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April 17th

How to Increase Traffic With StumbleUpon

How to Increase Traffic With StumbleUpon

StumbleUpon is not Facebook, Youtube or Twitter, and for that reason it often gets overlooked as a source for driving traffic to blogs or websites.

With an Alexa rank of 723 (2016) and an estimated 12 million users, Stumbleupon or SU often outperforms similar sites like Delicious or Reddit (according to Statcounter).

How does this happen?

When something is posted on the StumbleUpon platform and a user likes or “stumbles” upon that piece of content it gets put into the SU lineup. Once in the lineup, your article can be upvoted which drastically increases the odds your content is going to show up when another user clicks the “stumble” button.

Additionally, StumbleUpon is not in vogue the way many social networks, aggregators or bookmarking sites are. This makes the competition a bit lower on SU and still allows access to a lot of users.

Getting your page stumbled a handful of times can lead to thousands of page views. However, like all social networks, your approach is critical. In the following, we’ll hit on four methods you can use to increase your traffic with SU.


Solid Content

Before we get going, a quick note. In 1996 Bill Gates famously said “content is king”, that was true then and it’s still true today.

The simplest way to get traffic on StumbleUpon (or any other source) is to have great content. There is no way around this. Your sales and product info pages are likely to collect dust if you offer up weak articles or tepid content.

On SU, the like button is a double edged sword and users can just as easily bury your content as vault it to the top of the page.

So, on StumbleUpon what kind of content sticks? A good first step is to head over to StumbleUpon’s search feature, plug in your niche or industry and see what comes up. There are a million ways to go at it, but the following formats are generally the most successful.

  • Lists — A staple of the content marketing world, and according to CopyBlogger, they will always work.
  • Infographics — Thrive on social media and in this sense StumbleUpon is no different. Check around to see the most popular ones.
  • Video — If you’ve noticed an uptick in videos on Facebook and elsewhere the last few years there is a reason. According to Cisco by 2017 video will drive 69% of all consumer internet traffic.
  • How to guides — These type of posts provide a high level of value to their readers and tend to get a lot of attention.

No earth shaking news here, what works well on social media, in general, is likely to succeed on StumbleUpon too. Next, we’ll teach you four specific ways to increase your traffic via SU.


Focus On Getting Organic Stumbles

Most bloggers or site owners stumble (sorry, couldn’t help myself) upon the value of StumbleUpon through their analytics dashboard. This typically happens after an unexpected spike in traffic.

This is a prime example of how engaging content gets discovered from nothing more than a single stumble. Recently Fotor.com posted a blog with funny results from a photo caption contest. Six months later a user who only has around 100 followers found it amusing and stumbled it. This was the spark it needed, and since then it’s stumbled over 5,000 times creating 35,000+ total views.

This is the exponential power of an organic stumble.

To obtain these vaunted organic stumbles the first thing you must do is add your page to the StumbleUpon platform which can be done over here. Create a profile, fill in a few details, add a link to your website or blog. Start building a footprint.

Once this is done you’ll want to add a stumble button on all your content. You can do this through a variety of plugins or grab the code from SU’s badge creator. This page also includes integration tips for anyone wrestling with WordPress or Drupal.

The bottom line is you want your content to be easy to find. Make it so and the odds are much greater your content will be stumbled onwards and upwards.


2. Share Content on Su.Pr and Elsewhere

SU has a unique URL shortening system, which is called Su.pr. Once you’re signed up and logged into the StumbleUpon system you can use Su.pr to enter content or shorten a URL.

Additional things Su.pr allows you to do:

  • Post (and automatically shorten) your URLs to your Twitter or Fb page.
  • Schedule and manage your posts.
  • Get recommendations for optimal posting times.
  • View reports and graphs on how your posts perform.
  • Broadcast your content to the whole SU community.
  • Highlight the best pages on your website.

Su.pr gets your content into StumbleUpon’s index and gets it in front of more users and increases the likelihood of stumbles or likes. Content that has been submitted via Su.pr has a wider potential audience that extends beyond your immediate sphere of followers.

Not using Su.pr is missing out on the full power of StumbleUpon to build site traffic.

You can also take the message shown in the photo above and plug it into Fb or Twitter (or HootSuite) and post it to other networks. When someone clicks on this link they’ll be directed to your site with the SU toolbar nicely queued up.

This makes it easier for people to like or stumble your blog and expand the audience your content reaches.

If a reader is logged into the toolbar it will also give them the option to share your content across their own networks (if they so choose) giving you the double bonus of StumbleUpon traffic plus exposure on other networks.


3. Share Content and Build a Group of Followers

In an ideal world, we would start out with a large group of engaged followers to share content with directly. As we all know this never happens from the start. It requires time, focus, and the right strategy.

How to get it done?

Start by following others and sharing content — in other words participate. Follow some stumblers but know that SU does not have the same follow back gambit that many people use on Twitter. You kind of have to hope that others will follow back.

Find Like Minded People

But when it comes to increasing your blog traffic on WordPress (or any site for that matter) we can do more than just hope. You want to search and find users that align with your personality, brand, goals, etc. This can be done two primary ways:

  1. Use the search function and throw in a few relevant keywords to find other users who are posting on the same topics or ideas.
  2. Compile a short list of users who match you. Click on each stumblers profile and in the right-hand corner of each profile is an icon that shows to what degree your interests match.

