StumbleUpon is kind of a site that flies under the radar a bit, yet it is a fantastic way to bring in oodles of web traffic. I’m pretty sure some small blogs operate solely based on SU traffic, or at least they get a huge chunk of their traffic from StumbleUpon. In this short guide (just over 1k words) I’m going to show you how you can use StumbleUpon to get traffic to your site.
How It Works
StumbleUpon is a website where users first create a profile and pick interests. Next, they can hit the big, orange stumble button which will show them a random website that they might be interested in. You also can search within your interest categories. If you like the website, you can upvote it. If you don’t like it, you can downvote. Based on your interests and what you upvote or downvote, StumbleUpon refines the results that they show to you.
You also can submit links to StumbleUpon. Submitted links have to go into one category or interest. How much they get shown to users depends on how many times they get upvoted. I’ve seen a lot of links on StumbleUpon that reach 100k+ views (these are links I’ve seen, not created or submitted). Most of my links seem to get between 20-50 views and then they stop getting more page views.
Helping Your Content Get Views
There are some things you can do to get your content viewed more.
First, use a good first image that is captivating. That will be the first thing people see on your page, and that might also see it as a thumbnail on the StumbleUpon homepage for their profile.
A good web design is important too. If a design is messy or really dated looking, I typically just click out of it ASAP. A good design with boring content might catch my attention. I think the main thing is to make the content the focus of the post. Don’t have a ton of ads going on or distractions drawing away from the content.
A good title also helps. Most people will already be on your page when they see the title, so I would go for something shorter but very descriptive. List posts seem to do well on StumbleUpon, things like “50 places to visit before you turn 50” are popular.
When adding a link to StumbleUpon, you can also write a comment and add tags. This helps to get your content noticed.
StumbleUpon also allows you to follow other users and for them to follow you. Your followers may be shown your submissions, and you can share things with them via a share button. You can also import contacts into StumbleUpon, and they then will be invited to join StumbleUpon and/or follow you there. Doing all of that can help your content get noticed and shared more.
Besides having an actual profile with actual friends and sharing stuff with those friends, you also should actually participate on SU by stumbling stuff, upvoting things you like, and submitting links other than your own. I’m pretty sure that StumbleUpon will eventually ban you if you only submit your own links.
Besides participating purely to build your profile and promote your own stuff, SU also provides you an opportunity to find great content in your niche or blog category. This could give you the opportunity to find blogs you otherwise wouldn’t, and maybe you can find other bloggers to interact with.
You also should find content that gives you ideas or inspires you to make your own content. I’ve seen a lot of great examples of types of viral content to make via StumbleUpon. There are ways to make viral content even in niches that you don’t think it would be possible, like bookshelves.
Problems With StumbleUpon
Although StumbleUpon can bring in tons of traffic, and it is targeted by interest, the traffic isn’t all that great. Most of the traffic bounces, meaning people look at your page and then hit the orange stumble button to go to another page. Stumblers just don’t interact with the content they are shown much. Even if they do, they probably won’t upvote you, and they likely won’t come back.
As such, StumbleUpon is not great for selling stuff. Stumblers just want to see content related to an interest. They aren’t shopping and if you put a product review on SU, it will probably instantly get a few downvotes and be done.
Super specific articles also don’t do well. For instance, if you run a travel site and have a specific post on Lutsen, Minnesota with images and what to do there, it would probably do well in Google, Yahoo, Bing and there probably is an exact audience for that post.
However, if you want to put that example post on StumbleUpon, it would have to go in the “Travel” category. Most people browsing that category probably will read your title and click on, as they have no interest in travelling to Lutsen, Minnesota. Perhaps some will stay to quickly look at your images, but you aren’t going to be finding specific people looking for articles about Lutsen, Minnesota. A generic post about travelling (maybe tips?), image galleries, or lists of places to travel to would all be better posts to put into the travel category of StumbleUpon.
So Why Bother With StumbleUpon At All?
Despite being low quality traffic that isn’t all that targeted and that mainly will be users that don’t interact with your content, SU is still a way to get page views, earn ad revenue, and there is the potential that your post could take off.
I would imagine that those posts on SU that I see get 500k page views also get at least a few hundred interactions, some backlinks, social shares, and earn followers, not to mention ad revenue.
All of that makes it worth it to post to SU. You could hit it big. At the very least, you’ll get a few page views. It really doesn’t take long to setup StumbleUpon and it only takes a few seconds to add each new link, so there is really no reason not to do it.
Hopefully this post gives you some ideas on how to use StumbleUpon and how you can use it to get traffic to your website.