarious introductory paragraphs, we give you the 10 keys to generating massive blog traffic.

1. Write Posts in List Format and Bold Each List Item

People don’t like the idea of reading an endless series of paragraphs, even if the endlessness stops after 4 or 5 paragraphs. The more numbers and bulleting the better!

2. Link Back to Your Old Content!

People often rest their hands on their mice, and if they’re startled by a loud noise, they might accidentally click on one of your links, increasing your page views.

  • Examples: This link right here. Go ahead, click it.

3. Link to Other Content!

But don’t just link to your own content! Link to everything you can possibly imagine! Through the magic of pingbacks, referrals, and actual magic, this will direct people to your site. Maybe a fellow blogger will be too curious to resist investigating why you’d link to them, or maybe your wife will come on here to tell you about the cease and desist order her lawyer filed for always directing people to those risqué photos of her.

  • Examples: I think that was enough examples.

4. Google Trends!

When choosing a topic, it’s important that you not fall into the trap of writing on a subject you’re passionate about. Rather, you should go to http://www.google.com/trends/ and see what the nation is searching. Choose one of the top 10 hottest searches at random (any method will do—ten sided die, random number generator, augury).

Then take an extreme stance and write about the search term in an angry and divisive fashion. This will rile up readers and get you loads of angry comments! Remember, it’s not the type of feedback that matters. It’s the quantity!

  • Examples: Basketball playoffs are happening? I hate the most beloved team; it’s an outrage they’ve made it this far!
  • Dan Harmon fired from Community?! Good riddance. He probably didn’t have any impact on the show anyway!
  • Facebook stock is dropping? But Facebook is the next Google! Instagram is the next Apple!
  • There was a solar eclipse? That’s not science, it’s an act of God! Therefore, it’s impossible to predict when the next one will be.
  • There’s a thing called the Preakness? I thought the triple crown was just a special prize you got for winning the Kentucky Derby really well.

And if you can’t think of anything trendy, just include one of the 5 standbys of the internet: animals being cute, people accidentally hurting themselves, whatever magical/vampiric/arena-death-match book series is popular for teen girls at the time, cats doing weird things, or Star Wars.

5. Revealing Pictures of Female Video Game Characters!

You know what’s always trendy? Guys spending time on the internet for unsavory purposes. Nobody’s at their computer more than nerds, and those same people are the ones without girlfriends (myself included). Tap into this market. Their searches for “naked princess peach,” “star fox slippy sex” and “ecco the dolphin cosplay” will bring in hundreds of sexually frustrated new readers! They may not do any reading, but your new content will definitely make them come repeatedly to see if you’ve updated.

  • Examples:

6. Tag Overload!

Remember when you were a kid and you couldn’t get enough of tag? It’s time to bring back that spirit and ignore all those “adults” who tell you to have fewer than 100 tags per post. Tags help you show up in search results no matter what you’ve written about. That’s the beauty of it. They don’t even have to be related!

  • Examples: Barack Obama. Fire-Spitting Dinosaurs. Blake Lively Nude

7. Begging

There’s nothing like begging to emotionally guilt people into doing what you want. And don’t be afraid to toss in a threat or two. Seriously, would you please beg? For the love of god, beg! If you don’t beg right now, I’m going to come over there and break both your two-legged stool’s legs.

  • Examples: Would you please share this post on Facebook? No really. That’d be awesome. If this post went viral it would be so meta!
  • You could share it on Reddit too!
  • Might as well click the stumbleupon button too. Do it! DO IT! Click every single button!

8. Be Freshly Pressed by WordPress

We don’t really have any tips on how to accomplish this, but we sure as hell wouldn’t have any readers at all if it weren’t for the people over at WordPress who thought we were funny. Or maybe they just threw a dart and it landed on us, I don’t know. As much as I hate to admit that others have power over me, it’s the truth. This isn’t very informative. We just thought we’d put it in here on the off chance that this post gets Freshly Pressed. Then we can say things like “Whoa. Meta” and “Boo-yeah!” and have them be applicable. And if it doesn’t, then we can say things like “I never liked WordPress anyway,” and “whatever those sounds are you make when you’re crying.”

  • Examples: This post, hopefully.
  • Making it to the front page of Reddit is also acceptable and equally inscrutable.

9. Lie to Your Audience

It’s important to keep readers on their toes. Nobody wants what they think they want. I mean, I was pretty sure I wanted Bruce Willis to be alive while I was watching the Sixth Sense, but Mr. Shyamalan knew me better than I knew myself. And I wanted The Last Airbender not to suck balls, but once again, he showed me who was boss.

  • Examples: Tell them it’s a 10-step list but run out of ideas after 8 steps, then make the 9th step a joke explaining away your deficiencies. That’s way better than having an 8-part list.

