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Building Your Blog With StumbleUpon

Skellie AvatarThis guest-post on Building Your Blog With StumbleUpon is by Skellie. She gives away big and little ideas like these to bloggers, webmasters and web workers at her blog, Skelliewag.org.

If you think this is another post about voting up your own articles on StumbleUpon, you’re mistaken.

Every blogger should have a StumbleUpon account. Regardless of which social media service you prefer, StumbleUpon is by far the easiest and least time-consuming to use.

How StumbleUpon works

When you come across something you like online you can vote for it with a button on your toolbar. The page is then shared with others who have similar interests.

When you’re bored, or looking for inspiration, click ‘Stumble!’ and great pages others have liked will be shared with you.

It’s really that simple.

As with most things that seem simple, however, there’s much more to it beneath the surface.

This post doesn’t intend to be comprehensive overview of StumbleUpon. What it does intend to do is show you how you can build your blog and your blogger profile by participating in the StumbleUpon community — while having plenty of fun at the same time!

Getting started with StumbleUpon

If you already have an account, great. If not, sign up here. Don’t put it off — the process is worth it.

One tip: make sure your username and profile picture are branded in line with your blog. Use your blogging name for your profile, and a photo or logo your readers will be familiar with.

Once you have your account and StumbleUpon homepage, make sure you customize your interests to suit your tastes. You can ‘manage your interests’ via the sidebar. This is important, as it will effect what kinds of pages you get when you Stumble. It will also change the kinds of people who take an interest in your votes.

There are plenty of other things you can customize, but we’ll stick with the basics for now. Let’s get started building your blog and your blogger profile with your new account.

1. Connect with other bloggers

To start connecting with other bloggers through StumbleUpon, all you need to do is vote up their content (when it’s good). The more traffic you send them, the more likely they are to go and investigate the source, or even add you as a friend. StumbleUpon can be a great networking tool.

On top of that, supporting blogs you like is just good karma. What more could you ask for?

2. Drive traffic back to your blog with great stumbles

When you vote up a site that hasn’t been voted up before, you ‘Discover’ it. This means that you write its first review and your profile information appears in the sidebar of the reviews page for that item.

Great content can drive a lot of (influential) stumblers to the page profiling you, as they rush to vote and review it. Some of them will be drawn into visiting your profile, simply because you have such great taste. But how can we encourage these visitors to check out our blog?

3. Highlight your blog in your StumbleUpon profile

This is easy. Enter your blog URL as your website address, and this will be displayed above your image on the main page of your profile. You can also write a bit about yourself and add a link to your blog in your About blurb.

4. Connect with your readers

When you start to see traffic coming from StumbleUpon, take the time to visit the reviews page for the blog post readers have voted up.

The stumblers on this page have been enthusiastic enough about your content to want to Stumble it. If they’re not already loyal readers, this makes them great candidates for becoming one.

Take the time to thank them for their Stumble, and add them as a friend. Little acts of generosity like these leave an impression and may encourage the Stumbler to see what other types of great content you’re capable of.

5. Make friends for a more powerful profile

The StumbleUpon algorithm is a mysterious thing, but evidence seems to suggest that the most active and popular stumblers are rewarded with the ability to control large traffic-flows. The ‘active’ part is up to you — how much time are you willing to put in? The ‘popular’ part of the equation, however, depends on how many fans you have. Fans are those stumblers who’ve added you as a friend in order to see the pages you stumble.

How do you get fans? Great, properly labeled stumbles will do it. Another successful strategy is to add those who vote up your content. If they took the time to explore your blog they might recognize you as the author of the content they liked and add you in return. The friendship will enhance both of your profiles and you’ll be connecting with another potential reader.

6. To submit or not to submit?

Some bloggers believe that repeatedly stumbling the same domain will see the benefits of your stumbles at that domain peter down to nothing. Others believe it’s absolutely necessary to submit your own articles to ensure they’re placed in the category best-suited to them. I’d be interested to hear which approach you think is best in the comments section of this post.

