Website Traffic Series Part 5: Pulling an April Fools Prank


On the last part of this series we talked about a shady technique to increase your traffic: faking a blog sale. Overall I don’t think it is an effective one, and even if it was, I would still encourage people to stay way from those shady tactics. Your credibility is worth more than the visitors you might end up receiving.

That being said, there is one day of the year where you could actually pull a fake blog sale. In fact you could pull out pretty much anything you wish, and the wilder the better. You guessed: April 1st.

The concept: On the offline world April Fools’ Day is no big deal. I remember I used to pull some small pranks in school and in work, but that was about it. On the Internet, however, it is a wide spread phenomenon. Just consider that Google itself does several pranks every year.

Basically you need to come up with something weird, new, controversial or funny and publish it on April 1st. Obviously it does not need to be real, though the closer you can make it to a realistic situation, the better.

If you play your cards well you might end up receiving a lot of traffic and backlinks from websites that either got fooled by your content, or that got the prank but found it interesting nonetheless.

Does it work?: Yes, although it is losing efficacy in recent years.

Until some years ago when the practice was not so vivid on the Internet, websites that managed to create creative pranks on April 1st would get flooded with traffic.

Nowadays most websites try to come out with a prank, and as a consequence Internet visitors already know what to expect on that day.

Some people are also trying to combat this prank-blindness effect by jumping the gun and releasing their pranks a couple of days earlier (I am not talking about time zone differences). Michael Arrington and Tim Ferris did this last April (last May, actually), and I don’t think it is a cool thing. If we keep at this pace within some years people will be shooting their pranks on January…

How to get started: Just keep the date on your calendar for next year. If you want to maximize the traffic you will receive, however, you better plan something in advance. You need to be creative.

This April, for example, I said that Daily Blog Tips had been acquired for $168000. While it managed to attract some buzz, the “we have been acquired” prank is as old as the Internet, so next year I will definitely try to come up with something more exciting.

If you need ideas for inspiration check out the website April Fools’ Day On The Web.

Over to the readers: Have you tried to generate buzz and traffic with an April Fools’ Day prank? Did it work?

Website Traffic Series


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