I’d like to address something that people might not know about: something called clickbaiting.
1. Lists. I’ve noticed a lot of people like to read lists because they’re (supposedly) concise and to the point. Cracked is a great place for well-written and explained lists, but sites like Buzzfeed have rammed this format into the ground. Buzzfeed perfected it. Their lists require barely any attention and very little brainpower to absorb.
2. Girls. Another way you can clickbait is by including a picture of a scantily-clad or good-looking female in a thumbnail next to your link. Youtube videos are especially guilty of this, especially since the format of Youtube makes it extremely easy to do so. Pretty self-explanatory.
3. Cliffhanger. I’m sure you’ve seen this before–it’s not a new method and it certainly isn’t exclusive to the internet. It’s the “omg u won’t bliev what hapend next!!!!!!!” Usually you can. This is used mostly by news sites, who will post part of a news story and end the post with “follow the rest of the story at our website” and include a condensed link (such as bit.ly). What you may not know that some link condensers, like bit.ly, keep track of how many times the link has been clicked and will give the owner site metrics.
4. Targeting groups. A few years ago, Kotaku was especially guilty of this. They had purposely written up some controversial articles to get people to come, read and comment on their posts. They called it “nerdbaiting.” And it worked.
5. Pretending to be a news site. Kotaku. Gawker. Gizmodo. Engadget. Even Buzzfeed. None of these are news sites and everything you read on them should be taken with a grain of salt.
6. Controversy. I believe that Westboro Baptist Church has been in the right since their creation and that everybody who believes otherwise is going to hell.
Obviously, I don’t have a full list of ten things.
I came up with the idea of writing this about a week ago, and I’m glad I waited to write it. I just sat in on a meeting at work where they literally just told us how to do these things. Personally, I find clickbaiting detestable, especially if the content within is neither particularly interesting nor useful. It’s just a ploy to get another fraction of a penny from ad revenue. I equate it to posts that say, “lik if u cry evrytim!” However, now that I’ve pretty much been asked to partake in it, I don’t know what to think. I don’t know what to think about myself, the company, or the state of the internet and how it’s become a highly-commercialized fishing farm.
But there’s ways you can increase traffic without luring people:
7. Gaining actual traction. People don’t do this because it’s the hardest one. It’s hard to get popular by continually pumping out high-quality content because it’s hard to continually pump out high-quality content. Eventually, if you make enough good work, people will keep checking back to your site to see if you’ve made updates.
8. Sharing. This may seem like a type of clickbaiting but it really isn’t. All of you see how I share that I have a new blog post: a simple link without explanation. So many of you have seen my blog by now that if you see the link, you know you’re in for a wild ride if you click it. Besides, without my simple act of posting the link, only 1% of you would know about my blog in the first place.
9. Branding. Branding requires getting exposed in other forms of media, like on Youtube or Twitter. I’ve secured my “Chinese Einstein” wordpress site, and it’d be incredibly easy for someone to search it up on Youtube and Twitter–that is, if I had decided to go with those.
10. Offering rewards. This one’s hard because it requires money. It’s things like having sweepstakes and raffles for things like redeemable codes or discount coupons. I’ve seen many Youtubers gain traction from this sort of thing.
Easy enough, right?