7. Send great content to your friends

StumbleUpon users have the ability to send pages to specific friends, or all of them. If you’ve written something you’re really confident is worthy of a stumble then you might consider sending it out to your friendship network. They’re much more likely to vote up your content than the strangers who routinely find themselves at your blog.

Moderation is key when using this tool. If you overuse it there is a chance your friends will tire of you. An alternative to a wide-ranging send-out might be to send an article to one or two friends you know will be particularly interested in the content.

8. Create a profile people will visit for its own sake

Treat your profile like another blog. If you make it a place people will want to visit for its own sake, the chance of visitors engaging with it and following the link back to your blog increases.

Take the time to play with the colors, add images to your reviews, and explore the functions on offer to create your ‘blog’ (StumbleUpon actually refers to it as such). Fill your profile with votes and reviews for great content your friends will want to visit, and tell others about. A great profile will naturally attract interested and admiring visitors, and raise your profile in the StumbleUpon community.

9. Use it for inspiration

When StumbleUpon is at its best, it serves up a long line of great content suited to your tastes. A stumbling session can be a great source of inspiration when your well of ideas runs dry.

A tip: don’t stumble only within the topic you blog about. Sometimes the best (and most original) post ideas are found by trying to relate radically different content to your niche.

10. Have fun!

I hope this post has convincingly argued that the secret to building your blog with StumbleUpon is to participate actively, genuinely and enthusiastically in the community there. The rewards are sure to filter back to you and your blog.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. StumbleUpon blocks URL’s after you submit from the same domain 15 times. So submit your own content wisely. I found its best to also submit content articles on other sites that mention you so you gain some falloff traffic. I’ll have a post on this in more detail soon.

    Thanks, and great post!

  2. Thanks for a clear, detailed and succinct description of how best to use this resource.

    For bunnies like me, new to the social networking process, this type of article is very helpful.

    It will be very interesting to read the responses to your question number 6.

  3. Good advice. As a second time around blogger (first blog dog related) I just “stumbled” on this site.

    If the guest is answering comments please respond thanks. Is paying for the advertisement services StumbleUpon offers a viable option? Forgive me if this information is present elsewhere I’m just limited on time and the tips you offered about Stumble looks to be a time consumer.

  4. My stumbles go down to drips if I keep doing the same domain, where I get lucky if it sends 3 or 4 users my way.

    It might be better to get someone else to stumble it, find out who they are so you can stumble it yourself, adding tags that are appropriate.

    It seems the person who discovers the site carries an extreme amount of weight.

  5. This is so helpful. I’ve used Stumble for a while but the information here explains so much more than the basics. With most things in life, going a little deeper than the obvious to level really opens up the opportunities.

  6. Thanks for that detailed post. I have StumbleUpon on my site, but I don’t give it much attention. I will now though. :)

  7. These are great hints. I’ve just started trying to utilise StumbleUpon, but had not focused on adding friends etc.

    I think this is probably key, along with point 8 which I am in the process of developing.

  8. Interesting, I went back and counted and found I stumbled my site exactly 15 times. I’ve only stumbled what I felt was my better content, but now I’m tempted to stumble my latest entry just to see if I still get traffic.

    Anyone wanna stumble my site too while I’m at it? :-D

  9. Agreed, if you stumble your site too many times you will lose the ability to stumble your site in the future. Some of my friends got the “ban” after five or six submits. I am sure the Stumble Algo evaluates each user and decides how many times they can stumble an individual site.

  10. Excellent write up. StumbleUpon seems to be a brilliant concept with the random stumbling to sites. I look forward to using this tool much more and will try out your tips here.

  11. Short and a little in general but good post anyway. I have seen many bloggers get lots of traffic from StumbleUpon and it is worth it.

  12. I’m a Top Stumbler and have driven some decent traffic to my site by voting for my own stuff. Here’s what I’ve noticed:

    -Even as a Top Stumbler your one vote doesn’t carry that much weight. I can Thumbs Up my own stuff, but other people have to genuinely like it too for it to get a ton of traffic.

