The Viral Website. You know the type I’m talking about – those sites that keep you coming back time after time. Ones where the sheer absurdity and humour results in Diggs and Facebook shares. There’s a couple of favourites that I frequently visit, FMyLife, PassiveAggressiveNotes, even ICanHasCheezburger (though I’d be hard-pressed to find someone else who admits they, too, visit it!).
I’ve experimented with quite a couple of websites and blogs (such as this one). Most were created on whims, some were successful enough to earn a domain renewal, and two have managed to pull in some money. Not gigantic amounts – the first site I was able to sell for a solid $1000, the second is earning a small passive income through Adsense of about $1.00 – $2.00 a day. However all my sites suffered from the same disease. After the initial excitement of technological birth it was only a matter of time before I lost interest. Updates would come to a standstill, comments were left unmoderated, and soon the staleness would settle in.
A common and apparent denominator quickly emerged. Updating these sites required ME to generate the content and ME to keep the site alive. And the second that MY interest started waning, the site would suffer! This was not a good thing, as I can be quite the lazy webmaster. That’s when the answer struck me: Visitor-Created Content. The sites I mentioned above used it, to great success. If I relied on my visitors to provide a site with content, the effort required of me to keep the site updated would be minimal. All I’d need to do is screen, format, and edit! Tada, a new blog post!
Thus starts my first experiment into created a viral website. The idea came to me on a camping trip after I took a peek at my friend’s phone (he was checking his Facebook at the time). One of his friends had posted a hilariously aggressive Facebook status update – the kind laced with so much venom and hate that you had to laugh that Facebook was chosen as the platform to express it. A Facebook fan myself, I decided to create a viral website centered around mishaps just like that which occur on the site. Surely others would find such gems in their newsfeeds. And so Lawlbook was born!
I’m currently working behind the scenes to set up the website, but you can visit the launch page for now. Once I get this going I’ll document my progress, so anybody with a working knowledge of creating websites can try it out!