The first article in this series on how to drive visitors to your blog through Social Bookmarking
gave a basic introduction to the concept of social bookmarking, and then focused on the necessary steps to be successful with Digg. This second edition of the series will focus on StumbleUpon
, which in my opinion is the easiest way to drive massive amounts of traffic to your blog.
Whether or not you're familiar with StumbleUpon already, or interested in the service they provide or not, this article will outline exactly why you, as a blogger, should sign up for an account with them as soon as possible, and start driving targeted visitors to your blog right away. I'll admit that I put it off for too long, mainly because the concept of installing a toolbar for my browser turned me off. That doesn't matter however, because millions of people don't seem to mind the toolbar as long as it provides a service they are interested in, and that's what's important for us.
As I've already hinted at, using StumbleUpon's services will require you to install a toolbar, and this is where the most important actions of StumbleUpon take place. The idea behind it all is that you state what you're interested in reading about when signing up for your StumbleUpon, and then "stumble" through various websites and articles that are recommended to you based on your interests. The toolbar is also "intelligent" in the way that it learns what you like as you mark the sites you browse with thumbs up, or thumbs down.
This is also where Stumble as a promotional tool comes in. If you mark your blog or one of your articles with a thumbs up, people with similar interests will immediately be sent to your article, and based on whether or not they like it, more people will be sent there as well. The most important thing to generating massive traffic with Stumble is the initial thumbs up right after the article has been submitted for the first time. My estimations from my initial testing with is that with as little as five or six thumbs up, you're guaranteed at least somewhere between 500 and 1000 visitors to your article. If the article then gains initial thumbs up after that, the number will continue to increase.
Sounds like a breeze, doesn't it? Well, if you truly want to take full advantage of StumbleUpon's potential, and drive recurring traffic to your blog through it, there are some more steps you should take before you start submitting your own articles. As always when working on promoting your blog, you should take all the necessary measures to ensure that it is userfriendly, and that your content is actually interesting for people that don't know you. Don't go around submitting stories on how your dog took a nap in your bed and you became really frustrated with it to any social bookmarking site, because it won't appeal to people outside of your social circle.
Once you're confident that your content is up to par, you can start working on the factors that are directly related to your Stumble profile, and affects the success you will experience when using it as a promotional tool. It has been suggested by many that these are the factors that are important:
- Number of Fans
As you can see from the screencap of my profile, each user on StumbleUpon has a certain number of "fans". Sounds frightening? No worries, in plain text fans are just people that have added you as friends. Expanding your network is easy enough, just find people with similar interests as yourself, add them as friends, and send them a message. If they reply and add you back, that's great, and if not you can simply remove them. Another way of dramtically improving your amount of fans is to submit articles that become popular with tens or even hundreds of thumbs up, as your profile will be featured on the articles you submit. A good way is to find articles popular on other social bookmarking sites, and submit those that haven't been submitted. If you're persistent, some of them are bound to take off, and increase the exposure for your profile.
- Users in Your Network
From what I can tell, users in your network are simply the number of people that have visited your profile, and it has been suggested that this will influence your status on Stumble. The same suggestions as above apply for this point as well, and generally all attention towards your profile is good for your status.
- Reviews of Your Profile
In addition to having a profile, each user on StumbleUpon also have their own pages where people can rate the users with thumbs up or down, and additionally review the member (see my page). The more positive ratings and reviews, the more influence your ratings of each website will have.
All of these factors will play a role at how much success you will see with Stumble, because they directly play a role in how much influence you are given, which in turn will directly affect how many visitors will be sent to the articles you give thumbs up. Additionally, the status of the other people who give your articles thumbs up will naturally also play a role in how successful you are.
A simple, yet effective way of increasing your success rate with Stumble is one technique that I've used and found extremely effective. Directly after you give one of your articles thumbs up, go find people interested in the topic(s) of the article, and send them a friendly message introducing yourself and say that you think they might be interested in this article you wrote (include the link). If you want, you can say that if they like it, they should feel free to give it a thumbs up, but I've found that with these things subtlety really is a virtue.
Another effective method, if you have a lot of mutual friends that is, is to use the very obvious but yet not very much used "Send to" function in the toolbar. This will let you send any page to all of your friends and include a personal message, like for instance " Could you do me a favour and give this page a thumbs up? "
. It's a very easy way to collect a favour or two from your friends, but of course it depends on that you have actually kept in touch with the ones you are sending the messages. Nobody likes someone who just keeps coming around when they need a favour!
As you can see, just as with most other things, StumbleUpon will require some work if you are to reap the full benefits of it in terms of traffic. I have however found that this is one of the easiest ways to generate traffic for your blog or website, and one of the best things is that unlike many other social bookmarking services, the traffic will not die out immediately after it peaks, but rather it will keep sending you a decent amount of visitors for up to weeks after.
If you have some suggestions on other measures you can take to increase your chances of success with StumbleUpon, feel free to join in on the discussion by commenting - even guests can reply! In the next series of this article I will take a look at Technorati's Where's The Fire
service, and how you can effectively use it to drive traffic to your blog. If you want to stay on top of news and articles from Bloggst, be sure to subscribe to our RSS feed