Category Archives: Lists

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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10 Reasons Going to the Gym is the Worst

If you’re anything like me, you spend most of your time in the ten-foot cube that contains your computer. You understand that fresh air and sunlight are good for you, but before you can justify going outside, it’s important that you learn literally everything on the internet. This goal seems always just out of reach, and as time goes by and food and energy drink–intake continues, you find that your body weighs more than it did the day before. As you get ready to travel to the bed part of your cube, you shut down your computer and see your reflection in the blackness of the monitor. Suddenly you are struck with an overwhelming sense of self-loathing. How could I have gotten my priorities so wrong? How can I spend day after day just sitting here, as if—ooh! Half a Snickers bar!

This continues evening after evening until eventually, you find yourself at The Gym.

The Gym is a terrible place, based solely around your most hated activity: exercise. Usually you end up here thanks to the prodding of some well-meaning friend.

The problem with this is that said friend is going to be somewhat experienced at The Gym and will try to force you beyond your limits, saying things like “one more rep” when you haven’t even managed to do a single rep yet. The friend won’t understand when you feel a weird twinge in your “body area” that is probably your spleen cramping up. And when you refuse to do certain exercises because “the bar is too spiky,” you’ll only invite a second round of prodding.

Which brings me to…

The 10 Reasons Going to the Gym is the Worst

“Bitching Out” is Not Permitted

People at the gym tend to be really into bulking up and being tough. They’re not like you or me, daintily prancing through life, turning our noses at the slightest whiff of physical labor or exertion.  We’ve turned “bitching out” into an art form, but nowhere are our portraits of frailty less appreciated than in a place where the only paint is blood and it’s smeared haphazardly on a canvas of PAIN.

Well aware of this, you have to do your best to conceal your weaknesses. When you pick up those five-pound dumbbells for inclined press and someone scoffs, you tell them they’re to help you rehabilitate your injured rotator cuff, which you presumably injured by having too much sex. That will make them feel abashed, and maybe they’ll even move somewhere where they won’t look at you.

Additionally, when your arms are shaking after two reps, and you know three will be your absolute limit, shout out “Ten!” in the gruntiest voice you can muster. You want it just loud enough to be overheard, but not so loud that it’s obvious you’re lying. If anyone knew how little weight you were actually lifting, you’d certainly lose your man card.

And most important of all, you must wear dark sunglasses. To hide the tears.

Music Selection.

Gyms are always playing music to help those ripped guys get pumped up, but screaming and heavy metal aren’t your idea of a good time. So you load up your iPod with all your favorite hits and head to the bench press. You’re actually doing pretty well; this Disney is getting you in the zone.

But then someone asks you a question and you have to pull out the earbud to answer. You realize it’s blaring “A Whole New World” loud enough for the whole gym to hear. Why did you turn up the volume so high?

Not to mention that whenever a really good jam comes on you can’t help but dance to it. Your head bobs to “What is Love?;” your feet shuffle to “Party Rock Anthem;” and you superman ho’s to “Crank That.” How do other people not do this?!

Yoga Pants

Mother of god! It’s like she’s not wearing anything at all! And every single girl is dressed the same. You try to lift weights, but you find yourself imagining each girl naked. You’d think this would be a good thing about going to the gym, and it is…until you’re  yanked from your wonderful stupor by the realization that you’ve been caught.

That blonde is totally glowering at you. It hardly seems fair; she’s obviously just there to check out the yoked guys in tight tees, which are the male equivalent of yoga pants.

I don’t see why we have to dance around the fact that we’re clearly all working out to try to get laid, and that guys and girls are both wearing outfits in an effort to attract the opposite sex.

Maybe the reason I always get glares is because I’m working out not to get laid, but because of a doctor’s recommendation. Or maybe it’s my excessive ogle-induced drooling, or ’cause girls don’t want some guy who’s not in great shape slavering over them. Maybe I need to start wearing tighter shirts, and potentially they ought to not have puns on them.

