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!

Advertisements

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.

A Brief Bit of Wankery: StumbleUpon

stumbleuponI’m not doing a preview today because I am hard at it loading drafts and writing. Let’s do this instead. Part Time Monster’s latest Top Ten Tuesday has been viewed 820 times since Diana published it.  Just under 600 of those views have come since Thursday and came from StumbleUpon.

Yesterday was Part Time Monster’s best day ever. Previous best day: Friday. Because of StumbleUpon. This is not the first time I’ve seen this kind of traffic from StumbleUpon. If you open an incognito window and google “Is Batman Marvel,” you will find a post from this very blog in the top five (maybe in the top three) and it’s StumbleUpon that put it there.

To whomever is periodically stumbling our posts: Thanks! I’ve seen a few referrals here and there at all three of our blogs over the past few weeks, so I know someone is doing it. I appreciate you keeping up with our blogs and sharing things you like very much. And I appreciate the shares that bring four views just as much as the ones that bring 400.

For those of you who have joined us since I cut back on the social media blogging on Sundays here, this is my basic scheme.worlddomination

  • Keep up with as many blogs as I can, make friends, and connect with them on all the networks we have in common.
  • Figure out how to build an effective presence on networks other than WordPress and use those other networks to find readers for our blogs.
  • Diana and I more or less have the social media divided up between us and we’re looking to build one strong account on as many networks as possible.
  • In the beginning, I played around with nine or ten different networks (very time-consuming), figured out which ones were best for the sort of blogging we do, prioritized them, and started focusing on the ones that looked like the best bets.
  • I spent most of last year focusing on Twitter, and our Twitter accounts have been very valuable for meeting people and building recognition in the blogosphere.
  • In November I declared the Twitter good enough to serve and decided to go hard at Facebook this year.
  • The Facebook is coming along nicely, and if things keep going well for us there, I’ll be ready to call it serviceable for blogging purposes by summer, check in on Fridays and Sundays, and do likes and shares from my phone the rest of the week.

Unless I see a couple of thousand hits in a very short amount of time from either Reddit or Tumblr over the next few months to change my mind, StumbleUpon has to be next. In fact, I’ve already said as much.

I’m not ready to jump back in there just yet, because April is coming. But soon. Here is why. After the Google, the WordPress reader, Twitter, and Facebook, it’s the next top source of referrals, and it’s the only one I’ve seen that brings the traffic in huge spikes.

So, as I do periodically, I am inviting anyone who has useful presence there or knows StumbleUpon tricks to chime in here. Figuring out a network through a combination of research and trial-and-error is difficult and time-consuming. I’d love it of someone who’s already figured out StumbleUpon and written about it would share their posts with me.

And I’ll add that every big traffic spike I’ve personally seen from StumbleUpon had these two things in common:

  1. Was likely Stumbled either to the Books or Comics tags.
  2. Included either one piece of can’t-miss art that displayed well when it was Stumbled, or a short, too-good-to-resist video.

Have a great week, and don’t forget about #SundayBlogShare!

To Whomever Has Been Stumbling Our Posts Lately . . .

Image

Thanks very much!

We play around with StumbleUpon a bit, but not consistently. My account is worthless for generating traffic and I have no time to get it active, but Jeremy has had some success with his, so any time I see StumbleUpon referrals in my stats, Jeremy is the prime suspect. I talked to him last night, and he assures me he is not responsible.thanksI will happily follow you over there if you would like to let me know who you are. If you prefer to remain anonymous, please accept my deepest gratitude, and thank you again for sharing our work!

I have the WordPress annual reports in hand, and I will make them public later today. I’m also working on a year-end stats post of my own. That stats post will be the last thing I do here until after the New Year, aside from perhaps a little “Auld Lange Syne.”