Recently, we’ve had a few bloggers ask us about how to get the most out of StumbleUpon.
So we’ve put together some basic tips on getting started with this social bookmarking site – but if you have tips and ideas, please do share them in the comments, as we’d love to hear them!
WHAT IS IT?
StumbleUpon is a social bookmarking site that allows you to store your favourite Internet pages by ‘stumbling’ them. At the same time, loads of other Internet users are also stumbling their favourite web pages. So you have a library of millions of web pages that users like.
And here’s where StumbleUpon gets clever – it looks at the sort of pages you like; and then it looks at what pages people who like the same sort of stuff as you have liked – and it recommends web pages to you that it thinks you’ll like. You can give each
recommended page a thumbs up, or down – and over time, StumbleUpon gets really good at showing you stuff you think you’d like.
As a blogger, if your content is being stumbled, then Stumbleupon can be a great source of traffic – especially if lots of people stumble your pages, or give them a thumbs up. There are 25m people out there stumbling content – that’s a lot of potential readers!
To use StumbleUpon, you first need to register with the site. So go to StumbleUpon.com and register with your email address. You can complete a profile at this stage and tell SU what sort of things you’re interested in – just click on the ‘manage interests’ section in your profile.
Once you’re up and running, look on the SU website for their toolbar – this is the very easiest way to use StumbleUpon – it adds a simple Stumble button to your browser, next to the address bar, and works with both Chrome and Firefox.
Once the toolbar is installed, if you land on a website you’d like to Stumble, just click the icon on your toolbar. This will do one of two things:
If the page hasn’t been stumbled before, you’ll be invited to submit the page. A pop-up box will ask you to confirm whether the page you’re stumbling is safe for work, and you can choose a category for the content from a drop down list. If you like, you can add extra tags too. Once you’re done, click submit, and the page is stumbled!
If the page has already been stumbled, you can simply click the thumbs up icon on the toolbar to add your recommendation to those already done. Giving a page a thumbs up is a lot like liking a page on Facebook.
HAS MY STUFF BEEN STUMBLED?
One of the questions I’m often asked is, “How do I know if a post has been stumbled?” There are a couple of ways.
If you stumble your own content, then your StumbleUpon account will list all your ‘likes’ and how many times each page was liked in total. To see this information, open up the toolbar and click on your user icon in the top right corner – you’ll see a little arrow next to it to open a drop-down menu that says ‘your likes’ – here you can see a complete history of everything you ever Stumbled. Each post has a small circle in the lower right corner with an ‘i’ and a number – this is how many times the page has been liked on SU.
Alternatively, if you’re on WordPress and use a sharing plug-in then you can often set these to display the number of shares on Twitter, Facebook, SU and so on – this is a quick visual guide to how popular a post might be.
STUMBLING OTHER PEOPLE
You absolutely can and should submit your own blog posts to StumbleUpon, especially if a post has a wide potential audience, such as a recipe, tutorial or humorous post.
It’s good SU etiquette to stumble other people’s content and not just your own. It’s also good for you because the more pages you stumble, and rank with a thumbs up or down, the better SU gets at knowing what you like – and showing you stuff that you’ll really enjoy.
Got a spare 10 minutes? Open up the SU toolbar and press the orange ‘stumble’ button in the middle of the bar – SU will whisk you off to somewhere on the Internet that it thinks you’ll like, based on your previous likes and bookmarks. You can set preferences and interests in your account to improve your recommendations, and you can thumbs up (or down) each page SU shows you, but this can be the most fantastic way to entertain yourself and be inspired by brand new stuff online.
Lots of bloggers have a SU sharing button on the bottom of their posts, which can also be used to submit posts, if you don’t use or have access to the toolbar.
MAKING THE MOST OF STUMBLEUPON
Like anything, you’ll get out of SU what you put in – invest some time in adding sharing buttons to your site, and ensuring content is being regularly added to the site will help.
Of course, it’s not necessarily for everyone – very personal and serious posts may not do well on SU, especially compared to picture heavy, funny or practical posts. And it’s against the site’s terms and conditions to promote a site you’re financially benefiting from. But when the site works well, it really works well – Sally Whittle has a post about humiliating children with over 23k Stumble shares, and it still receives around 500 visits a day, months after publication.
One way to make the most of StumbleUpon is to connect with a group of like-minded bloggers who also use the service – often a post with a few shares will be shown to more people, who share it, and thus the audience for the post grows. Obviously, this only works well if you’re genuinely recommending stuff you enjoy – otherwise you’re going to end up being recommended stuff you don’t like, and your own recommendations won’t be helpful for other users. Once you find people whose content you love, you can follow their user profile from your own StumbleUpon account, and immediately see the stuff they’re recommending, and of course you can recommend that content, too, if you enjoy it. People can also subscribe to your recommendations, if you set them to be public in your profile.
As an aside, if you’re looking for new content then our Facebook group is a great place to find new blogs, and our members regularly share their best posts there. It’s open to all our members.