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How to Grow a Young Blog With StumbleUpon

Posted By Skellie 20th of September 2008 Blog Promotion, Social Media 0 Comments

Keeping You Posted by Skellie.Skellie wrote this post. She writes plenty more advanced blogging tips and strategies at Skelliewag.org. You can also get to know Skellie on Twitter.

It’s ironic that arguably the biggest challenges for a blogger come when they are least experienced–when their blog is just a few weeks or months old.

Any blogger will tell you that turning a new, undiscovered blog into a hot piece of web property is not easy. The Darren Rowses, Leo Babautas and Yaro Staraks of the world went through this same difficult teething period, like everyone else.

The accepted idea is that when you first launch your blog, growth will be very slow because you’re only able to toot your own horn to gather new visitors, by commenting and leaving links back to your blog, by asking for links and by guest-posting.

All these actions will help your blog grow, but it might take several months before your blog generates any kind of real traction and things start happening without you to push them along.

But what if there was a way to grow a new blog quickly?

I want to suggest that there is one method for growth of a new blog that can be more effective than any other, yet it’s commonly overlooked. It is very possible to grow a young blog with very little starting traffic mainly on the back of StumbleUpon. Here’s how.

The premise

How would you feel about receiving 1,000 visitors on the first day of your new blog’s launch? How would you feel about receiving 1,000 visitors on any day? This number might seem unattainable to you at the moment, but it isn’t. Not with a little preparation.

The ingredients for this strategy are:

  1. A network of at least twenty active StumbleUpon users.
  2. Stumble-worthy content.

Did you know that you can use the StumbleUpon toolbar to send pages to your StumbleUpon friends with a little message asking for a quick stumble? If your network of SU friends knows you and likes you, and the content is good, they’ll be more than happy to oblige. Each stumble can bring several hundred visitors to your blog. Reviews arguably carry even more weight when determining the amount of traffic that is sent to your content.

If you can get 20 people to stumble a single page you send to them, you could receive not just one thousand visitors, but possibly more than that. If your content is good enough to go viral on its own, you could receive several thousand, or several tens of thousands!

That’s all well and good, but it’s also easier said than done. And like most things that are easier said than done, it’s very much worth doing. You might have found yourself a little troubled at the two ‘ingredients’ outlined above. After all, how do you ‘build a network of at least twenty active StumbleUpon users?’ What can you do to make sure your content is ‘stumble-worthy’ (whatever that means)?

Photo by Toronja Azul.

The how

First, let’s deal with building a network of StumbleUpon friends. Once your blog takes off you’ll find this easy. Readers will ‘friend’ you and, because they like your stuff, will probably help you whenever you ask for it, as long as you’re willing to do the same in return. The problem is that your blog hasn’t taken off yet, so how do you create your network?

Unfortunately, the answer isn’t StumbleUpon. It’s not a great place to meet new people on its own. Instead, try emailing other bloggers who are also in the same situation and working to get their blog off the ground, and ask if they would like to be friends on StumbleUpon. If you want to increase your odds of that blogger actually being on StumbleUpon, look for a link to their profile on their About page. You could even go through the comments at ProBlogger. I expect most ProBlogger users know the value of having a StumbleUpon account by now!

The truth is that if you befriend people in this manner (being, for mutual benefit) you’re going to have stumble their stuff as much as they stumble yours. If you’re getting friends from anywhere you can, you’re not always going to like what they send you, but you should still be willing to stumble it as an investment in your own blog. Social media purists will disagree with me here, and if so, you’re welcome to build a network by other means (spending five to ten hours on StumbleUpon a week will do it).

If you have some choice as to who you add to your network, try to collect people who consistently produce content that you like.

You should expect this networking strategy to be successful because most bloggers feel guilty about sending their stuff to people for stumbles but really wish they could do it. Some do it anyway. I don’t know many bloggers, particularly new bloggers who are also going through a challenging ‘baby blog’ period, who wouldn’t welcome the approach of someone who is more than happy to stumble their stuff.

The logistics of this aren’t immediately obvious but they’re quite simple once you remember them.

Sending pages to others

To send pages, you have to install the StumbleUpon toolbar.

Once you’ve navigated to the page you want to send to another user, click ‘Send to’ on the toolbar and select the target user from the drop-down menu. You can send a message to accompany the page. Generally you should ask for the specific action you want (stumble, or occasionally a review), and most importantly, offer to help out the other person in return.

If you’re always asking for stumbles and never giving them, people will tire of you quickly. That being said, you should be vigilant to make sure the people you send pages to are actually stumbling your stuff. If not, there’s no need to be angry as it’s their choice, but you should work on adding a new, active user to your network in their place.

Creating content that works with StumbleUpon

Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, you need to build your ability to create content that is well-optimized for StumbleUpon. If you are continually getting stumbles on content that is clearly not suitable for social media then the StumbleUpon algorithm is likely to stop sending traffic to your blog all-together. If all your stumbles are coming from mutual friends and not from unaffiliated users then this is a pretty good sign that your content is not actually stumble-worthy.

