Sep 25 2007
A while back I wrote a Beginners Guide to StumbleUpon. Since then I’ve read a lot of articles about StumbleUpon being a great source of traffic. You’ll get no argument from me there. Having a look at my traffic referrals since I moved to this domain in May, and StumbleUpon has bought 21% of my traffic in that time, eclipsed only by Google (44%).
But what I’d like to focus on today, is not what StumbleUpon can do for your blog, but rather how it can enrich your internet experience. Let’s face it, without stumblers there is no StumbleUpon.
Firstly, you need to be looking at your StumbleUpon Toolbar:
What you’re looking for is the button with a drop down box that says “All”. If you click on the down arrow, you’ll be presented with the following options:
The numbers in red represent the points below. For any of the various methods, to get to the next page, you need to hit the”Stumble!” button on the far left of the toolbar.
1. Stumble Randomly
Stumbling randomly can lead you to a lot of new content. The problem is that it’s just that – random. This means that you can also be presented with a lot of stuff you’re not interested in. I prefer to be a little more focussed about my stumbling, so I find I use the following methods more.
2. Stumble Your Friends Pages
If you’ve chosen your friends wisely (i.e. friends with similar interests), you can get some really interesting pages this way. Simply click on the friends icon numbered at (2) on your toolbar or the drop down list.
3. Search for a Keyword
This is powerful! Hit the little magnifying glass / search link and you’ll get a search box which opens up. Doing a search here will return pages that have been tagged with that label (see how important efficient tagging can be?).
4. Stumble within a Topic
At number (4) in the image you’ll see all the topics you’ve nominated as your interests. These are in broad categories, with individual topics underneath. Great for targeted stumbling.
5. Stumble a Specific Friend
Ever notice one of your friends seems to always have great, interesting stumbles? Using this option you can nominate a specific friend’s stumbled pages. Click on the “Pages From” and you’ll get a box which opens up. Here you type in your friend’s stumbleUpon nickname:
6. Stumble your Favourites
This isn’t specifically discovery – more “re-discovery”. You can stumble through your favourites and see what fresh content has been posted at sites you like (this is the “star (icon) Favorites” button on the main toolbar).
7. Subscribe to a Stumble Feed
Yes, you can subscribe to a Stumble feed (as if you don’t have enough feed in your reader)! I love this function. You can monitor what your favourite stumblers are discovering via RSS and click through to pages that sound interesting (and maybe stumble them yourself).
To do this, navigate to a stumbler you’d like to follow, and at the very bottom of their “pages” page (and also in the address bar of your browser) you’ll see the RSS feed icon (the one on the left gives you just the link’s title – the one on the right gives you the title and what the stumbler wrote in the review).
Tips and Further Reading
When you first start stumbling, chances are you’re not terribly picky about your friends – everyone wants friends! But remember that you are limited to 200 mutual friends so sooner or later you have to be selective about it. Choose friends who have nominated similar topics of interest, who are active stumblers, and whose stumbles are of interest to you. This way your relationship will be more mutually beneficial.
Make Discoveries and Stumbles Count
When you discover a new page PLEASE give just a moment’s thought to the topic you enter. This can really effect the exposure that a web page will get.
For instance (and I don’t want to call anybody out here, so I’m speaking generally) someone submitted a great article about website traffic under the topic of “transportation”. It doesn’t take Einstein to realise that the number of people stumbling “transportation” as a topic, are going to be much fewer than those who would stumble “weblogs” or “internet”. Aside from the fact that the page had nothing to do with transportation, so would be totally irrelevant there.
Also, with discoveries, take a moment to enter review text and some tags (as you can see from above, the tags can be very important for people searching specifically for a word). Remember, at the very least, you can highlight some text from the page before you discover, or thumb up and this will go into the review text box.
Tim Nash has written a very thorough explanation of how the StumbleUpon algorithm might work, which is a great read for anyone interested in how StumbleUpon weights stumbles. In the comments Tim also points out not to send a page to a friend if it hasn’t first been stumbled. Tim also answers some more StumbleUpon questions in his follow up.
Liz Strauss’ Secrets to Massive StumbleUpon Traffic is also a very worthwhile read. You’ll be surprised at how simple the solution can be
Lyndon has put together a massive list of StumbleUpon posts, which is a great resource.
How do you like to stumble?
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