Let’s review what we’ve learned so far in the series. First we should write often, practicing the skill. We have learned some writing techniques for gaining comments and readers. Also we’ve learned that subscribing to different blogs about blogging can offer great tips. Last week, the focus was on how social networking can pay off, and that it’s not necessary to devote time to every site out there, but rather focus our time on a few. One of the sites I mentioned last week was StumbleUpon and teased you with the possibility of 1,000 hits in one day.
Wanna know how?
Kidding. Well, I’m only sort of kidding. I should confess that StumbleUpon (SU) totally baffles me. Some posts go over well, others die a very quick death and I don’t really know why. But I have learned a few things about using SU that I think will help you and! I’ll give these tips in list form! My goodness I’m a gracious host.
Let’s begin with the toolbar. If you’re a smarty pants, know-it-all and already know how to use the toolbar skip to the next section.
1. To stumble a post click on the title of the post so that you’re on the direct URL to the post you wish to stumble.
Rather than stumble an entire site, stumble specific posts on a site.
2. Hit the “thumbs up/I like it!” button.
3. If it hasn’t already been stumbled, then a box will appear where you’ll write a little review. You’ll also be asked to put it in a category. Choose your category WISELY. Then add as many tags as you can, the more the better. (Sometimes, SU screws it up, though, and puts it in an incorrect category despite your best efforts.)
4. If the post HAS already been stumbled, then when you hit the “thumbs up/I like it!” button, it will change colors. When it does, hit the little “speech bubble” button and write a review and add tags. You certainly don’t have to write a review for EVERY site you stumble, but the more reviews you write, the more weight your stumbles carry…(which I will talk about in the next section.)
5. A great way to stumble upon sites is to simply hit the “Stumble” button. You can choose the category of what you want to stumble simply by choosing under the “all” button. Scroll down and choose your category.
6. My favorite way to stumble is to stumble the sites my friends have stumbled upon. You do this by hitting the button that looks like two people side by side. (Do you think I used the word “stumble” enough in the first sentence? Jeez.)
BEWARE! Stumbling upon sites is addicting and can cause you to realize you’ve been stumbling for the past four hours while your children ate crumbs off the kitchen floor for lunch. Or so I’ve heard.
7. You can send your favorite sites to the friends you’ve made on SU to ask for a review or to just send them something you really enjoyed by hitting the “Send to” button. I’d recommend only asking for reviews from people that you “know” and have some sort of relationship with and not random friends you’ve made on SU.
NEXT SECTION. Woo hoo!
Now that we can use the toolbar, let’s talk tips to drive traffic in your direction.
1. StumbleUpon frowns upon you stumbling your own site.
If you think you have a really fantastic post, ask someone to originally stumble it for you. You can always give it a thumbs up and review after them. The rumor is that you can only stumble one site fifteen times.
2. Write reviews when stumbling! They help up your status over simply just giving a site a thumbs up. The more reviews and sites you’ve stumbled upon, the more weight your stumbles carry. It also helps to have lots of friends on SU.
For example, if you’ve only written a few reviews and given a handful of thumbs up, when you stumble a post it doesn’t carry as much weight as someone who has stumbled AND REVIEWED 3,286 sites. Getting a thumbs up from someone that has reviewed many sites and has many friends, will get your post noticed by more people.
3. Stumble often and stumble a variety of sites. DON’T ONLY STUMBLE YOUR OWN POSTS. BAD!!!
When I originally tried out SU, I only stumbled my own site and saw NO visitors. Once I figured this out and starting stumbling LOTS of sites, whenever I had a new post of mine that had been stumbled (by someone else), I saw more traffic driven to my site.
It’s also nice to just be generous and send traffic to sites you admire. If you’ve just read something that you just KNOW other people should read, too…then STUMBLE IT! …yet another way to get involved in this blogging community!
4. SU users love lists, pictures, humor, and well written posts. According to different things I’ve read, SU users DO NOT LOVE slow loading sites, blah blog designs, long posts, typical “mommyblogger” posts about poop and what your kids didn’t eat for dinner.
5. The more tags you give a site, the more exposure it will get. Choose those tags wisely!
For example, if you choose just “Parenting” as a tag, you’re missing out on LOTS of potential visitors. Also choose “kids,” “family,” “babies,” “for-kids,” “homemaking…” Those are merely examples, but the point is…the more tags the better.
I realize that this all seems like a lot of work. It is, but there are rewards. I think that SU can generate quality traffic, meaning that I’ve noticed after a high traffic day on SU, I’ve seen an increase in subscribers the next day.
There a zillions of sites that talk about SU and how to use it to build traffic. If you want to know more of the nitty gritty information, go read these:
Please include any helpful SU hints you have in the comments section!
Next week: I don’t know yet. I’ll surprise you.