Buzzfeed is one of the top 100 websites in the world so it makes sense to copy their marketing model. Buzzfeed earns $100 million dollars per year in revenue and is currently very profitable. Their main strategy is creating list-type articles called listicles and making them go viral all over the social media networks. With over 72 million unique visitors per month, Buzzfeed sells sponsored ads to advertisers and charges them per CPM. This is how Buzzfeed generates such large revenues with their massive traffic.
There are lots of competitors entering the viral content industry so now is the perfect time to get started. In this article, you will learn how to make a website like Buzzfeed and turn it into a successful viral content website.
1. Get Domain & Hosting
You will need to acquire a short yet brandable domain name for your new website. Brainstorm a bunch of domains then create a list of 5 potential domain names. If you need domain ideas, use Namestation to generate some domain ideas.
I recommend following these general domain guidelines:
- Short (8 characters or less)
- Easy to Remember
- Avoids any trademarks
- .COM extension (or a country level domain if you want to target a certain country)
Once you have found a good domain, head over to Hostgator and see if it’s available. You’ll get a free domain name and unlimited hosting space for just $3.96 per month. Most viral content websites have a 2 word domain name. Think about Buzzfeed or ViralNova. Try to find lots of 2 word domain combinations then select the best one.
2. Choose a WordPress Theme
Once you find a good domain name, you need a CMS (content management solution) to build your website. WordPress is perfect for these types of viral websites because you will write lots of articles. Buzzfeed publishes 300 to 400 articles per day to achieve their massive traffic. Luckily, WordPress can easily support lots of articles because that’s what it was built for.
Buzzfeed WordPress Themes
All you need to do is choose one of the themes above, buy a $5 logo from fiverr, and you’re ready to start creating content. If you need help setting up WordPress, check out my Free WordPress Installation service.
3. Create Content
Listicles are the bread and butter for viral content websites. A good list post contains a number in the title to make it more sharable. Good titles examples are:
- 19 Pictures that Prove Everything You Think about Australia is Wrong
- 31 Delicious Thing to Cook in May
- 26 Incredible Hairstyles You can Learn in 10 Steps or Less
Each title promises a main benefit that encourages the browser to click through. I could write an entire post on crafting list posts, but instead I will point out these great articles:
Your goal is to create as many list posts as possible. It only takes 1 viral post to bring your website millions of visitors. You need a lot of articles because you don’t know which listicle will be successful.
Keep in mind that Buzzfeed has a huge team of writers. They publish 300 to 400 articles per day. You need a team of writers to get your website any decent traffic. In the next section, you’ll learn how to build a team of writers for your website.
4. Build a Team of Writers
At some point, you need a team of writers to outsource your content needs. Doing everything is almost impossible in the viral content business because your content is the most important key to your success. My favorite method for hiring list post writers is TextBroker.
TextBroker is perfect for Buzzfeed like websites. Here’s how you do it:
- Create a Textbroker Account
- Add Funds
- Create a Project
- Project gets accepted and writer starts working
- Writer sends you the final draft for your review
- Submit any changes and you’re done!
Another strategy is to create a team of writers in Textbroker. Potential candidates will submit to you a writing sample plus reasons why you should let them join. Once you build a team, you can submit projects to team members and one of them will complete it for you.
5. Drive Traffic
Once you have lots of list posts on your website, your main focus will be traffic generation. Viral content websites work best on social media. Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest will send you all the traffic you need, especially Facebook.
Facebook pages are crucial to the success of your website. Here’s how to set one up:
- Go to Facebook Pages
- Select your type of page
- Fill out the basic information
- Add a cover photo and main image
- Start publishing your articles on your timeline
There are a couple ways to automatically post your articles to your Facebook timeline. Download the to WordPress Facebook Publish plugin or install Jetpack.
Next, you need Facebook likes to grow your Facebook page faster. The easiest way to get likes is to place the Facebook fan page widget on your website and start a Facebook ads campaign. Set a small budget and you can get around 30 to 50 likes per day on autopilot. If you want more, simply increase your Facebook ads budget.
6. Make Money
Monetization is the last step in the website process. Buzzfeed’s business model relies on sponsored content to generate revenue. If you don’t sell sponsored advertising in the beginning, use Google Adsense to make money. For most websites, I wouldn’t recommend Google Adsense because affiliate marketing is more profitable. On the other hand, viral websites fit perfectly with CPM revenue models.
Sign up for Adsense and place some banners on your website. Focus on the best Adsense placement locations to maximize your revenue.
That’s it! You have enough information to start your very own viral content website like Buzzfeed. Let’s quickly recap everything:
- Get a domain & hosting with Hostgator
- Choose a WordPress Theme
- Create Viral List Posts
- Hire a team of writers using Textbroker
- Drive Traffic using Facebook Pages
- Make Money with Google Adsense
If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments. Need help installing WordPress? Get more information about my Free WordPress setup service!
Tarik Pierce is a 15 year WordPress veteran. He writes about blogging, SEO, and personal finance.