How Upworthy Won the Internet [INFOGRAPHIC]

Viral publisher Upworthy has changed the Internet forever—and won it in the process. You’ll never believe how this website started by so few people got so huge!

The viral content publisher was founded by Eli Pariser, formerly with MoveOn.org; Peter Koechley, formerly with the Onion; Chris Hughes; formerly with Facebook; and Adam Mordecai, founding curator. Going live on March 26, 2012, Upworthy has been about quality content as opposed to spam. A mere 270 days after going live, Upworthy had 791,000 Facebook shares; 10,000 Tumblr followers; and 43,000 Twitter followers.

Do titles really make that much of a difference when sharing the same video? You bet they do! Which of these titles do you think generated more views: “Zach Wahls Speaks About Family” or “Two Lesbians Raised a Baby and This is What They Got”? The former garnered one million views, while the latter received 17 million hits.

What does viral really even mean? People have to click and share the heck out of your content! And where do people share? According to Shareaholic’s Q4 study of social media traffic referrals, the majority of the audience is from Facebook.

Have an itch to change the Internet forever, too? You have to first find interesting content that’s share-worthy. Do your best to then improve the layout and framing, and proceed to post it to your site for tons of exposure. You’ll then need to promote and spread the word about the post. The last part is to rake in all the profits.

Headlines are central to Upworthy’s success. They must have an element of mystery without being overly vague—”Follow This One Tip And….Never Diet Again.” Upworthy comes up with at least 25 headlines for every post and then test their favorite of the 25. Their shares also increased by 398 percent after they added social share buttons.

Are there any potential downsides to Upworthy? Every post baits your curiosity to click on another post…and so on. These websites also paint a curated, often inaccurate view of the world.

To learn more about how Upworthy won the internet, check out the infographic below.

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