How to get traffic from StumbleUpon?: A Secret Guide

Many bloggers end up having a love-hate relationship with StumbleUpon. They love the amount of traf...

Many bloggers end up having a love-hate relationship with StumbleUpon. They love the amount of traffic that the service – which now boasts over 10 million members – can send, but they hate the conversion rate on that traffic. OnlineLivingBlog received 23,308 visitors from StumbleUpon in February, yet their average time on site was just 31 seconds (overall site average is 3 minutes and 06 seconds) and they each viewed around 1.47 pages.

Simply put, compared to other traffic sources, StumbleUpon is terrible. However, because the service sends so much traffic, even leveraging just a small percentage can see a decent increase in your comment count and subscriber numbers. Today I’m going to give an in-depth guide to the service and then give my tactics for getting the most out of it.

Basics of StumbleUpon

StumbleUpon is a system that allows you to find new and interesting websites based around your favorite subjects. The more you use the service, the more the system “learns” about your interests which in-turn provides you with more relevant, fascinating content.

This is very different to the usual method of finding news by going to your favorite blogs or entering a search query into a major search engine. Here you’ll find content from all over the web which you know other people have enjoyed, so it can lead to some great discoveries. With StumbleUpon, it’s all about the users and the content that the community enjoys.

How to Use the Service

Traditionally, StumbleUpon utilizes a toolbar that you install in a browser such as Internet Explorer or Firefox. More recently however, they have came up with a toolbar that you don’t need to install, which shows at the top of the pages you are viewing.

I prefer using the toolbar option as you can customize it and it doesn’t take up any additional screen space. Here’s how it looks (note that my version has been tweaked based on my preferences):
StumbleUpon toolbar
The three main buttons that you should be aware of here are the ‘Stumble’ button and the up and down thumbs. The Stumble button will load a new page in your browser that is based around your interests. The thumbs up button signifies that you like the page and of course the down thumb signifies that you don’t like it.
There are two aspects of this thumbing up and down that affect the system. The first aspect is that StumbleUpon learns about what type of content you like and what you don’t, and then tries to show you more of what you do like when you click Stumble. The other use of the ‘thumbs up’ button is that StumbleUpon tend to show that page to more people if a lot of people are enjoying the content of that page.

With over 10 million active users on the site there is a lot of potential for certain content to get viewed thousands of times. In fact, Instead of trying to explain how the system works in just text, I’ve created this small graphic that should help to clear things up:

Basic Guide to How StumbleUpon Works

Basic Guide to How StumbleUpon Works

Becoming an Active User

If you’ve never used StumbleUpon before, let me warn you now that the service can become very addictive and a huge drain on your time. In fact, images that have said “Stop Using StumbleUpon” and shown up while browsing with the toolbar have become a thing of humor because people know how fun the service can be.
The following points are applicable whether you are just starting out in the service, whether you’ve used it and want to get more out of it or you’re an internet marketer looking for more website traffic. Either way, it’s good to take full advantage of all the features available and become a genuine, helpful user of the community.

Define Your Interests

When you sign-up to StumbleUpon you will be asked what topics you are interested in. Of course, it’s important that you select subjects which you are actually interested in so that you’re shown content that you care about you when using the toolbar. When I signed up I entered ‘web development’, ‘internet’ and ’self improvement’ as my favorite topics.

What Interests You on StumbleUpon? 

What Interests You on StumbleUpon?
Although StumbleUpon will “learn” about your interests based on your usage of the service, it’s still good to pick topics that you’re highly interested in so you’re not just shown random content when you start using it.

Choose a Profile Picture

No matter what your reasons for using the service are, I believe everyone should at least take a minute to update their profile with a picture (also known as an avatar). Your profile picture will of course show on your profile, but it will also show on any pages where you have reviewed content and it may show on review pages which show users who ‘thumbed up’ content.

In other words, your avatar is going to be seen in a lot of places on the service so pick something memorable. Here are some examples of popular avatars in the social media space:

Social Media Profile-Img
It is up to you whether you want to use an ‘avatar’ style picture like this or a picture of your face. Both are acceptable and about as popular as each other.

Fill Out Your Bio

Every user on StumbleUpon gets their own profile page which they can customize. Yours will be located at (of course, substituting username for whatever username you chose). Your description is there simply to tell the world a bit about yourself. I recommend that you fill this with relevant, honest information, so if people like your Stumbles then they can find out more about you.

A nice touch in the description section is that you can add a link to other websites so other users may check out the links to see what you are about. I’ve made some great relationships through StumbleUpon and turned many of my ‘friends’ on the site into blog subscribers and Twitter followers.

Add People to Follow

I’ve already mentioned that when you sign-up to StumbleUpon you get to pick your favorite interests which StumbleUpon will use to show you relevant content anytime you click the Stumble button. The Stumble button is not the only way to find great content on the site though. You can also find it via your connections.
When you Stumble upon a page, you will be able to see the user who submitted it via the toolbar.
If you like what they are submitting you can both add them as a friend and subscribe to their submissions. This means that when you go to your home page on the site then you will see all the recent reviews by your friends.

Note: I have not used the service as a normal user (at least on the ViperChill account) for a long time, though I am going to get back into it. You don’t need to be an active user of the service in order to get a lot of traffic to your website.

