Thursday, January 26, 2012

Savvy Enterepreneur: Using StumbleUpon to Drive Traffic

I’ve recently become convinced that StumbleUpon can really help drive traffic to your website if you use it somewhat regularly. I’ve been spending some time playing around and reading tips on the best way to utilize it and being the generous geek that I am I thought I’d share a few tips for those of you totally new to it all.

StumbleUpon is often described as a bookmarking site, but in my opinion it works much better as a discovery vehicle and a traffic source. It is a social network, so this means you need to interact and yes follow, not just promote. However it takes much less diligence than Facebook and Twitter to start seeing results.

Getting Started

First things first, set up an account, fill in your profile and interests and start following people - your friends, people you interact with on Twitter and Facebook, bloggers you read, etc. I also highly recommend downloading the toolbar for your browser it will make things much easier.

Once you’ve got your profile all set and are following a few people, start stumbling. This means letting StumbleUpon suggest websites, images, and video based on your interests and what the people you follow like. This is the discovery part. You will undoubtedly find some new things that interest your, articles worth reading, and just generally entertaining stuff.  The more you use it and rate things, the more you’ll find things that actually interest you.

A web page only gets into the system if a user likes it. The more a page gets liked the more it gets shown to other users. If a page gets disliked or no response it will eventually drop out of the system.

Distinguishing Yourself

If you are a helpful user you make the system better and people will take a look at what you recommend. It’s really that simple. So every time you find something on the web you appreciate, like it via your stumble bar. It’s also helpful to write a quick review and/or add tags. This will not only help you find the things you liked again, but will help other users get what they’re looking for.

Make sure to define your interests, not only will this help you find the types of things you’re looking for it will also help you establish yourself as a source for information around that topic.

Also join groups, search out new users and interact. It is a community and the more you give the more you get back.

Generating Traffic

First a word of caution, just liking your own pages can get you removed from the site and it’s simply not being a helpful user. However you certainly can like your pages, especially new blog posts, give them a quick review and get them into the system.

If you submit something new you’ll get a window that pops up congratulating you on a new discovery, take the time to fill in the tags and review, it will help your content get seen by those who are truly interested in it.

The thing about StumbleUpon is that while you can suddenly get 1,000s of new eyes on your website, most of the traffic jumps off just as quickly. So you must still have great content, striking images, or useful videos. Content that has the potential to go viral is great to submit and also helps pull users further into your website.

So take some time each week to use StumbleUpon to find new things, explore the community and submit one or two of your own pages. You will get little boosts in traffic and if your content is useful and engaging they will come back and they will share.

Now go stumble and by all means follow me!

I encourage comments directly to this post, but also feel free to email me directly with questions, reactions, struggles, etc. genevieve [at] lightboxsf [dot] com

If you're an Etsy seller in the San Francisco Bay Area, contact Jen from Mama's Magic Studio about joining SFEtsy!


Jen (Mama's Magic Studio) said...

I am definitely putting this on my to-do list! thanks for the really helpful overview and tips and explanation of how it works. I'd heard of Stumbleupon, but really had little idea of what it was all about. this was hugely helpful!

Chase Clark l Oh The Cuteness! said...

Thanks for posting this - I've been on StumbleUpon for a while now but I've never added anything new, so I'm going to start!

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