I have been reading a lot of tips on how to promote your blog and one of them includes sharing your posts on StumbleUpon.
Most of them say “share your posts and connect with people”. But there is one thing I haven’t read in those posts and it can be crucial for the number of visitors StumbleUpon will send you.
There are reasons why you shouldn’t submit your posts to SU.
There are two parts of this post, the first part is the basic tutorial how to start with SU and the second part is for those already using it (the real tips). Wanna skip the first part and go straight to the chocolate cake? Click here.
What is StumbleUpon?
For those who don’t know, StumbleUpon is a community that allows you to vote on just about anything on the internet. You can vote for photos, videos, blog posts, anything you see in your browser. If you are not a member, I strongly recommend to join StumbleUpon (it is completely free).
I have been using SU for years, before I ever thought of running a blog. I have heard of it as a cool option to share your opinion and I joined. The main thing about SU is voting.
Let’s start from the beginning. After you register an account you will need to choose your interests. That is how you will tell SU what you want to see.
You can change the preferences any time and I personally do it a lot. Here is a screenshot of what you need to do to change those preferences and I will explain why is it important to do this.
I would say there are two reasons why you would use SU, to have fun or to promote your business (or both).
To have fun, and this is why the site is called StumbleUpon, you will click the STUMBLE button and it will bring back a site based on your preferences. So you will stumble upon something interesting.
Where is the STUMBLE button?
SU has it’s own toolbar that you can download for free. If you are using Firefox, I would strongly recommend StumbleUpon add-on (download from Mozilla here). This add-on has so many settings and you can use it either as a toolbar, menu bar, etc.
It looks like this in my Firefox browser, you can see I am using it as a toolbar:
You can see the first icon on the toolbar is a Stumble! button. When I press it, SU will pull up a random page based on my preferences. I can like it (thumb up icon) or not (thumb down icon).
The thumb down icon has several options:
- just pressing the button will send a message to SU “No more like this”
- there is a little arrow on the right that will open up a short menu with the following options:
- Not for me
- Report spam
- Duplicate content
- Block website (that you are on)
I personally choose not to vote down on a page just because it wasn’t something great. If it is a great photo of a cat but I don’t like cats, I will Stumble! again. My personal way of using it is to vote down stuff that I really don’t like. If I don’t like it, but I don’t hate it, I will just stumble away.
But that is only me. And this is where we get to the point.
I will agree with the most repeated tip, you should connect with people. That way they might vote on your submission because it is more likely they will see it (SU shows friends’ submissions when you log in).
You must be active! It seems that SU values votes from active members more than those from a member that doesn’t vote much. So if there is an user that has 9.000 favorites (he voted on 9.000 pages) it is more likely that SU will value his opinion more. The pages he voted on, will be shown to more people (I haven’t checked this but it seems like it).
This is a good thing to know, when you ask them to vote on your pages. Also, you being active is a great way to earn “respect” from SU.
I hardly even go to the site anymore, I just use the little thumbs on my toolbar so it makes the process very easy.
The most important thing I wanted to tell you is this:
Be careful when you submit your posts or your friends’ posts. Don’t bury yourself or your fellow bloggers. For two reasons.
When a person starts stumbling using the button in the toolbar, SU will bring results based on the categories of the page and your preference.
If you chose photography as your preference, you will get beautiful photos as a result. And you will most likely vote for it because that is what you expected to see.
But what if your preference is photography and SU pulls up a post about how to add a image to your WordPress blog? I am thinking thumbs down!
Someone is burying you because that is not what they wanted to see. If they bury your post, SU will see it as less relevant to the category and will show it to less people!
Tip number one: you must choose the category of your submission very carefully. If you are submitting for a fellow blogger, ask him/her what category they want the post to be in. Think as a random user and choose based on what you would like to see in a certain category.
Let’s say that your preference is “weblogs”. Well, that post might get a vote then, right? But how will it get a vote if it is mediocre. No, again a thumb down.
Tip number two: when you are submitting to SU make sure the posts are top notch. It will hurt you more to get your posts buried than not to have them on SU at all.
Don’t forget that not only you can get the thumbs down, but a SU user can choose to click “Block website”.
Try stumbling, you will often get same results, especially if you didn’t choose many topics of interest. So if you were seeing the same blogs all over the place and you didn’t like any of the posts, you would probably block them, so they stop showing.
That is the risk you are running into, when you start submitting all (or most) of your posts to SU.
I love hitting Stumble! and I don’t like having some mediocre results showing up.
What to do after reading this post:
- Start using StumbleUpon, if you are not already
- choose preferences
- install the toolbar or the Firefox add-on
- Stumble! for fun for 15 minutes
- vote and bury
- connect with your friends that are on SU (to connect with me on SU click here)
- submit ONLY your best posts
- choose the best category when you are submitting
Your turn now!
I wanna know if and how are you using StumbleUpon? Have you submitted mediocre posts (yours or your friends’) on SU? Any additional tips or opinions?