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Saturday, 28 October 2017

Blogger's Corner: The Secret that is...StumbleUpon

StumbleUpon...There seems to be a secret minority split of bloggers that really know about the power of StumbleUpon & how it can be a fantastic source of relevant and quality traffic.

Like all social networks, the more you put into it, the more you get out of it. AND, the more self promotion you do, the less you'll get from it.

StumbleUpon is a platform discovery tool - its purpose is to put your content in front of users who have expressed an interest in your posts' categories. It primarily uses two signals for this - a simple checkbox system that a user manual chooses, and then the second is the way that user interacts with content they discover. It learns what you do and don't like through its thumbs up / thumbs down system.

Here's a few unwritten rules to getting the most from StumbleUpon.
  • Make sure your user account only selects categories you genuinely want to read about
  • Try to spend 10 minutes a day being shown content that you put thumbs up / down to
  • For every 10 pieces of content you engage with or submit, you should submit one of your own links (this is a very rough guide, but do not simply submit your own content as it will see this behaviour and limit how far it shares your posts)
  • Submit blog posts or images that you come across outside of StumbleUpon to spread them further across the network

How to get started on StumbleUpon?

It couldn't be easier and you can be live & kicking within a few minutes
  1. Head to www.stumbleupon.com & register for an account
  2. Set your categories - be strict & accurate with what you pick
  3. Get rating! Just click that Stumble button and rate the content you see...

Next...You need to start engaging with content that isn't your own. You can do this one of two ways:

Use the Stumble button

Bear with the platform if you do this way from the off - you need to give it a chance to learn what you do and don't like. So, if after a few minutes you haven't discovered content that you love, keep going as the more thumbs up or down you can give it, the more it knows what you like to see... If after a few weeks you are still struggling, cut down your categories - I found that this really boosted the content I was shown towards what I was liking. The more categories you have selected, the more the dimensions the platform has to learn.

Stumble as you browse the web

As you are browsing the web each day, you can Stumble content that you enjoy. I like using this method as it constantly adds data to the platform about what you like. It also adds other people's content to the platform for more of its users to see... And remember, sharing is caring!! You can see in the above image that I often Stumble ALL of the content on the weekly traffic threads.

TOP TIP: install the Chrome browser extension for StumbleUpon as it makes it SO much easier to submit and/or rate content when you're online. 

How to submit your own content?

Every once in a while, I submit my own URL, but very rarely. I use threads within Facebook groups to get my content submitted. This helps my content, but also helps other users have their submitted too. If you take part in these threads, it is often compulsory to Stumble all of the content in return. Don't feel pressured to give it all thumbs up - still only do this to content you would do ordinarily otherwise you'll start to see related content because the platform thinks that you enjoy that type of content.

In the Equestrian Bloggers Facebook group, we have a monthly thread dedicated to StumbleUpon. It is open all weekend, and usually is the last weekend of the month. So, if you're a member of the group, make sure you check it out!

Basically, use your common sense - the platform is there for the benefit of its users not just to drive traffic to your blog!

Does it work?

Yes, it does. Some people typically say that they see a lower time on site and higher bounce rate from StumbleUpon traffic, which is expected - it's basically the users seeing your content that aren't interested in it; the thumbs down people. However, since I have taken a very proactive approach to "teaching" StumbleUpon about what I like and don't, I haven't experienced this issue so prominently. 

The first thing to note... If you engage with StumbleUpon Facebook threads, you will NOT see all the people stumbling your content on them as the StumbleUpon referrer (under Social in Google Analytics). Instead, this traffic referrer will be Facebook - the other people in the thread click your link and come from Facebook, not StumbleUpon. 

Once your URL is submitted, it is then shown to a wider base of users. But don't expect miracles - one day one you won't see 100's of referrals from the network.  I have noticed a direct correlation between the traffic I see from StumbleUpon against the level on interaction I have with the platform. 

For the purpose of creating this post, I have very deliberately taken action to be less interactive with the platform, so that when I am, you can see the traffic spikes. To put this into context, the baseline is around 50 visits per day. The chart below shows the daily sessions that my blog sees from StumbleUpon & you are clearly able to see the periods when I have boosted my efforts around the platform...

Help others share your content on Stumbleupon

Until saw the direct impact of my efforts on the platform against the traffic uplift that it provides, I hadn't considered adding the option of sharing to StumbleUpon directly from my site. 

I use the Add This plugin to my blog for social media follow, related content and social sharing. This tool enables you to select what platforms you'd like to offer to users for them to share your content in an easy way. I've included the StumbleUpon button to my site for approximately the last 6 months which just means that if you are reading a post on my blog, it's super easy to add it to the platform. 

Get going!

So, if you haven't already, give StumbleUpon a go! & if you've tried it in the past but haven't got very far, give it another go and remember to be proactive. As with any social media, don't sit back and wait for the traffic to come to you - go out and hunt for it!

If you've enjoyed this post, STUMBLE IT! But also give it a pin too...

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