StumbleUpon is one of the most powerful but least understood tools for generating traffic and promoting your travel blog. Many bloggers avoid using it because they don’t understand what StumbleUpon is and how it can help their site. It’s pretty easy to grasp, simple to use, and once you get some of the basics down, a potential way to draw hundreds of new hits to your travel blog.
What Is StumbleUpon?
Basically StumbleUpon is a site that recommends other websites to its users based on what they like. StumbleUpon users indicate they like a website by giving it a thumbs up, sometimes with a short review of that page as well.
- Create a StumbleUpon account and create a basic profile. Make sure to include a link back to your blog and write a little about yourself.
- Once you get that setup, grab the Firefox StumbleUpon plugin. Even if you don’t use Firefox on a regular basis, it’s the easiest way to use StumbleUpon and Firefox is a free download. I would strongly recommend using Firefox just for this purpose if nothing else.
Within the StumbleUpon toolbar you’ll see a thumbs up, thumbs down and ‘Info’ icon. When you like a site or blog post give it a thumbs up. Doing so will typically cause a pop up window to appear where you can write a short review. A review gives a stumble more weight than just a thumbs up. Also be sure to add a tag (travel is usually good enough) and a 1-2 line description of the page. That’s all you need to do to stumble a page. Doing so will allow StumbleUpon to send members to that page.
- You can see the stumble status of a given page by clicking the ‘Info’ icon on your Firefox toolbar. You’ll see who has given a particular page a thumbs up, review, and how many times a page has been viewed.
What To Stumble?
Stumble the pages you like, but not too many from your own travel blog. Limit stumbling yourself to 2-4 times a month and stumble other pages you like 30 times a month. That’s a good ratio to shoot for to improve the clout of your stumbles (which StumbleUpon ranks). When stumbling your own material, do so on posts that have good titles and topics that are straightforward. Posts that are very specific tend to do well in StumbleUpon and get more traffic.
- Posts with titles like “My Trip To Thailand Was Boring” don’t do as well as “Learn New Languages Using These Free Online Resources“.
Using Su.Pr – What The Heck Is That?
It’s a website that integrates with Facebook and Twitter that automatically shortens urls and adds a StumbleUpon toolbar to a given page. Use http://su.pr (with your StumbleUpon credentials to login) to promote other sites you’ve stumbled, including your own on Twitter and Facebook. When you’ve got a post that is doing well, has a few stumbles, and good title, use su.pr to drive even more traffic to it. You’ll see the number of clicks as well as stumble hits from the interface. [EDITED 3/6/10: You don’t need to be selective with your use of su.pr, you can use it as your primary link shortener.]
It’s All That Simple
There are many more ways to use StumbleUpon and other tricks and tips people have learned. If you’ve got some personal advice feel free to list it here and ask any questions you may still have. One thing I’ll add is to stumble your photography if you take pictures since posts with photos tend to do well when stumbled and promoted using su.pr. Stumbling is a good way to use a social network to expand your travel blog and build traffic when you’re traveling too much to write by stumbling older posts in your archive.
While we’re talking about StumbleUpon, if you’d like me to stumble any of your websites please email me or let me know in the comments and I’ll be happy to. You can also feel free to stumble both Travel Blog Advice and my main travel blog foXnoMad and I’ll return the favor any way I can.
[photos by: topgold (StumbleUpon logo)]
Thanks for the SU primer. I’ve been so confused by what I’m supposed to do with StumbleUpon, though I know occasionally it drives an insane amount of traffic to my site. I don’t know what the point is of have subscribers, but if you’d like, you can subscribe to my account at: http://www.stumbleupon.com/stumbler/joannahaugen/ Let me know what your account is and I’ll add it to my subscriptions as well.
Just subscribed to your Stumble account and stumbled your homepage 🙂
The number of subscribers helps your ‘stumbling clout’ though I’m not quite sure how that’s measured.
I agree it is not easily understood. I’ve had a dabble in it on and off and still can’t grasp how to make it work. It’s been on the back burner of my mind for some time now. I’ll give your instructions a go.
