In the last few months I’ve seen more and more bloggers getting excited about Stumbleupon and adding “stumble” buttons to their posts in order to encourage their visitors to stumble their latest entries.
While it’s nice to see your traffic stats go up I’ve often wondered if there’s any value to traffic from sites like Stumbleupon.
On Thursday evening I spent some time adding several of the recent posts on Odd Planet to Thoof. The posts that I’ve added to Thoof in the past have always brought in new traffic to my sites.
What’s more, the people who’ve decided to visit one of my sites after seeing the posts summary on Thoof have often taken the time to stop and leave a comment on the post. Some have also enjoyed the posts enough to add them to Digg, StumbleUpon and other social bookmark sites.
The great thing about Digg, Thoof and other social bookmark sites is that when people visit those sites they pick and choose what websites they visit. On the other hand when someone uses StumbleUpon they are taken to new sites, ones they may or may not want to visit. I suspect that most people quickly visit site to site when they stumble, not stopping to explore the site they are on at all.
To prove my point – some of the posts that I added to Thoof on Thursday night have turned out to be quite popular on Thoof. Popular enough to bring in about 500 new visitors in the last two days. Several of these new visitors added the posts to social bookmarking sites, dugg the post and yes a few stumbled the posts too.
The stumbles resulted in more than 4,500 stumbles for ONE Odd Planet post yesterday.
4,500 visits. That’s amazing isn’t it? Shouldn’t I be happy about that?
While it’s possible that some of the stumblers might have bookmarked the site yesterday for future visits or added it to their favorite social bookmarking site I suspect most looked at the funny picture that’s posted, had a little laugh and moved on.
None of the stumblers stopped to leave a comment. This particular post was published on October 3rd and the last comment left on the post is October 6th – well before all this stumbling occurred. Yet the posts that were very popular on Thoof got quite a few new comments and hopefully some of the new Thoof visitors will return.
I’ve monetized Odd Planet with Google Adsense. This site usually does ok with Google Adsense. It doesn’t make a lot of money each day, but I’d say it usually averages a dollar or two. Yesterday the site had more than 4,500 visitors. Do you know how much I made on Google Adsense on that site yesterday? 34 cents. Uh huh. Some of my other sites that only had 100 visitors on Saturday made quite a bit more than that.
This only re-enforces my opinion that StumbleUpon traffic is hit and run traffic.
My other worry is that Google, who doesn’t like sites that create “false impressions” of their ads, could see all this hit and run traffic as an effort to increase ad impressions and end up banning my account. I’m actually glad that there wasn’t a huge increase in Google Adsense clicks as it might have raised Google’s suspicion.
At this point I think I’d much rather have an extra hundred or so visitors to a post from a site like Thoof or Digg where people have chosen to visit the post on their own rather than thousands of empty hits from StumbleUpon.
Since I run several websites and blogs on my hosting account I worry about getting too much traffic too. I’ve had to change hosts twice so far this year and the next move will probably be an upgrade to VPS hosting. You can read about my hosting problems and CPU resource over usage on The WebFiles. A huge increase in extra traffic – sometimes 6 hits per minute on the post I’ve been discussing could be the final straw that causes my host to shut my account down. If it was real traffic I’d deal with it ok, but to worry about my hosting account over empty traffic – no way.
The stumbling is still going strong. Looking at the Statcounter Stats for Odd Planet there’s been 1,304 page loads in the last 3 hours and forty five minutes (yes it’s 3:45 am) and the majority of those page loads were StumbleUpon visitors.
Once all the stumbling stops I’ll keep an eye on the site to see if the traffic has increased a little bit over it’s past daily average. Of course since a few posts were popular on several of the sites I’ve mentioned in the last few days I may have trouble deciding which site caused a slight increase (return visitors) in the average traffic once all of this dies down.
Have you had some of your posts become popular on StumbleUpon, Digg, Thoof or a social bookmarking site? If you have, have you analyzed the traffic from those sites to see if you gained any benefit from the increase in visitors at all?