StumbleUpon v. Reddit

I’m looking at StumbleUpon and Reddit as key networks to expand into over the next year. The reason for that is simple: if you’re looking to bring visitors to a website as efficiently as possible, building a viable presence on one or both of those networks is probably a good move. The problem: They require a lot of engagement, and they step on sharing one’s own stuff pretty hard.

This means figuring out how much time you can get by with spending on them and knowing how often to put your own links out there are tricky. I have no idea how either of those networks decide what counts as “affiliation,” and I publish at and promote several blogs I do not own. I don’t want to be demoted before I even get started, and I don’t have a lot of time. So I’m proceeding slowly and cautiously.

But I have been experimenting. I have a StumbleUpon account I don’t use very often and no Reddit account at all. We’ve seen some success with both over the last couple of weeks. I’ll share a few numbers with you today and then explain the differences between these two networks as I understand them.

This spike happened here the weekend of Aug 10. I’ve included the mouseover info for the peak day. This is a good four-day spike from Reddit. It started on Sunday and trailed off on Wednesday. We still got a little from it on Thursday, and continued getting odd views last week.

15_08_10_spike

Most of this traffic went to a Tolkien post and a Batman post that were shared on various subreddits by a friend of mine who is not affiliated with the blog on Sunday, Aug. 9. The Tolkien was shared early and the Batman was shared late. The Batman post generated about 100 views, and they came in over a shorter period of time than the views on the Tolkien post, which brought us visitors for days. I’m assuming the difference is explained by the relative sizes and activity levels of the subrreddits where the posts were shared.

Overall, we received around 240 documented referrals from Reddit from this. That’s two or three days’ worth of traffic for us, depending on time of week and how we’re set for content. So, totally worth the minimal amount of time it took to drop those links.

Just to put those 240 views over a 4-day period into perspective for you. In the last 30 days we’ve received 195 views from the WordPress Reader, 115 from Facebook, and 75 from Twitter. And we’ve only gotten a little over 1,000 from search engines.

As I was putting this post together Friday evening, this happened. These are stats from Part Time Monster. The Friday/Saturday spike represents almost 800 views. A few came from StumbleUpon, but most came from Reddit. The info in the mouseover is for Saturday, which turned into Diana’s best day ever.

PTM spike 15-08-23

This one was a surprise. Diana’s Girls and Gaming post was shared spontaneously on Reddit by a blogger who as far as I know, we’ve never talked to. That post received more than 307 views on Friday and we recorded 168 Reddit referrals that day. I stumbled the post around midnight and it got another 53 views from StumbleUpon between midnight and 2 am on Saturday morning.

The StumbleUpon traffic trailed off, but PTM received another 179 Reddit referrals, and by the end of the day on Saturday, the gaming post had been viewed another 298 times. Out of the total of 780 views at the Monster on these two days, 605 were on the gaming post. We’re sure that 400 of those came from Reddit and StumbleUpon.

Again, just so you have some frame of reference. In the last 30 days, PTM has received 204 views from the reader, 57 from Facebook, 57 from Twitter and 604 from search engines. It’s also worth noting that Part Time Monster’s previous best day was a 400-view day in mid-March, and 85 of those views came from StumbleUpon. Our best day here at Sourcerer is 391 views, and 81 of those came from StumbleUpon. In fact, every time we’ve set a new best-ever record in the last 18 months at either of these blogs, StumbleUpon has been involved.

This is real progress for us for a couple of reasons. We’ve seen handfuls of referrals from Reddit before, but never anything like this, and these numbers are comparable to all the StumbleUpon spikes I’ve ever seen aside from the two or three very best. The 50 views I got for Part Time Monster from StumbleUpon is also the first time I, personally, have had a successful stumble. Up to this point, it’s always been other people stumbling our posts that got the views.

So which is better, Reddit or StumbleUpon? That depends on how you like to play on the internet, and on what you’re looking to get out of it.

Reddit is basically a huge forum with sub-forums (called subreddits) for just about every topic you can think of. People chat and share links related to specific topics. Reddit users can vote things up or down. Enough up votes will land a link on Reddit’s front page. Enough down votes can disappear a link entirely from Reddit.

StumbleUpon is a network for sharing and curating links. Users follow topics (called “Interests”) and can follow up to 100 other Stumblers. StumbleUpon sends content from your interests and from the people you follow into your feed, and you can like/dislike things. StumbleUpon saves all your likes and allows you to build lists of things you like. You can also share pages to StumbleUpon and categorize them for other users to find.

Reddit strikes me as easier to use — I find the StumbleUpon interface difficult. Reddit is also probably a more predictable source of traffic if you can learn to share there effectively, but StumbleUpon probably has higher traffic potential. (I’m saying “probably” here because I’m not well-versed enough to be sure). StumbleUpon was one of our top five referrers here in 2014 and brought us almost as many views from two or three lucky stumbles as Facebook did from every link we shared there.

