Using StumbleUpon to Drive Website Traffic 87

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One of the tools that I have become a lot more familiar with in the past few months for driving traffic to your blog is StumbleUpon.  Here are some Stumbleupon tips to effectively to get more traffic to your website.

the basics of StumbleUpon

the basics of StumbleUpon, via their website

Basically, StumbleUpon is a social media tool whereby you can rate web pages (via a simple thumbs up or thumbs down button on a toolbar to your web browser) and then they strive to show you only the sites you’d be interested in seeing. When you hit the “Stumble” button on your toolbar, you get sent to a random site, but that randomness is based on an algorithm that keeps track of what you like or dislike, and to a lesser extent what the stumblers you are following like and dislike. The result is fewer sites that waste your time and more sites you’re interested in reading. Using some basic StumbleUpon tips, you can dramatically improve your traffic statistics.

FYI: My profile on StumbleUpon is here. Feel free to follow me and accept shares and I will do the same.

That’s all well and good and I am sure that everyone wants to discover websites, posts, photos and other goodies by stumbling (it actually is great and addictive fun), but the purpose of this post is to help step you through some ways that using StumbleUpon drive traffic to your own website/blog.

I stand on the shoulders of others that know a lot more about StumbleUpon than me, starting with Brendan of BrendansAdventures — Also my thanks to the great folks at ThePlanetD for their help and tips.

StumbleUpon Tips:

• The basics first: download the toolbar from the StumbleUpon for whatever browser you use. Go to the Profile section and fill out your information, most importantly, your website and your interest in things you want to stumble. Use the Find Friends function to find friends of yours on Twitter, Facebook or your email accounts that are already stumblers.

stumbling in an internet cafe

stumbling in an internet cafe

• Using the toolbar is simple. Anytime you are on a web page that interests you, just click on the “I like it” button. If you are the first to discover a page, you will get routed to a quick form where you fill in the topics relevant to that page and can write a short summary. You can discover pages without doing this, but you should fill out those two sections as often as possible. It is quick, easy, and filling them out lends your stumble more weight. If someone has already discovered the page, you have to click on the review button (which looks like the cartoon balloon to the right of the topic section on the toolbar). That’s it. The more you “like,” the more the program can figure out what your interests are, so it can direct you to more appropriate sites each time you hit the “Stumble” button.

• The most important stumbleupon tip is to never stumble your own pages from your website. StumbleUpon considers you repeatedly stumbling your own website as spamming and will penalize you by not stumbling other people to your website as much. Although they recommend you stumble 10 other sites to 1 of yours – there is no reason to ever stumble your own site. I just don’t ever like my own pages anymore just to be safe with the program.

click through here, if interested

• Recently Daniel of Canvas of Light gave me the second most important tip I can pass along: when you start following a person you like by going to their SU homepage and clicking on “Follow” on the right side, you should also click on the box that comes up right underneath that, which is “accept shares.” If you and the person that person both follow each other and have both clicked that box, there is a very easy way to share websites that I find the most effective way to get traffic to your site.

• Although you should never like your own posts, once someone has discovered it (easy enough to do with a simple email or tweet to a friend), then you can “share” your page with any of your followers that has accepted your shares via the simple method above. When on your previously discovered page, click on the “Share” button – all the people that accept your shares will pop up and you then click on any or all of them, insert a message such as “here is a post of mine, share it if you like it.” Those shares go directly to the recipients toolbars and when then log on, a red number will appear – when they click it they will get automatically taken to the page that you recommended, with your message displayed. If they like it, then can just click “I like it.” Simple shares and stumbles.

• Follow general ‘net etiquette on this tool and don’t spam. Another StumbleUpon tip, I try to share 7-10 things spread out during the week, usually 2-3 posts from my site and the majority interesting things I found (and friend’s posts) that I think my followers will like. Follow up tip on this, make sure you keep your comments when you send shares out things that StumbleUpon won’t tag as possibly gaming the system: don’t say “please like this” or “stumble this,” but stick with something like “share if this interests you.”

