We writer types need to be seen and read or we don’t really exist, right?
StumbleUpon is pretty simple to use and doesn’t have to take up a lot of your time, but done properly it’ll get you noticed. (See my recent example HERE)
Here are the basics.
StumbleUpon is a kind of search engine/general website where you are presented with articles in topics you choose, and then you give them a thumbs up or thumbs down so the site can give you more things to your liking. (To do that, you set up a free SU account and pick some topics like writing and humor, cats, etc. – but not really cats.)
For authors and bloggers, you can get you noticed. In a good way. Not like that guy who fell in the fountain reading his iPhone.
How? Well, first let’s talk about how to use it.
Put a blog post, writing sample, article you wrote, etc., on StumbleUpon
Every once in a while go into StumbleUpon and click around some of the stuff you like and read a few articles, giving them either a thumbs up or a thumbs down. Let’s say you do that once a week for 10 minutes.
Then, about once a week or so, you should post a page of yours from your blog on to StumbleUpon.
How do you post? Pretty simple. When you open your account, you’re going to select some categories of interest, but there’s a drop-down menu that will give you the choice to post something. Put it there.
Go back the the first image. See in the upper right it says “add a page”? That’s where you’d add a page. YOUR blog page, maybe. Click that and you’ll get a drop down.
Also, once a week or more, post something that you like from somewhere else. From here, maybe. Hint, hint.
Anyway, you copy the link for the page you wanna add and fill out the info
Safe for work? Yes.
What is this page about? If it’s one of mine, choose WRITING. Song writing will also appear as you type. Don’t choose that. Type WRITING and hit enter.
All that will get you noticed in a general way. (That’s #1 of the 3 ways I referenced in the title.)
With tags, you want to be careful.
I can get seen by lots of SU users if I don’t use a tag. Your WordPress numbers will shoot up for the day, and that’s fun. Long term, though, tags help readers find specific topics, and when a site delivers what a reader wants, they tend to appreciate it – and so does the search engine. That’s why some posts I put on SU do well for a day and some do well long term. Remember, as soon as you post your page, people are going to start giving you a thumbs up or thumbs down. So use tags when you can, and use them accurately, or you’ll get lots of thumbs down and not get seen. Search Engine Optimizers (SEOs) might play a role here, too, so tread lightly.
So create your tags, type them in, and hit enter after each one. It’ll let you do a bunch. I’d do between 2-6. (Refer to my pic above. See all the pretty tags? There are 5.) tagging will still allow you to be found by general SU users, but also by specific users. That’s the #2 way to be found, of the three ways I mentioned in the title: specific targeting. Sometimes I’m looking for the description of breaking glass, and sometimes I’m browsing, so both ways are good.)
After you put in your tags, hit SAVE. It’ll take a sec, but your page will load. Congrats! You did it.
Many followers of this blog are writers and we are all readers of one kind or another, which means you’re going to occasionally see something you read and enjoy during the week – say one of my posts, for example. Post that on StumbleUpon. Once or twice a week, as you do your regular leisurely reading – I don’t care if it’s an online newspaper or Time magazine or what – post the page link on SU, so you are NOT just spamming your own pages but adding value to the SU site. Be a good stumbler.
Feel free to post my page links. If you are reading this and other stuff, it’s valuable to you, so it’ll be valuable to others. Post stuff with value. And DON’T post with the goal of reciprocation (Jenny, I’ll post lots of yours and you post lots of mine!) Search engines look for that stuff. BE A GOOD STUMBLER. Play fair. Add legit value. It’s out there. (Like here for example.)
So your ratio is going to be one third your own stuff getting posted there, with two posts you do from other people. There’s some article somewhere you’re going to like. Post that.
Usually, if you do this in the morning, you’ll see a hundred or more views on your post that day.
If it’s a good post, as in, if it adds value or benefits or informs its intended reader, you will get residual views for many days.
Okay, now the not so fun stuff: RULES
You’re going to want to follow a few simple rules. Three sounds like just the right amount, so here they are:
- Use it, don’t abuse it.
- Don’t put up 10 of your own blog posts in one day! Do what I said. One of yours and two from somebody else and call it a week. Websites are smart. They will see you are just promoting yourself and not adding value to their site, and you will find yourself not getting promoted at all by them. You will be burned by the SEO gods, and they are vicious, heartless creatures.
- Also, use the site. There’s good stuff out there.
Finally, when you post, try different things. The category can be “writing” but the tags can be whatever you want. I have found most of my posts do well when I don’t put tags on them, but the one that does best has specific tags (and a specific title to the blog post)
Now, what will work best to get YOU noticed?
That’s why you read this far, right? And didn’t skip down? Because if you skipped to here you will get burned by the SEO gods when you don’t do stuff I talked about above, believe me. But okay, let’s assume you read everything to this point. You skippers know who you are. You were just scrolling through to find a list of the three ways to get noticed, and you didn’t see it, did you? Go read what you should have.
How will you get noticed? Well, what makes a post grab your attention? Or grab other peoples attention?
Posts that address a common problem do well.
Posts with a number in the title (3 ways to do a text conversation)
Anything provocative. Lucy reveals all! Blah blah topic because you’re doing it wrong!
That’s about it, and that’s the #3 way referenced in the title. That last one works because authors are really insecure. “Three tips to writing better dialogues because you’re doing it wrong!” That’ll get ’em in.
Also, “3 things to never do in your story/blog post/marriage” – you get the idea. People tune in just to make sure they aren’t doing any of the three things. And it sounds brief. Heck, I’m busy but I have time to scan the three things, right? Right. Then they see value in what you said, or your snappy banter writing style, and they read more of the post, like the post, follow you, send you flowers, etc.
Those do best, but that’s not really what you should post.
This is the secret #4 way to get noticed, the one you really need, and the skimmers won’t get this one, either, so let them burn in e-Hell. The titles in the bullet points will get eyes. You want that, right? Maybe. Use that approach as a tool, and enhancer, not a gimmick, and you’ll be okay. Tag things properly so you get the proper eyes, the people who get what they were searching for. Lest the gods of the interwebs wreak havoc on your eternal e-soul.
Whatever your most-read post was over the last year or month or whatever, that’s a pretty good indicator that you should post that one in StumbleUpon. Even if it only got three views on your blog, StumbleUpon will help it find more.
Quality before quantity
I’m the first guy to tell you to fake it ’til you make it, but there’s no need to do that on SU.
Remember, my blog started out trudging along with no readers for a long time, over a year. If you have more than three readers, you are doing better than I did my first 18 months or so. I’m not kidding. SU can shorten that span for you, help your stories get found, and bring you some recognition, so stumble wisely!
Now take your favorite post from this blog and go post it over on StumbleUpon!
Dan Alatorre is the author of several bestsellers and the amazingly great sci fi action thriller “The Navigators.” Click HERE to get your copy of The Navigators – FREE on Kindle Unlimited!