In order to drive traffic to the site, Inman began creating web comics and quizzes with names like, “The 8 Phases of Dating” and “How Many 5 Year Olds Could You Take in a Fight? Before long, Mingle2 had attracted a huge user base and was winning the search ranking war against established sites like e Harmony and
It wasn’t long before one of them made an offer to buy out Mingle2 – and Inman happily accepted.
A larger header can make a strong visual statement and grab people’s attention, but The Oatmeal’s short header leaves more room above the fold for people to see post images.
Instead of the traditional email opt-in form with a field to input your email and a submit button (see Income Diary’s “Get Weekly Updates” box on the right of this page) The Oatmeal simply offers a pair of text “Email” links that take you to this page: It wouldn’t surprise me if Inman could get more email subscribers with an ever-present opt-in box on each page, but doing it this way is less pushy and it ensures that everybody who is on his list truly wants to be there.
It all started in May 2012, when Inman received a letter from lawyer Charles Carreon, of Funny Once The Oatmeal to start receiving enormous amounts of traffic, the image-heavy site was costing him, “a couple grand a month in hosting fees.” Inman didn’t have a monetization plan yet in place, so he put up a simple Paypal donation button and the words, “Like The Oatmeal?It’s a one-man operation, so buy me a cup of coffee.” Inman told The Chicagoist what happened next: “I did the donation thing, and I thought I would get a couple of dollars a day, but I was getting a lot of traffic and it ended up being much more than that.Instead of raising ,000, Inman’s campaign raised 0,024 – largely for two reasons: (1) the viral nature of charity (people are more likely to share if it’s for the greater good) and (2) because it incited a firestorm of media coverage (including stories on sites like Forbes and Ars Technica).Not two months later, Inman is in the midst of a second fundraising campaign, this time to help build a Nikola Tesla Museum in New York.
The show’s lead character, Don Draper, is the creative director of an ad agency and he gives this advice on overcoming writer’s block: “Just think about it. Sometimes the only way to think up a brilliant idea is to not think about it at all.