Stumble Upon users are notoriously impatient with users spending an average of 10-20 seconds on a site. Quite often, the decision to stay on your site is made before your page fully loads. Well, what can you do in 20 seconds? Here are a some tips to help you turn those casual stumblers to regular repeat visitors.
Design & Branding
If StumbleUpon and other social media websites are planned to be the main source of your traffic, then your website should be designed with this purpose in mind; directing your visitors to the information they want while being unique. Ok, this is easier said than done. We know that good web designers don’t come cheap, and good free templates appear frequently on everyone else’s site and blog.
If you are a on a tight budget, why not start small with colour schemes and a logo? You can select a free template and customise some of the colours. Wellstyled.com has a nifty tool to help you choose the colour scheme for your website branding. As for your logo, DaFont.com is a great place for quality free fonts.
As your traffic builds and money comes in, you can expand one step at a time. Don’t forget to make a favicon(your website icon that appears in the url bar). Once your visitors have bookmarked you for a return visit, the favicon will help them identify your website in a long list of bookmarks.
Advertising and affiliate schemes: Plastering your website with adverts is a sure-fire way to get an instant thumb’s down. Ads are designed to catch the eye and will distract your users. Don’t create obstacles for users who just want to read your content. A good idea is to have multiple layouts for your content which can be easily switched. For example, when you find out you have been picked up by StumbleUpon, you can change the page layout to accommodate SU users(Less ads, less selling, cleaner design, more headlines and images).
StumbleUpon users will stumble straight through a website if they believe it’s an attempt sell something. Keep the hard sell to a minimum on StumbleUpon landing pages.
Everything else aside, the most important thing is to produce great content. Create content that has depth which your visitors will come back to finish. A good tip is to create a series for content items
We can’t tell you how to create great content but the main question you should ask yourself is:
What value does your content provide to the community?
We have looked at types of content that become popular on StumbleUpon here that might give you a useful indication of the type of content that StumbleUpon users are generally interested in.
Remember - don’t spam your site or trade Stumbles with other people on forums. While it might bring you an initial burst of traffic, it is pretty pointless if those visitors never come back to your site because you didn’t take the time to create interesting content.
You should think about StumbleUpon as the casual reading of a magazine in a waiting room. The reader often starts flicking to the next page while they are scanning the current one. Images draw the eye more than text. When users arrive at your page, they will usually scan from the top left of the page down to the bottom right. It only takes a second for your visitors to categorise your website. The key here is to have a clear purpose for your website. For example if you have pictures of Wind turbines your visitors will correlate that with an environmental website. Choose your pictures wisely.
Images in your article introductions play an important role in drawing you visitors to continue clicking. If you’re looking for images for your website then you can use the following image sites:
- 250,000 quality free stock photos by more than 25,000 photographers!
A great collection of free stock photos.
Over 8,000 quality images.
A smaller collection of good free images and textures
Although studies have shown that the fold of your website(the area visible on the screen before any scrolling occurs) has little bearing on how far down your visitors scroll, the StumbleUpon user must be thought of differently considering the average time they spend on your site.
You will need to put good interesting and relevant content above the fold. It is not necessarily the quantity but the quality that is important. Headlines and images are the most important things on your website. Put the best you’ve got above the fold, so when stumblers arrive at your site, they can see you site is packed with quality.
CrazyEgg is a great heat map tool to find out where your visitors are clicking and how to optimize content placement on your website. We would suggest signing up for a free account and setting up a test when your content is picked up by Stumbleupon.
Related and Popular Content
Get them on your site and keep ‘em there. Related content is a good way to keep your visitors on your site. Chances are, if they have made it to the end of your post, then they are interested in what they are reading. Give your visitors the option to read more of the same. The important thing here is to make sure you tag your posts properly and make sure your related content is accurate.
If there isn’t an option for a “Popular” or “Related” content plugin for your blogging platform or content management system then consider manually adding relevant links at the end of each article.
The Popular Content section is an important section to your website. Users are more likely to click these content items because it has been deemed worthy by many other users.
Your RSS feed is one of the most important tools in your artillery. Make your feed icons pretty and prominently visible above the fold and give your visitors the option to subscribe by email. You should also include the RSS links at the end of your posts.
Many people have developed their variations of the classic orange feed icon, but we would suggest that the original orange icon is the most effective on StumbleUpon landing pages. This is due to the fact that in the short time that your stumblers visit your page, images are more effective than text, and the orange RSS feed icons are universally understood for what they are.
If you have a few design bones in you, you should download the RSS feed developer pack at Feedicon.com and have a go at customising it to suit the design of your website.
Speed of website
As mentioned previously, stumblers often decide whether they stay on your page or skip it before you page even loads. You need to allow for stumblers to stay on your site long enough to decide whether they want to come back! So how do you design a website that looks good while is loading I hear you ask? Well, you can’t, but you can make sure your site loads as quickly as possible. There are two ways to do this.
Get a good fast webhost. We use Liquid Web here. They provide incredible support as well as great value dedicated servers. We regularly get stories to the front page of Digg as well as the other news and bookmarking sites, and have yet to have any problems. We can’t recommend Liquid Web enough for a serious website.
Optimize your template. There are many reasons why your website can be slow. Webpage Analyzer is a great tool to check your site for errors and optimize your images and links. If you can fix all the items in red, you will be going as fast as your servers will allow.
Can you think of anything else that works for you in converting your stumblers to regulars? Why not share it with us in the comments section?
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