If it sounds scary, it isn’t. As long as you provide genuine value for others, your content should generate some stumbles without your help. Best of all, there are a few solid principles you can follow to create content that is consistently well-optimized for StumbleUpon traffic.

Here are two posts I’ve written previously at ProBlogger about writing great Stumble-worthy content and converting the resulting StumbleUpon visitors into loyal readers:

While pursuing this strategy, continue to expand your network of SU friends and send content to different people each time. There’s a lot of evidence to suggest StumbleUpon’s algorithm rewards blogs that are stumbled by a wide variety of users, rather than the same people all the time.

Try this strategy and see if you can get more traffic than ever before. Good luck!

  1. Wow!
    I’ve been blogging seriously for just about 1 month.
    Now, on the average, my average number of visits per day was just about 20 people. It was building up slowly, and I was ready to work hard for as long as it will take.
    Imagine my shock then when one afternoon, I was just fooling around with my wordpress theme design when I suddenly saw my stats jump to 180 visitors in less than a minute!!
    I was shocked!
    I investigated it and found out that someone I don’t know, simply stumbled my post! It was a magic moment.
    In less than a minute, I had more visits than I’d had in weeks!
    And Skellie, I think you are right on the spot…guess what the post title was? MAKE MORE MONEY FAST! And it was sitting right there on the top of my page…lol
    These things sure do work!
    And of course, I’ve tracked my ‘stumbler’ and my stats is jumping!!
    Thanks for putting it all together so that all newbies like me can accelerate our success.

  2. Very good article! I plan on trying this strategy on my blogs and hope that it will work. anybody reading this that wants to become a part of using this strategy please contact me.

  3. Great overview, Skellie. Your gifts for succinctness and clarity really shine through. Lot of info in a short(ish) post. I have found StumbleUpon to be an immense traffic driver (as you know cuz I send you stumbles once in a while). Sometimes SU traffic is higher than Google search traffic.

    Although I didn’t address StumbleUpon exclusively, what you’re talking about here is the same in a general sense as my blog pack idea: Create a Blog Pack to Get Blog Traffic and Increase Subscriptions.

  4. You’ve provided blogers like me with this very helpful information. I’ve been using stumbleupon for some time but not that seriously & never have used it to promote and grow my blog too. Maybe i should give it a shot.

  5. Thank you, Skellie. This post was the push I needed to sign up with StumbleUpon and start using it. Now I’m off to read the other two articles you linked to.

    I have one additional thought for you. I’ve noticed a few times on Twitter that someone will mention their latest blog post and ask people to look at it and SU it if they like it. It seems to me that this combination of Twitter and StumbleUpon might be a great way to get the word out.

  6. Nice strategies. I will definetly be posting something about that on my blog.. And I’m also going to use it for my blog.
    Thanks for the tip.

  7. I think it depends on your niche. And my traffic from stumble upon usually have a bounce rate of 70% or less. Which is a very large bounce rate.

  8. Thanks for the information.
    Wellness & Blessings to you

  9. Hello,

    You have shed some new light on this whole Stumbleupon network. I know that a lot of people are successful with it, however I kind of overlooked it and thought to myself that the stuff I write would never get any attention. But recently I have been getting some pretty good SU traffic thanks to this article.

    Thank you Skellie!

  10. Daren thank you for opening my mind. I use stumbleUpon but I don’t really know the strategy and how powerful is this tool. I’ll try my best to follow your guidance and hope it will really bring fantastic result to my site. Thank you again.

  11. SU is the single largest traffic generator for my blog. I feel SU have can bring in more traffic than Digg

  12. I’ve created account at stumbleupon but not use it effectively..
    I think this tips wil help me to earn more traffic..

  13. Amen to that, Skellie! SU is always on my top 3 site referrers. And believe me, creating content is very well worth the effort in SU. Certain newsy posts also done well on SU. Did you know that you can have more than 200 friends now? Add me on my link :)

  14. Another one of my secrets is out. Ok, anybody that need a friend on stumbeupon that will stumble everything you send. Add me as a friend on stumbeupon.

  15. I have been holding STUMBLEFESTS on my blog for the past three weekends or so and my traffic has tripled. It is fun to help others and to also gain more traffic doing it.

    This weeks stumblefest is titled-Flight of the Stumle Bee, come join won’t you?

  16. Really great post. I am glad that those words are the same as I thought, and already implement those techniques, getting mutual friend. I will try my luck, if You allow – I am searching for people with similar interests too. I am very active in SU, and happy to return stumbles to my friends. My stumbleupon – dainix.stumbleupon.com
    I will be thankful if there will be some response too.. Thanks, problogger for really great tips helping out new bloggers.

  17. Hi Skellie, Thank you for this great post! I’m definatly going to try this out! I’m new to the blooging community and have very little traffic to my blog. I can’t wait to try this and see my traffic rise even a little bit:)

    If anyone would like me to stumble thier blogs or sites for a recripricol stumble please email me: [email protected]


  18. What a great idea. I would be happy to network with anyone else out there who might want start using Stumbleupon.

  19. This article is yet another in a long line of reasons I love Problogger. Always such great content.

    I’ve had my blog up for about three weeks now. I think most of my “unsolicited” traffic is from stumblers. I’ve been stumbling for months, and now when I stumble across a blog or article that has value, I thumbs up and comment. I’ve already seen my traffic grow.

