Tools of the Trade: StumbleUpon-Is it Right for You?

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We\’ve all heard of it, but what is StumbleUpon?

StumbleUpon is a website discovery tool. When you sign up for the website, you tell it what kinds of topics you’re interested in. You can then install a toolbar, or use their on-site toolbar to “stumble” on other sites. These sites are sites that StumbleUpon thinks you’ll like.

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You can then “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” the sites StumbleUpon picked for you. Over time, it’ll learn what kinds of content you like and what kinds of content you dislike.
As a marketer, StumbleUpon can be a fantastic source of traffic. If you trend in StumbleUpon, you could get tens of thousands of visitors in a very short period of time.
Traffic & Statistics
StumbleUpon receives between 12 million and 15 million visitors a month. StumbleUpon sends more traffic to external sites than Facebook does. Though its user base is far smaller than Facebook, Facebook users only click on links occasionally. It’s not unusual for a StumbleUpon user to visit over a dozen websites in a single average sitting. The average StumbleUpon user spends 69 minutes on the site in one session, three times as long as Facebook.

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According to the diagram below, Alexa estimates that StumbleUpon reaches about .5% of global Internet users on a daily basis. A far cry from Facebook’s 40%, but still a significant reach for a website

StumbleUpon Demographics
According to October 2012 Quantcast data, StumbleUpon has a higher than average user base of 65+ visitors. Their 55 to 64 age bracket is also very strong. The 18+ age bracket is less represented than usual, while the 18 to 34 bracket is about average.

StumbleUpon users are more likely to not have kids. They have fairly average salaries, average educations and average distributions of ethnicity\’s. As a writer, if you are an author of children\’s books or topics pertaining to kids, StumbleUpon may not be a good fit for you.

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So, the big question is \”As a Writer, Should I be on StumbleUpon?

Sites with content that can be quickly and easily digested tend to do very well on StumbleUpon. For example, sites with infographics, “X tips to do _________,” multimedia or really unique content can do very well. Sites with shocking content, controversial content or funny content can also do very well.

Sites that have content that takes a long time to digest tend to have trouble on StumbleUpon. StumbleUpon users tend to want instant gratification, instead of long reading. Sites whose content is distributed across many pages also have a harder time. To succeed on StumbleUpon, you need individual pages that people love.
StumbleUpon Pros and Cons
Pro: You can get a lot of traffic from StumbleUpon. If a page gets a lot of “thumbs ups you can quickly see thousands or even tens of thousands of visitors.

Con: The traffic is inconsistent. You get a huge blast of traffic (which could cause server problems,) then the traffic completely disappears. You have to constantly try to get new content to rank.

Pro: Largely US traffic. US traffic is more likely to convert, more likely to buy, more likely to “like” and is higher quality in general.

Con: StumbleUpon increases your bounce rate and decreases your time on site. That can reflect badly on your stats. It can also negatively influence SEO, as bounce rate and time on site are both stats that Google looks at to determine rankings.

Pro: You can build a lot of backlinks through StumbleUpon. Trending on StumbleUpon won’t bring you stable traffic, but a lot of the people who see your site during that initial blast will end up linking to you if they like your content. Those links are permanent.

Con: It’s time consuming. You have to actively cultivate relationships with other Stumblers who could help promote your pages. You need to constantly publish content. If you’re not active, the traffic dries up.

Tips for StumbleUpon Success:

If you do decide to venture into the world of StumbleUpon, your first step should be to build relationships  by doing favors for other people. Upvote pages for people, favorite their pages, comment on them and do whatever you can to help other marketers. That way, when you need a favor, they’ll be happy to help out as well.

Less than 25% of the content you share should be from your own site. Be an active user of StumbleUpon and contribute to the site, instead of just trying to get traffic.

If you are a writer or author who has had great success of StumbleUpon, please share your tactics and ideas below! We love to hear other people\’s ideas and experiences!

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