Social Traffic: Five Ways to Make Posts More Shareable

Image by Jason Howie (CC BY 2.0)

What blogger doesn’t feel a twinge of envy reading a runaway viral success story like Seth’s — 26 million views? Whoa!

We may not all be viral sensations, but we can make sure our posts are primed for sharing. Shareable content is about more than making sure there are Facebook and Twitter links at the ends of your posts. Here are five more ways to up the odds your readers (and their readers) will share your post far and wide.

1. One blogger published a post with a great title — and you’ll never guess what happened next!

There’s a reason you see so many Upworthy posts in your social network feeds: their titles are catchy, intriguing, and crafted to get you to click.

A strong title can mean the difference between hundreds of readers — or none. Between the 1.4 million posts published on WordPress.com every single day and the endless stream of other new content on the internet, you need a strong first impression to cut through the noise. The first thing most people will see is your title, so make it a good one. Titles are also shared by default if you use Publicize, and they’re what will most often show up when readers publish links to your blog on their social networks.

Not sure if your titles are click-worthy? Check out our top tips for writing original, enticing titles.

2. Makesurereaderscanactuallyreadyourpost!

Confused? Let’s try again:

Make sure readers can actually read your post!

Don't ever do this. Please.

Don’t ever do this. Please.

You might have just written an earth-shattering treatise, but if it’s hard to read, it’s not going to get read — or shared. Things like font color, size, and paragraph length can make it more or less likely that readers will get through your post.

Very small or large fonts are challenging to read in longer posts, as are brightly colored fonts. It also helps to embrace empty space; white space makes long posts easier for readers to scan. Shorter paragraphs, headings and subheadings, blockquotes, bullets, and images all create space and break up chunks of text. Bullets and ordered lists are quickly digested, highly shareable, and provide simple, clear takeaways.

3. Don’t forget an image.

When we visit a web site, our eye is drawn to the boldest or most colorful part of the page. For many pages, that means an image, like a photo, logo, graph, or cartoon. On sites like Facebook, posts with an accompanying image rack up more clicks than those without — when we scroll through a long feed of information, our eye travels to the image.

Take advantage of this and try using more visuals. If you’d rather not interrupt your post with one, as we have, put it at the start or end, or set it as a featured image. Now, when a reader shares your link on sites like Facebook or LinkedIn, you’ve got a mini-billboard that makes it more likely that people will notice, click on, and re-share the link.

(And since images help create the white space that makes posts more scannable, this is a win-win!)

Don't worry: bumper-to-bumper blog traffic is much less likely to induce road rage than actual bumper-to-bumper traffic. (Photo by joiseyshowaa, CC BY-SA 2.0.)

Don’t worry: bumper-to-bumper blog traffic is much less likely to induce road rage than actual bumper-to-bumper traffic. (Photo by joiseyshowaa, CC BY-SA 2.0.)

4. Be a resource for others.

People share things that (1) inspire them; (2) make them laugh; or (3) add value and make it easier for them to do something.

Maybe you don’t think of yourself as particularly inspirational or funny*, but we all have something to share that adds value to others’ lives. Are you an expert in something? Teach us how to do it! Did you discover an amazing new way to do something? Tutorial, please! Have you collected great resources on a particular topic? Write them up and share the links. Spreading knowledge makes you a resource to your loyal readers, but also provides them with tips and tools they’ll want to share with others.

*We think you are.

5. Toot your own horn.

Sharing your own stuff makes it easier for others to do the same. Once your post is already circulating on Twitter, it’s simple for a fan to pass it on with a single click. After all, we all want to accomplish things on the internet with as few clicks as possible.

Hook up Publicize to easily promote your posts to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Google+, LinkedIn, and Path, and ensure that your fans can share effortlessly.

Publishing the insightful essay, hilarious list, or stunning photo is up to you, but paying attention to these five small elements boosts your already-amazing content and makes it more easily shareable — a few small tweaks for a potentially big payoff.


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Michelle W.

58 Comments

Comments are closed.

  1. sketchednotstirred

    IsupposeIshouldstarttypingwith spaces. Helpful post. Thank you.

    Like

  2. acuriousgal

    Excellent ideas!

    Like

  3. Joyce

    Good advice. I used to feel guilty almost for tooting my horn about my stuff. It was stepping out of my quiet, little corner into a bigger arena that scared me, but maybe using a megaphone with a big blast is not such a bad idea if one knows how to use all these points to make a lot of noise, but doing it in a way that leaves positive results.

    Like

  4. Beth Niebuhr

    Excellent post. I do these things but it’s a good reminder and one to pass on to my clients. Thanks.