• Stumble regularly. First, it is pretty fun to randomly stumble around or check out what people you are following are stumbling (via looking at their SU homepage). I try to find 7-12 things a day that I like. The more you input, the more you will get back out of it and the more the algorithm will be able to narrow to things you will like.

• Tag the things you like and write short reviews, especially if you are asking people to share your posts. More weight is given to your liking something if you put tags on it and review it. Since you want people to do that every time they like your posts – do the same when you like theirs.

• Do not stumble posts from one website more than twice a day. You might think you are helping a friend of yours by going to every one of their posts and liking and/or discovering twenty of them one day, but again, SU marks that sort of activity as spamming and diminishes the weight of your stumbles. If you want to stumble a number of pages on one website, space them out over a period of days.

Those are the basic ways to get started stumbling. I am learning there are other levels of stumbling that I might post about in the near future, but for now, get started and go with those basics. I would absolutely love if people used the comment section on this post to talk about their stumbling tips and also talked about their traffic effect from using this tool.

Supposedly StumbleUpon is now number 2 behind Facebook for all social media traffic, with 25% of the volume. If my results on my new website (after only a month, so take with a grain of salt) are any indication, this is true. StumbleUpon moves far, far more traffic to my site than Twitter, for instance. Not even a close comparison.

Further reading is another excellent post by the Travel Blog Challenge about Going Viral with StumbleUpon.

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About Michael Hodson

I’m an attorney that took off on my birthday in December of 2008 to circumnavigate the globe without ever getting on an airplane. After 16 months, 6 continents and 44 countries, I made it all the way back home. Right now, I am back on the road writing about it all.

87 thoughts on “Using StumbleUpon to Drive Website Traffic

  • Andrew

    Traffic is one thing, but Stumbleupon does not seem to have the social aspect as some of the other sites like Twitter and Facebook have. I am not a very avid Stumbler, but I do use it when I get bored sometimes to see what else is out there.

    • Michael Hodson

      Andrew, I do appreciate that it isn’t a “social” website in terms of interaction with people, but then again, it really isn’t supposed to be. That is why most of us have our addictions to Twitter and Facebook on the side. 😉

  • Jason

    Nice post, Michael.
    A good round-up of StumbelUpon information that I am still learning.
    Jason (AlpacaSuitcase)

  • Clark & Kim

    We get a lot of traffic from StumleUpon too, but I wouldn’t call it “high quality” traffic. The average amount of time spent on our blog is 5 seconds. I’m not sure how many of those people ever come back either.

    • Michael Hodson

      that was how it started for me also, but it improves over time, if you stay with it. I am now up to close to 2 minutes average for a StumbleUpon visit. Over time, people recognize your website as it pops up and end up staying longer. Initially, I had a lot of “drive-bys,” but stick with it and you’ll probably have the same results in a few months.

      • adventureswithben

        Thanks for adding this insight. I too saw a lot of “drive-bys” and wondered their worth. I’ll keep at it as many of your posts have hundreds of stumbles. I get a several hundred stumble post about once-twice/month.

      • Micki

        Thanks, Michael, that’s interesting.I was honestly wondering if SU (and Reddit) readers were worth much, given they’re only spending a few seconds on my site.

        • Michael Hodson Post author

          I am of the feeling that new eyeballs are always valuable. Never know if some of them will like you and stick long-term. Can’t hurt.

  • Simon

    I am quite a regular stumbler and must say that although I appreciate how SU is positively affecting traffic the main reason why I am fond of it is the number of stunning things I discover every time.
    Totally agree that it more quantitative than qualitative traffic, but that’s part of the game…

  • Sally

    2 minutes? How is anyone able to properly read a blog post in 2 minutes? Mine require at least a good 8-45 minutes… or possibly the better half of your evening. Thanks for the tips. I will have to come back to this post once I have my new blog up & running and you give me permission to start stumbling….

    • Bessie

      That’s my complaint about SU – we get lots of new visitors, but they’re not quality visitors, ie. little time spent, high bounce rate. Perhaps SU helps our rating, but it’s not converting a lot of new subscribers or anything.

      And to your point Sally about the amount of time someone spends, I think SU bodes better for photography blogs, entertainment, or services, that people can quickly digest their purpose then move on.