It took me forever to get into the swing of it, but it’s a powerful way to get clicks and extra traffic back towards your site. Just stumbled your homepage and subscribed to your Stumble account btw.
Anil, thanks so much for this post. I just stumbled it and subscribed to you 🙂
If you’d like to add me I can be found at http://www.stumbleupon.com/stumbler/ayngelina/
Thanks Ayngelina, I’ve subscribed to your stumble account and stumbled your homepage as well 🙂
I’m getting going with it too. Think it has lots to offer for posts with wide appeal. I like using the discover button to find stuff I know people I follow like. Had better luck with that than with the random stumble site. I’ve added the other posters, follow me back http://www.stumbleupon.com/stumbler/bikeandboots/
Just stumbled your homepage btw 🙂
Wow, 100 visits in one day from that. Glad I got pictures onto the front page last weekend. Now to get some new content going.
That’s awesome, glad to hear it! Glad the stumbles and subscriptions are helping 🙂 Gotta love the power of StumbleUpon.
Here’s my Stumble user account in case anyone wants to add it btw:
I can while away many hours stumbling through the world… Here’s my profile if anyone wants to add it: http://www.stumbleupon.com/stumbler/silverfootprint/
I just subscribed to your SU account and stumbled your homepage as well 🙂
Dear Stumblers, I just came across this post on Suzy Guese’s travel blog – another good place to meet stumblers and exchange stumbles:
Stumble Upon still confuses me… I tend to leave it to Poi, but this has a least allowed me to understand the basics, Our stumble account is: http://www.stumbleupon.com/stumbler/noplacetobe/
Glad you found it useful, thanks for leaving your details here. I just subscribed to your account and stumbled your homepage.
i must admit, i am also among the one that barely use stumble upon cause i don’t really get it but thanks for this post, it makes more sense now
It’s a very powerful tool – if you like you can post your account name and a link or two to be stumbled here to get you started 🙂
Stumbleupon is an excellent tool. When I first started stumbling, I didn’t have a clue what it was doing for our blog. But now we get a lot of hits regularly from StumbleUpon AND because we are traveling we aren’t even Stumbling much at the moment! But the momentum is still going. Whenever I get the chance, I stumble and tweet peoples posts. It has worked well for us.
I think I’m officially addicted to it. It’s like the little hit machine that keeps on giving 🙂
Thanks for the helpful explanation! I had started using it but wasn’t sure what to do with it and felt weird about giving my own posts a thumbs-up, but I guess that’s necessary once in a while just to get the posts on there.
I will definitely start using it more now and will check out the above-mentioned accounts. Here’s mine in case anyone is interested in checking it out: http://www.stumbleupon.com/stumbler/franciscojenna/
Hi Jenna, glad to hear this post was of some help. I’ll be sure to subscribe to your Stumble account and be sure to stumble your posts from time to time. I’ve found the stumbling travel bloggers (hah!) to be very helpful in returning stumbles, which can help give your own posts some momentum 🙂
Another tip I’ve discovered is that if you want to leave a comment on the site and stumble it to stumble FIRST. If you leave a comment first it changes the url of site and Stumble thinks you are discovering a new page rather than adding a like to the original.
Good call – I also did some experiments with RSS feed links (when you click through RSS on some sites you get the url + some added stuff to the link) – Stumble recognized both as the same site if that makes any sense..
Anil, not only have I subscribed to your stumble, I have tweeted, stumbled and facebooked this page.
http://www.stumbleupon.com/stumbler/tip2top/ is me. My interest is travel and charity mainly.
Hi Guy, thank you very much. I’ll connect with you there as well and will Stumble your page.
I have 2 questions (maybe dumb ones) about Stumbleupon.
First, when I stumble one of my own posts, it shows up as having only 1 view even though it has had many more visits than that after I stumble it. I heard it can take a couple days for it to show up, but I often wonder if the count is correct because even on other posts the count seems low.