    -I’ve noticed that if you vote for several of your own pages in a row, there are diminishing returns. After x votes, you won’t really get any traffic at all. So the rookie mistake is to join StumbleUpon and immediately vote for every page on your site. I find you more have to vote for your good new stuff as you publish it, but vote for lots of other good pages from other sites in the meantime.

    -I’ve heard the more fans you have, the more people will see your submissions. Personally though, I got to Top Stumbler status without many fans. I think it was mostly through voting for stuff other people have liked down the road. But now I’m busier and not on the web as much, and my Top Stumbler status is rapidly disappearing. That’s fine though, it doesn’t carry a ton of practical rewards on it’s own anyways…

    I think someone who really works the networking aspect of the site can get more traffic to their submissions than a technical Top Stumbler. But who knows how it all really works?

  13. Hey there, Skellie –

    Your tips were helpful, as always. I’ve felt I’ve not made a good enough use of StumbleUpon and now I’m heading straight over there….

  14. One thing I didn’t see mentioned here was actually running an SU campaign. Publishers (bloggers) can buy traffic @ 5c per impression, and limit to as little as 100 impressions per day. That means you can drive 100 readers to your blog for $5. Whenever I get a few extra bucks in my PayPal account I’ve been doing this, and it’s worked really well.

  15. I’m constantly amazed at how steady the traffic is to my blog from StumbleUpon. I like the traffic I get much more than that from Digg because SU traffic doesn’t bring my site to its knees.

  16. Thanks Skellie for a good read. I think its a bad idea to be the first one to submit your posts to StumbleUpon. If the category is wrong, you can always vote up for it later on and add tags to the post.

  17. Ron Mallon: Thanks for the clarification. I never really knew that StumbleUpon blocks URL. If that’s the case, then it’s pretty easy to block someone’s URL. Simply create an account and submit content from the same blog more than 15 times. Is that it?

  18. Great info… particularly in the comments so far. StumbleUpon has always been a bit of a mystery to me. Finding the time to investigate it has been elusive. This post helps and hopefully it will spur me to finally get on it.

  19. The idea is great. But it is difficult to achieve. My web site: http://webmasters-forums.com also using this technique. But still not succeeded to get listed in great lists.

  20. I have just started using StumbleUpon, nice info Darren!

  21. Thanks for the tips! I’m going to try it when I get home from work. I can’t install it here unfortunately

  22. I tried this, a friend of mine is a stumblupon user and stumbled my site one day. I downloaded the tool bar and I was gung-ho-ready-to-go. I found within 24 hours that my browser was flipping out and kept knocking me offline. I had to manually clear my DNS cache many times. When I uninstalled, poof my problems were gone. I thought it was a great idea and stumbled my friends sites (karma as you said), it just didn’t work for me.

  23. Skellie you have hit the nail right on the head. I read a similar article written by Darren Rowse on relating with people who give you good reviews or either comment on your blog and my numbers are increasing these days. I will now get the firefox plugin for Stumpleupon to do more work i guess :)


  24. What I would like to know is what kind of readership gain do people get from using stumbleupon as advertisement.

    I have ran a few campaigns and have not seen a terrible amount of people wanting to subscribe.

    I was wondering if there were others that would like to splurge in their stumbleupon ad campaign results.

  25. I stumbled my own content because I wanted it get correctly classified/tagged and that worked well and brought me some good traffic, but that didn’t last long. As mentioned above, after stumbling your own stuff a few times, you get blocked :(. So I can’t stumble my own content any more which kind of sucks.

    I might try running a campaign soon.

  26. Great article. I use stumbleupon, digg and Netscape (Propeller) on every post. Stumbleupon gets me the most traffic.

  27. Great Article!
    I posted some of my articles on StumbleUpon to get some traffic going. Wow, it was like 85% of my traffic for a while. Like many of your tips, Right on the Money.

  28. Great article.

    I have been getting some decent traffic from Stumbleupon recently, I have found out that the more sites you stumble, and the more you participate the more traffic you get.

    There are some interesting tips here that I will have to check out.

