Social Web Apps Design
Online Community Development

StumbleUpon Primer for Bloggers, Part 1

by Saul Fleischman on February 1, 2012

1. Let thyself be known

(We’ll likely follow you and accept your shares, like your stuff too)

Complete your profile, include links, see mine for an example. Click the blue “more” under my profile picture, upper left side of Note that you can include html code and include links to your blog and network profiles where you would like people to connect with you. Check that now and then, and see that there are no dead links or profiles on networks where your activity has tapered off greatly. As an example, there was once a wonderful profile and content aggregator called “Retagrr” that was light years beyond Xeeme for ease-of-use, connectability (with those who visited), and visual image. Retagrr went the way of the dodo, alas. I have been scrambling to remove the link to my Retaggr from SU and other sites. You don’t want to be sending people to dead links.

Set your Topics so that when you Stumble, relevant stuff comes your way. Hint: make the topics as specific as SU will allow, though you are constrained to existing word strings.

StumbleUpon topics that could serve my needs:

Bad: “Japanese woman” (far too vague; where I live, in their natural habitat, its as if they’re breeding them over here)

Better: “bored horny married Osaka woman” (but this might be too specific, and actually, “bored” is not a must. Also, moving to a topic I should probably be focusing on more, even “community manager sakai city” is not available from the explore box)

Yet Better: “community manager seeking”

StumbleUpon "Explore" search

StumbleUpon "Explore" search: to Stumble from and for SU-reviews and SU-comments (for tags)

Best: “seeking online community manager japan” (but this winds up being too specific and leads me to “online community manager,” so perhaps StumbleUpon is not a great place to look for job leads. Or eager women leads. Live and learn…? “Online community manager” is the closest StumbleUpon topic I could find). I’ll Stumble that. And I might use Online community manager as a tag in StumbleUpon reviews; we need to use StumbleUpon topics, rather than self-determined terminology for SU Reviews and Comments – since they connect with what Stumblers have set as their followed interests.

2. Power-follow, and unfollow, too

StumbleUpon allows you to only follow 500 Stumblers (people). Make them count, and refine who you follow from time to time. Follow people you know, to start, but understand that it will take some time to understand how they are going to use StumbleUpon. I get better and better at looking at a Stumbler’s number of likes, the recency of likes and what they like – and decide if the Stumbler is going to appreciate what I share to them, perhaps “SU-like” on occasion, and maybe not share tons of odd stuff to me. From Profile > Connections > Followers (or Following or Visitors, from the pull-down menu) > click on someone. When I see that someone’s latest likes and shares are very different from the topics I blog about and take guest posts for, I tend to unfollow them or do not follow back, though I see they are following me.

Example below: I can’t guess why this person followed me, but can pretty much be assured that they wont like my blog being shared to them and I don’t need their stuff either (and thus, I’ll unfollow someone who SU-likes/shares nothing but stuff that’s all off-brand for me):

This Stumbler's recent "Likes": Arts, Video Games, Bizarre/Oddities, Heavy Metal (not so great for me)

Follow those who generally support you, say, in LinkedIn, Facebook, etc., and then send them a message through StumbleUpon to let them know you followed them, welcome their shares, and appreciate their reviews, likes, and shares of your content – especially of your blog articles.

3. Can you hear me knockin’?

Don’t let your “visitors” get away without a look-see. You have visitors! Don’t let them escape without at least a look-see.

Every couple days, from Profile > Connections > Visitors, from the pull-down menu, see who you don’t already know (they could be people you are already connected to who simply looked at your likes most recently), and see what their stats tell you. What do they like? How often, and when was the last time they shared content? If they shared content similar to what you blog on, there’s a high liklihood that they will like and/or share your stuff, and appreciate what you might – on occassion only – share with them.

I look at these factors before following them. If I do so, I typically send them a message; this let’s them know that I probably actually use StumbleUpon. You’ll find, in time, that people jump on and sometimes fall off the SU frequent-user train.

Next week: StumbleUpon Reviewing and Sharing, in StumbleUpon Primer for Bloggers, Part 2

I don’t consider myself a StumbleUpon expert, actually, but rather a blogger who looks at his referral pageviews in Google Analytics, sees that StumbleUpon provides me with more views per 30 days that Google, Twitter, Facebook… and the next 15 sources of referral page views combined – and sees that this StumbleUpon beast is a thing to master.