Second, I see people on twitter using links to their posts on Stumble, and the link is fairly short and starts with su , but I don’t know how to get these links if I want to tweet my posts that are on Stumble.
I checked the Stumble Help but didn’t really find anything.
Thanks in advance if you can answer either of these questions or refer me to another article that addresses them. 🙂 Jenna
Not dumb questions at all. When you stumble something you’re only seeing the stumble clicks on it, and I recall reading that updates can take as long as 24 hours. You won’t see any direct (i.e. non-Stumble) clicks.
To use su.pr, go to http://su.pr/ If you’ve got a StumbleUpon account you’ve got an su.pr account; same username/password. From there you can connect your Twitter and Facebook account to su.pr with a click. I hope this helps, if not let me know and I can add some more detailed instructions.
Hi Anil, thanks for the informative post! I have a question:
“Limit stumbling yourself to 2-4 times a month and stumble other pages you like 30 times a month. ”
Is this “stumble other pages 30 times” only include the one that we “discover”, or including everything that we give thumbs up? Is doing it more than 30 not a good idea? Is there a limit?
Btw, I have added your SU page a while ago, here URL to mine if you (or anybody else read this) want to add mine to yours 🙂
There’s no limit to stumbling, it’s best though to stumble consistently and not a bunch at once then no activity for a few weeks. Stumbling is also proportional, I’d say for about every 30 stumbles you can stumble your own pages once or twice. The Stumble algorithm works by giving your first few stumbles of a page more impact so use your own stumbles for those posts you think will do especially well with stumble traffic.
Hope that makes sense, if not let me know. Also, just subscribed to your SU page 🙂
Thanks Anil! I just started using su.pr. Nice to have the stumble upon bar included in the page. Still clumsy though in using the facility.
Oh Anil, I have a question. when you say “stumble”, do you mean both “liking it” and “discovering it”? Sorry, I’m just slightly confused with the terminology here.
No problem at all. A stumble is a thumbs up and discovering a site is when you’re the first person to stumble something but it’s still a stumble. I’ve also found that when you discover a lot of stuff your stumbles carry more weight, but that’s just an informal observation.
Define: Travel – Six Months and Counting
Thanks for the tips, I feel so lost on StumbleUpon! I see so many travel bloggers getting so many views from it but it’s quite tricky to work out properly.
My profile is http://www.stumbleupon.com/stumbler/Globetrooper
Thanks for leaving your contact information here for us. I’ve subscribed and also stumbled your homepage and hope others will do the same so we can all benefit from SU.
Let me know if you have any questions as you start using SU more.
Anil, thanks a million – Stumble Upon’s been on my to-figure-out list for ages, finally it all makes sense.
I’ve subscribed and stumbled you – and everyone in the comments – my profile is http://www.stumbleupon.com/stumbler/camden2/ if anyone would like to do the same.
Glad this post could help get you started. Thanks for the subscription and the stumble, I’ve returned the favor and hope everyone else in the comment does as well.
Great post. Very useful!
Thanks Amar, subscribed to your SU profile and stumble/reviewed your homepage. Also found your Facebook and YouTube from your SU profile as well 🙂
This is wonderful information – clear and concise! It is very much appreciated 😉
The profile for our “What Boundaries?” site is http://stumbleupon.com/stumbler/whatboundaries
Thanks again for this post!
You’re very welcome Lisa 🙂
Here is our profile on SU. We are still learning, getting LOST most of the time. Having fun meeting people around the world via SU though is a great part of it!
This article is wonderful. I have it bookmarked and it really helped me navigate my way through SU. Would appreciate anyone who could give me some stumble love – I need it! 🙂 Thanks, Matt
Hey man. Well I’ve had you in my stumble for awhile ;). I’ve added everyone else that commented here as well.
Somehow had missed you – duh on me :/ Subscribed and stumbled now!
Thank you for this information. I am trying really hard to understand stumbleupon and this has made it a little clearer for me. There is still a lot I need to understand. I like the supr. tool. I have it installed on my blog as a plug in but am still unsure what it does exactly.
