StumbleUpon drives massive traffic to websites and blogs. In a earlier post Brand Building On Social Media I discussed how to use StumbleUpon to your advantage, along with Twitter, FB, Google, Pinterest and Reddit. For those who haven’t read this post, as an author your brand is you, not your book. That’s your product.
The Power of StumbleUpon
Whenever I added a blog post to my “likes” on StumbleUpon, including my own, that site received a burst of traffic. But I had no idea how or why it worked.
To help illustrate my point I’m using an infographic from Column Five.
As you can see StumbleUpon drives more traffic than Twitter, FB and Reddit — combined! This infographic shows that 51 pages per minute are added to StumbleUpon. Think about that a minute. That’s 3,060 pages per hour, 73,440 pages per day, 514,080 pages per week.
Now, as far as the infographic showing FB as the number two site… Sorry, I don’t buy that. But I’m guessing it’s because so many people on Twitter use bitly.com or something equivalent to shorten links. This, in turn, can skew the results. Regardless, Twitter will never surpass StumbleUpon. Ever.
This is why…
StumbleUpon is essentially a browser add-on, which adds a second menu bar that shows a thumbs up/thumbs down button, allowing you to “stumble upon” random sites geared toward your interests. Any post you give the “thumbs up” to is automatically added to your “Likes Page”. Your “likes” are built over time.
StumbleUpon isn’t simply a sharing site where you physically plug in a blog address. But you can certainly use it that way, too. What it does is it grabs other posts off the internet and suggests them to you. If you’ve tagged your post, or someone else’s post, properly StumbleUpon will suggest your site to everyone with similar interests. Which, in turn, drives huge traffic to your site that you wouldn’t normally receive.
Therein lies its power.
For instance, recently Nicholas Rossis wrote a very inspirational post (click link to read). I, then, added that post to my “likes” and tagged it “inspirational” “writing” and a few other things. Anyway, within one hour he received over 700 views. Why? Because I gave his post a “thumbs up”. Yes, it only takes ONE person to drive that kind of traffic. Now, imagine if two or three others also gave a “thumbs up”. His numbers would have been astronomical. Another example is my Q & A With A Real Undercover Operative – Part I. In less than an hour I had over 2000 views. Meaning, more than one person gave it a “thumbs up”. That three-part series garnered more views faster than anything else the previous year. Incidentally, if you missed this interview you can find Part II and Part III by clicking the links.
I’m always surprised by authors that don’t use this powerful site. I can only conclude that they don’t realize its inherent magic. Hence, my motivation for this post.
Still not convinced?
Let’s take a look at the life of a post. Herein referred to as a link. Because StumbleUpon grabs posts by “interests”, which is why proper tagging is so important — that’s a post for another day — it doesn’t matter if that post is one year old or three years old. See where I’m going with this? You got it. Your old posts are magically resurrected with StumbleUpon. Which is why I don’t shut comments off. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten a new comment on a six month old post, and often times that leads to a new subscriber. As a reader of blogs I find it frustrating to not be able to leave a comment when a post really resonates with me. This, of course, is up to you. But why not encourage communication regardless of date?
Here’s the next half of the infographic…
With Twitter and Facebook the half-life of your link is only a couple of hours. Meaning, that’s how long it survives so others can share it. With StumbleUpon that same link lives on for 400 hours. And that’s only half the life. Take a moment to look at the life cycle of a link in the lower half of the above infograph. This is not to say that a link will die after 800 hours. As stated earlier, since you know to properly tag your posts your link can survive for years after it was first posted… with StumbleUpon.
Below is the last part of the same graphic…
Nowadays people don’t spend much time reading blog posts. Instead, they skim. Personally, I still haven’t figured out how to do that. Anyway, StumbleUpon beats out Twitter and Facebook by 25%. Incidentally, that’s longer than the average web page view. A StumbleUpon session, where people are reading the “suggestions” lasts for over an hour. Where with Twitter and Facebook most people only spend a little over twenty minutes browsing links.
If you’re still not convinced of StumbleUpon’s power there isn’t much more I can say to change your mind. All I can suggest is try it. See for yourself what it does to your traffic and how many more page views you’ll receive. The proof will be in your stats.
Problem is, when WordPress.com changed our sites around again — the so-called “improvements” — we lost our StumbleUpon sharing button. After noticing a pattern I took a look at my own site and was absolutely shocked when I find it gone. This isn’t okay with me. And it shouldn’t be all right with you either.
Don’t fret. I have a solution.
Go to settings > sharing > available services
Available services is where it shows your sharing buttons. Only now you will no longer see StumbleUpon as an option. You’ll need to install it manually.
Click “Add a new service” and a pop-up window will appear. In the “Add sharing url” input: https://www.stumbleupon.com/submit?url= (and then choose your variable from those listed below) I use: %post_full_url% But you can play around and see what best fits your needs.
Like with most improvements in WordPress.com they tell you that you can add any variable to your sharing link. I tried them all. None of them worked by just adding the variable to the end of StumbleUpon’s url. You must include this: /submit?url= And then the variable. Without this formula you’ll either get an error message that says StumbleUpon can’t locate the page, or it violates the site in some way.
If it’s easier for you to just copy what I did the entire url looks like this:
In the box below (same window) it will ask for the icon image. Here’s where it got tricky because most sites want you to buy image icons. What I did was to Google “StumbleUpon Icon” click “image” and then copy and paste the image into my library. I then took the url for that image and pasted it into the “icon url” box. Voila!
Within that same window press “Save” Then drag your new StumbleUpon sharing button into “Enable Services” window and press “Save Settings” at the bottom of the page.
Since I wasn’t able to find a StumbleUpon icon image that fit the perimeters of WordPress.com, under “Button Style” I chose “icon and text” instead of my usual “icon only”, and then dragged less important buttons like “print” “email” “pocket” etc. into the shaded box of “Enable Services”. What that does is it adds a “More” button to your lineup that readers can press that will show the other sharing buttons you offer without taking up a lot of space.
And that’s the power of StumbleUpon. I hope this helps to increase your blog traffic and make you all hugely successful. If anyone finds a better icon image I’d love to hear about it. Also, if you use a self-hosted WordPress site I could probably help you figure out how to add sharing buttons. Just shoot me an email or fill out the contact form on the main page.
Want to take it for a test spin? Press the StumbleUpon sharing button at the bottom of this post and give me a “thumbs up”. Tell me in the comments, leave a link to your post (once you add the button) and I’ll do the same for you. And isn’t that what the writing community is all about, helping one another?