Bros

Bros eschew yoga pants in trade for tight t-shirts to show off their “guns,” and their primary exercise is attempting to impress the female denizens. Sometimes they’ll ask you for a “spot.” You might not know what that is, and even if you do, you’re pretty sure you’re incapable of doing it. Or maybe you and a bro will both arrive at a machine simultaneously, and trying to figure out who gets to use it will be incredibly awkward, especially since you both have headphones in and communicating is reduced to a series of non-standard hand signals.

You’ll do your best to convey that you only have one set left, and then the other guy will hand you a stick of gum.

Statistically Induced Feelings of Inadequacy

I have a theory that everyone will always be better than you at everything. Like if you go to play tennis, odds are that everyone there is fantastic, because, after all, they’re at the tennis courts. You’re much more likely to overlap with the people who play all time than with people like you, who only leave the house when you’re out of beer or ramen.

This applies to everything, really. If you sleep with someone, it’s likely they’ll be better in bed, because it’s easier to pull a girl who tends to be looking for some action, and if she wants to hook up with you, well, it’s probably less because of your gym-toned body and more because of her alcohol-induced desires.

So according to this theory, of all the people at the gym, you will be in the worst shape. Now that I think about it, this isn’t really comedy—just sad, sad math.

The Cute Receptionist

Sometimes things look like they’re going to work out. Sometimes you manage to flirt with the receptionist on the way in, and she doesn’t even ask for your name because she remembers. You’ve made an impression! You note that she too is wearing yoga pants, and, inspired by her callipygian figure, you spout a few choice lines at this girl who’s obviously been hired because of her natural endowment. She laughs pleasantly. Victory!

But then you have to pass her on the way out, covered in sweat and hobbling because your legs feel like the jellied embodiment of overexertion. Why did you think you could squat 200 pounds? She says bye to you all cute-like, and you attempt to wheeze out something clever, but your asthma gets the better of you and you simply cough in her general direction, spittle crashing down to the floor alongside your hopes.

The Whole Experience is Gross

Sweat everywhere! Pouring off the fat people, dripping onto the floor, coating the backs of the benches. You’ll be unable to avoid having your skin gain a coating of the sweat of thousands. And once you’re done with the ordeal, your friends will make you drink horrible protein shakes. And you have to ingest all these weird supplements all the time that are only legal in Asia because they’re liable to make your heart explode with pure INTENSITY.

Pain

Soreness? What is this new sensation? Tell it I hate it.

To Look Good, You Must First Look Bad, Young Padawan

So you’ve failed with strangers and the receptionist, but there’s still one category left: people you already know. They’ve gotten a taste of your delightful personality, so you have a little more leeway with them. One shows up to the gym while you’re lifting something alluringly heavy, and she sees your muscles bulging. It’s on. Plus, she’s wearing those skin-tight yoga pants you like so much. She must have put them on just for you. She walks over, smiles, and gives you a hug. Oh god! Not the hug! She didn’t realize how horrifically sweaty you were, and your deodorant seems like it must have worn off a decade ago.

You’re sure that twitch was her smile faltering, and she makes a quick escape. Next time you see her, you try to avoid eye contact.

Why do you always have to run into everyone you know when you look your absolute worst? And how do they manage to sweat the exact right amount to give them a healthy sheen instead of a repulsive coating?

Buyer’s Remorse

Even though you know going to the gym will mean you make a bad impression on somebody, you still feel compelled. You already paid the damn membership! You better make the most of it. Even if you do feel tired today, and even if you did eat a salad this week. If you don’t go, that money is wasted!

Then again, you already paid. What does it matter now? It’s a sunk cost; going costs the same amount as not going, and there’s a Twilight Zone marathon on TV, and your couch is looking extra comfortable, and you’ve really been wanting to try that new brand of microwavable pizza…

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How to Write a Blog Post in 39 Simple Steps!

