Get traffic for your website - episode 2 - get more traffic from StumbleUpon
Welcome to epsiode 2 in my series on how to get more visitors to your website, last time we looked at building Google traffic, this time we're looking at the massive social site StumbleUpon.
StumbleUpon is a strange beast and is the second biggest referal source for this website. In this episode I'll be explaining how to use StumbleUpon to your own advantage, as well as explaining why it's such a desirable system to target.
Why should you care about StumbleUpon? This is why...
I've been on CNET/News.com, frontpaged on del.icio.us, frontpaged on Digg numerous times and been on the front page of Reddit; yet StumbleUpon is still my second biggest referer (behind Google). What does that tell you?
Why StumbleUpon is a good system for bloggers
SU is great because not only does it deliver high levels of traffic, it's repeatable and scalable too. SU can deliver 5,000 people a day, or 50, that's the marvelous thing. Whereas sites like Digg either send lots of users or next-to-none, Stumble can send thousands or merely hundreds. This is because their engine works on a recommendation system; if someone with a lot of fans gives your content a vote, the fans are all sent in your direction. If the fans like it, their fans will be sent (etc). It's pretty good for that reason.
Unlike Digg or Reddit, SU can come in waves. A piece of content can get popular today and it'll deliver users to me for the next 3 weeks; but the same content might also get popular in 3 months time and the whole thing happens again. You can ride the wave that StumbleUpon brings for quite some time with the right content behind you.
Stumbles follow exposure, and vice versa
The best thing about Stumble is that it's a natural part of getting good exposure. If you get Dugg and get sent 10,000 users, within 4-5 days (when Digg traffic has died down) you'll see things pick up again as Stumble kicks off. I'm not sure why it takes a few days but it always seems to. Stumble then picks up and you get another big surge of visitors to your popular content.
How to leverage StumbleUpon
One of the most important things to consider when aiming for StumbleUpon success is the demographic: these people click a "stumble" button in their browser and are sent to a pseudo-random webpage. If your content isn't engaging immediately they will navigate away quite quickly. Therefore you need to consider the following:
You want users to hang around right? Then you need to understand how to write sensationalist titles that will capture their attention. "A few tips on improving your writing" isn't as strong a title as "10 tips to become a better writer" quantifies the information they are about to consume, and that helps. Pictures are a good idea and draw attention... Just make sure you don't just have piles of unformatted text.
Know the right people
If you know someone on StumbleUpon who has a lot of fans, try and get them interested in your website. I've had people stumble my content who have 300+ fans and that really kicks things off well. It's worth having a small group of you who happily stumble each other's content - every little helps.
As with all the communities on the Internet you'll only really get out of it once you put in. Submitting just your own site to Stumble will give you very limited results. However, submitting interesting things that other people love will usually make them a fan of yours. Once you have a few fans you can start sending them to your content once in a while. It does work and it's a good method. It's just hard work building that relationship up to begin with.
Game it with Software
I recently blogged about the Stumble Crawler; an automatic StumbleUpon submission tool that spiders your domain and submits your URLs to the popular social site. The developer claims it works fine and you don't get banned so that's always an option, although I'd be wary at this point. I've asked the author a few questions but haven't heard anything as yet.
Add a button
This is something I'll be doing soon to this site - adding a Stumble button. As with all other social sites it helps remind the user that you're after some exposure. It makes life easy for them because (in cases of sites like Digg) they don't need to leave your site to cast their vote. Therefore adding a StumbleUpon button will really help your cause.
There you have it, my two cents on using StumbleUpon for traffic. Don't neglect it - it's my second biggest source of traffic behind Google - and that's a big deal. I've been Dugg a few times, been on CNET, been on Delicious, but StumbleUpon follows each of those and surpasses them in the long run. An excellent source of traffic for bloggers.
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