We’ve all heard or seen of examples of where something has “gone viral.” Has it ever happened to any of your content or images? You may be thinking, why would it ever happen to me? The type of content I produce will never go viral. Well, you just never know. By simply adding a catchy, provocative, funny, interesting, ridiculous, [insert adjective here] image to your post and giving readers an easy way to share it – your boring old content actually could go viral. In this post, I’m going to show you how to increase traffic to your website with viral image sharing. I’m also going to show a very specific example of how this worked on one of my small niche sites. Plus, I’m going to share with you some tools and resources that I use to increase my chances of getting viral traffic through image sharing.
How to Increase Traffic to Your Website
Finding Images to Upload
The first step is to actually find an image that you think might be worth sharing. Perhaps you are a pretty decent amateur photographer and you prefer to use your own images. I do this sometimes, but more often I end up finding a relevant picture taken by somebody else. There are a number of places on the internet where you can find images that are free and legal to use. I’m not going to list them all here, because I almost always end up using just one source – Flickr. You have to be careful though when using Flickr images. Make certain that they have a Creative Commons license and always link back to the original source to give them credit. Here is a pretty cool resource that I use every single time I search Flickr for Creative Commons images - http://flickrcc.bluemountains.net/flickrCC/index.php - I have this page bookmarked. It’s super easy to simply type a keyword into the little search box at the top and hit the Find button to find all of the creative commons pictures within Flickr that have been tagged with your keyword. Admittedly, I sometimes waste WAY too much time searching through images on this site. Some really interesting stuff tends to come up for varying keyword searches.
Make It Easy for Readers to Share
This step is part of Blogging 101, and applies to any kind of website. You need to make it as easy as possible for readers to share your content and/or images. This is easily accomplished by adding sharing buttons to your site. If you’re using WordPress, there are several plugins available that add attractive sharing buttons to your posts and/or pages. The Jetpack plugin has some good basic sharing buttons that I actually use for a few of my niche sites. On most of my sites though, including this one, I use ShareThis to add those little sharing buttons that you see at the bottom of this post. ShareThis is totally customizeable with several different types of buttons to choose from (with or without counters). They also have those hovering buttons available – the kind that stay on your screen (you can choose left or right side of screen) when you scroll down. ShareThis is totally free and easy to install. WordPress users simply add it as a plugin. ShareThis provides instructions for anybody else to easily add it to their site. I previously used this tool when I was doing all of my blogging on Blogger.
Other than just the basic sharing buttons that you see on most every website, there are other tricks and tips that can be utilized in order to make it more tempting or enticing for readers to share. I’m going to show you a couple of these in detail below, but first I want to share with you a case study about how this worked to my advantage on one of my small niche sites.
Viral Image Sharing – Case Study
I have a small niche site (not revealed) that got 3,796 visitors during the month of July. Referral traffic during this time period accounted for 29% of this traffic, or 1,102 visitors. Referral traffic simply means that these visitors got to my site by clicking through from another site (other than a search engine). Of these 1,102 referral visitors, 720 of them came from Pinterest. The ONLY way to share content on Pinterest is by sharing an image – which means that people were sharing an image or images from this site like crazy!
The funny thing is that I am not even active on Pinterest. I do have an account and I do share images only when I publish new posts. But other than that, I don’t spend any time on Pinterest.
Notice the unusual spike in traffic on Sunday, July 14th. I had 257 visitors to the site that day. 101 of these visitors came from Pinterest – meaning that images from my site were probably being pinned and re-pinned all over different peoples Pinterest boards that day. As expected, and as an added bonus, my Adsense earnings also were unusually high for that day.
Check out how my average Adsense earnings after July 14th stayed slightly but steadily higher than it was before that magical day.
Why Pinterest Traffic is So Important
Here is something I learned only a few months ago that I didn’t previously know. People actually use Pinterest as more of a social bookmarking site rather than a social network. In other words, they use it to bookmark things they find on the internet for later use or reference. They do not use it as much for social networking, like a Facebook or a Twitter. This was a total misconception that I had. This also explains why it is such a popular site for sharing things like recipes or arts-and-crafts. Things where pictures can speak 1,000 words.
My small niche site in this case study happens to be in kind of the do-it-yourself niche. In it, there is a tutorial with a whole bunch of pictures. People probably found it very useful and helpful and wanted to save it for themselves for later reference. Not only that, but they thought it was worth sharing for others to benefit from. They all benefited from the advice on my website and I benefited from increased traffic and earnings!
How to Get More Pinterest Traffic
I don’t know if you noticed, but look what happens when you hover your cursor over the images above. A little Pinterest “Pin It” button appears and then becomes darker when you hover over the button itself. This makes it much easier and enticing for readers to pin your images to one of their Pinterest boards. I accomplished this with a FREE WordPress plugin called Pinterest Pin It Button For Images. This plugin is awesome and super simple to install and implement. It isn’t obnoxious and I really don’t see any reason to not use it for almost any site. If you’re looking for a free solution for how to increase traffic to your website, then this is certainly one option you can and should take advantage of.
So, a Pin It button that pops up only when you hover over an image is pretty cool, right? Wouldn’t it be even cooler if you could accomplish this for the other major social networking sites? Check out what happens when you hover over the image below!
Viral Image Sharing and More Affiliate Sales
Pretty cool effects in the above image, huh? This was made possible by a plugin that I actually purchased recently. The WordPress plugin is called Pulse Hover (affiliate link) and is one of the few plugins that I have actually paid for and feel is definitely worth the money.
or hover over the images below and imagine the possibilities!
In both of these examples, a button or banner appears. The watch pictured above is a watch that I actually bought via Amazon right after Christmas last year. If a reader or user clicks the little Buy from Amazon button, it takes them over to Amazon through my affiliate link and I will receive a commission if they buy. Same thing with the Hostgator banner that appears over the other picture. I actually use Hostgator for hosting and I recommend it. The banner that appears over that image will take a user to Hostgator through my affiliate link if they click on it. Do you see how powerful this plugin can be?
Again, Click here to visit the Pulse Hover sales page and watch the quick demo video. The plugin is being sold on a dime sale, meaning that the price goes up incrementally as more are purchased. Give it a try today to take advantage of the lowest possible price. As of the date this post was published, the cost was still under $21!
So, whether you want to stick with a free method, like the Pinterest Pin It Button For Images WordPress plugin - or try a more powerful plugin like Pulse Hover - I hope this post has helped to demonstrate to you how powerful image sharing can be.
Remember that there are several dumb ways to create passive income online, but only one site that is blogging about it! Dumb Passive Income… dot com.
Image: Kenneth Cole watch from Amazon.com