The value of both to bloggers is simple. If you generate enough views on a single post in a short period of time, that helps the post get into Google searches. I’d say 80 percent of the the search traffic we get here is from people finding posts that were put into those searches originally by StumbleUpon.

I plan to eventually use both of these networks, but I am starting with StumbleUpon because I have more friends who use it than use Reddit, and because I already have a StumbleUpon account set up.

What about you? Do you use either of these networks, and do you have any advice for us newbies?

Happy Monday!

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Weekend Coffee Share: In Which My Motivation Fails

If we were having coffee, it would be Sunday afternoon coffee and I would not be as put-together as I usually am. I’d have three days’ worth of stubble on my neck and untrimmed eyebrows. I’d tell you that I had a pretty good week last week, but spent most of my time working the paying job. We also had a good week on the blog, thanks to help from Hannah, Melissa, and Natacha, and to a couple of Reddit shares last weekend from my friend Serins.

weekendcoffeeshare

I’d tell you I’d hoped to continue the conversation about Reddit and StumbleUpon we started last Sunday, share some stats, and build on a couple of things I said last week, but that’s just not happening. I spent most of Saturday flat on my back for no particular reason. I’m not sick and my week was taxing, but I don’t feel exhausted. I simply did not get up off the couch until after 3 pm.

I sat down to write a Weekend Coffee Share/Social Media Sunday post yesterday afternoon, and just couldn’t get it to work the way I wanted it to. I ended up cooking dinner for the family instead, and when I was done with that I just puttered about on Facebook and Twitter for awhile and then went to bed.

I woke up today at 8 or 9, but stayed in bed until 12:30. Again, no particular reason. I just didn’t feel like getting up. So I’m sitting here writing a post that should have published at 7 am, and it’s not the one I wanted to publish today.

I’d tell you I’ve known for years that my depression runs in cycles. It’s not entirely unheard-of for me to have a bout of it in the spring and summer. But mostly it hits me in the fall and winter — it’s almost guaranteed. These last couple of years, it hasn’t been so bad, because the summers have been good, I’ve been learning a new job (you do know it takes two years to master a new job, right?), and I’ve had the blogs to keep me occupied.

This year, I had an absolutely horrific summer, so I’ve not had a lot of recharge time. The job is mostly routine now aside from occasional surprises. And I have a feel for the rhythm of the blog now, too, so there’s less to learn and less to gain from obsessively minding the stats and such. So, I am afraid the depression is going to be bad this year, and the fact that I’ve spent so much time lying around this weekend is not the best sign. I’m hoping it just means I’ve been more tired than I care to admit, and needed some downtime.

And I’d tell you, if we were having coffee, that aside from a Wedensday comics post from Diana (YAY, right?), I don’t know what we’re doing on the blog this week. I’m just sitting here thinking about that now. Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays will be easy — all they require are a discussion prompt, a post promoting another blog, and a music video. Monday, I’m not sure about. Possibly the social media thing I’d intended to do today.

I post the social media stuff on Sundays because they do just as well on Sundays as they do during the week, and they get me a post for #SundayBlogShare. They don’t do poorly during the week — it just doesn’t get us anything extra to use a weekday slot for them. So Maybe I’ll just do that and get the blog scheduled through Friday. It’s a rare week that this blog isn’t scheduled five days in advance by 3 or 4 pm on Sunday afternoon.weekendcoffeeshare_2015

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you school starts next week. The week after, my office reopens to the public for nine hours a day, and I’m back to overseeing 15 people who provide tutoring services for 35 to 50 clients a day. I’m into the part of the year where I have to do the pubic speaking and iron out the wrinkles and put out the occasional fire.

It’s a rewarding job and I love it — I never have to wonder if what I’m doing for a living matters because it absolutely does. But it’s hectic and requires me to be on my game at all times. Aside from Labor Day, I don’t get anything like a real breather until things settle down around the first week of October, and I still haven’t really adjusted to the commute.

And I’d say that’s about all I’ve got for today. How’s your weekend going?

You still have time to get into the linkup at Part Time Monster, and don’t forget to share your coffee post with #WeekendCoffeeShare on Twitter.

Monday Blogging Post: Reorganizing the Social Media

This is a companion piece to an article I published at Jessica Leeman’s Social Media blog a couple of weeks ago. That post is about how I’m using various forms of social media at the moment. I wrote it a month ago. It was one of those posts I needed to write to keep things clear in my head. I’ve done some thinking since I wrote it — have been thinking about how to reorganize my social media for awhile.

Here’s my current reorganization plan. It’s a work in progress, of course. The various social media platforms are listed in the order of priority to me. This is not to suggest that one is better than the other in an absolute sense — all of them are fun, and can be valuable if you  learn how to use them. This list is based on what’s  worked for me so far.

WordPress

I’m taking Sourcerer back to a six-day-a-week schedule for all practical purposes. I’ll still do Silent Sundays here, because it’s easy to load them a week in advance, but the blogging posts will move to Mondays through the end of the year. The WordPressblogging posts have been great for Sundays, and have extended my week this summer, but it doesn’t make sense to keep publishing two posts on the weekends when I know I’m about to start my busiest time of year at work and I’ve promised Doctor Who posts on Mondays or Tuesdays at Part Time Monster for the duration of the new season.

