Stop me if this has happened to you before. You saw a really interesting article at Buzzfeed and decide to check out. When you’re done reading that article, you decided to take a quiz there as well.
Before you know it, you’ve already spent hours there.
What the heck just happen?
That’s the power of viral websites like Buzzfeed, Upworthy, and ViralNova. The success that they’ve achieved have inspired a legion of bloggers attempting to recreate the same success on their website.
Here’s the thing, making a successful viral website like Buzzfeed is more than just posting cool memes and gifs. There is a lot that goes into it, starting with choosing the right domain name up to creating the right content and finding out ways to make money from it.
But, Is it possible to create a site like Buzzfeed?
Absolutely. In fact, in this article, we show you how to create a viral site like Buzzfeed on WordPress right from the beginning, all the way to the end bits such as monetization and social media.
If you’re ready to become the next Buzzfeed, then read on!
So, the first step that you need to do is to create and choose a domain name for your website. Some basic tips on choosing a domain name are to keep it as simple as possible, easy to remember, and just be as creative as possible (i.e. don’t be afraid to use made-up words!).
For those who need help coming up with domain names, you can easily use domain name generators for ideas. We recommend using sites such as Domainr, Wordroid, Name Station.
Coincidentally, you can use NameCheap to purchase and register your domain name as they have quite an affordable rate for .com and .net domain names.
Pick A Web Host
The next important step is to choose a hosting provider to host your website. Ideally, you would want to choose a web host that provides fast loading speed, high uptime rate, and is capable of dealing with large bandwidth/traffic.
Now, it’s impossible to choose the perfect web host as there’s just too many available online, but we definitely recommend using SiteGround (* affiliate link) as they offer solid performance overall and is suitable for both new and experienced users.
The great thing about SiteGround is that they are officially recommended by WordPress, which means they are optimized to offer the best performance for websites built on the WordPress platform.
Speaking of WordPress.
Step #2- Using WordPress To Build Your Site
Buying and registering a domain name?
Sign up for a web host?
Then it’s time to start creating your website.
Fun fact, you don’t really need a lot of products to get started.
You can use a CMS (Content Management System) platform such as WordPress to build a viral website that looks and functions like Buzzfeed, Upworthy, and more.
If you’re a beginner, we definitely recommend that you use WordPress as it’s a powerful and flexible platform that comes with thousands of plugins, themes, and support resources that you can use.
Plus, a website like Buzzfeed will require additional features such as quizzes, polls, member registration, and a platform for user-generated content, to name a few. WordPress offers a wide range of pre-existing solutions that you can use for your website that’s super affordable!
Setting up a WordPress website is fairly easy nowadays and a number of hosting companies even offer services to help launch a new site from scratch using WordPress.
However, if you want to do it yourself, we’ve written a handy guide that you can use to build a WordPress website from scratch.
Step #3 – Picking The Best Themes For A Viral Website
By now, you should already have the basic foundations done at this point. Now it’s time to focus on the fun part and that’s choosing a theme for your website.
The default WordPress theme has a very basic design, which is not great if you want to have a viral website like Buzzfeed. Thankfully, there are tons of premade WordPress themes that you can use to improve your website’s design.
In fact, we’ve collected the 10 best WordPress themes that are specifically designed for viral content and look similar to Buzzfeed.
Buzzz has all the features and plugins that are focused on spreading the content on your site as easily as possible. It’s a great easy-to-use theme that’s great for viral websites and blogs.
The theme is optimized for loading speed and SEO, has a built-in review system, a customized section for different content types (trending, most liked, popular, etc.), a responsive layout, news ticker, customizable, and more.
If you want to build a website that’s similar to ViralNova, then the Novapress theme is a perfect fit as it’s visually inspired by the popular viral website. The themes include a lot of features that you would need for building a viral website.
What you get with the theme is a responsive design and layout, an infinite scrolling effect, social media icons for sharing, optimized for loading speed and SEO, and the ability to easily customize the look and layout.
Newspaper is a great WordPress theme that offers a lot of the same features and functionality that other top viral sites have. The theme itself borrows a lot of design elements from Buzzfeed, Distractify, and Upworthy.
It comes with a lot of different layouts, a variety of templates, and multiple customization options that you can choose from. This lets you create a site that’s truly unique, yet powerful with its versatility.
Bunchy utilizes an “open lists” feature that gives your users the ability to submit their own content and submissions. This theme allows you to harness the power of user-generated content on your website.
User-generated content can be an effective way to exponentially grow your search traffic and audience if you’re lacking original content.
With Boombox, you have a powerful and versatile theme that’s designed for viral content sites with multiple layout options that you can choose from.
The preset layouts or styles that Boombox offers include Boombox Original (viral website inspired theme), Lonely Panda (a theme inspired by BoredPanda), Buzzy (a theme that’s similar to Buzzfeed), and Another GAG (which is based on the popular 9Gag site).
Bimber is one of the more popular WordPress themes that offers all of the features that you’ll need to create a viral website or blog.
Some of the features that are included in the theme are: creating listicles (list articles), creating custom badges, social media integration, great ad zones integration and dozens of features and customization options.
Cuckoo is another great WordPress theme that takes advantage of the community features and functionality that’s found in bbPress and BuddyPress. This lets you create a community around your website.
In addition to the community features, the theme is also optimized for mobile devices to allow fast load times, front-end post submission, and more.
