How Stumble Upon Works and Why I Won’t Stumble your Post

Stumble Upon is the biggest driver of traffic to blogs and websites on the net, far surpassing facebook.

How stumble upon works

Stumble it

It is an important tool for traffic generation to your blog. A lot of people complain that it does not bring loyal readers to your blog because most people are quickly stumbling through giving random thumbs up.

The more I use it the more I see this to not be necessarily true. And if you use it in this way, Stumble Upon won’t reward you.

Stumble Upon is where I do most of my online reading, it is where I most discover new blogs, blogs that I have become loyal readers of and who I have now written guest posts for, which have driven me more traffic.

I am surprised that so many mummy/personal bloggers don’t use it. We can get massive views on y travel blog for posts, the biggest so far being around 55,ooo. And yes this does convert to traffic. I know because I’ve got the stats backing it up.

The key to using Stumble Upon is to have the intention of using it properly and to bring value to it. If you jump on it just with the intention to rig it in order to bring you more traffic then I reckon you’ll have poor results.

How Stumble Upon Works

Stumble Upon is really difficult to work out the factors that will make a post go viral. Basically it has to do with who is the first to discover it and how powerful the users are who thumb it up and review it.

So for me, I aim to make myself a power user. I figure if I do this to help others it will come back around.

Basically once a post of yours is discovered, it goes into the Stumble Upon stream and will pop up to SU users as they are stumbling, depending on how “popular” the post is. The more it gets shown the greater your chance of being found, liked and gaining new followers.

Basic Stumble Upon Terminology

Likes/ Thumbs up

If someone likes your post they just click the “I like it” or thumbs up button. This increases the likelihood of the post being randomly shown to others more frequently. You can also thumb down a post as well.

Power User

Is someone who is very active on Stumble Upon in discovering, liking and reviewing posts.  If a power user stumbles your post, make room for an influx of traffic.

Is a link shortening tool provided by Stumble Upon. This can increase the views you can get to your post.

Friends/ Followers

 You can follow and be followed by others on SU. When you accept a friendship you can select as to whether you want to accept their shares via a toolbar or not. Be careful with this as you could end up getting spammers. But, it is easy to delete them if you discover it later on.

You can also add reviews of the person and their site. Just go to their profile and click add review. This is a great thing to do to improve the value of themselves and you.

Come connect with me on SU

Stumbling Session

Is when you spend time stumbling through sites either by clicking the stumble button for random posts or through posts that are sent to you from your SU friends.

You can also stumble posts from those you come across through non-SU methods online.

Stumble upon tool bar

stumble upon toolbar

The SU tool bar is an browser add on which has all the SU functions you can use for a stumbling session. You can use the tool bar to select the interests you want to stumble through

Once you select that you will share with others through your toolbar, you can send them notification when you are sharing  a new post (yours or someone elses) There will be a red button that lets you know how many shares you have waiting to view.  This is a great tool but can be overwhelming especially since I have spent the last month tryng to get mine down from 400 waiting shares. I’m down to 200.

How I use Stumble Upon

  • I stumble every day for at least 15 mins. I use my stumble tool bar and stumble through those of my “friends” who share with me, and just random sites based on my interests that I have preselected.
  • I try to stumble new sites and posts so it does not seem like I am just “liking” my friends. Besides it’s how I find new sites.
  • I stumble a wide variety of interests: travel, parenting blogs, writing, business, sports, photography

Important: If I am the first to discover a post I will ALWAYS leave a review and a couple of relevant tags.

If you don’t do this you will not help the person who wrote the post receive much Stumble Upon love. This is one of the biggest factors to a post going viral.

HELP ME HELP YOU is always my motto.

  • I don’t just fly through posts giving them quick thumbs up, without checking first that they provide value and are interesting to me. I spend at least 30 seconds on the post before I thumb it up.
  • I make sure that in my stumbling session I am leaving reviews and several tags for every few posts that I stumble.
  • I only stumble my own posts every now and then. If you stumble the same site all the time, SU will penalize you.
  • I’m still figuring out the value of the shortening link. I used to get more views when I used it, but then it went strange for awhile, and I stopped. I’ve just started using it again and finding it bringing more views once more.
  • If someone has mentioned me or my site in a post, I will stumble it. There is more potential for new readers to find out about you then on another site.
  • I don’t just thumb up posts I like, I use it as an opportunity to also share via twitter, and comment. Remember, it’s all about providing value.