Use this percentage as a barometer of the likelihood that someone is going to follow you back (and therefore how much energy to invest). Obviously not foolproof, but the higher the percentage the greater your chances.

Prefer a more direct approach?

Do a quick google search for site:stumbleupon.com/stumbler/ “follow me” twitter which should unearth stumblers who’ve connected Twitter to their SU profile. Follow them there and send a friendly DM or tweet. Unless this user has disabled the feature they will be notified via email you followed and messaged them. Getting on the radar can be half the battle.

Be sure to do the above with sincerity, people can smell a ploy from a mile away and a fake compliment for a follow is not how you want to present yourself.

Be Active

If you’re thinking… how can I improve my website traffic… StumbleUpon can be that injection of life you need. But to get followers/traffic you must engage. Any SU user will tell you the greatest benefit of this platform is its “recommendation engine”. But to get your content out there, get followed, and ultimately drive traffic to your website you’ve gotta participate.

The way it works is simple.

The more likes you give to other people’s content the more that content goes out to other stumblers. The more you are active in the topic area of your niche the higher the odds that you’ll be discovered and followed. The more followers you have the wider your range becomes. The SU ecosystem truly comes alive the moment you start actively taking part.

Share Relevant Content

Once you’ve gotten your feet wet and built up a few followers you can exchange stumbles with your followers on the SU taskbar. Available for Chrome or Firefox (others available) this handy plugin is your best friend.

Anytime, someone you follow shares something new a red number will appear in your taskbar. The red number indicates the number of new or unread posts you have. Clicking on it will direct you to the content. Like, stumble, comment or send the user a personal note saying you liked what they posted.

Consistently engaging in this type of behavior will increase the odds that when it comes time for you to post the network will respond in kind.

Conventional wisdom says that it’s unwise to like or stumble your own posts, but you need a stumble before you can share with your followers. You can wait for an organic stumble (as discussed above) or ask a friend for a friendly stumble to get the ball rolling.

Once that initial stumble is under your belt you can click the info button on the taskbar when you’re on that page. From there you can share your content with all of your followers along with a twitter-sized message.

If you have a big number of followers be aware that sharing large pieces of content with all of them can cause the system to stick. You can divide them into blocks to avoid this happening, and be careful with the publish button, clicking it multiple times might lead you to mistakenly sending someone a post 10x. Annoying to say the least.


4. Try StumbleUpon’s Paid Discovery Feature

If you don’t have time for building a community, waiting for organic stumbles or are simply dissatisfied with your results you can try SU’s paid discovery feature.

For a small price, StumbleUpon ads will send targeted traffic to your site, regardless of how popular it is. For marketers, this sounds like a good way to boost website traffic.

There are three levels of membership for StumbleUpon’s paid discovery. These are:

  • Light — Allows for demographic targeting, basic reports, and integration with Google analytics.
  • Standard — Allows for priority serving of content streams, and advanced reporting/targeting.
  • Premium — Allows guaranteed priority service of content streams, full suite reporting, and Google analytics integration.

Once you’ve decided to pull the trigger you’ll need to go through five steps to get your campaign off the ground.

  1. First, you’ll want to input the URL you want visitors to be directed to.  Be sure to add utm_paramenters to your URL so that later you can track performance metrics via Google analytics. If this confuses you there is a great tutorial over here.
  2. Second, you’ll need to designate a topic (or topics). StumbleUpon can guess based on the info you provide or you can choose (up to a limit of 10).
  3. Next, you’ll want to optimize for your audience. Again you can lean on SU’s algorithm or you can choose demographic and device information yourself.
  4. Next, determine how much you’ll spend on priority placement. Paid discovery means you jump ahead of other users targeting the same users. Figure out how much per day you want to invest in this endeavor.
  5. Also important is ad scheduling. This can be set to run on autopilot or be done manually. Adhering to a schedule can help you keep track of your advertising spend.

Lastly, go back to your dashboard and under “account info” you can fund your campaign via PayPal or with a credit card. Now that you understand some basics, we get to the real heart of the matter. Is paid discovery worth it?

There isn’t one answer to this question as there are simply too many variables in play. But we can highlight of few tidbits of information to help your decision-making process.

The Bad News

Paid discovery on Stumble Upon is similar to PCC with one fundamental difference. There is no click from the user, they are simply directed to your page. This means they are less likely to be interested in your content.This generally leads to low conversion rates and painfully high bounce numbers. StumbleUpon users are known to be a bit click-happy, and when they hit your site they might be in the mindset to just immediately stumble to the next thing.

The Good News

Because of SU’s unique ability to garner avalanches of attention you may only need a handful of stumbles to get a good ROI using paid discovery. The trick is monitoring traffic data and seeing where a spike originated. By paying attention to these details you can determine whether the cost of paid discovery is validating itself with an inflation in traffic.

Although there are some flaws with StumbleUpon advertising we believe it’s worth trying. Especially when approached carefully, and within the context of a comprehensive digital strategy.



StumbleUpon.com is an alluring pool of potential traffic that gets neglected by many marketers. If you’re just starting out or planning to revisit SU, the four tactics discussed in this article are great ways to create more traffic for your website.

Have you had success with StumbleUpon? What methods have you used? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

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I’m Kade, and I’m all about the big picture. I love figuring out how to arrange your marketing chessboard with a killer strategy from start to finish. I help Klicker (and our clients) show up above the competition on Google, win the most attention from prospects, and not even break a sweat trying.

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