So, last week we got Freshly Pressed for the second time. Woooo! And we even somehow got more page views than during our first lightning strike of good fortune! Perhaps because we now have so-called ‘content.’  Anyway, after much frivolity and celebration, Sam and I set out to determine exactly how this came to pass. Unfortunately, our frivolity was a bit too frivolous, and the next morning, all we had was a pizza napkin with the phrases “internet gnomes” and “snorkel” scribbled hastily in tomato sauce.

We later expanded on this idea, but “really sneaky internet gnome oceanographers” still seemed like a subpar explanation.

Having failed at our initial attempt, we decided to do the next best thing: retrace our steps and copy them exactly.

After much sleuthing and step-tracing, we’ve compiled a handy, step-by-step guide that should allow us to achieve brilliance on a weekly basis. In our extreme beneficence, we’ve decided to share these trade secrets with you, the reader. This may be career suicide, but as enlightened members of the Internet Age, we realize that all information must be free and open for the good of humanity. So here, without further ado, is the secret to creating a killer blog post (maybe).

5 P.M. Step 1 (Russ): Prepare

Good. You’re starting early. This is gonna be a piece of cake. Sit down at your unnecessarily-powerful gaming computer, slap on your nerdy wrist guard that protects you from the dangers of typing, and pour yourself a little scotch to, you know, channel the Spirits of Hemingway. Here we go.

5:05 P.M. Step 2 (Russ): Procrastinate

You have more than enough time to write this bad boy. After all, you started early! You deserve a reward for your dedication. Maybe an episode of TV. Or two. Or three.

6:30 P.M. Step 3 (Russ): Guilt

I can’t believe you wasted all that time! What were you thinking? And you call yourself a writer. Writers write. They don’t sit around, you know, not writing.

7:00 P.M. Step 4 (Russ): Choose a Topic

Let’s see, what to write about? Your life’s been going on for a while now—something must have happened somewhere along the line. Something? Anything? Oh god. How could anyone ever care about what you have to say?

7:15 P.M. Step 5 (Russ): Admit Failure

Face it. You’ve never experienced a single real crisis or challenge or unique event (outside of that time you tripped and caught your ice cream scoop with its own cone). How could you possibly think you’d be able to produce quality writing inspired by your own life?

7:45 P.M. Step 6 (Russ): Beg

In the course of living amongst humanity, you’ve managed to spend a lot of your time around “people.” Maybe they can help! Go through your phone book and ask everyone you know if they have any brilliant ideas for your blog.

8:00 P.M. Step 1 (Sam): Receive the Signal

Instant message from Russ. Hello. Yes, you know what day it is. You’ll get done in about an hour probably. No you don’t have any idea about what to write about.

8:30 P.M. Step 7 (Russ): Resent Others

If they had truly been your friends, they would have dropped everything to figure out exactly what you should say to the people of the internet. Reminding you of the time you ate eight-month-old cream cheese isn’t enough!

9:00 P.M. Step 8 (Russ): Come to Terms with Reality (Not sure if this step has ever actually occurred)

Ok, it’s getting late. You need to have something written. After all, tomorrow’s a Tuesday, and you’ve made a group of strangers a promise for some reason.

9:45 P.M. Step 9 (Russ): Start a Draft

The time has come to actually put words onto virtual paper. Slap on some tunes, like the Pirates of the Caribbean soundtrack or the music of World of Warcraft. Pound a Rockstar or two and get in the zone. If you just start hitting keys, letters will appear, and perhaps they’ll form words, which will perhaps make sentences.

11:00 P.M.  Step 10 (Russ): Finish the Draft

Genius. This is pure gold. You’re really on a roll tonight.  You’re even starting to remember why you love writing.

11:10 P.M. Step 11 (Russ): Read the Draft.

Oh god, what were you thinking? Did you write those words? Those utterly despicable words. The caffeine must have given you hallucinations or something.