  29. Hi all — thanks for all the kind words! I’m really glad the post was helpful.

    I didn’t add a section on running a StumbleUpon campaign because it’s something Darren has already covered in detail, better than I could. Here is the article for those who’re interested :)

    Run a StumbleUpon Advertising Campaign for Your Blog

    I’ve only run one campaign, and I didn’t find it to be very good value for money. I lot of great Stumblers read my blog and are likely to Stumble content I put a lot of work into anyway. I do think it could be a great way to kick-start a new blog without an established readership, though.

  30. The first day when my blog was discovered, I got a traffic of 100. But didn’t get any in the next days. Why do this happen

  31. I’ve yet to get a single stumble to my site, but it is quite small and a more niche related area.

  32. Don’t want to be rude but there’s nothing new in this post.

  33. I always submit my own articles, and I have only seen the referrals go up as a result.

  34. Great tips to on using stumbleupon. I think all bloggers should use this technique to get more traffic.

  35. I hate to leave an off subject comment but Google Announces The End of PageRank and introduces a new Digg like system to replace it. It’s yesterday’s news, Read all about it here:

    I think it is a bad idea!
    Don’t forget who told you first!

  36. Sorry to disappoint you Bobby but the pagerank thing was a hoax.

    Skellie this is really interesting, so is your blog. I guess some of my sites will be blocked by now. oops.

  37. This is good stuff. I’m finally starting to get some decent traffic to my blog but I will check this out as a way to boost hits.


  38. Oh look a Moomin ! LOL ! I watched that cartoon when I was way younger !

  39. Well done on the post!
    It really gives some organized insight into StumbleUpon.

  40. Great tips. Very clear and well written. Thanks!

  41. Be careful with your Stumbling, it can provide inspiration and ideas, and it can also suck every free moment away from you. Yes, it can be that addictive.

    I’ve lost entire afternoons, with “just one more Stumble”.

  42. This is so amazing! I have had my blog for over a year and today was the first time that someone hit my blog via StumbleUpon! Normally I get anywhere from 200-400 views and within 2-3 hours since my stats reset I have had 531 views just from StumbleUpon! This really stumbled me and came to Problogger to learn about this site! I was so excited to see on the front page that something was posted about it “just today”! I found this information to be very helpful in understanding why or how so many people could find me in such a short time period! Thanks again for always keeping us updated and that we can use you for info instead of going to google!

  43. Hey Skellie/Darren,

    Great Post!

    I’ve been tracking my traffic at my blog and the site that brings me the most hits and traffic is Stumble Upon even before google!

    Keep those coming.

    Carlo Selorio

  44. Greetings, re hashing social site traffic how boring can we not move forward to better traffic ideas?
    Stumble is our worst traffic referrer, there are far better ways to get traffic and not get labeled as a self promoter. Stumble sends us solid traffic every day, but other traffic generating ideas out do ANY social network site traffic.
    Get out there and ORGANICALLY build your business, get out from behind the computer.
    Stop looking at everyone else for success, and make your own. Have a B L O G G I N G good day!

  45. To be honest I have heard many people say that they get a lot of traffic with StumbleUpon and I just could not understand how. Thanks for the post. I will try to utilize this important tactic.

  46. Thanks for the great post!

    I have been using SU and have had moderate success with it driving traffic to my site.

  47. StumbleUpon is so good i even use it to brush up on my own skills as a learning coder and web designer! Thanks StumbleUpon and thank you problogger for mentioning a great service

  48. Thank you! This is the information I have been looking for. I’ve read posts on other blogs about StumbleUpon, but nothing really explained what you could do with it. Even going to the site didn’t help. Your post has been a big help!

  49. While I’m reluctant to join another “service” I’ve run into Skellie’s advice before, and found it to be quite good, so here goes! Wish me luck!

  50. Hi Darren,

    I think that this a great way to gain more exposure. The only thing that I would suggest is for you to allow the links to open in new tabs/windows. Sometimes the reader wants to keep reading as they are doing the tasks that are mentioned here.



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