Do you have a StumbleUpon strategy? Tell us about it – and be sure to see StumbleUpon Reviewing and Sharing, in StumbleUpon Primer for Bloggers, Part 2

Steps that you follow that get results (or that you find to not work, and want our thoughts on what to do)?

What are two specific changes to the StumbleUpon user interface that you would like to see?

About Saul Fleischman

Founder of emerging social media tool sites. Bootstrapping innovation with lean startup development teams. I do project management, user experience, PR, marketing and community development. size it!

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  • Christina Majaski

    Great tips on searching topics. I think that may be the most important thing yet. Even though what you were searching for could be considered a bit suspect. You went from a bored chick to a community manager. Why the hell would anyone search for a bored chick.

    • Saul Fleischman

      Its about pivoting from desire to focusing on what you really need. (Well, maybe not what *you* need @cmajaski:twitter but I think you get the idea. For reviews and comments in SU, that Explore box is the place to test tags, yes.

  • Hajra

    I am still new to Stumble! I just followed you there; I think I should be using it more often to understand how it works!

    Thanks for the reminder! Will be looking forward to the series!

    • Saul Fleischman

      Thanks so much, and know you have an allie @hajra:twitter – as @samanthaluy:twitter can tell you. Us bloggers need to support each other – when it counts the most.

  • Martha Giffen

    I am still learning! This post was really helpful. I am going to incorporate stumble into my marketing mix!

    • Saul Fleischman

      Thanks @bdc668a284c91d46fce35a5dbfeb71a6:disqus SU: my no.1 source of referral page views, if that tells you anything…

  • Andy Nathan

    Saul-you are the master of Stumbleupon! I actually need your wisdom for a new radio show I am hosting. We need to skype sometime soon.

    • Saul Fleischman

      Sounds good @andynathan:twitter remember to get that interview embedded, rather than linked, on your blog first :-)

  • Bryce Christiansen

    This was awesome Saul.

    Very good point about getting followers here on StumbleUpon. Often we think Twitter, Facebook, and our blogs are the key areas to grow followers, but if you have a good following on StumbleUpon, it can drive some rather impressive numbers.


    • Saul Fleischman

      It can @aadedc825b35bd06d2fae3ff67d050e6:disqus but actually, following people who are not going to appreciate/like/re-share your content is not the thing to do; after all, you can only follow 500.

  • Peg Fitzpatrick

    Awesome post Saul – thanks for sharing with me. :)

    • Saul Fleischman

      Many thank, @PegFitzpatrick:disqus and your guest post on Shelly’s blog – also on SU stats was very well done. You are welcome to share that in the comments thread here.

  • Michael Q Todd

    Nothing wrong with Xeeme you just have to work it

    • Saul Fleischman

      Thanks @mqtodd:twitter – yes, Xeeme is all right, nothing wrong. And you RULE it!

  • RuthiePople

    I love this blog it is wonderful – Ruthie Pople

    • Saul Fleischman

      Thanks for your support @cc12679ad6bdab974744539993b0b0dc:disqus

  • Andrzej Marczewski

    As ever, informative and interesting. I must get around to playing with stumble properly one day. At one stage I had great traffic from it – then I spammed it….

    • Saul Fleischman

      Ah, but now that you’re using Triberr @daverage:twitter if you SU-like from “Tribal Stream,” for every SU-review of your own posts, there’ll be many likes from you of others’ content; you wont be “dinged” by SU this way.

  • Andreas Wiedow

    @PegFitzpatrick:disqus Do you have a StumbleUpon strategy?

    No, I never really got around it. I am in/on it but . . . hmh. Probably need a one-liner that helps me get the drift.

    • Saul Fleischman

      When you publish or create content, you need to do a SU-review of it, and then, share to your contacts. Then, like their stuff. That’s as brief as I can be :-)

      • Andreas Wiedow

        Thanks, BUT . . . I write a blog, put keywords and tags in . . . then spread it via mouseclicks to google, fb, twitter, etc . . . at which stage do you squeeze in your su routine and how much time do you spend for it ? And finally . . . how do you measure outcome in terms of business ?