11:15 P.M. Step 2 (Sam): Finish Work at the Office

Holy cow, how did it get so late?

11:20 P.M. Step 12 (Russ): Freak Out

You clearly have no talent. Maybe this blog thing was a bad idea. But wait, blogging is all you’re qualified for. If not this, then what?!

11:30 P.M. Step 13 (Russ): Write Another Draft

Ok. There has to be something salvageable here. If you can just trim the bad parts, your junkyard of a draft should provide the materials to rebuild your post, stronger than it was before. You have the technology.

11:35 P.M. Step 3 (Sam): Go Home

Bike home in the dark. On the way, it’ll start to rain.  Keep an eye out for low-hanging branches which will whip you in the face, just to make sure you aren’t enjoying yourself too much.

12:15 A.M. Step 14 (Russ): Send It to Sam

Send the file to your co-blogger, hoping against hope that your words won’t cause his eyes to melt away in horror, like that time you accidentally looked into the Ark of the Covenant.

12:16 A.M. Step 4 (Sam): Ignore Draft

There’s a draft of something on your computer when you boot it back up. Lovely. You should read it, but you haven’t eaten in a while. Food will put you in a better mood, and you’re going to have to make it eventually anyway.

12:30 A.M. Step 5 (Sam): Finish Dinner

That was a good decision. Nothing like salami on pita bread to let you know you’re alive.

12:20 A.M. Step 15 (Russ): Worry

As Sam reads the draft, you’ll be unable to accomplish anything. Will this be the one that finally reveals your complete ineptitude? Will you alienate all your readers? Will they realize how unfunny you are? Oh god, why hasn’t Sam said anything? He’ll assure you it’s because he was making dinner, but you know the truth. He doesn’t know how to break the news to you.

12:30 A.M. Step 6 (Sam): Read and Edit Draft

Hm. This post makes very little sense and will probably insult a good many of your readers. How do you break the news to him? And how the hell does he expect you to draw a cow explaining ‘the concept of remorse’? Make some edits and hope the images won’t change in the rewrite.

1:00 A.M. Step 7 (Sam): Protect Russ’s Ego

Go back and add some positive feedback to your edits so Russ doesn’t think you hate it.

1:05 A.M. Step 16 (Russ): Rejoice

Sam says he likes it! Not only that, but he’s made a slew of edits and now it’s five times funnier. That guy’s the best!

1:15 A.M. Step 8 (Sam) Start Drawing

Well, you’d better get started—it’s not getting any earlier. Start with the one that seems like the easiest and least likely to be in the final draft. Make sure to save the most complicated one for last so that when you finally get to it you’re so tired that the thought of drawing it becomes an overwhelming chore!

It’s best to queue up all the latest episodes of The Colbert Report on the other monitor as you draw. Keeps the mind occupied.

After each drawing is finished, send it over to Russ. If it confuses him, you’ve done something wrong. Usually though, he’s absurdly excited about it to the point that you feel embarrassed. Then he’ll make a couple perfectly reasonable observations about how to improve them, and you will grudgingly grumble about having to make them even though he’s absolutely right.

1:20 A.M.  Step 17 (Russ): Rewrite Over and Over and Over Whilst Giving Feedback on Sam’s Drawings

You wonder how Sam will manage to bring your absurdly complicated whims to visual reality. Every half hour or so he’ll shoot you a draft of a drawing. How did he make that so good?! Once in a while though, you’ll need to step in and tell him that the hands he drew are too claw-like and terrifying. While he deals with this, do around 5 rewrites, making sure to work in some television, or, if you’re alone, something more risqué.

2:00 A.M. Step 9a (Sam): Enjoy Yourself

You’re making fairly good progress. See, this is fine. This is fun! Drawing is what you love to do, right? Why do you act like this is some sort of chore you have in addition to work? You just need to relax a bit!


