March 6, 2015

5 Lessons Learned From Going Viral

Lesons Learned from Going Viral

For many bloggers, the idea of “going viral” is the pinnacle of blogdom success…unprecedented levels of traffic, a guaranteed increase in social media followers, and the opportunity to have your  voice be heard by an astounding number of  people.  It’s the ultimate blogging goal, but for most bloggers, it’s nothing more than a highly elusive dream.

And that’s how it was for me too…until I went viral.

A few weeks ago, I wrote a piece called “They Lied…It Matters How You Birth”.   I poured my heart into that essay and expected a decent response from my regular readers — I am, after all, a baby blogger and birth is kind of important in the baby world.  What I didn’t expect, was that this little piece apparently had a rocket ship hidden up its tail-end, because within a few hours it took off blazing across the internet realms.  1 share turned into 10…then 100…then 10,000 and before I knew it I was contacting my web-host to make sure my site wouldn’t crash.  Over 20,000 shares later, I’m still asking myself, “Did that really just happen?!”

Lessons learned from going viral

So like any good blogger, I wrote about my experience.  In list form, of course.

5 Lessons I Learned From “Going Viral”


I’ve written on my fair share of divisive topics, but my viral piece was positive and encouraging– primarily a declaration that women’s feeling should be respected and valued after birth.  How could anyone argue with that?  I went to bed that night contentedly anticipating the good-natured comments I’d receive on my piece…and woke up the next morning to more hate mail than my inbox had ever seen.

Lesson learned.  In the internet world, EVERYTHING that goes viral is controversial.  Positive birth?  Controversial.  Respecting women?  Controversial.  You could probably even write an article about the grass being green, and still have a commenter say “How dare you!” 


Speaking of those commenters, some people are just the worst.  Thankfully, the good majority of the comments on my actual blog were thoughtful and respectful, even when they disagreed with my viewpoint.  But the comment threads on different Facebook pages were another story…if you write something even remotely divisive, don’t ever read those comment threads unless you have impenetrable emotions. The shroud of internet anonymity allows readers to say things that they never would have the courage to voice in real life.  “You’re retarded!”  “You disgust me!” “This is the WORST THING I HAVE EVER READ!” (Really?  Thousands of other people would beg to differ…) 
Lessons learned from going viral


And thank goodness for those other people, because some of them really are the best.  Having women open their souls to you, saying things like “I’ve never shared this before, but you’ve helped me find the courage”, and thanking me for giving their experience a voice…forget get my Google Analytics reports (though those are pretty amazing too), THIS is the pinnacle of blogging experiences. 


Going viral makes you develop a bit of a celebrity complex.  Hundreds of thousands of people reading your work, comments rolling into your inbox, hoards of new social media “fans”….you’ve made it big!  Might as well just go ahead and hire a personal body guard in true starlet fashion.  Then you actually step away from your computer screen and talk to someone in real life. 

“So I wrote this piece that was shared thousands of times and now my site is blowing up!” 

*CRICKETS*  That’s what you’ll hear, because real people (especially if they’re not bloggers) don’t really care all that much about what goes on in the internet world.  You might think about your blog day and night, but most people will read something once, maybe comment on it (but probably not), and then carry on with their lives.


And that’s really what you need to do too…carry on.  Success can be paralyzing.  You go viral and in a single day, your site gets more traffic than, well…ever.  And all of a sudden the pressure is on!  You feel like every aspect of your blog needs to be the picture of perfection and ever piece you write worthy of another viral sweep.  But let’s be honest…the chances of going viral a second time are pretty slim, and most of the visitors you had will be just that — visitors.  Maybe you’ll gain a few returning readers, but the reality is that building a loyal readership takes time, consistency, and a lot of hard work — not a single viral article that everyone forgets about when the next eye-catching piece rolls around (which is like, the next hour).

So moral of the story:  If you “go viral”, enjoy the momentary high (emphasis on momentary), ignore the meanies and be humbled by the supporters…but then keep calm and blog on.


Have you ever “gone viral”?  I’d love to know how the experience was for you!