And there you have it! Follow these “10” simple “steps” and you’ll generate thousands of page views in no time. Sure, page views don’t mean anybody’s reading anything, and probably people will just be enraged by the fact that they didn’t find what they were looking for. But in the end, I think we can all agree that we blog not because we want to disseminate useful or entertaining information, but so we can see that little number go up on our stats page.

And if you’re interested, check out our new webcomic: The Joy Cannon!

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39 Comments

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39 responses to “Go Viral in 10 Underhanded Steps

  1. dekeboo

    In a strange twist I have discovered from this blog post that I am not as geeky as I thought…who are all those video game?? people/creatures? I was sadly happy when I was alerted to you having posted here. Its a dull Tuesday afternoon when there is no ludicrous reasonably ludicrous post.

    • Whoops! It was supposed to mention them all in the hover text, but somehow I messed that up. Now it does! I’m glad we finally reupped the ludicrous factor again!

  2. Love it! Especially The Last Airbender comment; so true and unfortunate.

  3. Normally I love Reasonably Ludicrous’s posts, I’ve even shared on FB before, but this one was really annoying… maybe that was the point? (Hey as long as the stats go up.) I don’t really follow the comic, either, but I wish you luck with it.

  4. Worth the read! I Think I even took down some pointers 😀

  5. Hahaha! The trident placement. I’ve said it before, but Sam is a GENIUS. (You are pretty smart, too, Russ.)

  6. The tags are hilarious, but no Flying Purple Hippos. 😦 I had to laugh out loud at the strategic placement of the Triforce of Power.

  7. Awesome tags, by the way. “How to Weasel Your Way Out of an Unholy Pact with the Devil” deserves an article on the Uncyclopedia.

  8. Because you mention the Facebook shares, I just HAVE to point out that I warned everybody not to sign up to the IPO: http://andreasmoser.wordpress.com/2012/05/18/dont-buy-facebook-shares/ – Rule # 10 could be: Modesty is for wimps.

  9. No matter what you tag your posts with, once someone lands here, they will keep landing here 😀 Keep talking guys.

  10. “The Ten Secrets to Reading Through an Annoyingly Long List of Tags”. Nice. 😉

    Also, I had a robot riding a unicorn tell me that I’m awesome. My day has been made…

  11. Love it! I think you did pull off self deprecating! As always you made me giggle. As a geek me self I am ever so tempted to follow your rules and see what happens. I have a sneaking suspicious you may be spot on in a tongue and cheek kinda way!!! Keep ’em coming!

  12. Loved the subtle starcraft link, a week ago I wouldn’t have got it, now…I’m a girl nerd =D

  13. You guys are awesome! 😀 I will be sure to take this advice into consideration. 😉

    Also loving the webcomic! ^__^

  14. Good post. Really clever writing. I read your first post, which got FPd, which I think is pretty much impossible. Was there any sex act involved? If so, please update this blog to reflect this important step.

  15. I just had a wisdom tooth extracted several days ago and my face still hurts… But after reading your post, it hurts a lot more from you making me laugh at your randomness!!!! I must surely encourage readers to go through your list of TAGS. Here were a few of my favorites:

    -How to Make Him Love You: The Trick is Cat Urine
    -Killing Spiders with Flip Flops
    -My Face Feels Like it Has an Alien Attached to It (This one somewhat applies to me right now..)
    -So You Think You Accidentally Ate Human Flesh
    -The Dangers of Quilting
    -What to Do When a Pigeon Gets Caught in Your Water Filter
    -Why is Moist Such a Horrible Word

    Hahaaha! So anyway, thanks for making me more in pain… But I guess it was worth it. 🙂

  16. Wow… ever perceptive as always you two.

    I think I’ve done over half of these steps… either deliberately or not, I’m not sure anymore.

    P.S. I’m glad I could be your fellow blogger link. 😉

  17. As always, a most excellent post good sirs.
    Once again you prove your worthiness of the exalted position you enjoy and for those 8 items you have sold.
    Verily and forsooth, soon shall I begin to adapt mine own practices to incorporate your teachings!

    Thanks guys, cheers! 🙂

  18. Thank you! I’ve been wanting to go viral. Not in my usual, oh-my-god-I’m-so-sick-let-me-snot-on-you sense, but in the hey-people-are-reading-my-blog sense. And now I know how! I WILL FOLLOW YOUR GUIDE TO THE LETTER.

  19. dekeboo

    I woke up this morning and thought – Yay, its Wednesday and its been a while, maybe just maybe there is another reasonably ludicrous post…but no 😦

  20. Hahahaha, this is hilarious!

    Too bad we can’t seem to go viral. We’re kinda immune I guess!

  21. This post was already brilliant– and then I went through the list of tags.
    Can’t. Stop. Laughing.
    This blog is too good.

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