  • LoriMoreno

    Great info Saul!

    • Saul Fleischman

      Thanks @twitter-15039436:disqus

  • Leo Basic

    Thanks for the info Saul, subscribed

    • Saul Fleischman

      Thanks, @facebook-100000429141513:disqus and thanks @gayecrispin:twitter for connecting us. Let me kno if you find this article and the part 2 (link at bottom of article body) help you get your Stumble on!

  • Srivatsan

    This is a good post on Stumble. I have to admit though that FB, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and EAv are keeping my hands full. So thinking whether to add. And not to mention Pinterest too. What makes your post more interesting and make us lean toward Stumble are your concluding line ”
    sees that StumbleUpon provides me with more views per 30 days that Google, Twitter, Facebook… and the next 15 sources of referral page views combined – and sees that this StumbleUpon beast is a thing to master.”

    • Saul Fleischman

      Yes, @twitter-378033992:disqus a beast it is. Bad UI, and smart-tagging is key, and something few people do. For what its worth, I used to get about 2-10 views per blog post from StumbleUpon. Now, a “bad post” for me is anything less than 1,000. Let us know your results, as you take my suggestions on tagging in your SU-reviews of your own material andput them to work?

  • Karen Briggs

    Thanks for this — I’m still just trying to figure out SU, so this is very helpful.

    • Saul Fleischman

      Thanks @twitter-147322771:disqus Whatever content you create and/or share, you really must know the no. 1 source of page views across the internet: StumbleUpon. Hope my suggestions help!

  • Ernest Koncaba

    How many of these social sites do we have to join just to be an active member of Empire Avenue? It seems like every couple of days, I am required to join another site to complete a mission? I don’t understand half of what is expected of me.

    • Saul Fleischman

      This is not an Empire Avenue thing, @google-37e314d3bdc8f08128c37abaf16527bc:disqus – rather, if you blog or creat content, videos, etc., if you submit them by SU-reviewing and sharing, and tag them well, thousands see your stuff. This only means to help. No need to do this for Empire Avenue, and in fact, they don’t score you for SU activity :-)

      • Michele

        Thanks, Saul, for this informative answer. Maybe you could write a post explaining how to use SU step by step to have blog posts seen by thousands… I’d really love to know. Thanks!

  • EmmaGeraln

    Thanks for this, I’m not a user I’d SU yet, I have an account but never got round to checking it out. I’ve been thinking about changing that and you just gave me some ideas!

    • Saul Fleischman

      Thanks @EmmaGeraln:disqus I can tell you that when you first start, it will take time. Strategy for you:
      1. Find similar bloggers and their SU accounts. Follow them (and tell them you followed);
      2. See which have many followers and many likes, and click their profile > connections> following;
      3. Follow and MESSAGE those people. Ask them to follow back, tell them you wont share every day, and that they are welcome to share with you.
      4. When you publish, review your stuff as per my instructions (above).
      5. Reload the SU browser, and see your likes, find what you reviewed, and click the shre button above it, to share inside SU with your sharable people. You’ll have few to start, more in time.

      This works :-)

      Let me know if this helps?


  • Elza van Swieten

    thanks for giving me some insight… will have to fill in some things myself yet!

    • Saul Fleischman

      Thanks @twitter-232116346:disqus please see what I wrote @EmmaGeraln:disqus if you are new to SU. Lety me know if you disagree on anything?

  • Mike Simon

    I tend to look at StumbleUpon as a farm for content for Facebook sort of like DamnLOL. I hadn’t really thought of it as a way to pull in potential customers, though that makes a lot of sense. Thanks Saul!

    • Saul Fleischman

      Honored to have you drop by, my mentor @google-9b0af6ec0e2b09283faefe2ed892d44f:disqus @nixkuroi:twitter Customers, community, viewers, from StumbleUpon they do come, and in droves. When you are next ready to launch, it’ll be an honor to help you get the word out. Be sure to read this post and the part 2 – for precisely what to do. Few are using SU well (and the UI doesn’t help, of course.)

  • Andy Pattinson

    I’ll check out SU a bit more now, what I’m considering doing is putting some sort of visual workflow together to work out what to post where in what order to be scientific about it rather than the haphazard approach I currently employ.