 (Coming soon: Part 2 – The “How To” of going viral)


The following two tabs change content below.
Iulia is a former educator turned stay-at-home mama of a spunky toddler and a squishy infant. With a touch of sass and a good dose of self-deprecating humor, she has an ever-expanding repertoire of bloopers, insights, stories, and impassioned opinions to share. Iulia likes to think she has this parenting gig figured out, but her littles remind her daily just how far from the truth that is.

Latest posts by Bestofbaby (see all)

Previous Post Next Post


    Reply Christine from So Domestically Challenged March 6, 2015 at 10:37 am

    LOL. It’s so true. I’ve not gone viral, BUT I know from message forums that everything you just said is pretty accurate.

    • Reply Bestofbaby March 7, 2015 at 10:12 pm

      Oh my goodness, message forums are even worse!!

    Reply Elizabeth March 6, 2015 at 8:44 pm

    I may never be there but I love your take on it! I’m in a weird place right now where I wasn’t blogging one short month ago, and I’m now immersed in a fledgling blog. Being a consumer vs. a creator of content are so completely different! A month ago I would have been crickets, and now I totally get it.

    Btw, I read that piece and really enjoyed it! But I didn’t comment, because that was pre-blogger me. πŸ™‚

    • Reply Bestofbaby March 7, 2015 at 10:08 pm

      Elizabeth I totally get this! I read blogs for years and years before actually starting mine…and I probably commented a total of 3 times πŸ™‚ Now as I blogger, I understand comments so much more…and comment all the time! It’s totally a consumer vs. creator thing πŸ™‚ And thank you for the sweet words on the piece πŸ™‚

    Reply Tawnya Faust March 8, 2015 at 3:15 am

    I love this advice and I agree with you that loyal readers take a lot of time and hard work. I have never gone viral and obviously (as a blogger) I would love to, but I’m happy with the readership I have and even if I never do I’ll still keep blogging! πŸ™‚

    Thanks for linking up on the Saturday Spotlight!
    Tawnya Faust recently posted…Saturday Spotlight Link-Up #10My Profile

    Reply Jessica Dimas March 8, 2015 at 4:51 pm

    Okay so I really want to read this but since I’m going to write a similar post, I didn’t want to read it and then accidentally repeat anything you said lol. I have a tendency of doing that, or even mimicking a comment that is directly above me…my brain sees it in a split second and then copies it. Anyway, after I write mine I can’t wait to come back and read yours. I think it’s so cool that something on your own blog went viral. I have yet to have that happen. That post was amazing though so I’m not surprised it went viral. It was something that was so true and so needed.
    Jessica Dimas recently posted…Blogging with IntegrityMy Profile

    Reply Heather @ My Overflowing Cup March 8, 2015 at 7:03 pm

    Congratulations on going viral and for sharing your wisdom with us! I love the reminder to stay humble.

    I’m looking forward to reading Part 2!

    Blessings to you and yours.

    Reply BritishMumUSA March 8, 2015 at 10:43 pm

    I remember that post and thinking to myself, wow you wrote that from the heart, you go girl… I felt for you in that piece as it bought me back 17 years to the same place. It is scary when things don’t go as planned. Sadly that is life most of the time, as my mum says…. We plan, then life happens.

    I am so sorry for all of the hate that you received, truly unwarranted.

    I hope that I never go viral. I like writing my little posts, and conversing with my blog tribe, and the world is good.

    So for me.. Here’s to never going viral πŸ™‚ Good luck on your next piece…. πŸ™‚


    Reply Robin @ The Golden Rule Kids March 9, 2015 at 10:12 am

    How so true! What great points sometimes all the attention comes with negative things also, but I guess you just have to ignore the negative and soak up the positive as much as possible. Thanks so much for sharing your experience.
    Robin @ The Golden Rule Kids recently posted…Teaching Children the Golden RuleMy Profile

    Reply Beka March 9, 2015 at 11:18 am

    A big congrats on going viral!

    I never thought about all the different aspects that would come with that. That is funny that you reminded us of the cricket noise that will happen when we tell our non blogging friends about a viral post.

    And now … I am going to go read that post. =)

    • Reply Bestofbaby March 10, 2015 at 12:10 am

      Thanks Beka! I hadn’t thought about the negative aspects either…probably because I didn’t think there could really be a negative response to the post!

