Stumble your way to a Rush of traffic

Following on from my last post on Social Bookmarking, I’d like to talk today a bit about one of my favourite Social Bookmarking sites – StumbleUpon. Apart from the usual system of content submission and being able to vote items up and down, StumbleUpon has one fairly unique feature: its toolbar, and in particular the Stumble button.

StumbleUpon toolbar

Site discovery

The Stumble button is the one on the left, and it literally allows you to stumble your way through sites that correspond to your interests. In other words it is a discovery tool – I personally have found many interesting sites that I may not have otherwise come across.

Targetted traffic

The other good thing about traffic that comes from StumbleUpon is that it is generally quite targetted, in other words people are only directed to content that they have specified an interest in. This of course means they are more likely to hang around and perhaps even become a loyal reader if they like what they find.

Viral traffic

Viral is a buzz word that crops up all over these days. Basically it evokes an image of the way a virus (biological or digital) replicates – this is normally exponential with respect to time. In the case of web traffic, it’s a Very Good Thing, and definitely something to aim for. Imagine you have a visitor to your site who then tells two of her friends, who each tell two of their friends, who each tell two of their friends, who each tell two of their friends…

Hopefully you get the picture. Well, StumbleUpon has the potential to deliver this sort of traffic. The trick is to generate content that proves a hit with the StumbleUpon community…

Sustained traffic

Various sources I have read observe that the traffic that comes from StumbleUpon generally has a different profile from that of other Social Bookmarking sites. Whereas for example Digg traffic manifests itself in a big spike (lots of visitors in a short space of time) that dissipates just as quickly, StumbleUpon traffic tends to be more sustained, and can often continue days, weeks and months beyond the point where an item first became popular. This, in my opinion, is highly desirable, as it helps build long-term momentum.

TrafficRush course

Now lest I give you the impression that I’m a StumbleUpon expert, I must confess that I’m not. Whilst I’ve used it for awhile now, I’ve yet to tap into the full potential that I’ve been describing in this article. But I’ve recently been working through an excellent course, written by someone who is a StumbleUpon expert: Caroline Middlebrook.

It’s called TrafficRush, and consists of twenty hands-on lessons which take you through pretty much all you need to know to leverage the power of StumbleUpon to draw free traffic to your site. The first ten lessons are free; the second ten (the advanced section) are not, but there is no obligation to buy the advanced lessons, so essentially you have nothing to lose. And working your way through the basic course gives you a good opportunity to evaluate the material risk-free before deciding whether or not it’s worth the price.

Here are some of the topics covered in the course:

  • How to create content that gets stumbled
  • Mechanics and ethics of StumbleUpon submission
  • How to get more thumbs up votes
  • The basics of networking on StumbleUpon
  • Traffic boosting tips

I’m still working through the first part of the course and haven’t yet decided whether or not I’ll subscribe to the advanced lessons, but so far though I’ve found it very helpful, and I suggest you give it a try too.

Related posts:

  1. Increase traffic to your blog with Social Bookmarking
  2. Where’s the StumbleUpon buzz on your site?

10 Responses to “Stumble your way to a Rush of traffic”

  1. Gravatar of Praveen 1 Praveen

    Thanks for writing this article. It’s very informative!

    I am going to check out the course.

  2. Gravatar of Will 2 Will

    Hi Rodney,

    I am sorry to tell you that I totally disagree with your article. I have had traffic spikes thanks to Stumble Upon but, as with most social traffic, stumblers don’t have a need. Therefore they pretty much don’t click ads. I’m had almost 1,000 visitors from SU that netted me $6 and looking at my stats, 1,000 search engines visitors net me at the very least $30.

    I’m not even going to mention the concept of smart pricing and click through rate… A lot has been written on the subject…

    In my humble opinion, the main benefit of social traffic is visibility (which is good for branding) and increasing your subscriber count (which you may be able to make money from later on). But as far as making serious money is concerned, search engine traffic is king

  3. Gravatar of Rodney Smith 3 Rodney Smith

    Thanks for your perspective, Will. Actually I didn’t say anything about the monetization aspects of StumbleUpon traffic, but I agree with you that visitors from social sites don’t tend to click ads. Of course this is not the only way to monetize a site; ad networks like PerformancingAds, for example rely on sheer traffic volume.

  4. Gravatar of Will 4 Will


    I commend you on first of all not deleting my comment, and secondly on actually replying to it. Many many bloggers are self-centered and won’t accept anything on their blogs that doesn’t jive with their opinion… This is a rare quality my friend!

    I have never tried PerformancingAds… I have a couple of general information sites that would be tough to monetize with Google and that would probably be a good fit.

    Thanks for the tip.

  5. Gravatar of Abrablogger 5 Abrablogger

    I’ve played around with Stumble Upon before but never really gave it that much attention. Might just give it another go again.

    Thanks for the advice :)

  6. Gravatar of Rodney Smith 6 Rodney Smith

    Will, I don’t have a problem with someone expressing an opinion (as long as it’s not abusive to either me or my visitors). Good luck with PA – let me know how it goes, as they’re a fairly new network which I’ve only recently signed up to myself.

  7. Gravatar of Dale 7 Dale

    Great tip about the Stumblerush course. I’ve never really gotten the hang of Stumbleupon, so will check it out.


  8. Gravatar of Rodney Smith 8 Rodney Smith

    Dale: same here, which is why I was keen to get my mitts on this course. The power of StumbleUpon for driving traffic lies in the networking aspects, and the author, Caroline, has used it successfully to drive huge numbers of visitors to her site – she’s well up there in the Alexa rankings.

  1. 1 links for 2008-08-22 [] |
  2. 2 Where’s the StumbleUpon buzz on your site? at Hippo Web Solutions
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