A while ago, I came across this weird site that gave me a totally random article/page every time I pressed a button. I’m talking going from children’s book quotes to business advice to World War 2 here, folks. I naturally had to spread the word.
No, I’m not talking about Wikipedia. I’m talking about StumbleUpon, of course!
StumbleUpon (SU) is a kind of search engine called a “discovery engine” Basically, SU recommends pages to users based on their interest.. That’s the most extreme simplification I can come up with.
Anyway, SU grows its database of pages by allowing users to submit their own links. So you can guess what you’ll want to use it for.
How Does StumbleUpon Work?
StumbleUpon’s core use is to let you stumble upon (not the last time I’ll pun in this post) totally random pages that you’re likely to be interested in. You do this by clicking (spamming) the “Stumble” button. Check it out:
Here’s a shot of a something I stumbled upon (not the last time I’ll say that here). I love movies, so this was a very enjoyable (and time-consuming) read.
So take a look at the Stumble button right up there. You just click that and another page loads. It’s simple but fun.
The part you should be pay most attention to is the “like” button. This determines how often a page appears for a user. As you can see on the top right, 109,000 people liked the cult movies post. It’s a getting a ton of views.
You can also “dislike” a page, but honestly I don’t think that’s pretty common. Whenever I got a lame page, I just went to the next one.
It’s to important to remember that you can also choose a category to Stumble around in, so traffic is sorta targeted.
You can see how one might get caught up in this and spend a lot of time on the site. Heck, that was me on my first go at it. You can learn a whole lot, or get inspired, or even view some ancient internet archives.
Be sure to make an account. It’s very easy, and pays off quite a bit. You just have to tell them what your interests are.
Now that you know what SU actually is, how can it help you in your blog promotion?
Submitting Your Content
The first thing you should, make that need, to know how to do is to add pages.
All you have to do is go to your profile and click on “add a page.” Then you can just submit any link you want. Preferably from your site, because that’s the reason you’re here.
And that’s literally all you have to do to get your content on the site. But if you think that’s where you can just leave, you’ve got another think coming!
Once your pages are on, you need likes, which is easier said than done. There’s not a lot you can do on SU itself other than stumbling, liking, and submitting, but there are a couple things you can do to your submission beforehand to make it user-friendly, and help it stand out a little:
That is, make sure your site is full of content. If your blog only has a few posts, then the Stumblers will be able to see most of your site right then and there.
I’m sure you’re familiar with Cracked.com. I literally can’t stay on that site for shorter than an hour. It’s full of articles, and if you stumble upon it you’ll surely stick around a while. That’s why having a lot of content is a must.
Stand Out Visually
Make your site look professional. Using StumbleUpon is like channel surfing, and when you channel surf, you only give each channel a few seconds before flipping. So your site has to stand out in the same way channels have to stand out.
The best thing you can do is to be sure your blog is designed well. Good formatting, nice font, lots of visuals, all that jazz. It needs to be easy on the eyes.
Oh yeah, and keep the ads to a minimum. If I come across- sorry, stumble upon, a website full of popups and intrusive banners, I have no reason to stay.
Submit “Viral” Content
By “viral,” I mean those articles that you expect to see shared on Facebook and other social media. You know, like those list-type posts, like the 50 cult movies list from a few paragraphs ago.
These kind of articles are usually pretty thin, but that’s also the reason why they’re shared a lot. I know I enjoy stumbling upon them.
I’m not saying to avoid submitting your long and high-quality content, just to put more emphasis on viral articles.
How to Promote Your Site on StumbleUpon
You need to understand that there’s more to SU than submitting links. A lot of people seem to just submit a few blog posts and call it a day, not even bothering to use the site.
That’s just not done. SU punishes people who use it as a tool to promote themselves. As a matter of fact, new accounts can only submit about 3 links before reaching their limit.
If you want a lot of traffic from the site, you need to take part in it. Here are a few pointers:
Use It as a Reader, Not a Promoter
I couldn’t agree more, subheading. Believe it or not, SU dislikes being used for self-promotion. That’s why it says “add links,” not “your links.”
If you want to add more links to SU, you have to actually use it. It’s really a lot of fun!
The best way to do this is to Stumble and “like” a lot of content. It’s pretty easy to do and will show that you’re active. It also shows that you’re not just focusing on your own site.
I should note that you can add any link to SU, not just your own. On social media, it’s advised that you share other people’s content along with yours. That same principle works here. If you find something interesting, submit it, even if it’s not yours.
Network with Other Stumblers
I just wanna say I’m not sure if they’re called Stumblers. If they’re not, they should be.
Anyway, even though SU isn’t a standard social media site, you can still add friends in the usual way. And just like social media, the more friends you have, the more people see your content.
At first, you won’t have any friends, but as you stumble and be generally active in the community, SU will suggest some for you. Or, you can just click on the top right corner of the Stumble page, and you’ll get a whole list of friends to follow.
Having a lot of friends will show that you care about the site, and will lead to more likes for sure.
Consider Paid Advertising
This is absolutely not necessary, but it is an option. SU offers ads, and if you’re impatient and want quick results, it might be a good idea to try them out.
The ads are shown to a specific demographic that you determine. You also choose the interest(s) your content belongs to, so the resulting traffic is pretty targeted. And it should be. I mean, you are paying for it.
From my experience, SU ads generate a lot of traffic. The price starts at $0.10 per Stumble, and the more you pay, the more priority your ad gets. An extra 5 cents for each Stumble makes it so that you only pay for visits longer than 5 seconds.
The ads definitely yield results, make no mistake, so if you want traffic fast, I recommend checking them out.
A Final Word (or Two)
It’s really a shame that SU isn’t more popular than it is. I personally think it’s a great idea, and I love using it, when I can afford the time I waste on it.
While SU isn’t really social media like Facebook and Twitter, it still works on the same principle: you need to be, well, social. By interacting with the community and stumbling a few pages a day, you’ll really get somewhere.
Don’t expect too much though. It’s not like SU will get you thousands of page views right away. It might not even get you thousands at all. But it can still be a great source of traffic, especially since the posts you submit stay in the database.
Just don’t think of it as a way to make money. Have fun with it!
Thanks for reading! What do you think of StumbleUpon? Have you used it before? Will you use it now? Leave a comment below!
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Your soulmate in stumbling,