    Reply yanique March 9, 2015 at 11:25 am

    Congrats on going viral. It doesn’t matter what you do, sadly there will always be trolls and haters. Good for you for being able to shake it off and appreciate those people who wish you well. #mondayparentingpinitparty
    yanique recently posted…Getting Children to UnplugMy Profile

    • Reply Bestofbaby March 10, 2015 at 12:10 am

      Thanks for the encouragement yanique!

    Reply Kori Tomelden March 9, 2015 at 2:39 pm

    Congratulations on the viral post! I have not had it happen yet, but maybe some day. And there’s always going to be naysayers and haters out there. Sad but true… really sad that they don’t have anything better to do with their time.
    Kori Tomelden recently posted…Becoming a BloggerMy Profile

    • Reply Bestofbaby March 10, 2015 at 12:09 am

      Kori – Agreed! Haters gonna hate…

    Reply Crystal March 9, 2015 at 3:35 pm

    Congratulations! I am super glad I read this, just in case I ever go viral. I am surprised your real life friends aren’t excited for you though. You seriously need some new friends! #mommymeetup

    • Reply Bestofbaby March 10, 2015 at 12:09 am

      Thank you! And I wouldn’t say they weren’t excited, I just don’t think they understood how “big” that is in the blogging world πŸ™‚

    Reply Melissa March 9, 2015 at 4:05 pm

    It hasn’t happened for me yet but I would love for one of my posts to go viral. I enjoyed reading your view on things.

    • Reply Bestofbaby March 10, 2015 at 12:08 am

      Thank you Melissa! I never expected it to happen for me either, so you never know!

    Reply Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom March 9, 2015 at 6:26 pm

    Ah yes, the viral post that every blogger wants.

    Well first off, congratulations!

    Secondly, I concur with the comments thing. Wow, some people can be so cruel.

    I’ve had a micro viral surge and then it stopped…. now I want it to happen again!

    Thanks so much for sharing. Keep on writing friend!
    Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom recently posted…How to Be Intentional with Planning Activities for Your KidsMy Profile

    • Reply Bestofbaby March 10, 2015 at 12:08 am

      First, I love the term “micro viral surge”. Second, your Huffpost publications are viral in my book πŸ™‚

    Reply Lou @ Mommy Sanest March 9, 2015 at 9:18 pm

    Congrats on going viral! That was really smart to call your hosting service. I would have never thought to do that.
    Lou @ Mommy Sanest recently posted…How to Make Mom FriendsMy Profile

    • Reply Bestofbaby March 10, 2015 at 12:07 am

      Thanks! I’d heard of sites crashing with sudden and unexpected traffic surges, so I wanted to make sure that didn’t happen to me πŸ™‚

    Reply Andrea Mitchael March 10, 2015 at 9:01 am

    What a great post πŸ˜€ Thank you for sharing about your experience, and congrats, friend! I work for a social media company and monitor famous Facebook pages for negative comments and spam — boy, some people have quite the nerve…threats, hatred — Well, girl — here’s some love from me to you! <3 You're doing a fantastic job, you have a beautiful blog and share your beliefs in a thoughtful and respectful way! Much love xoxox πŸ™‚ I can't wait to follow along how you blog!

    • Reply Bestofbaby March 12, 2015 at 9:32 pm

      Andrea you are so sweet and kind! And man, I don’t envy your job…you’re right, there is so much negativity! I hope you and your beautiful baby bump are doing well πŸ™‚

    Reply Brandyn March 10, 2015 at 5:24 pm

    Congrats on going viral! It does seem like a double-edged sword, the internet seems to attract a lot of negativity in general! Maybe I’ll get to experience that myself one day!

    Thank you for sharing with us at #MommyMeetupMondays!
    Brandyn recently posted…Hobbies Are For Rich People (And Other Harsh Truths)My Profile

    • Reply Bestofbaby March 12, 2015 at 9:27 pm

      Thank you Brandyn! And yes — double-edged sword is the perfect term for it!

    Reply Michelle James March 11, 2015 at 6:38 am

    I have never gone viral but my husband recently started his first Kickstarter campaign. One of my boys shared it on Reddit and, WOW, the negative comments just poured in. I was really hurt by them and my stomach hurt for a day or two and I felt so bad for my husband. But, he never read them. He only heard what we were telling him. I was proud of him for that. You are right about the anonymity on the internet. One of the worst commenters was called “lumpyguy”. I can just see him. He is probably in his 40’s hiding behind his computer in his mom’s basement. LOL! Anyway, you do have to keep on keeping on. That is what we learned from the experience. Thanks for the list. It is spot on!