    • Saul Fleischman

      You are not alone @APACloud:disqus the haphazard tagging I was doing got me 2-10 views/post. Doing it well gets me, on a bad post, shy of 1,000. That’s the difference. Let me know if my tips help?

  • Saul Fleischman

    Actually, our EA friend, Ernest commented (somehow, it disappeared):
    Ernest Koncaba Submitted on 2012/03/10 at 4:49 pm “How many of these social sites do we have to join just to be an active member of Empire Avenue? It seems like every couple of days, I am required to join another site to complete a mission? I don’t understand half of what is expected of me.”

    • Saul Fleischman

      Fear not, @google-37e314d3bdc8f08128c37abaf16527bc:disqus this is not an EA thing, this is simply help for getting your blog seen. If you are new to StumbleUpon, and whatever language you blog or make videos, etc., any content you share, see what I wrote to EMA, below. Let me know if it helps?

  • Kevin Senne

    SU is fantastic for driving new people to your site. Love it. Good information.

    • Saul Fleischman

      Appreciate your kind words, @twitter-18561848:disqus

  • psychosmoothie

    I don’t use SU as I’m overloaded on wordpress, my own blogs and EAv.

    • Saul Fleischman

      This is whay I cut down from 4 posts/week to 1, @@psychosmoothie:disqus on the other hand, I give them legs with SU and Digg, Reddit, etc. I get my blog posts “legs.”

  • layanglicana

    Oh dear, yet another social media site to get my head around! I think I need to set aside some time for a major cull of some of my existing ones, otherwise there are just not enough hours in the day.
    But when you say Stumble Upon is sending that number of hits to your blog, I must obviously make the effort to get to grips with it. Thank you for this piece, Saul.

    • Saul Fleischman

      Oh, yes, @layanglicana:disqus you really must. The No. ONE source of pageviews – across the internet – so if you create and/or share content, yes. You do need to know SU. Rock it!

  • Wayne Hurlbert

    This post contains some very useful tips for understanding and using StumbleUpon effectively. This social media tool is powerful, and also very misunderstood. Thanks for the advice.

    • Saul Fleischman

      No, @4f6b7cad29debbe55a7292c4ab26675d:disqus thank you you for your kind comment. But tell us what you differently with the no. 1 source of page views across the internet, if anything? Does this help? Thanks so much!!

  • Tom Laing

    An interesting start Saul with some interesting examples too. I wonder why you have a Pin It on your floating bar given your blog is wordy rather than picturesque. I am looking forward to the next installment. BTW as I was reading I stumbled it, Digg it, reddit it, no need to buffer as tweeted it and FB it as I Liked it too!

    • Saul Fleischman

      You are right, @2f6ea2ea61c217adc567661d19c2271d:disqus Pinterest is purely image/video driven. Its user interface is cumbersome, as my friend @fransgaard:twitter explains on his blog (brilliantly!) SU is content-driving-pageviews, and a thing to understand and use to its fullest, Glad you like this, hope you use my suggestions.

      As for why the buttons? They are assigned across the blog, alas. No per-post customization. I include the networks where I hope people will share or like, at least. You get what you can. Its working so far :-)

  • Paulo Mealha

    Now I’m curious :). My four main social networks, Facebook, Google,Twitter and EAv have occupied all the time and have not had much time for blogging. But I found your post very interesting and I intend to devote more time to see the potential of Stumblr!

    • Saul Fleischman

      Thanks @google-8bcf84635716c7f80863f4e43da5e2d5:disqus SU drives page views. Research it, see what Mashable says on StumbleUpon, then revert to this and my part 2 (link in the post, above), and let me know how it goes :-)

  • Peter J. Wacks

    I barely ever use stumble anymore, I needed the poke to go back into it. Thanks :) (e) Absys

    • Saul Fleischman

      Oh, yes you do, @twitter-41460883:disqus try my suggestions, in this article and the follow-up, part 2, and a month later, check your google analytics :-)

  • Glen

    As with any social media outlet it takes time to explore and expand. SU was one of my early discoveries before the big blow up and I never really benefited from it. Maybe it is time to revisit. Thanks.

    • Saul Fleischman

      Happy to help!

