One of the tools that I have become a lot more familiar with in the past few months for driving traffic to your blog is StumbleUpon. Here are some Stumbleupon tips to effectively to get more traffic to your website.
Basically, StumbleUpon is a social media tool whereby you can rate web pages (via a simple thumbs up or thumbs down button on a toolbar to your web browser) and then they strive to show you only the sites you’d be interested in seeing. When you hit the “Stumble” button on your toolbar, you get sent to a random site, but that randomness is based on an algorithm that keeps track of what you like or dislike, and to a lesser extent what the stumblers you are following like and dislike. The result is fewer sites that waste your time and more sites you’re interested in reading. Using some basic StumbleUpon tips, you can dramatically improve your traffic statistics.
FYI: My profile on StumbleUpon is here. Feel free to follow me and accept shares and I will do the same.
That’s all well and good and I am sure that everyone wants to discover websites, posts, photos and other goodies by stumbling (it actually is great and addictive fun), but the purpose of this post is to help step you through some ways that using StumbleUpon drive traffic to your own website/blog.
I stand on the shoulders of others that know a lot more about StumbleUpon than me, starting with Brendan of BrendansAdventures — Also my thanks to the great folks at ThePlanetD for their help and tips.
• The basics first: download the toolbar from the StumbleUpon for whatever browser you use. Go to the Profile section and fill out your information, most importantly, your website and your interest in things you want to stumble. Use the Find Friends function to find friends of yours on Twitter, Facebook or your email accounts that are already stumblers.
• Using the toolbar is simple. Anytime you are on a web page that interests you, just click on the “I like it” button. If you are the first to discover a page, you will get routed to a quick form where you fill in the topics relevant to that page and can write a short summary. You can discover pages without doing this, but you should fill out those two sections as often as possible. It is quick, easy, and filling them out lends your stumble more weight. If someone has already discovered the page, you have to click on the review button (which looks like the cartoon balloon to the right of the topic section on the toolbar). That’s it. The more you “like,” the more the program can figure out what your interests are, so it can direct you to more appropriate sites each time you hit the “Stumble” button.
• The most important stumbleupon tip is to never stumble your own pages from your website. StumbleUpon considers you repeatedly stumbling your own website as spamming and will penalize you by not stumbling other people to your website as much. Although they recommend you stumble 10 other sites to 1 of yours – there is no reason to ever stumble your own site. I just don’t ever like my own pages anymore just to be safe with the program.
• Recently Daniel of Canvas of Light gave me the second most important tip I can pass along: when you start following a person you like by going to their SU homepage and clicking on “Follow” on the right side, you should also click on the box that comes up right underneath that, which is “accept shares.” If you and the person that person both follow each other and have both clicked that box, there is a very easy way to share websites that I find the most effective way to get traffic to your site.
• Although you should never like your own posts, once someone has discovered it (easy enough to do with a simple email or tweet to a friend), then you can “share” your page with any of your followers that has accepted your shares via the simple method above. When on your previously discovered page, click on the “Share” button – all the people that accept your shares will pop up and you then click on any or all of them, insert a message such as “here is a post of mine, share it if you like it.” Those shares go directly to the recipients toolbars and when then log on, a red number will appear – when they click it they will get automatically taken to the page that you recommended, with your message displayed. If they like it, then can just click “I like it.” Simple shares and stumbles.
• Follow general ‘net etiquette on this tool and don’t spam. Another StumbleUpon tip, I try to share 7-10 things spread out during the week, usually 2-3 posts from my site and the majority interesting things I found (and friend’s posts) that I think my followers will like. Follow up tip on this, make sure you keep your comments when you send shares out things that StumbleUpon won’t tag as possibly gaming the system: don’t say “please like this” or “stumble this,” but stick with something like “share if this interests you.”
• Stumble regularly. First, it is pretty fun to randomly stumble around or check out what people you are following are stumbling (via looking at their SU homepage). I try to find 7-12 things a day that I like. The more you input, the more you will get back out of it and the more the algorithm will be able to narrow to things you will like.
• Tag the things you like and write short reviews, especially if you are asking people to share your posts. More weight is given to your liking something if you put tags on it and review it. Since you want people to do that every time they like your posts – do the same when you like theirs.
• Do not stumble posts from one website more than twice a day. You might think you are helping a friend of yours by going to every one of their posts and liking and/or discovering twenty of them one day, but again, SU marks that sort of activity as spamming and diminishes the weight of your stumbles. If you want to stumble a number of pages on one website, space them out over a period of days.
Those are the basic ways to get started stumbling. I am learning there are other levels of stumbling that I might post about in the near future, but for now, get started and go with those basics. I would absolutely love if people used the comment section on this post to talk about their stumbling tips and also talked about their traffic effect from using this tool.
Supposedly StumbleUpon is now number 2 behind Facebook for all social media traffic, with 25% of the volume. If my results on my new website (after only a month, so take with a grain of salt) are any indication, this is true. StumbleUpon moves far, far more traffic to my site than Twitter, for instance. Not even a close comparison.
Further reading is another excellent post by the Travel Blog Challenge about Going Viral with StumbleUpon.