The multipurpose WordPress theme Presso comes with 3 different layout styles which are: blog, magazine, and viral. All three 3 styles are unique in design and include a number of features.
Features such as built-in rating/review system, infinite scrolling system, off-canvas menu, ability to filter posts, a mobile-optimized version that’s responsive and fast, instant search, and Woocommerce integration so you can sell products on your site.
9. Vast Buzz
Vast Buzz is a WordPress theme that’s developed with features, functionality, and design that’s similar to viral and “buzz”-style sites. The features that it offers gives you the best chance of reaching the most audiences.
A few features that the theme offers include interactive content that lets users react to each content with emotions (funny, WTF, wow, etc.), full-width and box layouts, customizable layouts via the built-in options panel, and a number of different styles/layouts to choose from.
Doberman is another popular WordPress theme that’s styled after Buzzfeed and centers around viral and content sharing type websites.
Popular features that are available in the theme includes optimizing for sharing and virality, trending posts section, popular posts section, new/fresh post sections, and many more features that increase the likelihood of success for your website.
Step #4 – Creating Content That Will Go Viral
So now that you’ve got your website designed and ready to go, it’s time to put in content. Just like Buzzfeed, you’re going to have to make content that’s viral in nature.
Content such as memes, listicles, pop-culture related articles, and of course, quizzes are great content to get started with.
Just remember that even though you’re trying to build a website like Buzzfeed, you need to have your voice and style. The more unique your website is, the better your brand will stand out and amass a loyal fanbase.
When you’re first starting out, it’s important to set a schedule for yourself to post new content regularly. While bigger websites publish new content every day, it’s very hard to do if you’re a one-man operation.
We suggest you stick to a schedule and frequency that you’re capable of handling. A great example would be posting two to three new content per week, then ramping it up to new content daily once your website gets bigger.
If you need inspiration or ideas, it’s a good idea to visit similar sites and try to learn what type of content they are making. Just try not to steal or copy their content completely.
Step #5 – Growing Your Site And Going Viral
Content on your website pointless if you don’t have traffic coming in. If you want your viral website to be as successful as Buzzfeed, you need to improve your site’s traffic and user engagement.
If you’re a beginner, here are a few basic tips that to get you started and drive more traffic towards your website.
Take advantage of SEO
Search engine plays a major role in driving traffic towards your website and most popular websites get a majority of their traffic from sites such as Google. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is very useful for improving a website’s ranking in search engines.
While WordPress is already SEO friendly from the beginning, there are other ways that you can use to ensure that your content is optimized for SEO, putting your website higher in search engine rankings.
For a comprehensive guide on SEO, check out this SEO 101 for beginners and first-time bloggers.
Make your site go fast
A lot of the viral website tends to load quite fast, even on slow internet connection. That’s not a coincidence. Website such as Buzzfeed knows that speed plays a major in providing users with a quality user experience while improving SEO.
Improving your website’s speed starts from choosing the right web host (which if you followed our recommendation, you should rock a pretty solid speed), however, there are other things that you can do to further fine-tune your server’s performance.
If you want to make your website popular, you have to know what your users want. The most common mistake that beginners often do is to guess your user's behaviour instead of using actual data.
Google Analytics is a great tool that you can install on your website to figure key metrics such as determining which pages on your site are popular, where most of your traffic comes from, the time your users spend on a page and loads more.
All these data can help you better understand what your users which will ultimately help improve your user engagement and make your site more popular.
Step #6 – Making Money From Your Website
You’ve got the website down. You’ve created loads of cool content, and you’re getting high traffic and user engagement.
At this point, you should probably consider monetizing your website.
Sites such as Buzzfeed rely on online advertisements and providing online marketing services to other businesses and advertisers. For beginners, it’s unlikely that you’ll get big advertisers to pay for ad space on your website.
Instead, you should focus on the following ways to generate a steady income from your website.
Using Google Adsense on your website
Google Adsense is by far the most common way to make money with your website. Whether you’re a blog or a viral website, Google Adsense makes it easy for you to display ads on your website.
The great thing about Google Adsense is that you don’t have to waste time trying to look for advertisers and to collect money. Google does it all for you, including getting the money from advertisers, which they will send to you after taking a small cut.
For a comprehensive guide to adding Google Adsense in WordPress, you can check out this guide.
Explore affiliate marketing
If you happen to discuss and recommend products and services to your audiences from time to time, you can use that to make money with affiliate marketing.
Affiliate marketing is a great source of additional income as you can get a commission when users purchase a product by clicking on your referral link.
If you don’t have any particular products or services in mind, do a quick research and find the ones that compliment your website’s topic. One of the biggest affiliate networks that you can sign up with is Amazon Affiliate, which offers of thousands of products that you can choose from.
Because, when you have a huge social media presence, you can use to it attract other brands to collaborate with you. Brands are more likely to approach you and do product placements or sponsored posts when you have massive social media following.
It’s important that you start building your following on key social media platforms as soon as possible. Platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, and even YouTube are great platforms to attract big and small businesses.
Building up your social media presence is as simple as sharing posts from your website. Given that your website is creating viral content, that makes it perfect for sharing on social media platforms.
With all this information, hopefully, you have enough to help you create a viral-worthy website like Buzzfeed on WordPress.
About Azreen Azmi
Azreen Azmi is a writer with a penchant for writing about content marketing and technology. From YouTube to Twitch, he tries to keep in touch with latest in content creation and finding out the best way to market your brand.