For the past several weeks, I have been playing with StumbleUpon – a great tool for discovering new-to-me website and blogs related to my interests. StumbleUpon is also for social networking and meeting people with similar tastes. Finally, if used correctly, StumbleUpon can also dramatically increase traffic to one’s own blog.
Getting Started with StumbleUpon
Getting started with StumbleUpon requires two simple steps:
- Join StumbleUpon – you will be ask to set your username, other information and to select your interests (there are 501 to choose from!). Selecting your interests determines which pages StumbleUpon will show you. Pick a few for now until you get the hang of stumbling. You can always change them later.
- Install the toolbar. (available for Internet Explorer and Firefox, a workaround exists for Opera and Safari)
Using StumbleUpon for Discovering Sites
With the toolbar installed, you can now begin stumbling by clicking on the Stumble! button. StumbleUpon will show you a page based on your interests.
Using the Stumble! button, I have recently discovered:
- Probably the Funniest Cat Video You’ll Ever See (no captioning, only audio is music)
- 10 Blogging Mistakes / Why Your Blog Struggles
- How to save money at your next conference
- 100 Web Tools for Learning with a Disability
- 10 Words to Avoid When Writing
Stumbling can be addictive yet quite educational!
When you come across a page you particularly like while stumbling, give it a thumb up!
If you particularly do not like a page, give a thumb down:
However, use the thumb down sparingly, for example, on:
- slow loading pages
- non existent or error laden pages
- ad-heavy pages
- voting pages from other social media
- pop-ups & pop-unders
If you do not have a strong opinion either way, it is best to move onto the next stumble. Save your thumbs up for the best content.
Using StumbleUpon for Networking
StumbleUpon is great for connecting with people with similar interests. To get started, feel free to add yours truly!
Submitting Pages to StumbleUpon
With StumbleUpon, you aren’t limited to thumbing up (or down) pages presented to you. You can also thumb up (or vote for) pages that you come across by other means, for example when reading your favourite blogs.
However, if you are the first to thumb up a page, you’ll be presented with a submission form:
To submit a page:
- Clean up the Title field – you want only the post/page title here
- Write a couple sentences about the page in the Review box.
- Select the most appropriate topic. There are 501 to choose from, including those from the dropdown menu.
- Add up to five tags, separated with a comma, either chosen from the topic list or keywords from the page. For example, tags appropriate for posts from this blog may include: activism, blogging, books, disabilities, health, humor (the American spelling, unfortunately), internet, technology, social-media, society, writing. Unlike with search engine optimization, the key here is to use broad terms for tags.
- Indicate whether content is adult content.
- Click on Submit This Site.
Caution: If you are the first to discover a page and you choose not to submit the form (say, if you are in a rush or if you aren’t sure what to write for a review), hitting your Back button or moving on to the next page can send that page into the StumbleUpon graveyard, which is not good! When presented with the Submission Form, please complete the brief review process.
To check whether a page has been reviewed, click the Comment button:
From there you can add a review if you wish.
One Final Tip
From your profile page, viewing My Favorites in the grid display provides thumbnails of pages you have stumbled. This is an easy way to see how many times you have stumbled pages from the same domain (e.g., www.doitmyselfblog.com). Over stumbling a domain can have a diminishing effect in terms of traffic, and can actually ban the domain and your account from StumbleUpon, which is a not what you want!
A good rule of thumb is one in twenty-five stumbles for the same domain or blog. Looking at this screen shot of my own stumbles, I did not do Disaboom any favours with these stumbles. This is another reason why learning how to use StumbleUpon correctly is so important. Doing the wrong thing, despite good intentions, can have disastrous consequences.
The occasion thumb up and review for yours truly, the Left Thumb Blogger, is very much appreciated! Too many will result in the opposite affect than you intended.
I have found there is much more to using StumbleUpon than I realized. Here are a few resources to help you get started:
- StumbleUpon Guide
- StumbleUpon: Beyond The “Stumble” Button
- StumbleRush Course (I highly recommend this course. Note: the videos are not yet captioned.)
Happy stumbling!If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a cafe mocha. Thanks kindly.