2:10 A.M. Step 9b (Sam): Really Enjoy Yourself

Inhale or imbibe some relaxing substances. You’ll have a blast! This is going to be the best post ever.


3:45 A.M. Step 10 (Sam): Panic

Your masterpiece is complete! Adding that extra alien spaceship was totally worth it. And it’s only–how is it already 3:45?? There are still… 9 more pictures to draw??? How did this happen? You’ll briefly consider lying down and resting your eyes for just 10 minutes, but you know if you do that, there’s no waking up.

6:00 A.M. Step 11 (Sam): Rejoice

That’s the last drawing! Should you edit the text one last time? You could. But then again, it’s six in the morning.

“Can I go to bed now?”

The 30 seconds it takes Russ to respond will be the longest in the world.

6:00 and 30 seconds A.M. Step 18 (Russ): Let Sam Sleep

Sam never drinks as many Rockstars, so by the time he finishes the art, he’ll only be about 10% awake and will be very disgruntled by any requests for early morning companionship. If you try to ask him for input now, he’ll just start ranting, marveling at your ability to be so incredibly verbose without actually saying anything.

6:05 A.M. Step 12 (Sam): Sleep

Check Reddit one last time on your phone before collapsing in exhaustion.

6:30 A.M. Step 19 (Russ): Despair

You need to think of bonus jokes for all the images?! This last, dainty straw will be more than your caffeine-fueled, overclocked brain can bear. And you were so close to completing this week’s post without a mental breakdown!

6:40 A.M. Step 20 (Russ): Man Up

Just say the first thing that comes into your head. No one’s going to know. People probably don’t even read the mouseover text anyway.

7:00 A.M. Step 21 (Russ): Final Review

Read through it one last time. Too bad at this point you’ll no longer be able tell what’s funny and what’s gibbering inanity. Your ability to comprehend words will seem to have fled entirely. That’s the sign that you’ve finished the post!

7:15 A.M. Step 22 (Russ): Post It!

A great sense of accomplishment and release should wash over you as you stare at your fledgling post, all on its own out there in the dangerous world of the internet. It doesn’t know what it’s in for.

7:16 A.M. Step 23 (Russ): Refresh!

Time to go to the stats page and hit F5 until your fingers break. Has anyone seen it yet? What about now? Now? Any comments? I can’t wait to respond to comments!

7:45 A.M. Step 24 (Russ): Go to Sleep

When the sun is shining brightly in the rosy dawn and the birds begin their joyful song, delighted by another beautiful morning, you’ll know it’s time for bed. Shut down your computer, turn off the lights, and crawl under your covers, comforted by the fact that you’ve accomplished a bare minimum of productivity. You may not get paid, but at least it’s something.

8:00 A.M. Step 25 (Russ): Wait a Second!

As you drift off to sleep, your brain will drowsily mull over the post, which will inevitably lead to the realization that you should have referred to that evil taxi driver as a “toothless hobgoblin” instead of a “vehicle-dwelling night-lurker,” or something equally unimportant.

8:15 A.M. Step 26 (Russ): Boot Up the Computer and Make Changes

Leap out of bed and input the minor changes. As long as the computer’s already on, you might as well refresh the stats page. And if you wait just a few more minutes there are sure to be comments to respond to!…

——

And there you have it. As easy as stuffing a rabid weasel into a snake-filled gunnysack! And not nearly as much chance of infection! With these simple steps, you too can be on your way to making a mark in the blogging world. And if you’re nothing like us, perhaps you’ll manage to keep your psyche from shattering into tiny, unsalvageable parts along the way!

Note: If, in repeating these steps exactly, you find yourself able to write something that would gain Internet-wide mild approval and bemusement, we hope you’ll remember Reasonably Ludicrous as the blog that made it all possible. Good luck!

Bonus Step 27:

Add this step so that the title of your post can seem like a Hitchcock reference.

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