How It Began
One day in January, I was surfing one of my favorite blogs, Making It Lovely. Nicole posted some photos of a fun and happy keyboard makeover by Malaysian artist and illustrator Eng Gee Fan, known online as Minifanfan. It was a simple idea – she had decorated her Macbook’s keyboard with brightly colored washi tape. I was immediately drawn to this graphic project and started plotting my own version with pretty pastel-colored tapes.
I took to Etsy and found the perfect raw material for my project: washi tape by-the-foot from Le Box Boutique. It arrived in the mail several days later, and I gleefully tore open the package and began snipping away and affixing tiny squares of the Japanese tape to my laptop’s keys. My boyfriend thought I was crazy. I snapped a few photos, put together a blog post for the next morning, and went to bed.
Picking Up Steam
In the next few days, I got a few comments here and there but nothing out of the ordinary. But then my little post started circulating on networks like Pinterest, Facebook, and Stumbleupon, and I started getting comments from brand new readers. My post made it to the front page of Craftgawker (a curated gallery to which bloggers can submit DIY tutorials), and I watched as my photo moved closer and closer to the top of the page as it gained popularity. I was thrilled!
As my pageviews ticked higher and higher over the next several weeks, my excitement did as well! But the real excitement began when my project started getting featured on some amazing blogs I had admired for a long time, like Little Chief Honeybee, Kyla Roma, and oh, hello friend, as well as blogs in other countries all over the world. One day I woke up to a Google Alert informing me that I had been mentioned on the HGTV blog! I was totally amazed and honored at all of the attention my little post was getting.
Text about my blog in Dutch, Russian, French, Italian, Portuguese, and German
What does “going viral” mean exactly?
Going viral definitely means different things to different bloggers, but I’ll share with you my numbers. After posting my washi tape keyboard, my daily pageviews grew by 10 times what they were in the previous month. I had a one-day high of 23,012 pageviews. That post has been viewed over 200,000 times to date (I do have other posts that have more all time pageviews than this, but this post achieved its success in a much shorter amount of time and was much more widely circulated, which is why I chose to feature it). On Craftgawker, my post remains one of the top 100 most favorited and most gawked projects of all time.
Make It Happen
I’m sharing this story with you not to brag about my popularity, because as every blogger who has enjoyed a little bit of success knows, it can often be fleeting. I’m telling you about my experience so that you can learn from it! I want to show you that if you continue putting out quality content, unique ideas, and beautiful photos, your blog will get noticed! It can be frustrating to feel like no one is reading, but I promise that if your blog is full of quality, unique, and beautiful content, it will pay off eventually.
So why did this post take off like it did? I can’t say for sure, but here are a few reasons that I think it became so popular.
• The Photo is Eye-Catching
I’m sure you’ve heard this time and time again, but there really is no substitute for good photos on your blog. You don’t need to invest in an expensive DSLR, but knowing how to use the camera you do have is essential.
• …But it Doesn’t Tell the Whole Story
This may seem a little counterintuitive, but I think a reason why my keyboard covered in washi tape got so many clicks is that you can’t tell what it is right away. The photo intrigues you and its caption tells you what it is.
• The Idea is Unique and Simple
Once the photo draws you in and the caption explains the project, not much more of an explanation is needed. I believe this is why it translated so well into many different languages and was so appealing to so many different people.
My post is going viral… Now what??
That’s so great! The most important thing for you to do when your blog is gaining popularity is don’t stop posting! Keep writing that quality, unique content on a consistent basis to keep your new followers around. Also be sure that your blog is easy for readers to navigate and discover content that is similar to your popular post. You can do this by adding a related posts widget such as NRelate, adding a feature like a post gallery, and making links to your popular categories easy to access.
Have you ever had a post “go viral”? How did you convince your new readers to stick around?