You may have heard of StumbleUpon but haven’t used it because you don’t really understand what it’s for or what it does. This is the case with many bloggers I have talked to so I wanted to share my little secret with you: StumbleUpon is often one of my largest sources of blog traffic. Do I have your attention yet?
What is StumbleUpon?
StumbleUpon is a social bookmarking site where users can “Stumble” their favorite web pages and share their discoveries. For the consumer, it’s a place where they can organize bookmarks and discover new and exciting content based on parameters of their choosing. Maybe they want to look at websites related to jewelry or meal planning. It’s very easy for them to search and find content that other Stumblers found useful.
For you as a blogger, this offers great potential. StumbleUpon is a whole network of people who are literally looking for your blog. The site helps them find useful and interesting content to look at and allows them to discover blogs they may otherwise have never found.
Getting Started With StumbleUpon
Like all social media outlets, you can create a personal profile on StumbleUpon with a user name, profile picture and very brief description of who you are. You can follow other users and see what they like but that is pretty much where your social interaction with Stumblers ends.
At sign up, you can choose from a list of interests – as few or many as you would like so that you can get a wide range of topics in your feed or something more targeted. Don’t worry – you can always stumble based on very specific parameters later if you want/need to.
StumbleUpon is smart and over time, it will get to know you based on the types of posts you “thumbs up” or “thumbs down”. It will curate a feed more tailored to your interests and liking. At any time, you can add more interests or remove ones you no longer want.
Using and Navigating StumbleUpon
There is no official or one way to use the website. You can do anything from just discovering websites and giving a “thumbs up” if you like what you see, or do the community a favor by adding content to it directly from websites you enjoy.
I really like the ability to add a page. You can do this directly from a blog or website and even get as detailed as to select a few categories the page would fit best in, or you can add pages directly from within your StumbleUpon dashboard.
“Stumble” onto new pages by clicking the bright orange “STUMBLE” button seen in the above image. If you like a page, you can click the thumb up icon. This means you liked the content and it prompts StumbleUpon to show you similar pages in the future. It will also store that page in the “Likes” section of your profile. If you don’t like a page for whatever reason, you can click the thumb down icon. You can also give a reason such as you’ve seen the page before, it isn’t rated correctly, the page isn’t loading, etc.
You can organize your likes by creating lists. You can do this within the StumbleUpon dashboard by clicking on the little drop down flag. It will prompt you to create a list or save the page you’re currently on into one you already have.
There is one very important rule for using StumbleUpon: Don’t just stumble your own posts. StumbleUpon will penalize you for self–promotion and you’ll find you are actually hurting your traffic with the website by posting your own content to it.
Instead, be sure to make it very easy for readers to stumble your post via some sort of social sharing plugin. I personally use Monarch, but there are lots of great free plugins out there for this.
If you really like someone’s content, there are toolbar plugins available as well!
- Firefox StumbleUpon Toolbar
- Chrome StumbleUpon Toolbar
- Safari StumbleUpon Toolbar
- IE StumbleUpon Toolbar
All of these tool bars allow you to easily Stumble posts. I have the Chrome extension installed and it’s been really helpful.
The Do’s and Do Nots
- DO Like posts and websites you are interested in.
- DO Contribute to the site by providing reviews and feedback on things you liked or disliked.
- DO Add pages that you think are awesome and contain content you enjoyed.
- DO NOT Use Stumbleupon as a means of self-promotion.
- DO NOT Ask people to stumble your posts specifically. (You CAN let them know that it’s an option!)
How Is This Increasing Traffic?
I know you might be hesitant. It’s a lot of work, right? But trust me… it’s really worth that little bit of effort. Get involved with the site, participate and occasionally add in a blog post. You’ll be surprised with the results.
Every time someone finds your post, you’re gaining traffic. Every time they give you a thumbs up, it tells StumbleUpon that your amazing content is worth sharing with others as well! More thumbs up equals more views and more traffic!
Have you been Stumbling? Offer some words of encouragement or share your experience with this platform!