    • Reply Bestofbaby March 12, 2015 at 9:26 pm

      Yes after a certain point, I just stopped reading comments (not on my blog…I read every comment on my blog, but on Facebook pages or other websites that published it). It was just too stressful.

    Reply Liisi March 11, 2015 at 12:56 pm

    I have never gone viral. But I know that people are very jealous. So if somebody gets a lot of attention then that’s usually when haters start to comment. That usually means that you are doing something right.
    Thank you for sharing! πŸ™‚

    • Reply Bestofbaby March 12, 2015 at 9:24 pm

      Thanks for the encouraging words Liisi!

    Reply Elizabeth March 11, 2015 at 2:46 pm

    Thank you for this perspective because I believe it is so true. I haven’t gone viral, but I have talked to a few bloggers who have and this is their same experience. I so appreciate it! Have a beautfiul day. Off to read your viral post now!
    Elizabeth recently posted…The Science of Happiness: 10 Ways to Choose OptimismMy Profile

    • Reply Bestofbaby March 12, 2015 at 9:24 pm

      Thank you Elizabeth! I hope you had a beautiful day yourself πŸ™‚

    Reply Lauren March 11, 2015 at 4:26 pm

    I love this.. I had a post go semi viral and I would text my husband my pageviews and he would respond, “Is that good?” lol
    Lauren recently posted…Things I Took For Granted Before I Had KidsMy Profile

    • Reply Bestofbaby March 12, 2015 at 8:58 pm

      Hahaha yea the pageview tracking can get out of control!

    Reply Meena March 12, 2015 at 11:26 am

    This article is so funny. I did actually LOL.
    I like your writing style and the post. =)

    • Reply Bestofbaby March 12, 2015 at 5:36 pm

      Thank you Meena! Glad I could make you laugh πŸ™‚

    Reply J @ A Hot Southern Mess March 13, 2015 at 9:59 am

    I have yet to see anything of mine so viral, but it sounds like you handled the situation very well! I will keep these things in mind if I am ever put in that position. Congrats on the going viral!

    • Reply Bestofbaby March 15, 2015 at 11:38 pm

      Thank you! And I hope you get to “go viral” for good reasons πŸ™‚

    Reply coolchillmom March 14, 2015 at 6:45 pm

    congrats on going viral! I have not, but I want to learn your lessons first hand πŸ™‚
    Thanks for linking at the best of the blogosphere

    Reply Mrs. AOK March 15, 2015 at 9:03 am

    Meanies stink! I cannot believe anyone would have been ugly to you, that post was so lovely and from the heart.
    I can happily say I was one of the nice-ies.
    Thanks for sharing your post with us at Mommy Monday!
    Mrs. AOK recently posted…Thank You Notes: Beach Goers, YouTube, and Sisterly BloggersMy Profile

    • Reply Bestofbaby March 15, 2015 at 11:00 pm

      You’re always a nice-ie πŸ™‚

  • Reply Monday Madness {Mar 16th}-How To Get Organized At Home March 15, 2015 at 9:00 pm

    […] (Best Of Baby Lady) […]

    Reply Brita Long March 15, 2015 at 9:32 pm

    I went viral-ish a few weeks ago when The Huffington Post linked to me. I contacted the editors about syndication, and now I’m a HuffPo blogger. The surge has slowed down, but I’m about to rework another blog post and submit that to HuffPo for publication. It’s definitely exciting getting tons of new traffic and a few new readers, but there are definitely both mean and stupid people out there. Still, it was really fun having all my friends contact me to say that one of their friends, who I don’t know, had shared my piece. πŸ™‚
    Brita Long recently posted…Good Relationship Advice for Almost EveryoneMy Profile

    • Reply Bestofbaby March 15, 2015 at 11:00 pm

      Brita was that your “last name” post? I loved that one! I saw it up on Huffpost and I was like HA! I featured Brita first! (your grammar post on our linkup πŸ™‚ )

        Reply Brita Long April 1, 2015 at 12:14 pm

        Yup, that was me! My 15 minutes in the spotlight. I wouldn’t say it went viral per se… but definitely viral-ish. You can just tell everyone you knew me prior to my fame and fortune. πŸ˜‰
        Brita Long recently posted…My Favorite Monthly Blog Link-UpsMy Profile

        • Reply Bestofbaby April 1, 2015 at 3:44 pm

          Hahaha I bet people have just been clamoring to get your autograph!

