A few months ago, we started to display how many views a topic had. At first this seemed to go unnoticed, but lately I’ve had a lot of questions about this. The most common is, “Why does this user’s list have 10,000 views, while mine only has 250?”
The fact is, when you go to the trouble of creating a new topic, it’s nice to see some discussion and activity on it. Stirring up some buzz and getting this to happen is actually pretty simple. To help dispel some of the confusion, I’ll take a few moments to share some tips for creating popular topics.
Make ‘em interesting
It goes without saying that some lists are just going to attract views for having an emotional connection, or better yet, being out of the ordinary. I’m not that interested in “best socks”, but I’d find it hard to not read, “Most embarrassing date moments.” (My guess is that others feel similarly.)
Get the ball rolling
A big part of getting traffic and activity on your topic involves being featured on the homepage. This immediately brings a lot of people to your topic from MakeFive, but also from our Twitter feed and associated re-tweets.
To get “featured”, you need an interesting topic, but it also helps to fill it in a little. Add an enticing topic image that will present well if featured. Write a tempting description (good for SEO), and even add a few items to the list. No one wants to be the first to “dance”, but once someone’s on the floor, all kinds of people want to join-in.
Check back and comment
Discussion begets discussion, and as such, we’ve created tools to help you along with this. Be sure to “watch” (button in top-right sidebar of each topic) topics you’ve created, and those you are interested in. By doing so, the system will start to notify you of comments as they are added to these topics. Then get in and reply when you can. Nothing builds interest in your topic like added dialogue.
Spread the word
Of course, a lot of the traffic for topics comes from other sites and social media. The “Simpsons’ quotes” topic that I started was recently Dugg. As a result it has 119,212 views, and counting. (To be honest, I was rather surprised by this amount of traffic.)
Getting this kind of attention for your topic isn’t easy, but there are a few steps that can help. First of all, use the “Share” buttons at the bottom of the topic. Digg and StumbleUpon can really be huge! Plus, getting your friends to join-in (through Twitter and Facebook) can help you attract attention and subsequently result in a high-traffic topic.
The life of the party…
Most of us like being the one who starts an exciting conversation at a party. I think that many of us feel the same way about MakeFive. Creating a good topic is a lot of work–hopefully these tips help you reap the rewards of a great discussion!