Create Your Own Shortcuts

Once you start really getting into the site, you’ll notice that you want to speed up certain aspects of the features available. My current set-up (for the browser extension) is as follows:
  • I let Stumbleupon prefetch the pages it is going to show me
  • If I click ‘Thumbs Down’ then it automatically loads a new page
  • CTRL + Left Arrow on my keyboard shows a new page (Stumble Button)
  • CTRL + Up Arrow on my keyboard gives a page a thumbs up
  • CTRL + Down Arrow on my keyboard gives the page a thumbs down
This means that I can browse around and find great new content without having to keep clicking on the toolbar with my mouse. You can change your shortcuts by going to Tools >> Toolbar Options >> Shortcuts. If you like the idea of auto loading a new page when you click the down or up thumb then you can change that in the configuration tab.

How to get traffic from StumbleUpon?

As i said above, the common way users visit pages is to hit the “stumble now” button. The best pages according to StumbleUpon ranking criteria are served first, then the others. An optimized page get more traffic; how to optimize a page to get traffic from StumbleUpon?

Then, you can get traffic from directory pages (list, category, channels, profile, brand, tags, etc…); Optimized pages still apply then popularity and interests. The following tips will help you make StumbleUpon your best passive traffic sources.

1. Write Creative Titles

Although your content should be good, it isn’t nearly as important as the headline it’s wrapped in. The title of your article or blog post is the first thing people see so if it doesn’t entice them to read on then they aren’t going to review or thumb-up your content which would send you more traffic.

The types of titles that work well on StumbleUpon include:
  • List / Resource Posts
  • Something that is humorous
  • Something that is relevant and fills a need
  • Something that is shocking and against the norm
A title like ‘Some snails in London get painted’ is nowhere near as interesting as ‘Graffiti Artist Uses Snails as His Canvas’ which was in fact an article which received thousands of views. Of course, don’t write a great title if you don’t have the relevant content to back it up. Just remember that the title is without a doubt the most important factor of whether people will read your content or not.

2. Post in right category

Content is categorized; either you manually pick category or StumbleUpon will do it for you according to the context! Categories are followed by users waiting for new stuffs to read; if category is popular and followed by a lot of people, you’ll get more traffic for your submission under that category. You can visit the category page for insights. As example:
  • Business – 1.4 millions+ followers
  • Computer Science – 187 000 followers
  • Writing – 3.4 K followers

3. Get likes by popular stumbler

On social networks, audience is always limited. To get more audience, you need to get promoted on someone else network. Help user to share your content and get more audience. Add stumble upon button to your pages to help sharing by users with existing wide audience. And, pages popularity and stumbler authority help rank better in category pages.

4. Shorten your URLs with StumbleUpon

Shorten your URLs with StumbleUpon to increase your site traffic! A sharing with a link shrink with StumbleUpon will include the social bar with the Like and Unlike button which will help the user to add your pages to its lists and share it with his friends with one click. And, add more text to your sharing where text is limited to 140, 160 or 150 characters.

5. Get more followers

Followers mean audience. With StumbleUpon, you can reach anyone by interest, but higher pages are served first; with followers, you get seen what ever the ranking of your pages based on time line. StumbleUpon also deliver suggestions by mail, getting followers will help your pages to be promoted through mails.

6. Use effective tags

Tags are powerful in StumbleUpon listings. They help to create new interests people can follow! When tags exist on system, tags help you share your submission under more than one category. Remember to pick carefully tags you will add to your submissions.

7. Group your pages under lists

The game is not to simply share your pages and stop! You can create custom lists for a better segmentation. Those list can be about anything (best work outs, 2015 seo traffic tips, etc…)! Unlike categories, it is up to stumblers to create lists. Create list, add your pages and get your lists followed by stumblers for even more traffic from StumbleUpon.

8. Share your stumbles and like your stumbled pages

Extends your impact with proper sharing. To get traffic from StumbleUpon, you can share your pages with your social networks, your StumbleUpon followers via mail and suggestions, and even more.
If someone else shared your page first, go to that profile and like the submission. It is claimed that pages submitted by your audience are more powerful, your listing from them just add values and help you with your success.

9. Use attractive and high quality featured images

With your headline, an image is shown under the title and above the page description! That image is taken from your post,  the featured image is used or your page screenshot. Thousands words in a pic can dramatically increase your traffic from social media; StumbleUpon is not an exception to the rule.

10. Use StumbleUpon widgets

With StumbleUpon widget, you can reach people out of your network anywhere you can add some html codes. S.U widgets help you to showcase your popular and latest submission on StumbleUpon.
Plugins also help to get StumbleUpon followers and sharing. Add them somewhere that will be visible and you’ll notice augmentation of your traffic.

11. Use StumbleUpon advertising

While all above tips help to get traffic from StumbleUpon without spending a dime, StumbleUpon advertising helps you get cheap traffic packages. pay $0.10 per targeted and high quality traffic.

Those traffic are direct and help getting even more as they are natural and increase likes that spread the word across the world.

12. Stumble pages submitted by others

It seems ridiculous, visit others while you want to get traffic! Yes, it is not required but it is recommended. First, if everyone just submit pages, who will read the submission? Then, each time you stumble pages and like, it is recorded by the system.

It will be used to show you only pages you like but also to suggest your account to be followed by others users. So, define your interesting by stumbling upon pages and get promoted by the system who knows you better.

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