I’m taking a day off from food and addressing an issue that’s been on my mind quite a bit lately! Social Networking, and the lack of it’s proper use. It seems a lot of people are unaware of how to get the most out of the more popular traffic driving networks out there. I see it all the time when I visit other blogs. If you notice the graphic I created, StumbleUpon is the largest. That’s the one I’ll focus on mainly. It’s the most misunderstood, misused, and also can be the biggest traffic source for you. Yep, even bigger than Facebook. I would say that half of my followers on Stumbleupon are missing out big time!
I’m by no means an overall networking expert, but I do have my areas of expertise, and I would like to help by explaining what I know and have experienced thus far. Let me briefly qualify myself. I started my own website development company in May of 2006, Xcel Webworks. I’m by no means hawking my company here, because I only take very selective work these days due to time constraints. I have also had a couple other blogs and helped drive traffic for a friend’s blog. Along the way, I’ve learned a few things by experience. I DO know how to drive traffic. For instance, this blog was created June 25th of 2011. It started with an Alexa rank of 14,000,000, and is at 170,000 as of today. That’s fast growth!
So, I’ll cover the major social networks and other means of driving traffic to your blog further down in the article, but in a nutshell, this is the way it should go.
Your best time spent is to visit other blogs in your niche. Yes the bigger blogs are the best, but don’t forget about the smaller blogs too. You’re not just focusing on traffic, but you also want to make friends and build a network.
In a nutshell: Visit blogs in your niche. You should read or thoroughly scan the post, leave a comment, “Like” Facebook, Tweet it, Stumble (or submit) it, and if you like it, and/or like the blogger, 1 up it on Google Plus. And last but not least, if you like the photos, Pin it on Pinterest. While you’re there, you should follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Stumbleupon and Pinterest.
Important – Please note, the above strategy is to be used only if you genuinely like the post and blog. I’m not saying you should do this blindly on every single blog you come across. Besides, I know after a look and reading a couple of sentences whether I’m interested or not.
This practice is not only the nice thing to do, and helpful to the blog you visited, but it brings you quickly up on the blogger’s radar. You’ll make yourself known to them, and they will see you in a good light and hopefully return the favor and follow back. Most important, be genuine!
Now, where the misuse, probably due to lack of knowledge, by bloggers comes in is when there are no buttons or icons to allow the visitor to easily perform all these tasks. Because to be honest, reading the post is the most time consuming, the other stuff takes so little time, and has such high rewards for you the visitor, and for the blogger, it’s just a shame when the blogger hasn’t made all this readily available to you. It just makes me sad when I don’t see these icons on a blog. (Main purpose for this article!)
Facebook: I’ll admit, I still haven’t gotten my head around this one, but I will. I’ve had awesome traffic off and on, and can’t figure out where it originated from. If someone has a clue, please fill me in through the comments below. Either way, you should have an account under your name or blog name, and a Fan Page. Always Like the page you visit, always Like your own latest article and comment, and always follow everyone you can.
Twitter: I get some pretty decent traffic from Twitter. Twitter is one of those where so much etiquette is involved. You don’t want to just tweet up your latest and past posts. You should be tweeting about other blogs, (as mentioned above), and you should be retweeting other peoples tweets when you find them of value and interest.
I’ve been watching for reactions to my tweeting behavior, like people following or unfollowing me to give me an indication of my etiquette. At this point, my ratio of tweeting strictly about my posts to other peoples posts is about 60/40. Seems to be working for me, but I’m still not sold. There’s still more to learn on Twitter. Again, comments on this are more than welcome. I’d love to hear what others have learned through experience.
StumbleUpon: Here’s the one that has the most misuse, and the most potential for big traffic. And let me be honest, I have misused it for years, and have just recently been gaining a better understanding of the intricacies of it. So if anyone can add to what I have here, please do so through the comments below.
First of all, most people when following someone fail to check the box next to “Accept shares to my toolbar”. This is located under the “Follow” button on the right side of the page when following someone new. Personally, I don’t understand why StumbleUpon doesn’t put a nice short & sweet explanation for the importance of this near the check box.
Without checking that box, you can’t share with that person, and they can’t share with you through the toolbar. So basically, following that person is pretty much useless. So having said that, not installing the StumbleUpon toolbar on your browser also seriously limits your use and results from StumbleUpon.
IMPORTANT NOTE #1 - Install the toolbar and always check the box next to “Accept shares to my toolbar” when following someone.
IMPORTANT NOTE #2 – Follow as many as you can in your niche.
1) Don’t submit your own posts. When sharing your latest or an older post on the toolbar, send it to all your followers unsubmitted. The first person to receive it will submit it for you. I believe most don’t mind. It only takes a few seconds to submit. Especially when using the toolbar.
2) Don’t only share your own posts. When someone shares a post with you, and you really like it, share it with your followers.
3) In reference to point #2, don’t share more than, (just a gut feeling), 2 to 3 times per day. Most of those shares should be other blog posts that you’re sharing.
I post once a day on my blog, and I share that early in the day. I then will share a different bloggers post a few times a week.
I have been told that the algorithm used by StumbleUpon penalizes you for submitting your own posts, and the post doesn’t do as well in circulation. The algorithm also takes into account how many different posts of other blogs you submit and “Like”, and what niche the post is in the you “Like”.
As you continue using it, you’ll see the view count continue to grow on older submitted posts. This is due to the “Stumble” button located on the toolbar being used. It’s always interesting to see one of your own posts come up when browsing with the Stumble button.
Be sure to use the “Stumble” button from time to time. It’s a great way to find new sites in your niche and to discover new stumblers to follow.
Note: For any of the particulars on the features of the networks mentioned, use the individual network’s site help systems. But please feel free to ask me in the comments. If I know, I’ll tell you. If I don’t, I won’t try to pretend I do.
I hope all this helps you to drive more traffic to your blog! As for me, I’m still learning!