Daily Productive Sharing 180 - How to Build A Viral Site?

One helpful tip per day:)

(The English version follows)


还记得几周前的苏伊士卡船吗?今天的分享作者 Tom Neill 看到这个消息之后,立马买了 https://istheshipstillstuck.com 这个域名,并建成了一个追踪卡船进度的网站。被 NYT 报道之后,这一网站大火。今天的分享就是 Tom 记录自己一步步如何制作的幕后故事。

对了,当时这个网站上还有一个推荐书单,质量颇高。还做了亚马逊相关产品的链接,最后卖的最好的书排序如下。其中 The Box 讲述了集装箱的发展历史,非常值得一读。

  1. Prisoners of Geography — 127
  2. The Box — 111
  3. The Invisible Hook — 16
  4. The Silk Roads — 13
  5. A Splendid Exchange — 10
  6. 90% of everything — 6
  7. The Ocean of Life — 1



Inside a viral website

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Remember the Suez boat jam a few weeks ago? When Tom Neill, the author of today's share, saw the news, he immediately bought the domain name https://istheshipstillstuck.com and built a website to track the progress of the stuck ships. After being featured on NYT, the site became a huge hit. Today's story is a behind-the-scenes account of how Tom built it.

There was a high quality list of recommended books on the site at the time. There were also links to related products on Amazon, and the best-selling books in the end are listed below. One of them, The Box, tells the history of the development of the container and is well worth reading.

  1. Prisoners of Geography - 127
  2. The Box - 111
  3. The Invisible Hook - 16
  4. The Silk Roads - 13
  5. A Splendid Exchange - 10
  6. 90% of everything - 6
  7. The Ocean of Life - 1

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Inside a viral website

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More importantly (at least for this post), it also generated more than 10% of the world’s memes.

The website received around 50 million views in a 5 day period.

Personally, I went from having 208 Twitter followers to over 3,000 and my own Tweets were seen over 1 million times, which has definitely never happened before — previously no more than 15,000 people have seen my Tweets in any given month.

A quick domain search later (I generally use iwantmyname.com or instantdomainsearch.com) and a fairly obvious idea popped into my head.

Also fairly consistently, around 20% of the people who liked the Tweet decided to follow me.

I contacted Vercel support and they told me the hosting cost only came to $70 and that they were going to cover it because they thought it was fun. Honestly, great company.

After my 5-day safari into the “creator economy”, in my view, if this is to be the future, the platforms need a lot of work.

These reports aren’t just limited to the products you recommend — if someone buys anything within a 24 hour period of clicking your link, you can see, and you get commission. It’s wild.

I’m still awaiting the final reckoning of how much I earned from these links (you only get paid commission when the item is shipped, not when it’s ordered), but so far it’s been less than $500 across 3 days. Considering that in those 3 days the website had 2.7 million page views, I think it’s fair to say you’re not going to make your fortune from affiliate marketing links to books.

istheshipstillstuck.com is such a great example of a page in 2021: capitalizes on current events, is a clear candidate to be a simple static site, loads the HTML immediately but spends the next minute running next.js before it loads anything on-page, and you can buy it as an NFT