Here’s my stumble upon account
There is a lot of trial and error involved with SU but much easier once you get the general gist. Connected with you on SU and your other accounts (Facebook/YouTube) as well. Couldn’t find the SU plugin though on your site, which one is it?
It is a supr wordpress plug in . You download it from the supr account page. I think it automatically updates your post to facebook and twitter
Ah ok, gotcha 🙂
Oh no, he is giving away my secrets! 🙂
The one thing I would add is that people judge you by the quality of the content you suggest. So look at all the articles that people in your stumbleupon group post but stumble only the ones you like.
I am http://www.stumbleupon.com/stumbler/chris2x/ on stumbleupon
Also check out this group on the travel blog exchange – http://www.travelblogexchange.com/group/stumbleupontravelers
Thanks Chris for the added suggestion and link to the TBEX group, I’ve joined there as well.
I am new to SU but having a blast with it. I love being able to surf and find things I am interested in without a ton of advertising crap. http://www.stumbleupon.com/stumbler/capnmikecollins/
Hi Mike, nice to connect with you on SU as well.
Very helpful post to uncloud stumble upon. Thanks!
this is me: http://www.stumbleupon.com/stumbler/wanderlass/
please stumble: http://su.pr/8TrJUU 🙂
Done and done!
my blog is http://www.mobilelawyer.blogspot.com
Subscribed and stumbled 🙂
Also edited your link btw, there was a typo 😉
Thank you for the helpful tips! I’ve subscribed to all of the SU members who posted their links. Here’s mine: http://www.stumbleupon.com/stumbler/leslietravel/
Looking forward to reading more of your articles 🙂
Nice! Thanks for the tips!
But I was wondering, don’t you have to have many subscribers for it to be useful? Doesn’t it work like twitter? If I “like” it and have 10 subscribers, what’s the use?
Anyway, I’ve subscribed to your account, cheers!
The number of subscribers you have (and subscribe back) does add to your “stumble clout” but when you stumble anything it’s not limited to your subscribers. Any SU user can stumble on to your stuff once it’s been stumbled.
Thanks for this Anil, good advice. I still don’t quite think it’s a science. I’ve been good lately about stumbling often – certainly averaging 30 a month, yet none of my pages submitted with su.pr get hardly any stumble traffic – at least they haven’t for the last week or so. Even with stumbles and reviews.
As I write this, I just checked su.pr and a post I submitted an hour ago all of a sudden has 65 stumble views after one review.
Anyway, I’ll keep on stumbling, reviewing, and using su.pr and hope it sorts itself out in the end!
It take a lot of experimentation but truth is nobody outside of SU knows the actual algorithm.
Thanks Anil for writing this which is pushing me to fully understand it; I will be really happy when I have that ah-ha moment.
I even posted an ad on Craigslist asking for SU help and have had many replies. I understand the randomness of it all and I will start stumbling and adding comments thanks to you. What I don’t get are the basics. I’m trying really hard to understand it but something still isn’t clicking.
How do I subscribe to someone’s SU account ? Do I need to send them an email? Maybe you should offer your services to the SU people as it seems pretty obvious to me that tons of people are needing help. BTW Global Bloggers Network is offering a webinar on July 28th.
My stumble account is: http://www.stumbleupon.com/stumbler/hikebiketravel/ – didn’t know that till I copied what everyone else was doing and made sure I showed up.
Any more help on the basics is totally appreciated.
Subscribing to an account is easy. For example when you click on a profile link like yours above, there’s a green button on the right of the screen to subscribe. Click it and you’re set. A good place to start would be this list, many of the people will also follow you back, giving your stumbles more impact.
You’ve actually given me a good idea for a related post and if you have any questions feel free to ask!
I’ve also been confused about StumbleUpon. Mainly about stumbleupon URLs. You can seemingly have more than one URL related to a post meaning it’s difficult to track views etc. Whatever the case, here is my SU profile:
Hi Adam, just subscribed to your profile. Yes, su.pr does create unique links for the same post and they use it for tracking internally I’d suspect. The numbers you see in SU are the totals.
