Website Traffic Series Part 5: Pulling an April Fools Prank

by Mark in 18 Comments — Updated Reading Time: 2 minutes

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.

Website Traffic Series Part 5: Pulling An April Fools Prank Photo

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?

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18 thoughts on “Website Traffic Series Part 5: Pulling an April Fools Prank”

  1. This type of trick can only be practiced for blog which has already has strong base in the yall think this an be used for new blogs? maybe readers will run away after thanks.

  2. @xumb, not much you can do about it, except forget fair game and publish your prank earlier. But I don’t think this is a cool idea.

  3. daniel, yeah didn’t really put much thought in it. my mistake! will come up with a better one next year! but, like you said, people are gonna be expecting it huh? so what can we do about it?

  4. @Faathir, larger blogs and websites do have a higher chance of getting traffic, but if you get creative enough both with the prank and with the promotion behind it, I think even a small blog could end up with a lot of traffic. All it takes is a link from a popular site after all.

  5. You know John cow uses sitepoint to get traffic,he doesnt sell it the blog.It is has technique to get good traffic

  6. This type of “trick” can only be practiced for blog which has already has strong base in the y’all think this an be used for new blogs? maybe readers will run away after that.. LOL

  7. lol idk this might be a double post was typing something bout y not make the number bigger? lol 1-2million since is onli a prank lol

  8. Another great idea, although it’s takes a really good imagination and a lot of time and work to come up with one that will fool others.
    The problem is that once people are reminded from another websites that it’s April, then it will be very hard to make yours realistic.


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