    Like

  5. ismailimail

    Regarding images. It has been proven time and again that making Image/Photo Post on Facebook Pages, is lot more effective than posting a simple Status Post. The Image Post on Facebook Pages goes far in comparison to anything else.

    What would be really interesting and helpful, if WordPress were to have its Publcize feature automatically make an Image/Photo Post on Facebook. Currently, it only makes a simple Status Post.

    Like

  6. The RoyalTee Affairs

    I believe I’m on the right track. Your examples are ones that I try and implement into my blogs.Thanks for the reassurance. XoXo – Tanya

    Like

  7. Marilyn Armstrong

    May I add that WHITE SPACE refers to space of ANY color that is not otherwise occupied with fonts or graphics. It includes indents, kerning, paragraph spacing, the space between columns and around widgets. It doesn’t have to be white, just EMPTY. You should have at LEAST 50% white space on any screen … 65% or better is preferred. Also: The right column of text in western languages is where eyes naturally track. That’s why when you are selling advertising space in a magazine, anything on a right-hand page costs more. Ditto for the bottom (rather than top) of the page. If you use columns in your site, put what you most want read in the right column. Which is why I prefer the sidebar on the left and the pictures and text on the right.

    Great that you are putting this information out there. Too many bloggers don’t understand how important formatting is.

    Like

  8. JohnGreasyGamer

    Some great stuff here, really glad I read it. And these hints do sound fairly straight forward but they’re surprisingly effective once you’re conscious of them! ^^

    Like

  9. jpeggytaylor

    Thank you for this post. It has made me see that I am definitely learning and doing some things right. It has also helped me clarify where I have room for improvement :)

    Like

  10. Deli Lanoux, Ed.D.

    Yes, yes, yes! All doable! Thanks!

    Like

  11. alienorajt

    I so often forget to include an image – lack of confidence, basically – so this is a really useful point. Very good post all round. I don’t think my titles are up to much either, so that’s another thing to work on. Thanks. Alienora

    Like

  12. Musings from a Tangled Mind

    Appreciate the info and the tips! Thanks! I sometimes don’t include an image because I either can’t find one or create one that goes well with the subject I’m talking about, but I’m going to start making more of an effort in that regard.

    Like

  13. Jenny Schermerhorn

    Great tips. I wonder- where do people get images they can legally use in their posts? Is there a secret place bloggers are getting their images that I don’t know about?

    Like

  14. hanimal

    YES!! Thoughtful advice.

    Like

  15. Jaime

    TY I just love reading ur posts. They r like my own personal coach giving me advice and timely aswell. I take what u post seriously and apply what you write to my own blog. TY for ur encouragment and love for the written word in his digital age. Thanks again.

    Like

  16. Faithfully Fit with Teresa

    Thank you for this! I’m new to blogging and appreciate the tips!

    Like

  17. DiatribesAndOvations.com

    Great ideas. I’d love to see Stumbleupon added to the Publicize feature.

    Like

  18. gerrilc777

    I see the importance of adding images/photos…it grabs attention better than letters!!! Great short reminder post!

    Like

  19. whataboutsindy

    Thanks! I need all the help I can get, still a newbie.

    Like

  20. 2bikes1boat

    Thank you. Very helpful. My blogs are mostly for family and friends to follow our adventures, but this helps. Great ideas.

    Like

  21. lucy

    Love these ideas. I’m going to try them out and hopefully, it’ll work! haha thanks for the tips!

    Like

  22. IshitaUnblogged

    Great tips, but it’s sad that one has to conjure up a title, with the hope that the post will go viral. Great photos, great content and many such things are there in many blogs – and in a consistent manner. Sometimes the posts that are chosen doesn’t reflect the entire blog, and that is sad indeed.

    Like

    • michelle w.

      True; one always hopes that visitors who come via a link that happened to be shared will enjoy what they read and take the time to dig deeper into the blog.

      Like

  23. David

    Excellent tips here. I’m a new blogger, and this is extremely helpful. I’ll continue to read and learn. Thank you!

    Like

  24. Candice Benson

    Fantastic article! Thank you :)

    Like

  25. Tuscas Värld

    Great advice, and I do follow most of it.
    However, I still have not figured out whether I can chose which picture ends up with my post in the reader and the automatic sharing via Publicize.
    If I share the link itself on for example Facebook, I can choose among a couple of thumbnails, but I would like to do that when my post is publicized in the reader and automatically on FB as well. Not all pictures are pretty, although they may be very adequate for the text…

    Like

    • michelle w.

