One of the ways of getting initial traffic to a new blog is by writing useful comments on relevant posts and discussion forums. The other way is to join social media networks like Twitter and Facebook. StumbleUpon is one of the early social networking sites. It may not have a buzz name like Twitter but it still has a loyal audience and has potential to refer visitors to your blog. This article will focus on StumbleUpon and how you can use it to build your personal network, your online profile and initial traffic to your new site.
What is StumbleUpon?
StumbleUpon is one of the leading bookmarking and sharing sites on the web. It is a database of web pages, videos and other online content submitted by users. By using StumbleUpon’s browser toolbar, you can connect with other bloggers and readers that share your interests. The primary way of getting around is the Stumble button in the StumbleUpon browser toolbar. When clicking that button, you are taken to a random website that was “stumbled” by other users and that falls within the areas of interest you have defined in your profile.
The network by itself encourages low engagement rate on sites as users “stumble” from one site to another without knowing what site it is or what it is about. Kind of like TV channel surfing really. Your StumbleUpon traffic will have a high bounce rate and low time spent on site but that is the nature of the tool. You should design your page to make it as immersive as quickly as possible in order to get more people to explore more of it. If your site is not engaging enough StumbleUpon visitors will soon enough click on the stumble button and go on to the next site. Despite the low quality of traffic StumbleUpon is still worth some of your time.
Register your account at StumbleUpon
Create your public profile. Include personal information, include a picture, choose your interests, and write a short bio about you and the blog that you are writing. Do not forget to include a hyperlink to your site in your bio.
Submit your favorites
Download the StumbleUpon browser toolbar and start adding your personal bookmarks to the Stumbleupon database. Go through your RSS newsreader, go through your browser bookmarks, go through the sites you follow on Twitter and submit all your favorites. If you are the first one to submit a page, then you will get a box saying that you discovered the website. You will need to write a quick review and a series of tags which best fit the site. The site is then available for other StumbleUpon users to surf into using the toolbar. For already submitted sites, just give your thumbs up, or write a short review if you prefer. These submissions will be a good backbone of your StumbleUpon profile.
Make new discoveries daily
Be a part of the community. In order to achieve success with StumbleUpon, you have to become a part of the community. In your daily news reading / blog surfing, make sure to give thumbs up and write reviews for quality articles that are relevant to your content. The more people that like articles that you submit / review, more people will subscribe to your favorites, more friends requests you will get, and then your future stumbles will have potential to generate more exposure.
StumbleUpon is a social media site and the point is to share great content with people who share similar interests. Take a look at the StumbleUpon review page of the other articles you submitted / thumbed up / reviewed. Notice which user discovered it, which users wrote reviews for it and which users liked it. Take a look at their profiles, add them as a friend and subscribe to their favorites. Check the “How Similar Are You?” section of the user profile. There you can see if the user has similar interests as you. Also check out the “suggested friends” list in your own profile. You will get suggested friends based on your interests and you can add them as a friend at the click of a button.
Networking is an important part of StumbleUpon if you want to get exposure for your posts. You may have great content, but if you don’t have a large base of friends you will find it hard to get the votes needed to get the traffic. Befriend active StumbleUpon users and stumble and review some of their content if they have a blog or website.
Be an active stumbler yourself. Don’t just submit your own sites. Get out there and vote on other people’s sites as well. You need to recommend sites to your friends, you need to make friends, and provide well written reviews of relevant sites. Just like you want your readers to value your opinion, you need your StumbleUpon friends to value your opinion to increase your profile. Make sure to check out the pages that your friends send to you. Write your comments back to them, thumb up the site, write a review if you like it. This way you will be seen as a valuable member and people will start subscribing to your favorites and making you a friend.
Invest your time
Be consistent and invest your time in your network building. Do the steps 3, 4 and 5 consistently every day and you will soon find yourself in a network of people that are interested in the content you are producing, and that are active StumbleUpon users as they have recently submitted / reviewed / thumbed some relevant articles to your content. Active users command more traffic and they’re more likely to take an action because they’re stumbling actively anyway.
Send your new article to your friends
When you have a new article send it to your friends to check out. As you have a lot of active stumblers in your network and they all are interested in the content of your blog, you will likely get friends that will like to submit your new article, that will like to review it and that will give it a thumbs up. You can submit your article yourself but you will see much greater results if other people submit your content for you.
The snowball effect
It all starts with somebody stumbling your article. When one friend discovers or thumbs up your article, this sends a message to StumbleUpon that the page is popular so it sends it out to more people. The more people that give it the thumbs up vote, the more people see it. This creates a snowball effect and gives exposure of your article to new stumblers.
Do some onsite exposure as well. Put Stumble button onto your articles to remind people to vote for your article. Link to your StumbleUpon profile on your About page and encourage your readers to add you as a friend. Install Referrer Detector, one of the interesting WordPress plugins, to your blog. This plugin displays a greeting message to visitors that come from different referrers. For example, you can welcome your StumbleUpon visitors with following message: “Hello fellow Stumbler! Don’t forget to give me a thumbs up if you like this page!”
Analyse the performance
Do some analysis on the exposure and performance of your articles at StumbleUpon. Check out the review page of your article and see who discovered it, who reviewed it and who gave it a thumbs up. Friend those who stumbled your article, subscribe to their favorites and thank them. This way you might create another snowball effect as the more popular your articles are, the more new friends you will be able to find, which will then help the exposure of your future articles.
All in all these 10 simple steps will help you grow your professional network and increase your traffic via StumbleUpon. Go on, start stumbling now! For more advice on driving traffic to your content check out my blog post marketing routine.