Clickbait can be a lot of things: profitable, useful… and downright weird. Website owners can use it to make money and generate more traffic. We all like to earn some easy cash and draw more attention to our online presence! So should you use it on your website? Here’s what you need to know.
What is Clickbait?
According to Dictionary.com, it is:
A sensationalized headline or piece of text on the Internet designed to entice people to follow a link to an article on another web page.
Due to the vast amount of clickbait on the Internet, it’s clear that it works. And the more outrageous it is, the better! Most clickbait articles center around “shocking” news or celebrity gossip, making bold claims to grab peoples’ attention and make them feel like they are missing out. You’ve probably seen the “Dermatologists Hate Him!” or “This One Weird Trick Will Help You Lose Weight.” Or maybe you’ve seen articles like
“Celebs You Didn’t Know Sadly Passed Away,”
“Why Hollywood Won’t Cast These Child Stars,”
“False Facts About Quinoa You Always Thought Were True.”
Yes, those are all real clickbait articles, and no, I’m not going to link to them. Basically, clickbait is an article with a really compelling title, but it doesn’t usually deliver on its promise.
So, Should You Use Clickbait?
Clickbait companies really want you to add their widgets to your site. They’ll even pay you to do this. Just check out this compelling argument by a major clickbait company. They promise to: “Grow your audience and revenue without compromising quality,” delivering “100% pure editorial content” and more! Sounds good, right? But there’s a catch.
Let’s say you add one of these widgets to your site. You’re successfully click-baiting clientele to your site, but despite Zergnet’s claims, you generally will be compromising quality.
You’ll lose your readers’ trust
Using clickbait can cause your audience to lose trust. Once you lose that, well, gaining it back is nearly impossible. Often, you see clickbait along the headlines of “Can’t believe they died!” with a picture of Tom Hanks and once you click the link he’s nowhere on the list. A lot of the times the title is filled with an empty promise, “How to lose 10lbs in a day!” and then selling a diet program that takes months.
People will become cautious to click
Clickbait lingers on the line of dishonesty and it exaggerates (or even fabricates) topics to the point of lies. If you fool people too frequently with false clickbait titles, they’re less likely to click in the future.
Irrelevant topics fail to attract your desired audience
Clickbait can also attract the wrong sort of audience. While political clickbait about Kanye West and Donald Trump might seem like a great way to funnel traffic to your site, angry blog and social media comments left behind might detract from any traffic gains you’ve made. Chances are, this clickbait will have absolutely nothing to do with your business or blog. If that’s the case, you shouldn’t be using it.
Clickbait traffic will muddle your data
Clickbait is likely to muddle your site’s analytical data. Say, you’re getting over half a million hits on one link. While you might be getting some high numbers, analytics could be useless when looking for advertising demographic data.
While clickbait can draw attention and a new audience to your site, most website owners should not be using it. Running a celebrity gossip site? Go for it! Otherwise, stick to your own topics and grow your audience organically. That extra revenue from the clickbait companies just isn’t worth it.