Over the past few months I’ve been using StumbleUpon to increase the traffic to my blog posts. However StumbleUpon isn’t the easiest website to use so I thought I would share some tips I’ve picked up.
WHAT IS STUMBLEUPON
From Wikipedia “Stumbleupon is a discovery engine that finds and recommends websites to its users”. Essentially it is a massive list of webpages that people have submitted to the site. Other users are then in turn able to vote on how interesting those webpages are. Webpages users find interesting are shown to even more users.
HOW TO GET STARTED
Stumbleupon is a relatively easy site to use. Once you sign up you are asked to select some interests. SU will then show you webpages from these interests. Every time you click the ‘stumble’ button you’re shown a new page. You can give this page a thumbs up if you liked it. Or a thumbs down if you didn’t like it. You also have the ability to save pages if you found them interesting or want to find them again.
StumbleUpon also gives you the ability to add webpages you find interesting to the site. This can be pages from your own blog or from other places around the web. You do this using the ‘add a page’ button. Insert the web link, choose the best category for the post and add a few more tags which you think best describe the page. Just be careful adding your own pages, if you do too many at once your account could be terminated for spamming.
I CAN’T STUMBLE MY OWN POSTS?
You can. But if you do it too often SU might think you’re a spammer. To get around this you have to be an active member of the website. This means adding pages (not your own!), voting for other pages and following users. If you do this you should be fine adding a few of your pages. Just remember you should be selective about adding pages from your site to SU, and don’t add more than one or two every day.
You should also be careful with the types of posts you Stumble. Add evergreen content, that being posts which are always relevant and interesting. Tutorials and list posts work well for this. Something that will be useful to the reader no matter when they find it. Look back through your blog and find evergreen content to Stumble. So long as your links keep getting votes you will continue to get traffic to those posts.
WHAT SHOULD I STUMBLE?
You should be quite selective about what you submit to Stumbleupon. For example, don’t add every post on your blog. Choose pages that have articles on a broad topic. Tutorials and list posts do well too. Whatever post you choose it should be relevant and interesting no matter when the user is reading it.
My post about bubble printing did very well on SU. I’ve also submitted my VSCO tutorial which did well. However I submitted a post about art school and though I chose the right category it got a lot of down votes. This is because that article is aimed at a select few people. Whereas my bullet journal post could be useful for many. The most important thing above all is the posts you submit should be good, this means well written, with bright photos.
MY EXPERIENCE WITH SU
In April this year my post on how to get started with bullet journalling was added to StumbleUpon. I didn’t add this blog post, someone else saw my post, and I assume they thought it was interesting so added it to SU. I need to emphasise this, I did not add that page to the site. Someone else submitted the page.
That has been most of my experience, the whole thing is very hit or miss. Sometimes other people will add your page (mostly not), or you can add your own page and it might get a decent number of views. You really don’t know whats going to happen.
For this particular post I didn’t know it had even been submitted till I started getting a lot of hits on that page. I think it was seen by around 200 people in the space of 12 hours. StumbleUpon doesn’t have a very large user base compared to a few years ago. In five years I’ve never had one of my posts submitted. This means that though you could wait around for other people to submit your posts – you can make this easier by having SU buttons on your post pages – for the most part you need to add pages to StumbleUpon yourself.
You do however get back to the problem of SU possibly banning your account for spamming. StumbleUpon does have a version where you can pay to add your pages to the site, I’ve had great success with this over the last month. It works almost the exact same as the regular SU, but you don’t have to worry about your account being marked as a spammer. Instead you pay for your webpage to appear in certain category. The only downside of course being that you need to pay for those views.
DOWNSIDE OF USING STUMBLEUPON
You need to think about the type of viewer you’re going to get from Stumbleupon. From a stats point of view you might be doing well. But those users will read your post, possibly not, then leave. This can affect your bounce rate which isn’t good for SEO. If you’re looking for users who will interact with your blog Stumbleupon might not be the best website to use.
I’ve found Stumbleupon to be a really good way for my posts to get views. However those views haven’t turned into people who will regularly come back to check for new posts. You need to have a think if artificially inflating your view count is a good thing for your blog. There may be better ways to increase readership.