You know I have been a fan of StumbleUpon for several months. But like so many of these social networking tools I have come to find that I was not really taking advantage of all it has to offer. I want to pass along a few things I have learned in order to encourage you to use and benefit from the community building aspects of StumbleUpon.
In the food specific blogworld, sites like FoodGawker, Photograzing and TasteSpotting can indeed drive traffic to your blog. They are great at helping you build brand recognition, but their format actively discourages the reading of your material. So they really only service food-blog lovers, and only one type (albeit, a very important type) of food-blog lover.
Facebook is great for bragging rights and announcing new posts and reconnecting with your high-school BFF. But it can only go so far towards bringing you new readers. Which (for me) is what blogging is all about, readers!
Twitter is at least for “readers”. It is a lot of fun and can quickly make you a twitterstar, which will undoubtedly help your blog. But it is time consuming and a destination all its own for most of its users.
To me StumbleUpon is an amalgamation of all these social media outlets. It is great way for enhancing the image of your blog, it encourages cross-pollination of many types of blog lovers (not just foodies) and it’s unmatched in building an audience.
But like the FoodPhoto sites, Twitter and even Facebook to some extent, if you only use StumbleUpon to layer votes onto yourself, or push your own material into the queue; then you will lose the interest of other stumblers and cause your own stumbling “power” to become lessened over time.
So if you think the point of StumbleUpon is simply voting up your own posts, you’re quite mistaken. Because that is the path upon which you will stumble and fall…the path to success is community.
Every blogger (or avid blog reader) should have a StumbleUpon membership. It makes no matter which of the other social media services you use or prefer. StumbleUpon is by far the easiest and least time-consuming in my opinion. Mostly because it is incorporated into something you are presumably doing anyway, reading blogs.
But if you are anything like me you may not have appreciated the power of StumbleUpon, or even really undertood how it works.
The basics of StumbleUpon are these:
When you are cruising the blogosphere, by whatever method you prefer; you will undoubtedly come across something you like. You can leave a comment, and of course oftentimes you should. But let’s be honest you can’t leave a comment at every blog, every time they post something. Your comments will become stale and nothing more than “brownie-points” or popularity meters, I played that game in high school, it’s a bore.
StumbleUpon allows you to quickly vote for posts you like or bloggers you support with a click of a button on your desktop toolbar. The page is then shared with others who like what you like. The magic of the algorithm takes over and a well-regarded post can go viral. Believe me this is far more valuable to a blogger than the true but useless phrase ”yummy”. Not that I am discouraging you from telling me my posts are “yummy”. Comments will always be appreciated. They are a nice ego boost and a sure way to get me to visit your blog! I am just saying at SippitySup, you should always do both (lol)!
The beauty of StumbleUpon lies in its seemingly simple allure. But simple is almost never so simple. So it is with StumbleUpon.
If you already have an account there you are ahead of the game. If you do not I suggest you sign up here. I should stress that they are not compensating me in any way for this post. I truly believe what I am saying.
But in truth, I am no expert so I cannot teach you all there is to know. You are on that path all alone.
But I do hope I can show you that participating in the StumbleUpon community will help build your blog. It will also help build your blog’s community.
Here are 10 tips about using StumbleUpon from Skelliwag. Skelliwag is a bloggers blog, well it’s more than that, but I go there to learn and grow my blog whenever the technology side of it starts to oppress me!
“1. Connect with other bloggers
To start connecting with other bloggers through StumbleUpon, all you need to do is vote up their content (when it’s good). The more traffic you send them, the more likely they are to go and investigate the source, or even add you as a friend. StumbleUpon can be a great networking tool.
On top of that, supporting blogs you like is just good karma. What more could you ask for?
2. Drive traffic back to your blog with great stumbles
When you vote up a site that hasn’t been voted up before, you ‘Discover’ it. This means that you write its first review and your profile information appears in the sidebar of the reviews page for that item.
Great content can drive a lot of (influential) stumblers to the page profiling you, as they rush to vote and review it. Some of them will be drawn into visiting your profile, simply because you have such great taste. But how can we encourage these visitors to check out our blog?
3. Highlight your blog in your StumbleUpon profile
This is easy. Enter your blog URL as your website address, and this will be displayed above your image on the main page of your profile. You can also write a bit about yourself and add a link to your blog in your About blurb.
4. Connect with your readers
When you start to see traffic coming from StumbleUpon, take the time to visit the reviews page for the blog post readers have voted up.
The Stumblers on this page have been enthusiastic enough about your content to want to Stumble it. If they’re not already loyal readers, this makes them great candidates for becoming one.
Take the time to thank them for their Stumble, and add them as a friend. Little acts of generosity like these leave an impression and may encourage the Stumbler to see what other types of great content you’re capable of.
5. Make friends for a more powerful profile
The StumbleUpon algorithm is a mysterious thing, but evidence seems to suggest that the most active and popular Stumblers are rewarded with the ability to control large traffic-flows. The ‘active’ part is up to you — how much time are you willing to put in? The ‘popular’ part of the equation, however, depends on how many fans you have. Fans are those Stumblers who’ve added you as a friend in order to see the pages you stumble.
How do you get fans? Great, properly labeled stumbles will do it. Another successful strategy is to add those who vote up your content. If they took the time to explore your blog they might recognize you as the author of the content they liked and add you in return. The friendship will enhance both of your profiles and you’ll be connecting with another potential reader.
6. To submit or not to submit?
Some bloggers believe that repeatedly stumbling the same domain will see the benefits of your stumbles at that domain peter down to nothing. Others believe it’s absolutely necessary to submit your own articles to ensure they’re placed in the category best-suited to them. I’d be interested to hear which approach you think is best in the comments section of this post.
7. Send great content to your friends
StumbleUpon users have the ability to send pages to specific friends, or all of them. If you’ve written something you’re really confident is worthy of a stumble then you might consider sending it out to your friendship network. They’re much more likely to vote up your content than the strangers who routinely find themselves at your blog.
Moderation is key when using this tool. If you overuse it there is a chance your friends will tire of you. An alternative to a wide-ranging send-out might be to send an article to one or two friends you know will be particularly interested in the content.
8. Create a profile people will visit for its own sake
Treat your profile like another blog. If you make it a place people will want to visit for its own sake, the chance of visitors engaging with it and following the link back to your blog increases.
Take the time to play with the colors, add images to your reviews, and explore the functions on offer to create your ‘blog’ (StumbleUpon actually refers to it as such). Fill your profile with votes and reviews for great content your friends will want to visit, and tell others about. A great profile will naturally attract interested and admiring visitors, and raise your profile in the StumbleUpon community.
9. Use it for inspiration
When StumbleUpon is at its best, it serves up a long line of great content suited to your tastes. A stumbling session can be a great source of inspiration when your well of ideas runs dry.
A tip: don’t stumble only within the topic you blog about. Sometimes the best (and most original) post ideas are found by trying to relate radically different content to your niche.
10. Have fun!
I hope this post has convincingly argued that the secret to building your blog with StumbleUpon is to participate actively, genuinely and enthusiastically in the community there. The rewards are sure to filter back to you and your blog.”
That was from Skelliwag. But I heartily agree! Now I have my work set up for me. My StumbleUpon profile sucks! Why don’t you go over there and friend me? You’ll make my profile all the nicer with your presence, and we can do this thing together!
SERIOUS FUN FOOD