Recently I’ve been reading a lot about how using StumbleUpon can really help your blog traffic. But, is it worth it? Should you get excited when a post gets “Stumbled” a lot or just forget about it?
How StumbleUpon Works
It took me a while before I investigated StumbleUpon and then it was after reading various headlines about how it can really increase traffic. But there’s a big problem about using it for traffic – people aren’t sure that you can.
There’s a line of thought that says you can’t submit your own content, another that says you can, just not a lot and then another that doesn’t really care. And after a quick look through their Terms, I can’t see anything wrong in submitting your own content.
However, is there a point? StumbleUpon works by the more people that like a certain post the more people that it is shown to. That’s great once you start to “go viral” and get lots of views, but do many posts?
My Hours Of Stumbling…
I’ve spent a lot of time recently browsing through other posts on their app. I sit there and quickly go through dozens of posts. A quick glance and I decide whether or not I want to read the page. Mostly it falls into the “not” category.
However, it’s a good way of passing a few minutes. And then one day I realised the problem as I sat there, swiping new posts across in time to the ticking of the clock behind me.
My average view time per page was 1 second. Exactly one second probably as I’d fallen into time with the clock. However every one of these views were counting towards my total “Stumbles”. I sat there for 5 minutes, spent up to 30 seconds on each of 2 sites and in the rest of the time I’d stumbled over 200 sites.
That means that 200 blog owners are seeing 1 more visitor to their site. But was it worth it?
What This Means To Your Website Stats
I started to look at my own website and cross check the stats. The number of times my previous post was “Stumbled” was about 50% higher than the figure I was seeing for visitors on Google Analytics. So I’m guessing that about a third of the people “Stumbling” the post didn’t wait longer than it took for the title to load.
Looking into it further, out of those that visited the site, how long were they there for? The first few seemed to be on the site for a few seconds, but by day 2 of people Stumbling the site (and this was when the figures really grew) the average time on site from Google Analytics was 0:01. Looking at the raw server logs I even found the same person (IP Address) had viewed the post twice in 2 seconds. Probably missed something that was interesting and swiped back through my post. Or maybe swiped back to my post!
The post didn’t go viral and so didn’t produce huge amounts of traffic, but how many posts do?
What else can we measure success by? Google Adsense actually reported even lower page views than Google Analytics with no clicks on an advert at all from that post. This post was unusual in that it has an affiliate link (only the second post to have such links in this blog) to a book about free stock image libraries. That link showed 3 clicks on Friday, so when traffic went wild on the second Saturday I was hopeful.
So I eagerly checked the statistics on Sunday morning – zero clicks. Looking back through the raw logs again the clicks had come from direct and other visitors, not those arriving through StumbleUpon. Likewise, even though StumbleUpon created the blog’s 2 busiest traffic days ever (and 54% of the traffic for those 2 days), no new subscribers.
It Probably Works, But Not Every Time
Maybe it’s a tool that you can use to support a successful blog where there are loads of people already sharing on social media so a popular post might get liked by many readers and read by millions, but for a start up blog and one without that necessary core of sharing readers I think that the volumes of traffic that might be produced are so low that they really aren’t going to produce that many genuine readers.
Put a Stumble button on your blog to let people like your post, but I don’t think it’s anything that a site owner should be stressed over.
If you have any better experiences than mine or know of a trick or two I’m missing leave a comment. Or, read the previous post and Stumble it and see if it can be revived!
Over the next week I still have a few ideas that I’ve yet to try out on this blog for new traffic so do take the time to follow the blog – Twitter or the newsletter, whichever you find easiest. Hopefully we’ll be back soon with a method that generates huge volumes of traffic!