I’ve registered a new URL for my personal blog, Just Gene’O. I’ll leave the old blog intact so as not to kill any links on my friends’ blogs, and will load the archives from the old blog into the new one before I commence blogging there. I’ve posted a more detailed notice about the transition at Just Gene’O. I expect this change to take a week or three.

Aside from these two things, I have three priorities on WordPress:

  1. Do whatever I must to help Part Time Monster keep gaining ground. The Monster is just working. It doesn’t seem to matter if we miss a day over there or have an off week with the content. I’ve been posting three or four times a day here for most of the summer to keep up with the views the Monster’s generating with one post per day.
  2. Read, like, and comment on other blogs more than I have been in the last month.
  3. Contribute to Quaint Jeremy’s Thoughts as I am able. I’m updating the blogroll here to list QJT as a partner. I’ve always thought we needed three blogs posting regularly to do what we want to do, long-term. It’s why I posted at my personal blog daily during the first few months while we got Sourcerer up and running. The popularity of Jeremy’s posts here, the number of contributors he’s gotten so far, and the number of views he’s generated since he started blogging in earnest in June tell me his blog can be very successful. I’d like to do what I can to help it along.

Twitter

I haven’t been on Twitter as much in the last month as I was in the previous six. I haven’t checked my personal account in weeks. I’m surprised I haven’t lost more ground than I have there, and I plan to get back into a routine and be more present on Twitter going forward. @Sourcererblog finally has a good ratio — about 50 more followers than I am following, and most of the difference is accounts I’m not following back. The real ratio is very close to even. I’m not actively following at the moment, just following back. Once I get WordPress back where it needs to be, I’m going to start growing that account.Twitter-icon-the-bird

I’ll also revive my personal account. I can sync both accounts to my mobile, and I finally have a computer setup that makes Tweetdeck useful. Expect more tweeting from both accounts by mid-September.

Google Plus

I’m set up to operate on Google Plus. I haven’t been networking there for months, and have most of my profile hidden, but that’s about to change. G+ has real potiential, I think. It’s more time-efficient to use than Facebook, and it’s a more open network. It gives me the ability to chat with people who aren’t in my FB network and who aren’t close enough to have my phone number. It’s also much more mobile-friendly than Facebook, at least to me. And since I’ve already put the time into setting myself up there, tweaking my profile a bit and opening it back up seems like a smart move.

Reddit

When I have time, I plan to get into Reddit. I haven’t set up an account yet. I’m moving slowly with it and trying to learn the etiquette of the network before I start. Diana and I had a long conversation about Redditwhether I should go all-out with Reddit or StumbleUpon a few weeks ago. I only have time to do one and it makes more sense for me to try Reddit for several reasons:

  • Reddit seems to favor the sort of interaction I excel at, and it’s a network that we have no presence whatsoever on.
  • I’ve estimated that it will take me at least six months of regular interaction to get any traction on Stumble, and in that length of time, I can probably make a ton of connections on Reddit.
  • Jeremy’s got an active StumbleUpon account, and he’s the only one that’s had success attracting views to the blog with Stumble. For me, just starting out and looking to do the most good for the blogs in the least amount of time, Reddit seems like a better bet because it opens up an entirely new network for us.

Tumblr/Facebook

What I’m doing on both of these networks isn’t working, and I know why. Both like specific types of content, and they tend to be things that don’t translate well when you simply publicize from your blog. At some point, I’m going to disconnect my Tumblr page from all the blogs, redesign it as a personal Tumblr page, and use it as a photoblogging site. I’m hoping I can find a little synergy with my Tumblr and my Facebook fan page, so that I can post at one and start building both. We’ll see.

StumbleUpon

I’m not off StumbleUpon completely. I’m following a good dozen bloggers there who I know. I add things to StumbleUpon when I have the time to actually browse. The problem with StumbleUpon for me is that to really succeed there and get flagged as an active account, you have to interact with other peoples’ content. Doing that requires the same amount of page loading time as visiting blogs, and the actual websites don’t get views unless you click through and load a second page. It’s not time-efficient enough to be viable for me during the months of August-November. I’m hoping to just keep my account active until December, then come back at it during the early part of next year.stumbleupon

This seems like a lot (these sorts of lists always do), but keep in mind, this is a general social media plan for the next five months. As always, I’ll just do what I can do, make the things that work part of my regular schedule, and revise my plan again once it becomes necessary. Maintaining what we’ve built on WordPress and Twitter, and keeping them in a position to take another leap forward next spring and summer, are absolutely the two most important parts.

I’m interested today to know anything helpful you might have to share with me about Reddit. It’s the part of all this I have the least knowledge of, and I only know a couple of people who have Reddit accounts. I’d like to get started over there in the next month or so.

Have a great week!