How to build a high-traffic topic

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!

Digg your ultimate dinner party

Our office is a bit of a steam-bath today, and we’re really feeling it. And as much as I love the sun, I have to say that my allergies are getting in the way of enjoying the warmth. (I’m currently working a mix of Claritin, Flonase, saline, and a big box of Kleenex–what’s your pollen fighting solution?) But I digress. The point here is to talk about this week in MakeFive.

wesm12 edged out plmiller and Schligge and won the MakeFive Contest for the second consecutive week. So, now he’s two t-shirts and $200 richer. And what about you? Perhaps you got some work done at the office, but wouldn’t it be nicer to have cash and clothing? C’mon… that spreadsheet can wait… ;-)

I often beg MakeFive users to lend a hand with StumbleUpon and Digg. Frankly, those two sites send us a lot of traffic and in turn help us build the MakeFive community. So, if you feel so inclined, please lend us a hand by giving us a little digg here:

In fact, you should really vote first, as it’s a great topic, thanks to DoeFromTO. Here are the current top five:

See more: Your ultimate dinner party

Well, that’s it for this time. Have a great week and keep those sinuses clear!


Winners, high school and a “leaner” M5 HQ

There are good things happening at MakeFive HQ. We moved, we’re lean(er), and we’re working like bananas on new features.

Lean and mean

Lately a big time-suck here has involved moving and getting skinny. Over the past few months we wanted to get our burn-rate down as low as possible. In part this helps given the dodgy economy. More than that though, doing so allows us to put even more time into MakeFive. So, after a massive purge and reorganization, we’re in our new home. (Photos to come.)

Last week’s winner

wesm12 picked up the prize for most points for the week ending April 10th. It seemed to be a bit of a tight race between him and plmiller, both of whom battled it out to win the shirt and cash. As we’ve noted in the past, the contest isn’t the point of the site, but it sure is a nice little bonus!

What we liked

There are always interesting new lists popping-up on MakeFive, but as staunch hockey-haters, this one didn’t do anything for Shelkie and I. That being said, we expect that it’s a topic of some importance for everyone else.

See more: Whose gonna Win the 2009 Stanley Cup

Well, that’s it for this week. Have fun, make lists and prosper.


Reviews add to the community

As some of you may have noticed, we’re really encouraging reviews on MakeFive these days. It’s great to see what someone has picked, and it’s even more interesting to know why. This is particularly nice when it comes to attractions, restaurants, movies, et cetera. Reviews have the potential to make the community stronger and more interesting because they are about what you think. (more…)

Traffic and sex changes

We’ve had stellar traffic recently, breaking any of our past records. In fact, a whopping 140,000 people visited MakeFive last week. That’s a lot, and we’re happy to connect with so many new people!

Contest news

The new contest seems to be bringing some added activity. Congratulations go out to plmiller who won $100 and a sassy MakeFive t-shirt in last week’s contest! We know that $100 isn’t a huge amount, but we think it’s a fun little incentive. Plus, it’s more fun than working, isn’t it?


Tweet it!

We’ve had a number of users ask us about the ability to automatically tweet the lists they vote on. Today we’ve activated this function in MakeFive, but it’s taken us a while to get here.

Our hold-up in getting this started is largely a result of us waiting for a secure authentication method to be adopted by Twitter before integrating with our user accounts. For some of you, this probably doesn’t mean much. I’ll explain.

Lately, there has been a lot of unfavorable publicity regarding security breaches of Twitter accounts. Actually, given the apparent disregard with which many users treat their account info, I’m a little surprised there haven’t been more large-scale exploits. I’ve been guilty of this as well; barely pausing to think before providing my password to any cool new utility that claims it will perform miracles by filtering, sorting or auto-following, etc. (more…)

Speak up and win cash, sucka!

Sometimes the notion of giving away money seems like fun. (Well, at least we figure that’s how it must feel.) Regardless, it’s a crappy Monday afternoon, the rain is coming down in buckets, and we want to mix things up a little.

Some of you folks are really active here, and we greatly appreciate that. You see, the more active you are, the more content there is. As the content level and activity rise, the closer we are to quitting our “day jobs” and working on MakeFive all day long. (This would be, in a word: awesome.)

So, here’s the deal. As an added bonus, every Friday we’ll be giving away $100 to the person who has accumulated the most points here on MakeFive. The rules are simple: don’t post shitty content. Outside of that, the sky’s the limit. Make fun lists, start great topics, and engage in a little debate. What the heck? You might even take home a little extra beer money as a result!

(If you’d like more details, you can find them here.)

Show off your lists on Facebook

We just released an update to the MakeFive Facebook app! We think it’s a pretty neat one, as it shows your friends on Facebook what you are voting on. (It also lets you showcase your favorite lists in your Facebook tabs.)

Here’s how to do it:
Click here to install the MakeFive Facebook app
– Go to “Profile” in Facebook
– Click the “+” sign in your tabs (just under your name and status)
– Choose MakeFive (see… easy, right?)

A lot of people have asked us to add Twitter integration as well, so that a tweet would be sent when you vote on a list. We’re working on this too, and hope to have it live in the next couple of days.

February brings a new “Queen of MakeFive”

So… February has come to a close, as has our first month of weekly winners on MakeFive. It’s been an interesting experiment to date, and we’re pretty happy with the results.

For those of you who are new to the site, a little background. Up until recently, the “What do you know?” contest was running on a monthly basis with a larger prize up for grabs, but this model seemed to be broken. We were seeing a great deal of activity at the start of the month, so that people could gain a strong lead, and then activity would drop-off through the middle of the month. By the last week, we’d see a storm of activity by one or two users, who would collect tens of thousands of points, just to win the iPod. (more…)

January winners announced and the iPod is dead and done

That’s right; the January numbers are in, and we have our winners:

1. ryankoziel (38,374 points)
2. joshwritescopy (25,720 points)
3. webdesign (17,808 points)
4. DGfromMTL (12,267 points)
5. dantes_inferno2003 (12,265 points)

For all of you in the top five, your prizes will be in the mail shortly. For those of you who still haven’t received winnings from last month, you have only me to blame. I’ve been really bad about getting them in the mail. (Sorry. I’ll have your stuff out to you pronto.) (more…)