How to grow from 0 to 2 million page views in 6 weeks

On August 20th 2013, the FamilyShare Network at Deseret Digital Media launched, a Spanish site focused on building and strengthening families. By the end of September, the site had over 2 million page views, making it the fastest growing site in the history of the company.

How do you replicate this success? The growth came from a carefully implemented strategy based off of a social-first mentality and analytics-based decisions. It wasn’t based off of tricky tactics or a large ad spend. Here are just a few principles that we believe lead to our success:

Principle 1: Build up large distribution channels on social media prior to launch.

Even if you have great content, if you don’t have a place to distribute it to your audience, nobody is going to see it. Make sure you build up a strong distribution platform prior to the launch of your site.

Before we began writing articles, we built up a variety of Facebook pages. Instead of growing a brand-based Facebook page for, we built pages around topics such as Yo Amo a Mi Familia (“I love my family”) and Yo Amo A Mi Esposo (“I love my husband”). Because the distribution platforms had extensive reach and high engagement, we were able to drive a lot of traffic to our site from the very first day.

Principle 2: Use proven content strategies.

Don’t just assume your content strategy will work. Take the time to learn from people who are successful. Discover which articles drive the most traffic on their site, and try to replicate them. If you can, ask for permission to republish or translate their popular content on your site (with attribution). If a strategy works for someone else, there is a good chance it will work for you.

The predecessor to was With a year of experience, the FamilyShare content team was able to teach the Familias team which content types drove the most traffic.

We assumed that the popular content from would also be popular on Familias, so we translated the best articles from English into Spanish and published those at launch. We were correct in our assumption, and the translated articles continue to be some of the top performing articles on (We also found that popular Spanish articles translated into English also drive a lot of traffic.)

Principle 3: Make decisions based on the numbers and pivot quickly.

Every team member needs to feel responsibility for the site analytics. Building this individual accountability is crucial to the site’s overall success. Even minor decisions should be driven by the numbers. Measuring analytics that matter can help you make better, wiser decisions. It is important to work together as a team and set high goals.

Once launched, our team made a conscientious effort to base their decisions off of the analytics. They would set team goals and work together to fulfill them. They discovered quickly which content performed the best and created more of those types of content. For example, they learned that lists, image quotes (memes) and marriage articles drive a lot of traffic.

They also learned to pivot quickly. If something wasn’t working well, they were quick to make adjustments. They didn’t get stuck in “how things need to be”, but were innovative and creative in trying new ideas.

There were many other factors in’s success, but great distribution channels, proven content strategies, and making decisions based off of the numbers were definitely key elements to driving traffic quickly and efficiently to the site.

This article was originally published on DDM Publisher Solutions.

5 ways to write articles people actually want to share

Over the past few years, I’ve studied writers who consistently produce viral content to try to replicate their success. (And landed an 11 million page view article along the way.)

Although I don’t think there is a perfect formula for virality (there are too many elements that you can’t control), here are five principles you can follow to improve your content and dramatically increase your page views.

1. Evoke emotion

As human beings, we each have the innate desire to make deep, emotional connections with other people. Your audience isn’t going to remember boring, dull content. However, they will remember something that made them laugh or cry. Powerful narratives that help readers feel personally connected with the author make up some of the most shared articles on the Internet.

2. Provide new ideas & insight

Enough is enough. We can only see the same life hacks so many times before we want to gouge our eyes out. If an idea is overplayed online, leave it alone. Take a different approach, come up with a new idea and do something that nobody has done before. It doesn’t have to be an earth-shattering discovery. Just come up with a spin that people will find interesting.

3. Encourage arguments

Neutrality doesn’t share. Have a distinct brand, voice and personality. If there is anything that will conjure up traffic and engagement, it’s controversy. Don’t be afraid if someone disagrees with you and only delete comments if they are inappropriate. The more people engage with your content on social media, the more people will see it in their news feeds.

4. Details matter

Sweat the small stuff. Take time to write a really compelling headline and choose an image that will pop out on a news feed. People are going to scan through your article as quickly as possible to see if it’s worth their time. So get to the point quickly, keep it short and break it up into chunks. Make it easy for your reader to get the whole idea of the article within a few seconds.

5. Obsess over social media

There is an ongoing debate about who is king – content or social. My opinion is neither one is king, but they are equal on the playing field. Your social media channels need to be fed by great content to succeed, and your content team needs to learn from your followers’ comments and behaviors to create better content. It’s worth your time to analyze how well your articles do on social and create a strategy based on that knowledge.

This article was originally published on Deseret Digital Media's Innovation Wire. Click here to subscribe.