Anyone who writes a Blog knows how important publicity is: a Blog without an audience, without readers and feedback quickly becomes boring for the creator and defeats the object of writing in the first place. Listings in various search engines and directories can bring quick returns, but often rely on exactly the right keywords being used and, certainly for Blog directories, a long history; the serious Blog directories demand at least ninety days online activity and, often, a minimum number of entries. Publicity through comments on other Blogs is a must, but also a long and wearisome process requiring a good deal of work and dedication but other means are seldom viable. Services such as that provided by StumbleUpon, a link and recommendation platform, can mitigate much of the work and bring a Blog – or any other website – quickly and effectively to the attention of a target audience.
StumbleUpon is a collector’s paradise. It relies exclusively on members who surf through the Internet and, using an easy to install and operate toolbar, mark sites, pages and content as either recommended or to be avoided. Each Stumbler, and there are presently more than thirteen million worldwide, creates a directory of their interests which they add to whenever a new site or content of interest is found through a simple link and through linked recommendations from other Stumblers. New discoveries, sites or content which has not been linked previously, appear as Discoveries both in the individual directory and on the front page of the site. In addition, Stumblers may add comments, tags and keywords to their links which are fully searchable and share these links and discoveries with friends and followers.
Publicizing a website through StumbleUpon is as simple as clicking on a link, adding an optional comment and a few keywords then pressing Send. Publicizing a personal Blog or website is equally simple, and can be enhanced by the addition of a Stumble Button, allowing other visitors to the site to recommend and link. There are, however, one or two factors which a new user should take into account before linking a complete site, one page at a time, through StumbleUpon.
Less is often better. Linking each and every page on a site in one go is not going to achieve any lasting results and may create adverse publicity, causing a lack of recommendations and a falling off of visitors. The StumbleUpon toolbar lets Stumblers find random recommendations from other users, according to the keywords they have entered or a set of specific interests. A sudden rush of links to a single website will result in fewer Stumblers giving a further recommendation for others, and may well result in a website being noted as a spam site with non-recommendations – that is, a click on the StumbleUpon toolbar which warns others and notifies the main system of potential abuse.
The mix is important. Gaining a name as a member of StumbleUpon is important. Stumblers with many personal recommendations for their choices – a person’s directory listing can be commented upon by others - and a good list of followers achieve more success than those who tend to stick to one and the same site or subject. Better publicity can be gained for a website or Blog by mixing links in with recommendations for a wide variety of other sites, with a good selection of discoveries and images to please the eye.
Freshness and originality. Stumblers are looking for content which interests them and which they know will interest others. Each directory list is a personal list of recommendations for others to follow, and says a great deal about the person linking to a specific site or page. Surfing for hours on end tends to bring a certain level of tiredness with it, the seen-it-all syndrome. A website with fresh, original and regularly changing content will gain considerably more recommendations than one which constantly rehashes the same themes.
Finally. StumbleUpon allows interaction between Stumblers through messages, personal recommendations and Shares. Good publicity can be gained by being in touch with those marked as followers, by sharing new content and sites with them personally and by treating them as friends on the same path through life. Friendly contact and interaction alongside a good selection of recommendations – including the main website being publicized – brings dividends.