On Viral Events

Viral events for a blog aren’t what they used to be.

Historically, getting a feature or a mention or being “found” or discovered on a big name social network could set up a blog for success in perpetuity. Now, that dynamic just doesn’t work that way anymore.


“Going viral” …. lol.

2 weeks ago this blog experienced a viral event which saw a huge increase in daily traffic. Not strangely, this was actually a resurgence of a previous viral event on the same post that had been rediscovered on another social platform so this wasn’t new content.

And, this wasn’t even about the post of the day or a post that was recently published – it was an older post that, for whatever reason, found a foothold in the internet’s fancy.

Which, again, since it was a recurring viral event it simply goes to show that the internet, like many things, is cyclical – what was once new becomes old and then suddenly becomes new again as if it never existed before. Everything is a remix.

And since I’ve been writing for quite some time I have had a bunch of viral events historically and the blog has responded differently every time and with varying effect.

But for this most recent event I decided to do a little web traffic sleuthing and see if that influx was able to contribute to one single and important metric: A returning visitor.

I’ll save you the details, but, the net-result of this viral event was a near-zero return of new visitors. In fact, I think it’s actually and completely zero (but giving it the full 30 days is important).

Retaining new visitors used to be a thing and countless blog posts from writers and technologists wiser than I have shared their intricate and complex strategies for retention.

But those things just do not matter as much any more and they certainly do not matter as much as people think they do. The only thing that works, consistently and with maximal effect, is writing consistently.

When most people try to optimize their “funnels” and technology the real “strategists” show themselves to be, ultimately, pragmatists: they just write and they don’t quit. That’s all.