      Any one getting quality hits from SU?

      • Michael Hodson Post author

        my “quality” on SU varies, but it has gotten better with time. I think now that I have been out there for a few months, when people stumble on my stuff and recognize it is me, some of them stop for longer than they used to. It is like most things with blogging, just need to keep at it, I think.

    • Chip

      Consider me an indirect SU follower. I came here to read this post then HAD to go see why people would spend 8-45 minutes on your posts. They are wonderful! I love longer articles online. So many people follow the format of funny (not usually) bullet points, or inane questions. Your posts feel real. thanks! I’ve added you to my reader.

      • Michael Hodson Post author

        that is simply about the nicest comment I have every gotten. This week wasn’t exactly a confidence booster in the whole writing area, so I am particularly grateful to read this comment. Thank you. A lot.

  • Camwears

    Some great tips! SU is such a tricky one to master. I’ve tried all the strategies above and have found moderate success. The key remains writing a quality piece that people will want to read and stumble. It’s definitely a great tool for driving traffic

  • Anonymous

    Loved this post, Michael because it helped me to understand what ‘accept shares’ meant…duh! I have to say that SU has improved my traffic and while I do get visitors who stay for seconds….I have to say that I get quite a few who spend minutes to a half hour or so on the site. I average about 10 repeat visitors per day….not earth shattering, but you have to start somewhere, right?

  • Katie

    This is so helpful! Especially the info about how to share stuff – I couldn’t figure out for the life of me why there were only certain people showing up for me to share to.

    • Michael Hodson

      thanks for the comment Katie — those shares are the easiest way to get stumbles, for sure. Feel free to add my profile and I will do the same for you. I inserted my StumbleUpon link in the post above.

  • Nancie (Ladyexpat)

    Hi Michael, Good tips. You can stumble your own posts so long as you are very careful about it. In fact I was reading the SU blog the other day and it said this very thing. I’ll try to find the link for you and send. What I usually do is either stumble a new post of mine after I have done a bunch of other stumbles that day. OR I email to a friend, as you suggested. Once they discover my post I share it with my other share friends and that gets the “ball rolling”.

  • Michael

    Great tip and info for someone starting out. Stumble Upon brings about 85% of the traffic to my site, better than twitter or FB or any other social media tool. I once heard a presentation by someone from Stumble that you can stumble your own post but not more than once. I also have just started using Chrome but still use Firefox now and again. Sometimes, I stumble someone’s piece in both browser, ergo: 2 times. What I’m nervous about is if the 2nd stumble in another browser would negate the 1st one. I know that if you stumble the same post twice in the same browser, the second stumble equates to thumbing it down.

    • Lisa

      Do you stumble your own pages? I see many that do….myself including…this article makes me re-think it…..Curious about that one piece of the pie.

  • Norbert

    Thanks for the tips Michael! Like on your site, SU drives a LOT of traffic to mine, actually over 60% of the total traffic. For me, SU has been also great to discover new sites and keep current with interesting things.

  • Hogga aka @_Thetraveller_

    Awesome! This post is exactly what I’ve needed but keep forgetting to look for! haha

  • Corinne @ Gourmantic

    In general, SU is good if you’re after quantity over quality of traffic. I get bored when I randomly stumble content that I don’t find interesting. I prefer to check out people’s stumble activities and go from there.

  • lucinda

    Great post, Michael! I was actually planning google and ASK you about this very topic as you seem to be a big proponent. More to learn, more to learn. Exciting! Thanks for a really helpful intro to something I want to know more about.

  • Amanda

    You kept mentioning to me this “accept shares” feature, and I had absolutely NO CLUE what you were talking about. I don’t use a regular StumbleUpon toolbar because I’m running Safari on a Mac, so I just chalked it up to something I was missing due to that. But now I understand, and definitely will start “sharing” more!

    Thanks for these great tips.

  • Dave and Deb

    Thanks for the shout out Michael.
    Just one thing, it is a misconception that you can’t stumble your own posts. TBN actually had the people from StumbleUpon in for one of their webcasts and they put the rumour to rest once and for all. You can Stumble your own posts. You just have to make sure to stumble others as well. We have always stumbled our own posts and had success with StumbleUpon. Then again, we stumble a lot of other people’s posts too. StumbleUpon is like most other social media sites, the more you put into it and the more generous you are, the more you get from it; It looks like you will do very well with stumble with your generosity and giving. Thanks for sharing your knowledge!

