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How to Draw StumbleUpon Users Into Your Blog

StumbleuponThis is a guest post on How to Draw StumbleUpon Users Into Your Blog is by Skellie who writes tips and tutorials on creating better content at her blog, Skelliewag.org.

The potential for StumbleUpon to send traffic is often under-estimated, particularly by new bloggers. Unlike digg and del.icio.us, an item doesn’t need to become popular before you see immediate results. One or two votes can bring a hundred or more readers — more than a new blog might see in a day.

StumbleUpon users are, however, notoriously fickle. The service describes itself as allowing you to ‘channel-surf the internet’ and I think it’s a very appropriate description. Users flick through websites like you might flick through channels, often making a decision on whether to stay or leave your site before it has even had time to finish loading.

In this post, I want to suggest some quick tips you can use to draw StumbleUpon users into your site before they stumble away.

Channel-surfing the internet

We’ve all flicked through TV channels back and forth, waiting for something to hold our attention. The decision to stay on a channel or surf elsewhere is usually made in a second or two, and the principle is the same for StumbleUpon users.

With so many other potentially great sites available to them at the click of a mouse, you need to make it immediately clear why your site is worth their time. Here are some tips to help you do just that.

1. Make your blog’s core mission-statement unmissable

A core mission-statement as I define it is a one or two sentence description encapsulating what your blog has to offer. A good core mission-statement describes the kind of content you provide and broadly what your blog is about. It should communicate a lot of information in only a few words.

If a stumbler can see straight away your blog is about something they’re interested in then they’re likely to stick around.

2. Insert powerful visual cues

When channel-surfing the decision to stick with a channel or move on is often largely determined by visual cues. Even with the sound off you can tell a drama from a news program, a travel show from a cartoon, because visual elements provide clues as to what kind of show you’re watching.

The same principle applies to blogs. If your blog’s header contains an image of a pile of cash, we can reasonably assume the blog is about money (or making it). That’s a lot of information communicated instantly by a single image.

3. Push your content above the fold

StumbleUpon users often judge a site by what is offered in the above the fold area — the area of your site which appears on screen before any scrolling occurs.

I think this blog is an example of how to do that well. Not only do headlines and the first few paragraphs of a post appear above the fold, but other content of interest is showcased in the header area. StumbleUpon users immediately see a site packed with value.

You can use the top part of your blog’s sidebar, its header area and the post area to showcase your content. In doing so, you’ll straight away show StumbleUpon visitors why they should stick around.

4. Be unique, be pretty

While it’s difficult to judge the quality of a blog’s content in just a few seconds, people are much more hasty with aesthetic judgments. A gorgeous or interesting blog design encourages a stumbler to stick around and see whether the content is great too.

Of course, a great design is a lot of work (or quite a bit of money). The next-best thing is a unique logo or header image, an interesting color scheme, and so on. There are a number of small changes you can make to create a blog that looks unique and sets you apart from the crowd.

What we’ve done

The emphasis in all the above tips is on instantly showing visitors who’ve stumbled across your blog what it has to offer. This should help you make the most of StumbleUpon traffic and turn more stumblers into readers.

Comment on a Blog that you’ve never Commented on Before

Building-A-Better-Blog-2Today your task in the 31 Days to Building a Better Blog Project is as simple as they come. In fact it’s a tip that gets included in almost every post ever written on how to grow a blog’s traffic – comment on a blog that you’ve never commented on before.

Sometimes as bloggers it is easy to get in a rut both in your writing and in your reading of others blogs.

Go on a blog hunt today to see how many new blogs you can find in your niche. Add to the conversations on these blogs as you surf by adding useful comments and add to your feed reader with their RSS feeds so you can keep following them.

While this tip is another of those tips that we might classify as pretty basic and not that spectacular – many many successful blogs have been built on the back of it.

How to Use MySpace to Build a Blogging Audience

Myspace
This Guest post on the topic of Using MySpace to Build a Blogging Audience was submitted by Kevin Palmer from Buzz Networker.

