What Is a Viral Website?
Viral sites typically become popular thru being shared on social media or forwarded to friends and family, who then forward it to their own network, causing traffic to the site to grow exponentially.
- A viral website is one that receives an unusually high volume of online traffic in a short period of time as a result of word of mouth, link sharing, and social media sharing.
- Viral websites and content are prized for their popularity, notoriety, and ability to generate cash through advertising or product sales, which increases as the site’s viewership develops.
- Although the term “virality” is most commonly used to describe particular types of material, such as videos or social media posts, viral content may also be found on websites like BuzzFeed, Upworthy, Reddit, and even Twitter’s trending topics.
Understanding Viral Websites
One downside of a huge increase in traffic could be the failure of the website servers to handle the number of users, but this is a problem most websites are equipped to handle and would love to tackle.
The Concept of “Going Viral”
Viral websites have been around since the modern version of the Internet emerged in the 1990s. They have some things in common, yet it’s hard to predict what will go viral. Virality also has no predetermined definition based on the number of views.
The sites are often based on user-generated content, in which a virtuous cycle is created: the more people that visit the site, the more content is generated, and the more traffic is created in return.
Viral websites make it easy to share content with others and remove barriers for users, such as onerous registration processes or paywalls.
They’re often hosted on highly scalable platforms like WordPress, which can adapt to massive traffic spikes. The sites often feature user rankings or voting tools to bring the most popular content to the top, as well.
Viral sites are what are known as “sticky”: they have features that keep visitors there longer. Behind many viral sites are algorithms that constantly look at content and move the most popular items to prominent pages and placements.
Many viral sites have irresistible headlines as well, the kind that readers simply can’t help clicking on, known as “clickbait.”
Although virality is mostly used to describe certain kinds of content, such as videos or social media posts, websites such as BuzzFeed, Upworthy, Reddit, and even Twitter’s trending posts often host viral content that is “upvoted” to illustrate virality.
Videos in particular are most likely to go viral the fastest. Weird, touching, funny, and strange events caught on video and uploaded to sites like YouTube can generate millions of views and even end up on network television news. Many of them were not created with the intent of going viral and often feature embarrassing moments.