I’ll add you.
Here is my URL, if you’d like to subscribe back
Thanks, have just subscribed back.
Thanks so much for this SU primer, Anil. It’s something I needed greatly that I didn’t even realize I needed!
Turned out I’d signed up a while ago, but never really leveraged it. Two questions:
1. Is there any way to clear out my Shares in my inbox? (here http://www.stumbleupon.com/discover/shares/)
2. What’s the advantage of using SU.PR for non-SU things?
Anil, your account is at http://www.stumbleupon.com/stumbler/foxnomad/ right?
Mine’s at: http://www.stumbleupon.com/stumbler/byteful/
Thanks again for explaining SU in a straightforward way. I’ll take it as the universe recommending I use it more!
It’s a very powerful tool, I’m glad to see you trying it out 🙂 To answer your questions:
1. You can’t clear out your shares as far as I know. They are a record of everything you’ve stumbled.
2. Using su.pr for non-stumbled stuff is a good way to encourage stumbles (since it’s in the toolbar). If something is doing well in Stumble, su.pr can help add to that momentum.
Just subscribed to your account as well. Let me know if my responses helped answer your questions, if not, feel free to let me know!
Hi Anil, I have stumbling related question. So, when we open our stumble favourite page, we can see the list of stumbles that we do, and they each illustrated with a picture (in the left). How to make that picture display a particular picture from my post, instead of the screen shot? Thanks, Anil!
Hi Dina, do you use the “alt” tag to add descriptions of your photos before posting them?
Not always, sometimes I do.
Pictures with alt tags should show up on Stumble submissions. If it doesn’t there’s a plugin for it, let me know. I’ll just need to dig it up…
Good question from Dina. My pages occasionally display images from my sidebar which is the last thing I want associated with a stumble. Other times I get a random photo or screen capture. Would appreciate advice on the plugin or a way to fix it. Thanks 🙂
@Gourmantic: I thought screen shot is already real bad, but I guess it’s better than random photo from side bar!
@Anil: Some of my post definitely bear photos with the Alt-text (Except if I totally misunderstand it)
Here’s an example:
And here’s the stumble page of it, which display the screen shot (I wonder do you see it as screen shot too)
I would love to try the plugin you mentioned 🙂 Thanks a lot, Anil!
Ok, it’s not a plugin, but this snippet of code should work:
Although I did notice that many of your pictures didn’t have alt-text. Based on what I can tell, that seems to be the key for SU pulling images, in addition to page load time. (If your pages or images don’t load fast enough SU will use the screenshot as well.) I hope this helps!
Also, it’s a good idea to use very *specific* alt tags for your images (not just the description field) so that they can be indexed by Google. Over time image searches can account for a significant percentage of click-throughs to your site.
Ah, thanks a lot, I will check the code out, as well not being too lazy in inserting alt tags! I will let you know after my next post.
And oh, I just realized one of my post in stumble has a picture instead of snap shot. I checked the photo alt text, it happens to be the exactly same word with the post title. Is it related that way?
(I’m sorry to bomb you with many comments)
That could be it – that other post with the image had a very long alt tag (looks like the first line of the blog post) and reading that may have made SU go for the screenshot instead. Try shorter alt-tags…let me know how it goes!
Seems like many things I still don’t now about effective picture naming in a blog post. The title, alt, caption, and description. If you happen to write about it already, I would love to read it. Meanwhile, I’ll apply this alt strategy for the next post!
I haven’t written about it yet but will cook something up for you. Hopefully this week, if not next 🙂 Also, if I come across any other relevant articles I’ll post them here as well.
Wow, thanks so much! You are so kind! I’m looking forward to learning it from you 🙂
It’s my pleasure 🙂
I have posted a new one. Tried using alt text, stumble it, didn’t work. Added the code afterward, canceled the stumble, and restumbled, didn’t work either. So next time for sure I will just do the code prior to the any stumbling. Thanks 🙂
I’m curious to see if it works, looking forward to seeing the results. I’ll also shoot the folks over at SU an email to see if they have any specific advice on the matter.