        • Reply Bestofbaby April 1, 2015 at 3:44 pm

          And I had a piece that went viral, but have see no “fortune” from it yet…so let me know how you manage that πŸ™‚

  • Reply Best of the Blogosphere Link Up #10 - daydreaming beauty March 16, 2015 at 1:00 am

    […] Lessons Learned from Going Viral- Best of Baby […]

  • Reply Best of the Blogosphere - #10 - Simply {Darr}ling March 16, 2015 at 1:30 am

    […] Lessons Learned from Going Viral- Best of Baby […]

  • Reply Best of the Blogosphere Linky Party! March 16, 2015 at 3:01 am

    […] Lessons Learned from Going Viral- Best of Baby […]

    Reply Lauren March 16, 2015 at 6:35 am

    This is great! I’ve seen articles about how to get ‘blog-ready’ to go viral, but I love your focus on how to get YOURSELF ready. Every point is spot on. I’ve had something go viral, but the experience was different because it was on HuffPo so I didn’t see the huge numbers on my own blog (which, I admit, kinda sucked). But at the end of the day, you’re so right. It’s a momentary thing, so enjoy it while it lasts, ignore the haters, and get back to what you love to do.

  • Reply Best of the Blogosphere Linky Party #10 - It's me, debcb! March 16, 2015 at 9:41 am

    […] Lessons Learned from Going Viral- Best of Baby […]

  • Reply Best of the Blogosphere #10 - Penney Lane March 16, 2015 at 11:24 am

    […] Lessons Learned from Going Viral- Best of Baby […]

    Reply Emmy March 16, 2015 at 3:34 pm

    So so true! I have seen some other people’s post go viral and it is crazy the number of comments that one post will get, but then the rest really are just normal. Viral posts might get you a few that stink around, and gets a huge temporary boost, but the long term loyal readers are built on something so much more.
    Emmy recently posted…Best of the Blogosphere: Week 10My Profile

    • Reply Bestofbaby March 17, 2015 at 6:22 pm

      Yes that’s probably the biggest lesson I learned! Viral flares are just so temporary.

    Reply Jayleen @ How Do The Jones Do It March 16, 2015 at 6:35 pm

    Wow! I’ve never gone viral but now I know what to look out for. It is amazing the things people will say behind a screen. I would have a hard time not reading it all … at least at first. Lol!
    Jayleen @ How Do The Jones Do It recently posted…Know When to Hold’em, Know When to Fold’emMy Profile

    • Reply Bestofbaby March 17, 2015 at 6:15 pm

      Yea, I read everything on my blog because I appreciate the time people put into commenting. But on Facebook comment threads, things just get out of control and nasty. It’s not worth the stress!

    Reply Lucky December 24, 2016 at 9:53 pm

    Hey Larry, I’ve followed whole tutorial. where did you get “CONSTRAINT FOREIGN KEY (foreignKey) REFRENCES ta1l&name(primaryKey)e#822b; phrase from? actually I’m wondering if there is any syntax/phrase that we should be aware of.

    Reply Artie April 30, 2017 at 5:51 pm

    Well, the article is really the freshest on this laudable topic. I fit in with your conclusions and will thirstily look forward to your incoming updates. Saying thanks will not just be sufficient, for the exceptional lucidity in your writing. I will immediately grab your rss feed to stay abreast of any updates.De lightful work and much success in your business enehrprist!Teanks.

    Reply Olivia May 1, 2017 at 1:40 am

    THIS. I refuse to buy or make anymore dog beds for my guy. I put a towel or blanket on the floor or in his crate instead. He used to pee on them. He do782&#sn1e;t anymore, but just rips them apart.I am also insane jealous of Mekko’s energy. Why does everyone else’s dog appear to be relaxed and sleeping?! What is wrong with my dog? He’s almost 2 and he doesn’t lay for crap.

  • Leave a Reply

    CommentLuv badge