      Typically, the first photo in a post is what will appear in the Reader. As for Facebook photo selection happens on the Facebook end of things, not the WordPress.com end, so we all have a bit less control.

      Like

      • Tuscas Värld

        Thank you for your answer. I normally try to put “a nice” photo as my first, to be on the safe side. When it comes to Facebook, I guess I have to live with it…

        Like

  26. pattmisko

    Very useful article, especially for someone new as me. Thanks :)

    Like

  27. Prajakt Mahajan

    Great tips! Thank you!

    Like

  28. John Zimmer

    Excellent, practical advice. One thing that I have found helpful on my blog is to change up the lengths of posts. I write on public speaking and presentation skills. Sometimes I will do a long post that analyzes a speech. The next post might be a one sentence quote from somebody famous that is relevant for speakers. That’s it. Just the quote and a picture. The variety keeps the stream interesting and much less tedious for readers.

    Like

  29. Rosie

    This is so helpful!!!! Great article!

    Like

  30. staceypearljovie

    Thanks for the advice! <3

    Like

  31. LucyBre

    I’m not always bothered to include an image, thanks for reminding me of this!

    Like

  32. Yasmin Elahi

    Very useful tips… and helpful to new bloggers like me. Will try to follow your advice as I would love to find more visitors on my blog!

    Like

  33. Ana P. Hernández

    A grande THANK YOU! This was very helpful.

    Like

  34. tshelor4969

    A needed read. Thanks to you from a noob.

    Like

  35. D.Interrupted

    Thank you for sharing this post! As a new blogger, I am eager to learn ways to drive more traffic to my blog!

    Like

  36. brendanmunnerlyn

    I didn’t even know you could follow/see anybody else’s blogs. I thought I only could invite people to my personal blog by sending them a link and they would read it once and say “cool.” That’s hilarious !

    Like

  37. everywherebuthome

    I’d have to disagree with the suggestion on titles, or at least the way it’s framed. Most of the people I know disregard anything with an obvious clickbait title like, “you’ll never guess what happens next!” If it sounds like it belongs on Buzzfeed, I’m going to assume it’s poorly researched, unsourced, and terribly written – in other words, not worth reading. This isn’t always true, particularly when videos have been retitled before being posted to UpWorthy, but it still seems generally applicable

    Titles are certainly important for generating traffic, but unless your blog is of National Enquirer caliber, I don’t think sensationalist say-nothing titles are the right way to do so.

    Like

    • michelle w.

      Sorry if I wasn’t clear — the Upworthy-style title was meant to be a little jab at them, and my goal was simply to encourage you to think about the impact of your titles. Thanks for giving me an opportunity to clarify!

      Like

  38. Pauline

    Hi Michelle, I agree with everywherebuthome. I have stopped clicking on links with titles intentionally phrased to ‘lure’ people. Such a cheap trick! Thanks for clarifying your point! :)

    Like

  39. elizabethfgreenberg

    Thank you for putting these ideas out there in one place. Things like catchy titles or paragraph format aren’t things that come to mind first for many people but they’re the tiny details, like you said, that separate the great posts from the unread ones.

    Like

  40. patelmerakicorner

    Well I have been trying to create traffic to my blog and its a slow process, this post does surely help to a certaing extent. I guess its a uphill battle for new upcoming blogs.

    Like

  41. faycrisanto

    I appreciate the tips that you shared.

    Like

  42. laalba

    Thanks your blog was super helpful, I’m just starting out blogging and your advice I’m definitely going to follow. Thanks!

    Like

  43. angelettephotography

    Very helpful info for a newbie such as me; I just posted my very first blog and this is even my very first comment on a blog. Thanks!

    Like

  44. hardethaewoh

    Thanks! The title part actually worked for me today, I’m new to blogging…please how do I add pictures to my post before publishing?

    Like

  45. sallyu

    Thanks for sharing! This is a great post, gotta bookmark/Pocket it to read again later.

    PS. You totally got me with #1. I was so excited to read what happened. Then I realized it was an example. Awesome demonstration of effective headlines!

    Like

  46. yorkplacestudios

    Really interesting article :) Will try and bear all that information in mind!

    Like

  47. zareenn3

    I just posted my first blog. I’m new here and I found your article very, very helpful! Thank you so much! :D

    Like

  48. Detroit Realty

    Thank you for the advice. I am a new blogger looking for more fun ways to entertain my audience. Very cool tips.

    Like

  49. dailypick3wins

    For many years I hated blogging but now I realize how helpful these great tips are to promote your business .

    Like

  50. elisawadsworth

    I am still learning all of this stuff. Thanks for sharing:)

    Like

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