For those of you that have never heard of StumbleUpon, it’s a website that allows you to randomly “Stumble Upon” websites. You install a toolbar in your browser and click on a button that says, “Stumble!” and it will start to present you with websites.
There are categories that you can select so StumbleUpon will only present you with websites that contain the content that you’re interested in. It’s a very easy way to browse the web.
As website publishers and bloggers we can write content that will help drive StumbleUpon users to your site and vote for your site by clicking on a button with the “Thumbs Up” symbol. But users can also click on the “Thumbs Down” symbol as well, which is not good.
For web publishers, this article lays out the foundation for driving StumbleUpon traffic to your website or blog and getting “Thumbs Up” votes on your content. This will help drive traffic to your site and content for a long time as other StumbleUpon users “discover” your site.
Set The Foundation
Set the foundation for driving traffic to your blog by knowing what type of content will drive traffic to your blog. Content is King as they say and it applies to writing articles that get stumbled.
Here are 3 resources that will help you create the right content:
- Blog Profits Blueprint by Yaro Starak
- Killer Flagship Content by Chris Garrett
- Cornerstone Content by Brian Clark
Immense yourself in the above information and you’ll be on your way to knowing and creating exactly what type of content will get stumbled.
The kind of content I am talking about is content that encourages people to subscribe to your blog and defines you as a blogger. It also gets linked to from other blogs, as well as votes from social media sites like StumbleUpon. This kind of content does not include short opinion posts, news snippets or weekly roundup links.
A useful exercise for any blogger is to look at the content you’ve created during the previous week or month and ask youself, “Did I write any outstanding content?” If not, continue to read the above three resources and implement content described by their examples.
Another useful exercise is to take one of the example articles from on of the resources above and place words in the article that pertain to your blog. Now, this exercise doesn’t work every time, but it’s worth the time to try so you can see what great content might begin to look like in the area you blog about.
You need votes from other people to help drive traffic to your site. The more votes you get on your content the more traffic you receive. You need to get votes from different people over time. If the same people on StumbleUpon keep voting your articles, your SU traffic will diminish and could possibly stop all together.
However, it’s ok for the same people to continue to help you with your articles by voting for them. Encourage your voters to use StumbleUpon as it was intended, to “Stumble Upon” various types of Internet content. Subscribe to The Spinning Donut so you don’t miss any future articles that explain how to get different people to stumble your articles.
Also, your regular blog readers are not the same as StumbleUpon users.
Good Quality Content
This is content that people will enjoy. Whether your content is text, an image or a video, it must be good quality. Use common sense when it comes to good content. Whether you’re talking about content for StumbleUpon or not, common sense tells you that good content rules. Again, refer to the three resources above on creating good content.
Be a StumbleUpon User
Install the StumbleUpon toolbar. This will allow you to efficiently stumble websites that you find appealing. While you stumble various sites, notice what’s above “the fold”. The fold is the area you see on a website that is before you have to scroll down the page. Make sure you grab your readers attention above the fold so they don’t have to scroll down to figure out what they’re looking at. There is a higher chance you’ll lose StumbleUpon visitors if they have to scroll down to start reading your content.
Look at Your Statistics
Use the freely available Google Analytics to find out the following attributes of your visitors:
- Which browsers are your readers using? Google Analytics will show you this. Install the most common browsers on your machine so you can test what your pages look like in each browser or test them using Browsershots.
- What screen resolution are your visitors using? Design your blog around that and make sure they don’t have to scroll horizontally when they arrive. For instance, the majority of my readers come to my site using 1024 x 768 screen resolution. So I made sure my site visitors would not have to scroll horizontally. I also don’t have a humongous image that takes up “the fold”.
- Look at the Internet connection speed your readers are using when they come to your site. If you have big images and your users have slower connection speeds, that will impact how fast your home page will download to their machine and whether they stick around or not.
With the above points in mind, re-work the layout of your site if necessary to make sure your readers don’t stumble on to other sites before stumbling yours.
Good Content and StumbleUpon
- Timeless Content – Traffic will continue to arrive at content that is not time dependent. Content that StumbleUpon and other social media sites will drive traffic to your blog over a steady period of time and not just a rush of traffic for a short period of time.
- Stand-Alone Content – Content that stands alone or could be one web page for instance. A StumbleUpon user should be able to make sense of your content that gets stumbled without knowing anything about your blog or previous articles. If the article that is stumbled is in a series, make sure you provide links to each article in the series. If you’re a WordPress user, the In Series plugin makes it simple.
- Eye-Catching Content – Because StumbleUpon users click through sites quickly, make sure you’re site has some “visual-appeal” to it. The use of colors, a different theme or image can help you as long as it doesn’t push your content down further below “the fold”.
- Attention Grabbing Headlines – Writing headlines that grab their attention and an opening paragraph will encourage them to keep reading.
Bad Content and StumbleUpon
Slow Loading Pages – Here are some ways to ensure people who come to your website will quickly move on to other sites and not stay at yours:
- Large graphics that take forever to load
- A bunch of widgets that are supposedly “cool” and provide lots of functionality but take time to load and do their thing
- Playing music when someone lands on your website can slow it down as well as annoy the heck out of your readers and interrupt the music they might be already playing on their computer.
Perform a speed test on the pages you want stumbled with this free website performance tool and web page speed analysis – Web Page Analyzer. The faster the page loads the better. It will also depend on the connection speeds of your readers that you discovered with Google Analytics.
Web Page Errors – If you’re pages contain errors, fix them. If you know how to fix them yourself, great. If not, get help in forums or hire a technical person to fix them for you. If you’re a blogger and the technical side of things interest you, read Caroline Middlebrook’s Blog Validation: Do You Validate Your Blog?
Too Many Ads – StumbleUpon users are ‘web-savvy’ folks. Like anyone visiting your website, most folks will tolerate some ads. But if you trick your site out with every possible ad that comes your way so you think you can make megabucks, you’ll have visitors going the other way – away from your site – quickly.
If you want to check out other ways to make money with your website read Make Money Blogging By ‘Selling’ Your Knowledge.
Social Media Voting – If you submit your articles to multiple social media sites, don’t submit the link from one social media site to another. In other words, DO submit the content page from your blog or website to a social media site, but don’t submit a link from Digg to StumbleUpon. This is considered greedy because you’re actually trying to stumble another social media link and not the link to you content.
Don’t Tie Their Hands (or Browsers) – Pop-ups or stuff that gets in the way of your content being read by StumbleUpon users is not good. Anything that takes your reader’s attention away from your content will cause irritation. Just say no. 🙂