ProtoViral: A Contagious WordPress Theme

Over the past year or so I’ve been doing research into the why and how of web content “going viral,” from my Link Attraction Factors report (with the accompanying tools, API, and plugin) to my Viral Content Sharing Survey report. I’ve also taken this behavioral data and distilled it into more actionable items like a viral marketing checklist, viral seeding requirements, and of course the 10 symptoms of highly viral WordPress themes.

Out of this research has grown my latest project, the ProtoViral WordPress theme. Built to be flexible design-wise, it allows you to customize it to match the look and feel you need, while including a wide range of flexible and powerful viral marketing features built right into the theme. I’ve rolled a bunch of functionality that previously existed only in plugins into widgets and ProtoViral’s configuration panel, making them easier to control and integrate into your design.

ProtoViral is still in development, but some of the features so far include:

  • Referrer-based Content Filters (show special content to visitors from specific sites)
  • Easy to turn-off Ad space
  • Customizable and Widgetized social voting buttons that can appear in a variety of places
  • A Tweet-this button that automatically creates shortened URLs when you publish posts
  • Pre- and post- entry call outs (invite readers to subscribe to your feed or follow you on Twitter
  • Funnel links (direct traffic from every page on your site to a specified post)

Here’s a screenshot of some of the functionality on the configuration panel:

And here’s the voting widget configuration:

I’ve been putting the theme through its paces on a new site I launched last week called GreenOverrun and so far it seems to be doing pretty well, with 13,153 visits to its 3 posts since it launched 10 days ago.

If you’d like to test it out or give me suggestions on additional functionality (I’ve been surprised the entire time by how much you can do with a WordPress theme and have a whole new appreciation for WP now, so don’t hold back on pipe-dream ideas), let me know in the comments below.

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