After StumbleUpon had been on the market for ten years, Forbes released a scathing article about why the site was not working effectively, and hit on some key concerns. Since that time, StumbleUpon has made some adjustments to its process, and as WebProNews recently reported, the adjustments have served to increase traffic to websites. Some of you may not be familiar with how StumbleUpon works. The easiest way to explain it is that it functions as a cross between Reddit and Pinterest. Like Reddit, people upvote articles, or downvote articles, and the more votes you get, the more views your page will get. Like Pinterest, people select certain interests and create feeds, and also follow certain categories and users. As a result, if you have a blog or online magazine with interesting content, StumbleUpon could serve to be one of the most effective tools to generating referral traffic to your website. It is not only important to understand why StumbleUpon might work for you, but in order to maximize the referral traffic, you need to understand how to make it work for you.
WHY STUMBLEUPON CAN WORK FOR YOU
Not Impacted By SEO: Though I always encourage the people I coach to make their websites SEO friendly, I always discourage them from relying on SEO. When it comes to StumbleUpon, your success is dependent on how you interact with users. If you website isn’t mobile friendly, it won’t necessarily have a negative impact on how users rank it. If you have a lot of hyperlinks, or not enough, it won’t necessarily hurt your ranking either. It is all about how your content engages with your audience. If you find a way to connect with your readers, then your page will get a positive ranking. So rather than focusing on what Google thinks your readers want, you can focus on what your readers actually want.
It’s Targeted: Just like posting your content on a niche-specific forum/subreddit on Reddit, or a content-specific board on Pinterest, StumbleUpon is a great way to get targeted traffic. Because people select topics that they are interested in, your content will be exposed to people who are interested in your niche. This means that they are more likely to click on your posts, and more likely to upvote them, which in turn will get you more exposure. This can be better than some paid banner traffic as every viewer that sees it will be one that is interested in your niche.
It’s Free: I recently did a series posts about the most effective methods to get paid traffic, and while paid traffic will always bring you more visitors on a consistent basis, it is always a good idea to take advantage of any free methods that might be available to you. While you can used paid methods with StumbleUpon, and while they can be more effective, you don’t have to spend a penny to get targeted traffic to your site. The only investment is your time, and not even much of that is required.
HOW TO MAKE STUMPLEUPON WORK FOR YOU
Engage In The Community: As is the case with Reddit, the best way to get a consistent stream of traffic is by truly engaging with the community. This means setting up an account, finding people in your niche, following them, upvoting their posts, and being sure to share posts from your niche outside of your own website. This is the best way to get a loyal following. One person I coach signed up for StumbleUpon last year, and though he has seen a few days with huge spikes generated from StumbleUpon, he hasn’t seen this consistently. Another person I coach has regularly engaged with the community, and not only has she gotten consistent traffic, often getting one or two huge spikes in traffic a week, she has also gotten a lot of ideas about content for her site and is more in tune with the niche for which she is writing.
Link It To Your Blog And Social Networks: While you will get some traffic without taking the initiative to set up links to your website and social networking sites, the best way to increase your traffic is to take the time to set up links to your StumbleUpon account. For instance, you want to import your RSS Feed onto StumbUpon (and if you don’t have an RSS Reed on your website, get was as soon as possible), and also link it up to Facebook and Twitter. If you are unsure about how to do this, Justin Wise from thinkdigital offers some easy-to-follow instructions. You’ll also want to add a StumpleUpon plugin on your website, and a StumbleUpon button on your site to make it easy to share. Doing all of these things will make it easier for users to access your content through StumbleUpon, while also making it easier to share your content on StumbleUpon.
As is the case with all free traffic sources, StumbleUpon is not a site you should rely on exclusively. It is, however, one that is easy to add, and even if you aren’t going to be engaging with the community, can still get you the occasional spike in traffic. That said, to get the best results, you want to engage with the StumbleUpon community, make sure that you link your social networking sites up to StumbleUpon, and add both the StumbleUpon plugin and the StumbleUpon button to your website. This will enhance the effectiveness of StumbleUpon and help get readers interested in your content discover your website.