5 Ways To Succeed On StumbleUpon

Let's talk blog promotion.

I was really glad when Chris Brogan posted this post last week regarding StumbleUpon because I've been meaning to write something similar. If you check out the image at the top of this post, you will see a list of top referring sites that have led back to my blog since I began. StumbleUpon is not only at the top of the list, but mentioned several times throughout the list.

(Background: StumbleUpon is a social voting/referral tool. After joining for free, you download the SU toolbar. As you go about your daily business, you have the option of giving a thumbs up or a thumbs down to any page. Likewise, you can connect with friends and "stumble" across sites they have liked.)

Like Chris, I have had lots of traffic thanks to StumbleUpon and highly recommend it. In this blog post, I will give you some helpful advice about using StumbleUpon and then list some other similar sites and why they didn't work as well for me.

Best Practices For StumbleUpon

You can find some great online resources with SU advice, but here are my personal recommendations:

  • Don't just vote for your stuff. When I started, I was thumbing up my own work only. This must be a big no-no because I received almost no traffic with this method.
  • Get involved in the community. Duh, I should have known this one. The more friends I made, the better recommended pages were for me and the more eyeballs who would see my posts.
  • At high tide, all ships rise. Like all good web 2.0 tools, this is an "and" economy. Your posts don't suffer because you thumb up someone else's. Give thumbs up to authors you trust and SU seems to give you more props for knowing good content.
  • Don't be a pimp. I don't stumble all of my posts. I wait until someone else does (which seems to give more stumble-juice) or I only thumb up my best material. This seems to give more "weight" to the ones I do choose.
  • The more you give, you more you get. SU has given me another opportunity to connect with some of the brightest folks I've ever met. Don't try to game the system - you will receive as much or more than you invest into it.

Notice what's not on that list of referrals at the top? Most of the other social voting/referral sites. Here is my run-down on some of the more prominent ones in this space. (This is just what I have personally observed. If you've had success with these, more power to ya.)


I have only had a few articles go into the double digits of diggs. But even with those, I never garnered much traffic at all. Granted, I also have not put in the time to become a top digger, either.

Tech stories, great headlines, and lad humor seem to do well on digg; the blogging, writing, social media, marketing space...not so much. That's why I don't bother with digg.


Have you ever had a cat who vomited randomly in a hidden corner of the house and then, days afterwards, you are searching down the smell, trying to figure out where it's coming from? This is how I feel about Sphinn.

I do not have anything against the site or the folks on it. But it's strange that the articles that do the best are often of the questionable, SEO nature. Or that people who "sphinn" my stuff are those who have just published (indicating to me that they want a return sphinn). Or the lack of useful conversation. It just doesn't feel right, you know?

I have had a little success pulling traffic from Sphinn postings (always less than 10 people on any given day), so I have not abandoned the method, but I decided to put my efforts elsewhere.

Mixx, PlugIM, BizSugar

The returns simply have not matched the effort. I have to go to the site to participate (rather than through a toolbar like SU) and I just don't have the time. My initial efforts did not make a ripple in my traffic and I don't visit much.

That said, you will notice Mixx.com on the list above. A friend recommended one of my articles and he must have had some referral power because I got some traffic on that day. However, on my own, I just don't have the friends, juice, or time.

So, StumbleUpon It Is?

Well, it is for me. My main piece of advice, however, would be to choose a network and commit to it. Joining a half-dozen social voting sites will dilute your efforts. I guarantee you will get more traffic by working through just one or two voting networks.

And SU is not perfect. As I mentioned on Chris' post, I think the quality of traffic is much lower. People tend to bounce from one site to another. (I can tell because I convert a much lower percentage to subscribers and they generally do not click around the site to other posts.)

However, the truth remains that higher traffic is better than lower traffic, of course. With more visitors comes more chance of being linked to from another blog, getting a mention on Twitter, or of getting another thumbs up on SU.

Does This Help?

I hope you found this post useful. (If so, stumbling this article is appreciated.) If you would like to connect to me on StumbleUpon, you can find me at http://onlinemarketer.stumbleupon.com/.

Or, tell me if I'm wrong. Maybe I missed a memo on Mixx or I don't deserve to be dugg (or you're annoyed by the alarming alliteration). Share your success stories or suggestions with everyone in the comments section below.


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