Why I won’t Stumble Your Post

I’m extremely busy so I have to be really picky when it comes to the time I spend online. I can evaluate, in a couple of seconds, when a new site pops up on SU as to whether I will spend my time reading and liking.

You have to understand that the majority of the stumblers will be thinking along these lines. You have to make it easier and more enticing for them to click like.

I won’t stumble the post for the following reasons:

1. If the title of your post is not above the fold. You want me to scroll? Too much time

2. If the first thing I see is google adwords.

3. Slow speed. Can’t wait for the loading time (we have been working on this on our sites for months to get it up to speed)

4. Bad designs that make it look like you slapped it together and is really only in operaton for traffic generation to make money from ads (spend some time on SU and you will soon know what these look like)

5. Photos of boobs and scanty undies on “lingerie” models

6. White text on dark background: there are only one or two blogs that I will read like this as they are friends and I like their content. Otherwise forget it, halfway through and I’m reaching for the Nurofen. Black text on white- just like books.

7. Any topics that don’t interest me. I won’t stumble meat recipes, because I am vegetarian and even though they look good it feels like a conflict of interest. Stay true to your interests and values.

8. Any sites where the content looks like it has been taken from other sites, including collections of photos- you can tell after awhile.

Once you have grabbed my attention to start reading, make it easier for me to finish the post by:

  • Having large font– at least 14pt
  • Small paragraphs, 2-3 sentences max. I’m a fast scanner reader. This makes it easier for me and saves time
  • Bold important key words and phrases so I get the gist of what you are writing
  • Headings scattered throughout breaking up the text and that stand out.

And then if I like what you have to say help me promote you and connect by:

  • Social media sharing buttons at the top or side so I don’t have to try and find them
  • Oh yeah- if you want me to tweet your post, make sure it is set up with your twitter handle. Credit where credit is due.
  • Tell me your story in your about page, so I can get to know you more

I hope this helps you to understand how stumble upon works and how you can effectively use it to drive traffic to your site

Happy Stumbling!

Your Turn to Share Tips:

Any other tips for using Stumble Upon? Why won't you stumble a post?

posted in: Blogging
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  • Alex Berger

    Solid advice. Initially I was a bit grumpy when reading your title, but as you spelled it out. I follow a very similar approach. Perhaps one other note for friends sharing posts is don’t inundate me with 1+ link to your site every day. Another thing worse mentioning is perhaps the greatest stumble gold while getting started is photos. They’re fast, they’re easy, and people tend to LIKE good ones.


    • Caz

      Oh so important Alex. I did think of that last night and wanted to put it in but forgot!! Thanks for bringing it up. For someone who is struggling to get her shares under 200 at the moment, this is such worthwhile advice. Don’t share all your posts. I only share 1-2 max a week. I only choose those that I think are share worthy and I want some SU love for.
      Photos are great for SU. Only takes a few secs to see them and like them


    • Caz

      Oh should also mention to, and you do a great job of this, that you can reply to people who share with you via the tool bar. This is a great way to let them know you liked the post and thumbed it up. I like how you do that and I am doing it more now


  • fotoeins | Henry

    Caz, thanks for your descriptive post about how to optimize StumbleUpon.

    I’ve noticed that a lot of tweets have short-links that go to the “stumbled” frame-grabbed version of the site or page in question. I’m not particularly happy about the “modified/stumbled” URL in that case, because if I retweet, I prefer to retweet by giving credit directly to the URL of the site/page.


    • Caz

      You can get a plug in for your site that will change the link so it does show your url instead. It is really handy. BUT, when I used it some time ago, the plug in failed and messed up my site so I have not been game to try it again


  • Laney @ Crash Test Mummy

    That is the clearest advice and direction I have ever read about SU. It was all a bit of a mystery to me. Thanks so much Caz.


    • Caz

      Pleasure it has taken me a good year to figure it out. and it still is a little shady in parts


  • Penny

    Love SU but it has taken a while to get my head around it. Also find it a great source of info for our working mums. And I agree re traffic – I had a post get picked up in May and it went nuts!