The script above didn’t work for me either, not that it’s a convenient way to get around the problem. Hopefully SU can provide a simple method of getting it to work.
The script seemed to work in my newest post. My post bears the picture from the blog post as I intended. Thanks Anil!
Good to know and hear. I hope to hear back from SU soon too and see if there are any other tricks as well.
Hi Dina, here’s a response I got from StumbleUpon regarding the selection of the thumbnail image:
“We do not, at this time, offer a facility to
choose the thumbnail selected for your site.
If your site contains large images, then the
thumbnail generator will use the first, most
prominent image as the the thumbnail – so you
should make sure that an advert is not a candidate
image in this respect.
If there is not a prominent image on the page,
then the thumbnail generator will then ‘snapshot’
the whole page itself.
We hope that you find this helpful.”
Thanks so much, Anil!
Like Gourmantic, not sure what SU means by “prominent”, also not sure how large is large enough. The combination between using tags and the code seems work fine lately, next I will combine that with “large” and.. hmm… “prominent” 🙂
You are so kind and helpful, even contacting the SU for us. Thanks!!
You’re very welcome Dina, and glad to dig up some more information about this. Wish they’d share the code to see exactly how it works although I do suspect tags are a big part of it 😉
Thanks for following up Anil. Not sure what they mean by ‘prominent’ photo when I use several per post and it still picks up an ad from the sidebar.
I have recently started alt tagging photos and it seems to be working a little better. Need more stumbles before I can check it properly 🙂
Thanks for the primer. We had not payed too much attention to SU until it drove A LOT of traffic to our site. Now we are dedicated to using it to support our fellow travel bloggers!
I think that happens a lot since SU isn’t very intuitive at first. Yet the traffic benefits are such that it becomes something not to be ignored 🙂
standing on your shoulders — I did a StumbleUpon how-to post also.
Awesome and lots of additional good information there, I gave it a stumble too and hope the other commenters subscribed to this post will too 🙂 It’s good to share the stumble love.
i still dont understand how it works, i send peoples posts to stmble upon, should i also be sending the posts to my followers or its just enough to send to stumble upon? and how do you get more followers quickly to stumble my sites as well?
my stumble profile is http://www.stumbleupon.com/stumbler/mukuba2002/reviews/
There are a few ways to go about getting stumbles but the most straightforward is to join one of the groups mentioned above. Every Sunday Michael also does a ‘StumbleSunday’ on Twitter; definitely exchange with him there:
I’d also recommend following the people on this list and stumbling often while also exchanging with them. What’s the average response you get from a stumble and how often do you stumble your own site?
Oh wow, I didn’t know more than half of things you said here and yet I was worried about using this tool. I’ll start working on this and obviously you’ll see the developments since everything is public anyways! Thanks very much Anil! 😉
My pleasure Priyank. Stumble is certainly useful for promoting posts (yours and others) and another great way to connect with other bloggers. It’s also especially fond of pictures which, with your photography, should be a big advantage 🙂
Thanks for this Anil. I’ve been a naughty travel blogger and not utilising Stumble Upon until now (my blog’s two years old) and that’s mainly because I didn’t get it. I would stumble articles I had written but just didn’t seem to get any views or ratings…what I didn’t realise was this whole ‘clout’ business. I wasn’t stumbling other sites and following people, so I didn’t have any clout. Starting to get the hang of it now and getting a few hits from it. I’ve heard other travel bloggers say the majority of their traffic comes from StumbleUpon so we’ll see…Actually quite enjoying some of the ridiculously funny things I’ve been stumbling over!
I think it’s that StumbleUpon isn’t very intuitive and they don’t really spell out their algorithm clearly. What’s your Stumble profile, have I connected with you there? My (unsolicited) advice would be to put the SU logo in your ‘follow me’ widget to get even more connections 😉