    • Chamois

      I love the article with tons of useful information about Stumble! Now I know how to get started. One note: I love the blog page design with the leather background, it just needs much darker or lighter letters for easier reading.

      Thanks again for the information. Have a great day!

  • Leigh

    Thank you. This is the most informative & easily understood article I’ve read yet. I sure don’t find SU intuitive.

  • Jools Stone

    Excellent article Michael. I’m a bit shy of sharing my posts directly but maybe I’ll do it a little more now. I usually post up links on the tbex group and get some good results from that, not to mention the community aspect there. The tip about being careful about how you frame the comment is very useful. I had no idea they monitor that stuff!

    • Anil

      Great post with lots of good information. I too was going to mention the TBEX forum on Stumbling; while it can be cluttered it’s a good way to exchange thumb ups. Also, the number of friends you have/follow you is an important factor in giving your stumbles more impact so being social helps 🙂

      • Michael Hodson Post author

        Anil, thanks for mentioning that forum. I try to check in there a couple times a week also.

  • Zablon Mukuba

    thanks for the advice, i heard about SU bringing traffic to a site, so i am trying to use it to see if i will get an edge to get more traffic

  • Aaron

    Oops. I used to stumble my own stuff a lot.
    While I do enjoy a good stumble as it is always a good way to find interesting stuff, I also find that traffic from Stumbleupon just doesn’t convert.

    Unlike search traffic, it is mostly just people looking to waste a few minutes browsing.

    I will try your tips though, thanks for sharing.

  • Juno

    I was so confused and still quite am, but getting to it. 🙂 I stop giving thumbs up to mine. Just wait till someone discover me! haha
    Thanks for such a great job to gather all information! 😀

  • maitravelsite

    Great article Michael! One thing that is not mentioned is that SU actually tracks what you are stumbling, and can pick up if you are stumbling articles of the same person often. If caught, you get penalized, and thus your Stumbles are less relevant.


    • Michael Hodson Post author

      Thanks! One thing that I am happy about with this post is that I continue to get great tips in the comments. Hopefully everyone will not only read the post, but look all the way through these for another half dozen or more good SU tips.

  • Sonya

    Great insights on StumbleUpon! Thanks so much for spreading the word about SU. It’s one of the most inspiring social media networks!

  • Fida

    Hi Michael,
    Great post, and reading through all the comments helped me understand, that I CAN stumble my own – I didn’t do that because I understood that this was not something stumbleupon liked.

    I am still a bit confused with is the ‘share’ thing. I thought I could share an article of mine without having to email it first to friends.

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      you can share without any email to friends. Once someone has “discovered” one of your posts, you can go to that post and hit “share.” Then a toolbar pops up with everyone that is accepting shares from you. Click on any of them that you want to send the page to and type a message in the area for that. When your friends log onto SU, there will be a red number in their toolbar for all their shares from friends. They click through those and yours will be there. Nothing goes in anyone’s email box.

  • adventureswithben

    Thank you for demystifying SU for me. I’ve been using it for awhile, but not to my advantage.

  • Erin

    Thank you! Now I know what I’m doing with SU 🙂
    I’m sharing your post with the SU travel blogger group on TBEX!

  • Dina

    Ah, thanks for writing this. I think I have done some wrong things in the past then, hopefully it doesn’t hurt my blog and others.

  • Jeremy

    Hi Michael ,

    Really a good piece of info.I joined SU almost 3 months backs and i was just stumbling my own post, Now i came to know that is actually against the terms and conditions of SU. Will try to follow the tips that u mentioned in this post and will get back to u if really works.

    thanks once again for these valuable tips

  • Carla

    Thanks! Great advice. I had been using it for a while but I hadn’t gotten the full swing of it. Now it’s clear!