    • Caz

      Love those posts that go crazy, it is all very exciting when they do. It has taken me a good year to get my head around it and it still often confuses me.


  • Jim Karlovsky

    Very helpful article, Caz! Admittedly, I’m very new to Stumble Upon, and this really helps me understand how and why people use it. I see how it could be a very good tool for finding new, interesting content! Thanks so much for putting this out here into the blogosphere – this article will be one of my very first stumbles 🙂


    • Caz

      Thanks Jim! Welcome to the world of Stumble Upon. I’ve connected with you on there and look forward to your shares. It is a lot of fun actually. I love some of the sites I have stumbled upon


  • Katepickle

    Ive been using SU for quite a while but I still have trouble working it out… Why do some posts that I review get 2 hits and then the odd one gets 1000?
    And do you think there are certain types of posts that do better on SU?
    Great post, really helped me make some decisions about how I’ll use SU in the future.


    • Caz

      That’s the hard part Kate. You can never really predict what will go well on SU and what won’t. That is why so many people are confused as there are so many variables. If you remain consistent with it and use it as a valuable tool then it does start to pay off for you and more of your posts will get views. I also find it goes in waves. I’ll have several weeks where my posts just go crazy and then a couple of weeks where there is nothing.

      Photos do really well on SU, food posts do as well, list posts, and travel is another popular interest on there.


  • Victoria @pommietravels

    Hey Caz, totally know what you mean about the white text on black background, it makes my eyes hurt! And looking back through my old posts I recently realised that I hadn’t been using headings and shirt sentences enough!! My theory now is, you have to treat your blog like you’re laying out a magazine. When you read a magazine they don’t have just one long bit of text. Anyway, thanks for the post, I’ve got a bit of an experiment going with StumbleUpon at the moment to see if I can actually make it bring in traffic…never really had much success with it, but I’ve been a sporadic user.


    • Caz

      I think with SU the key is to use it every day. It is a right royal pain in the butt, as it is so hard to figure out,, but just keep persevering and you’ll soon start to see results.


  • kirri

    Oh gosh….I’ve been breaking all the rules, completely unaware. My bad!


    • Caz

      I was breaking them for ages too!!


  • Incrediblez

    Thanks for this nice article. I was wondering why I don’t get much page views. After your article i just had a look at my followers. Gosh I have 100 followers, but 59% of them don’t even have 10 stumble favourites. I don’t understand why such people follow me.


    • Caz

      People follow you in the hopes you will stumble their stuff but they don”t use it to provide value. It is better to have followers who are power users. It takes time but keep working on it and you’ll get there


  • MultipleMum

    I found this post via SU (how fitting). Thanks a lot for putting this together. I have been dabbling but I think I need to be more consistent and leave more reviews. I am now following you. Come and visit me too 🙂
    PS I have been using the shortener but realise that this means I am stumbling more of my own links. How do you get around that? x


    • Caz

      cool Multiple Mum! Glad you found me on SU. See it works 🙂 If you use the it won’t mean you are stumbling your links. This happens only if you thumb it up.Once someone thumbs it up then the power of the comes into play. If it is not thumbed up then it doesn’t do much


  • Beverly Peck

    Very helpful article, Caz! Perhaps one other note for friends sharing posts is don’t inundate me with 1+ link to your site every day. You can get a plug in for your site that will change the link so it does show your url instead. Caz, thanks for your descriptive post about how to optimize StumbleUpon.


  • Cole @ Four Jandals

    Thanks for sharing Caz. Love yTravelBlog (not such a mummy blog reader but just wanted to so thanks haha). Cheers


    • Caz

      No worries Cole!! Thanks for stopping by nevertheless. This Mummy life is probably not for you! Will have to get Craig to share his manly wisdom 🙂


  • Maureen Mack

    It is really handy. I only share 1-2 max a week. It was all a bit of a mystery to me. I think with SU the key is to use it every day.


  • Lisa

    Hi there, I found this stumbling :<) so I agree, we do stop and read!
    Guess what got my attention? The big SU logo, nice choice.
    I am off to go have a look around the rest of your site. Cheers!


    • Caz

      awesome. Thanks for appreciating


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