Boy did I feel like celebrating! Imagine how I felt waking up that morning with my cup of coffee and logging on to my stat counter to see that by 9am I already had over 10,000 hits! I was blown away. I've never had this happen to me. It must have been a mistake, I thought. But sure enough, it was real.
In retrospect I realize that I unknowingly did a few things that helped my how to make butter post gain traction, and this is what I want to share with all of you today. It really was incredibly simple, which is part of the reason I was so surprised to get the amount of traffic I did....I never expected that a little bit of work would translate into a traffic bonanza.
First Things First - Setting The StageA couple of months ago I wrote a post about how to make butter. It was sort of a throw away post. I really liked the content, but I wasn't really feeling the writing and the photo totally sucked. In the end, I wrote a very short intro, and I re-shot the photo three times. I wasn't exactly feeling extra confident about the post but I published it anyway. So what made the post so popular?
Descriptive "How To" TitleI think one of the things that contributed to the post's success was the title I chose. I titled it "How To Make Butter In Less Than 5 Minutes!". I wanted to communicate how easy it is to make butter at home so I added the "..Less Than 5 Minutes!" to convey that it really is simple...I mean, who doesn't have 5 minutes?!
Send Post To Stumble Upon FriendsNext, I sent the post to a few of my Stumble Upon friends and asked them to review or Thumbs up the post if they liked it. I've recently been re-thinking this strategy since there are some reports that Stumble Upon penalizes your post if it gains in-organic stumbles, but I decided to do it anyways.
The traffic for the post was very light, and Stumble Upon wasn't giving me much love. Foodgawker and Tastespotting both rejected the post, and I pretty much gave up on it, vowing to re-shoot yet again in the future, with the hopes of getting on to one of the food porn sites.
Three weeks later the post magically becomes Stumbled by a random reader and that sends the post into regular Stumble Upon rotation. The post received 700 hits from stumble upon in one day...not bad for Stumble Upon traffic. I was super happy that the post saw some good traffic and it actually continued to get really great traffic for a solid three weeks. When stumble upon likes you, it REALLY likes you.
Send Post To A Huge Site For ConsiderationHere is where it gets really good. I'm a huge fan of Lifehacker. I read it religiously. It wasn't until recently that I noticed that they regularly feature food related posts. They tend to be in the DIY vein, and upon reading one of these posts I thought, "Hey, my butter post would fit right in with these Lifehacker food posts". Most of these big sites have a "Send us a tip" type page, so I found it and sent them a quick email.
In the email I introduced myself and mentioned that I was an avid reader. I also mentioned that I had noticed all of the food related posts and thought that the editors and their readers might like my butter post. I included a link and sent it off.
I wasn't expecting a response, so when I received a thank you email from one of the editors of Lifehacker, I was joyed. They didn't publish the post however, but still, I was happy. I figured it was the start of a relationship and I planned on sending them another post in the future...
Fast forward three weeks later WHEN THEY PUBLISHED MY POST! Again, I wasn't expecting it, but they published a post mentioning my butter post and the traffic went through the roof.
Add Stumble Upon ButtonI quickly added a stumble upon button to the bottom of the post figuring that Lifehacker readers are really tech savvy and given that the post was previously popular on SU I thought that I could give it an extra push by adding the button, at it really did. Tons of Lifehacker readers clicked the Stumble This button, driving further traffic from SU.
And that's how it happened. The most helpful thing I learned during this entire process was that sending relevant posts to big sites sometimes does pay off. I don't recommend sending EVERY post you've ever written...I probably won't send Lifehacker another post for a couple of months. But when I do, I'll make sure that the post is relevant to their philosophy and hopefully I'll get lucky like I did this last time.
UPDATE:My friend Darya of Summer Tomato also had a post featured on Lifehacker recently. Check out her post and notice how it's also a "How To" type of post. Lifehacker is a site dedicated to tips and how to's....they really like DIY and hacks, so if you submit a post, make sure it's more than just "how to make french toast" or something.
Get Healthier with a (surprisingly tasty) Pasta Substitute - Lifehacker
Any of you have experience sending posts to other big sites?