  • Lindsay aka @_thetraveller_

    So I’ve started stumbling as you know… go me!
    Anyways, what if I like the same site’s posts every few days? That won’t effect my ‘stumble status’ will it? There are a few sites that are my favorites and I can’t help but often thumbs them up…

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      not more than 1 stumble “like” on any one site per day. Nothing wrong that I know if to hit them 2-3 times a week, if you space it out. But also try to find additional sites out there. Don’t concentrate on just a few sites. Though there are a number of my posts you might want to slowing hit…. 😉

  • Ileane

    I have a new found love for StumbleUpon too. I did a video tutorial using the Google Chrome toolbar extension (check my CommentLuv link). Another tips I discovered is finding great groups to join. That’s a great way to find interesting users that will share your stumbles. Thanks for the post.

  • JustTravelous

    thanks for this great post! didn’t know about the “accept shares”-thing till I read this! Cool stuff!

  • Oswald

    Thanks for the tips – I am using your advice and trying out Stumblupon. I am new to the whole blog world – I have just started one and have a grand total of zero hits or followers still! 🙂 But I am starting to realize that I have been stupid to ignore the opportunities it presents for so long – just setting up the blog has taught me a lot of things, and then starting to try and write really motivates me and makes me think harder about what I want to or should be saying.
    And the sites I discovered stumbling are great anyway. I haven’t had time yet – but I want to go check out the site mentioned above that the posts are worth 45 minutes (and another commenter agreed).

  • Roy

    Thanks for the guide Michael. This is something I need to explore once I’m back on land and not paying $5/hr for internet 😀

  • Ele

    I’d be interested to know if all these users are based in the States? I run a UK-based website and based on my (admittedly limited) SU experimentation, have had very little success in driving traffic so far. I have to say it isn’t helped by the fact that I find SU to be quite a user-unfriendly site! Not many people over here have heard of it to be honest… Do you think StumbleUpon is really a tool for America or have you seen it work worldwide?

  • The Travel Chica

    I just started using StumbleUpon about a month ago, and I’ve found it very confusing. Thanks for explaining the basics. I hope to start seeing the impacts as I implement your suggestions.

  • Abi

    I love stumbleupon as a user – although I find the results so variable when it comes to bringing readers to my site. Perhaps, after reading this, I realise that I haven’t been stumbling regularly enough. A little like my fitness routines…nothing for ages then go, go, go at the gym and then I wonder why I can’t walk properly…

  • Iain Mallory

    Thanks for the SU tips I need all the advice I can get in these things, playing catch up with you all here, thankfully there are so many great people willing to help. Thanks for sharing.

  • nod 'n' smile

    I realize I’m finding this post quite late, but as I new blogger, I was struggling to figure out this whole StumbleUpon thing. Your post was so clear and well-organized and it really got me moving in the right direction. Huge help, thanks!

  • Ellen

    I’ve never took the effort to really get to know Stumble Upon, but I guess it’s time now to do so :-). Thanks so much for this info, I am going to look into it straight away! Cheers!

  • Chrissy

    Stumble Upon continues to mystify me but I keep trying to figure it out and be a good player of the social media game. Thanks for some new tactics to try.

  • Lisa | LLWorldTour

    Thanks for this easy to follow guide Hodson! I tried it years ago and then got lax. Now I have 200+ shares to catch up on…Doh! One question: when you share, is there a ‘select all’ or do you have to click on each of your contacts?? Okay, two questions: ‘liking’ a page is nice and quick…but do you write a review for each one you like? And is there a way to quickly do that from the toolbar? I don’t see how to quickly write a review.

  • Mark @ How to Persuade People

    Thanks for the useful tips. I’ve found Stumble Upon to be amazing for driving traffic to my website and blog. I have literally gone from several dozen visitors per day to around 1000 from SU alone!

    I’ve never tried liking my own posts, but thanks for the tips I definitely won’t start now, I don’t want to lose the great traffic that’s coming my way from SU!

  • Edille

    I use SU and sometimes I get good traffic like 3K per post. But that is one in a blue moon 🙂

  • laura

    I do agree with it as well 🙂 great tips. Are you looking for more tips and great stories, check Tour America Direct website and Blog 🙂 You won’t be disspointed 🙂

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