  • Mercedes Fancellu

    I haven’t got a StumbleUpon strategy and this post comes really handy to me to start creating one for my blog. Thanks a lot Saul!

    • Saul Fleischman

      Sure, @google-e98fa3fb5809e198ec53bb9e5208c22b:disqus happy to share what I have learned!

  • Sarah Wilson

    Like your sense of humor, thoroughly enjoyed the read. As with other comments, I have an SU account which I have not built on or built up. Still not entirely clear what the unique point of SU is, but am totally willing to continue to learn.

    Thank you, Saul for your engaging voice and your hands on responses in comments. Best, Sarah

    • Saul Fleischman

      Oh, @twitter-21626863:disqus you must be the first. No one else thinks I’m funny – but me.
      StumbleUpon i swhere people declare topics of interest and “surf” pages that are tagged and well-liked in those topics. When we do reviews of our content well, get lots of shares and likes, many people see our stuf that way. Hope this helps!

  • marknl

    I don’t think SU is something for me (at least not yet).

    • Saul Fleischman

      not if you never create/share content – and need it to be seen :-) @0be6e71f53dd7697055b77e2e7982e74:disqus

  • Fabrice Bertelli

    Good sense here ;-)

  • outofit

    I’ve used StumbleUpon off and on under a few different accounts over the years. In my experience SU can bring sometimes HUGE waves of irregular traffic. I’ve never really had the time to invest to get consistent results from SU, but now that it is a regular share button (folks don’t have to install the thumbs up tool bar anymore) I do sometimes encourage folks to Stumble my post and am getting a small but steady stream of visitors. And I hope that I will still sometimes have old posts go viral and get a couple of thousand stumble visitors some week.

    • Saul Fleischman

      Thanks @twitter-8831412:disqus @libdrone:twitter its fairly consistent for me. 1,000 views on a post and I am off my mark :-) Try my suggestions?

  • Robert McLoughlin

    Like Emma’s comment below I too am not a user yet, had heard a bit of buzz about it, but never made my way over. Time to do some exploring! Thanks for the info and tips. I would also like to thank @gayecrispin:twitter introducing us. Best, Robert

    • Saul Fleischman

      Definately, @gayecrispin:twitter is the find of the decade :-) Hope my stuff helps @twitter-16719529:disqus

  • rictownsend

    Very informative. I must admit I under utilise SU. You have given me some great insights and I will have to reassess my time and methods in using SU Thanks Ric

    • Saul Fleischman

      Thanks @rictownsend:disqus Just tag with my suggestions, connect with people who will share/like your content, and you’ll be rock solid.

  • Bang Gowes

    Actually I don’t blog. Anyway good to know this interesting information. Thanks!

  • Amanda Fox

    I use SU sporadically (still more a reddit person) and have had some luck at it with a few posts that did 5K+ views, but I never focused on it much because it seemed a little distant to me. What you’ve shared here is some new information to me so maybe I’ll give it a closer look. Thanks!

    • Saul Fleischman

      5K+ views is huge. You should share yoru secrets with us, @twitter-123370080:disqus – my best is about 3K, usually 1-2K/post :-)

  • Tru2psu

    Informative – I am a novice to blogging and will refer back as I prepare my first post.

  • Liz Pullen

    Interesting, I don’t know much about StumbleUpon.

    Good luck with your search for a “bored horny married Osaka woman”. : /


    I use SU but not as well as I would like. You have unlocked some great ideas for how I can use SU to promote my site and blogs. Thanks so much. ~Karen

  • Giua64

    Thanks for the info and tips. Subscribe

  • Giua Giovanni Lacqua

    Thanks for the info and tips. Subscribe

  • CP

    Cannot be constructive as am your student at this stage and grateful for your effort to inform us on more effective use of the tools available.

    Thank you.

  • Sam

    I am aware of SU but have never used it. This article helps and I can decide whether it is for me or not. Thanks Saul

  • Fatfriaruk

    Never used SU but this gave me food for thought thanks :)

  • Enrique Sabal Fiol

    I’ll get around to creating a blog and when I do I will keep you in mind.!!!

  • Dee Dee Chamberlain

    Haha…never really thought of SU in the same way as FB,Google,Twitter,etc…I didn’t really follow any steps but love the idea of connecting with those I follow on other sites.Personaly I just like flipping through to find helpful topics and extra info…also good to use for pinterest !