The preconceived notions that the blogging community has about MySpace and other social networking sites couldn’t be any more wrong. These social networking sites are valuable resources that allow you to target market to your specific niche. When I talk about MySpace with bloggers, most of them look down on the site with disdain. They feel that MySpace is a site designed for teens, sexual predators and that spending any time on there would be a waste to them.

If you look at MySpace’s demographics , you’ll see that the user base isn’t just a bunch of teenagers, with 36% of users being between the ages of 35-54. Each day there are about 500,000 blog posts published on the site covering diverse topic including politics, entertainment, technology, and a plethora of other topics. There is an audience reading these blogs that you can obtain. With a little effort and an understanding of how to target a market on MySpace, you can create word of mouth about your current blog or build a strong audience that you can transition off of MySpace when you are ready to launch a new blog.

Use Original Content to Build an Audience

I have seen a lot of bloggers post a static page on MySpace that acts as giant link to their blog. After having their page up for a few weeks they will complain that they aren’t generating any traffic from it. There are a couple of reasons for that; users are typically reluctant to leave MySpace when they first encounter profiles with all outbound links. To a lot of users, MySpace is a one stop shop. They don’t even realize (or perhaps equally like, care) that there is a blogging community outside of MySpace. You need to take the time to write original content at least once a week and engage your MySpace readers. By doing this you will create a loyal reader base that will follow you to your blog away from MySpace, creating a quality and consistent source of traffic.

Take Advantage of MySpace’s Powerful Search Features

The other reason why bloggers don’t see a return from their MySpace page is that they don’t take the time to target market. MySpace has search features that allow you to target people based on their location, age, gender, keywords, interests, and numerous other demographic information. These powerful search features aren’t limited to individual profiles – you can also scour the site for groups based on various keywords.

Take the keyword “Photography” for example. When searching for Photography groups, the first three groups have a collective 117,000 members. That is the huge audience that MySpace gives you access to! Right there is a large starting group to which you can offer blog invites and friend invites to, as well as posting within the bulletin board of that group.

[Read more...]

Your Audience Doesn’t Know About You So Go and Find Them!

A quick quote from Chris Pirillo:

“Your audience is still trying to discover you, but you have to go to where THEY are and not expect them to come to you in any other way.”

Chris is talking here about video blogging and podcasting more than blogging but the same thing applies to blogging.

‘Build it and they will come’ doesn’t apply to blogging – you need to think about where your potential readers are already gathering and go interact with them there. Read more about this process of growing your blog’s readership by targeting readers.

Email a New Reader of Your Blog

Building-A-Better-Blog-2Your task for this first day of the 31 Days to Building a Better Blog Challenge is to email a new reader of your blog.

Create a great impression upon a brand new readers to your blog by choosing a commenter that is new and emailing them to thank them for their comment.

It might not sound like the most profound tip but I’ll let you in on a secret – this is one of the main strategies I used to build up ProBlogger’s audience a couple of years ago.

What I found is that when you do it the chances of the readers that you email coming back to your blog again increases significantly. Get them to come back to your blog once and you increase the chances of them coming back again… and again….

So email a reader now, thank them for commenting and tell them that you’re looking forward to further interactions.

Make sure you include a link back to your blog so they know who you are and make the email relevant to their comment (ie answer a question they asked or add to their comment in some way). While there are some tools out there that do this automatically for you – the more personal you can make it the better.

This simple tip takes just a moment to do but can create a loyal long time reader. Do it at least once a day (or set yourself a higher target) and you’ll build your blog consistently over time.

Is this Tip Not SPECTACULAR Enough For You?

Last time I shared this tip with a fellow blogger they rolled their eyes at me and told me that they didn’t want to find just one more reader for their blog – they wanted hundreds or thousands.

This blogger failed to realize two things: [Read more...]

Guerrilla Marketing Tactics for Your Blog

Aaron Brazell has put together a post Guerrilla Marketing Techniques that Anyone Can Do which have some less common tactics to get word out about your blog.