    Thanks again for a great article!

  20. Grea idea, Skellie! I am blogging about this and sharing it with my 31 mentees. We can apply this on a regular basis and really get some traction online. Thanks so much.

  21. This article is pure gold, and another one I will read over and over.:)

    Networking should always be a win-win application.

    Thank you for writing this.


  22. I knew the power of StumbleUpon, yet to make the full use of it. Although the traffic may not be of good quality, it’ll certainly give your alexa rank a boost, which will look attractive to the advertisers.

  23. SU, is very good to gain traffic. Usually i create 1 quality post and add it to SU.

  24. wow, great post esp for new bloggers like me :)

    I’m shameless too, SU username: londoneater , any new food bloggers out there wanting to get together ?

  25. I can only agree, this is a great article. I’ll definitely start to use StumbleUpon more.

  26. Great article! Has given me some additional avenues to pursue as far as networking and working with others to help in driving traffic to my site.

    Thank you!

  27. I tried stumble upon before but did not help much. Creating the network of friends is the trick. How to create those is the good question!

  28. Great ideas – I’ve definitely seen the power of SU traffic as I befriend to stumblers and take care of them with comments, reviews, and thumbs up.

    Question that I already know one answer to but wonder what you all think: how do you avoid CPU errors when traffic gets high because of SU visitors?

    I use Bluehost right now and that may be the problem. Media Temple is great I hear but also pricey. Any other recommendations?

    One other thing I’ve been testing with StumbleUpon is using images in SU reviews to get more notice and click-throughs. Have any of you tried this? What results have you found?

    Thanks for the great post about SU!

  29. Certaintly a good way to start making traffic on a young blog, however it is difficult and tricky getting people attract to visit your blog.

  30. stumbleupon is one of plenty socialbookmarking. I’m very enjoy play with it. I have beautiful traffics from this.

  31. I really liked your info about getting people to your blog. A very good way to get people to know you. I believe its about People Helping People

  32. Wow, how silly to not even see the Send To button on the tool bar. Duh!?

  33. I joined stumbleupon recently. Hope i can get ‘1000’ visitors daily..!

    Great tips, thanks Skellie.

  34. I joined the stubmleupon and received a few hundreds of visitors a day. Its excellent way out to get free traffic.

    Good article. Thank you.

  35. I see that your writing is very useful here.

    I have an account in stunbleupon but never know how to do it properly there

    Thanks for the heads up

  36. Stumbleupon helps any internet asset.

    As a matter of fact.. If you own a blog you should attach Stumble upon to every asset on your site. Articles, Videos, Pictures. This will give a wide range of assets for people to stumble onto.

  37. I recently wrote an article about 5 Strategies to Maximize StumbleUpon.

    One thing I’ve found is that, if you’re new to SU, you have to have a plan in place, be careful not to just add everyone who’s anyone to your favorites, and be consistent – add sites and posts that relate to your interests, be-friend people who are like you, and use the social tools for what they were meant to be – Social tools – not FAKE SEO tools or spam tactics.

    Good post!

  38. For me the traffic doesn’t stick.

    It may be just me of course. Or there may be a difference for different sorts of blogs (it is time we started talking about the differences I think).

  39. This is a great post. Stumbleupon is my best source of traffic outside of the Search Engines.

    I tend to be a little conservative on my promotion process. I only send friends stumble requests if they have been sending me stumble requests. This keeps me from upsetting some of my friends who would rather not receive requests. On the other hand, being more aggressive with my requests would probably pay off.

  40. This post is great but… this way stumble will sonn lose value?

  41. I can’t believe.

  42. A lot of people like to preach about not abusing SU for boosting your own sites, but I disagree. You should be using whatever tools you have available.

    Just make sure to stumble other stuff so you aren’t only stumbling your own and your friend’s sites.

  43. Anyone wanting to become Stumble Friends for this purpose with me should contact me through the Feedback tab at http://www.VentPark.com.


  44. I’d like to clarify my comment above. Your blog should cover one of the following topics if you want to be Sumble Friends with VentPark: politics, lifestyle, relationships, family life, business, work, blogs

    That way we will have something in common and be able to Stumble each other’s articles.


  45. This is great information for a newbie like me. Thanks!

    James H

  46. Great post, I’m working on social networking advertising now. This is pretty helpful, thanks.

  47. “You should expect this networking strategy to be successful because most bloggers feel guilty about sending their stuff to people for stumbles but really wish they could do it.”

    “MOST BLOGGERS FEEL GUILTY” – True! I would feel guilty too if I followed your bad advice. That’s not honest at all what you recommend here. I stick to it: CONTENT IS KING! CONTENT! and not these tricky tricks you “recommend” here!

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