  • Steve Hall

    Thanks for the overview. SU has always left me rather cold so it was interesting to read your eulogy. Unless I have misunderstood, it only allows me a maximum of 500 folowers which has always seemed to rather defeat the idea! I’ll go back to my account and see what I have.

    • Saul Fleischman

      Thanks @twitter-16689753:disqus the 500 limit: that’s how many you can follow; you can have unlimited no. of followers. Thus, follow many, but every couple months, “prune” the ones that do not ever “like” your stuff and/or block your shares. Working for me…

  • Mithu Hassan

    Thanks for the blog! We are already connected on XEE ME !! Have a nice weekend !!

  • Edu Blount

    Love this :) Informative and very very useful. Thanks for putting it together. I fould loads of things I did not know.

  • Anne Thomas

    Thanks, I am totally unsure on SU, I can’t usually get past the login anyway so I just give up :)

    • Saul Fleischman

      I suggest using SU in Google Chrome @google-a29b2feaf63bb53f6109fc64bac524ef:disqus

  • Michele

    Thanks for this info. I have not ventured into the land of SU yet but this has given me some ideas about why I might want to…very helpful…thanks!

  • Candace Mountain

    I have to admit that I am not using stumble upon as much as I should. At the very least I need to stumble upon my own stuff to get it a little bit of visibility. You have definitely done your homework on this article and it makes me realize that I do have to pay more attention to the stumble.

    • Saul Fleischman

      @google-ab4e0b3418503d99be512920cdbb00bb:disqus “homework” is kind; truth be told, learning the hard way, mainly. But at least I’m sharing what works. Hope people connect, use SU more, like each others’ shared stuff.

  • Leia D

    Thank you Saul for this valuable info. Carry on with your public service. Love your generosity. More power to you! =)

  • John Sullivan

    I am a stumble upon user but honestly so busy never seemto have time to Stumble . so bad i’m trying To Reset and find my Password . I am Just Getting into Too Many Places and too thin in Each . Going to Cut Back to Manageable Sites

  • S. A

    Thanks Saul, I do have a stumble, but I keep away from it with my already healthy time wasting habit. I know how I get with her when I go stumbling in the moonlight. appreciate the tips for my next sesh.

  • Amie Gillingham

    Interesting stuff. I don’t know that my company has ever really used SU in quite this way before. It’s usually a stumble it and fogeddaboutit kind of thing. Maybe we need to give this more thought, lol.

  • Saul Fleischman

    Follow you (I’m pretty sure – your link was wrong, not findable) @twitter-42481766:disqus so, chek your followers, you should find Osakasaul :-)

  • Jonathan Ellis

    Hello again Saul
    It appears that you comment in the first Paragraph > Profile > More – is denoted, when editing, as:
    “This text will appear on your public profile. Plain text only”. Has this changed recently?

    • Saul Fleischman

      That must be new @misterypg:disqus – whenI did my profile, it accepted html and thus, I could embed links, such as to my blog, LinkedIn profile, LikedIn networking group.

  • Barry Gumm

    interesting Read Thank you

  • Nick

    I think I already read this one a month ago. It’s a good strategy. Its principle is similar in SEO to get higher ranking.

  • Artrotter99

    Thank you Saul. It’s useful. I going to use Stunbke so your post is a good tool.

  • Simon Harris

    StumbleUpon has been on my radar for eons … it’s hard to manage so many social networks, though .. perhaps this post will give me the impetus to update my profile!

  • Don Dobbie

    great insight – thank you for sharing it.

  • Peg Fitzpatrick

    Fabulous tips!
    Thanks for sharing Saul. Off to Stumble with MORE intent. :)

  • Sandor Benko

    Yes it seems now profile links are no longer clickable. I assume it’s a change in stumbleupon’s code. There are also junk characters left around the links – I recommend checking and cleaning up your links. The SEO benefits are gone. As for viewers copy-pasting still works of course, but who’s going to bother?

    • Saul Fleischman

      Actually, @sandorbenko:twitter people see things about my StumbleUpon activity that make them want to learn more, and so sometimes, I find a bit of a trail from my SU profile to #in etc.

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