I doubt any of them will bring in a deluge of traffic – however sometimes it’s the small ways of building traffic that add up to make a blog popular.

What small and less common techniques do you use to build traffic to your blog?

An Example of a Guerrilla Marketing Tactic

I met a blogger recently who had a blog with a very local focus. His Guerrilla Marketing Tactic was to do a deal with three internet cafes in his area to make his blog the home page on all of the computers. In return for this he gave them some free advertising on his blog. The same blogger made a similar deal with the local library who also made his blog the home page of their public internet computers. This worked particularly well for him as his blog was on his local area.

Using Local Newspapers to Promote Your Blog Offline

This mini guest post is from Harry Maugans the co-founder and lead developer for Desktop Nexus.

One of the biggest problems for local newspapers is finding things to write about.

Email or call 5-10 of your closest local newspapers and explain you have an explosive new website that will revolutionize the industry you’re in. Make sure you emphasize you’re local, and build it in or near their coverage area. In my case, I’m touting my wallpaper site as the next YouTube- the next huge community oriented around desktop backgrounds, and while that might be a bit extreme, it catches the newspapers attention.

Nine times out of ten, local papers will run this story: “Local Hometown Internet Entrepreneur Ignites Revolution in Wallpapers.” (of course different for your particular situation). Also, a surprising number of local papers are considered authority sites by Google, so a backlink from them would give your SEO rankings a nice boost.

Finding Readers for Your Blog – What We Wish We Knew

Finding-Readers

This post is part of the ‘What we wish we Knew’ Series. In this post I’ll share readers comments on the topic of finding readers for a blog as well as some of my own experiences and advice.

We’ve talked about setting your blog up right (hosting, domains and platforms), making money from blogs and writing great content – but while all of these things are important to think through, they are somewhat useless unless you have readers stopping by to engage with your content.

It’s no wonder then that the most common question I’m asked is ‘how do I find readers for my blog’.

As with all of the topics we’re looking at this week, how to find readers is something that will vary from blog to blog significantly. But if I had to identify a top 5 things that I’ve learned on the topic over the last 5 years I’d summarize it like this:

1. Know Who You Want to Attract

When I was a younger single guy a wise friend gave me a valuable piece of advice for finding a life partner. He said – ‘Darren, write a list of what you’re looking for in a partner’. He went on to explain that when you define what you want in life you’re more likely to spot it when it comes by your way. You’ll also be more likely to know where to go looking for it. Read more on defining what type of reader you want and going after them.

While I’m not sure my friend would have expected his advice to turn up in a post about how to attract readers to your blog – I think there’s some truth to it. I wish now that I’d spent more time in the early days of blogging thinking about my reader (or potential reader).

2. Build Community

While I will always argue that quality content is essential in drawing readers to your blog I am increasingly convinced that one way to build your readership is to create spaces that people will want to belong to.

Build an interactive space where people feel empowered to add their comments, give readers jobs, give them homework, make your readers famous and create spaces where you step back and let your readers take the lead in showing their expertise and you’ll build a blog that people will want to be a part of and a space that your readers will promote for you. [Read more...]

Place Your Blog on a ‘Busy Intersection’

Steve Remington wrote a good post today that uses the metaphore of roads and intersections to think about blogs. It’s an image that caught my imagination a little. He writes:

“Think of your blog as a virtual business on a road. Your best chance of success is not sitting out in the middle of cyberspace where nobody can find you. Landing your blog in the middle of downtown or on an intersection somewhere will give you many more readers and potential clients.”

Read his full post at Blogs Are Roads; Intersections

I like the imagery of the metaphor and think that there’s some real truth in it. A blogger who simply works on their own blog and doesn’t work to put themselves ‘out there’ on a busy intersection will limit the potential of their blog even if they write great content.

Positioning yourself on a busy intersection or ‘downtown’ means getting involved in your niche, building relationships with other bloggers and becoming part of the places in your niche where the most action is happening.