Social Media Experiments: 30 Days on....

How to Increase Traffic with StumbleUpon?: Experimenting with 30 Days on StumbleUpon

Saddle up for a month of StumbleUpon – what worked, what was a disaster and what results are achievable? Being real, as a travel blogger, time is shorter than  Britney’s hair circa 2007, so it’s crucial to know what to invest your efforts in to, and what to quietly ignore. So what can StumbleUpon really do for you? I’m looking at how to increase traffic with StumbleUpon and how difficult it is.

So errr…. what is it?

StumbleUpon to me is a browser that flicks people to different parts of the internet based on broad interests that you select (e.g. travel). For whatever it shows you, you have a yes or no vote, and things with more up votes or ‘likes’ will be shown more frequently to other users.


how to increase traffic with stumbleupon



In the beginning….

I’m going into this with a slight advantage, as I have held an SU account since 2010 which was the home of random surfing on the net before I ever discovered blogging. This means my account has the history to appear legitimate and non-spammy. If you are registering a new StumbleUpon account, put some time into stumbling diverse bits from the web before you upload any of your own stuff to prevent you being tracked as a spam account.

On the other hand, disadvantage, I stumbled all of my old blog posts 6 months ago, in a fit of rash blog madness. I’ve now read that you should not stumble your own content as it appears spammy. It’s not a cut and dry rule, I believe you can stumble some of your own articles,  but only amongst plenty of other content.

Driving traffic to your site :

Pages are not automatically on the StumbleUpon database, they need to be ‘discovered’. Doing this takes maybe 30 seconds of your time- so approx 95% of internet users will avoid it. Swoop in and be the 5%!

You can either install the StumbleUpon extension and do it with 1 click, or hit your SU profile page and then ‘Add a page’. After that the page is in with a chance of getting hits.
Ideally you want your own content discovered by many different people, which ensures you won’t get flagged as a spammer. To get your web page or blog post on the database you can ask a friend to stumble your posts in return for you doing the same, or even better form a group to do this- there are several on Facebook. Be sure to discover other people’s posts too, the more you discover, the more authority you have on StumbleUpon.

Triberr is a great place to find new material for stumbling!

Never discover your homepage, a  homepage is pretty flat and boring until you click off it so it’s NOT where you want random bored browsers of the net to land first. They’ll be uninspired and move on. Think of it a bit like Chat Roulette with the same average user attention span.


how to increase traffic with stumbleupon

Hitting 1000 likes:

Profiles with high likes are featured and SU recommends that people follow you. They also have a chance of making it to the Holy Grail, so I’m going for this number over the month to boost traffic.

This is just a theory, but I reckon top stumblers are mostly awarded based on the number of posts they discover from the web. StumbleUpon is keeping schtum on what the exact criteria is, though.


Getting followers:

I know what you’re thinking, and yes this is yet another platform on which to acquire followers. You can only follow max 600 stumblers, so I figured I would follow up to that point and hope to get some back. Followers will be shown your content first and you can also share direct to them, which is an amazing feature. So I’m following 600 over the month sourced from users who liked travel stumbles.

You can see users who liked a page in the top right corner of a page that has been stumbled in SU.

If you’d like to follow me and share some love, I stumble here.

Add the StumbleUpon button to your site:

Visitors can use this to like or discover any of your articles, so it’s rule 101 of how to increase traffic with StumbleUpon.

How to increase traffic with stumbleupon : Toolbar magic

Once you have the Chrome toolbar, things get a  lot simpler. The best feature is the ability to share posts out to your followers for them to stumble. They can also share their faves with you and you have a chance of a really big account promoting your post. I feel like this is the most underutilised feature StumbleUpon has!


How to increase traffic with stumbleupon - my 30 day experiment on SU. What works and what doesn't?


The Results after 30 days, was it worth it?

The big problem is that despite attempts to market it, no one really uses the community side of StumbleUpon. When I went into this, the question was not only ‘how to increase traffic with stumbleupon?’ but also, is SU the best site to pour social media efforts into? There are so many other places to grow followers and get your posts in front of eyeballs, so can SU compare?

  • I stumbled 1000 pages, ‘discovering’ as many as I could get my hands on.
  • I followed 500 users, 60 followed me back, so not an overly high proportion.
  • I found great content and had a dandy way to share other writers’ work, which I loved.
  • I learnt that StumbleUpon is a place for pic heavy, listicle style posts such as this one, and only really those kind of posts seem to generate a lot of stumbles. Stumble the right content, always.
  • It did throw up some peak views on my analytics, however, and would sometimes create a real spike in traffic.
  • It has become my 6th highest referrer, but couldn’t beat Flipboard, on which I devoted less effort.

Overall, I’d say StumbleUpon wouldn’t be worth 30 days (I try these things so you don’t have to!) but easily merits the trouble of stumbling your list-style posts, and an hour a week of your precious time.

Have you seen my last post in this series about driving traffic with Flipboard?

Questions? Drop me a comment below! Do you agree or disagree?

Up next I’ll be digging into Pinterest and the murky depths of Google+!


  1. Mike Cotton

    July 10, 2017 at 11:14 pm

    I used to get a fair bit of my traffic from SU but recently I’ve had huge problems submitting my own site to SU. I fear the SU train has finally come to an end. I’m curious about your flipboard experiment. I fail to get much traffic from flipboard yet I am fairly active on the site, commenting, flipping, liking etc.

    1. Danni Lawson

      July 15, 2017 at 9:03 pm

      I agree, SU has been clamping down on perceived spam, so they are accidentally stopping a lot of self-submission. During this experiment I found I could only follow about 15 users before it triggered a spam check, and stumble max 5 posts in a row (not my own ones). Thanks for stopping by though, I value your input. What would you like to know about Flipboard?

  2. Tania Mukherjee

    July 26, 2017 at 3:41 pm

    I am struggling to pump up traffic to my website. I am neither in pinterest nor in flipboard. You can very well imagine my condition. But you have just encouraged me to try stumbleupon. I really need to get a hang of these platforms.

  3. Sandy N Vyjay

    July 26, 2017 at 4:20 pm

    We have been using stumble upon for about an year and a half. But it is a little unpredictable. Some posts get stumbled like crazy while some do not take of. Not really able to decipher what works and what does not.

  4. Patricia

    July 27, 2017 at 2:13 am

    StumbleUpon makes me nuts. There are times where things do well, and then other times when I think they have ghosted me. I “discover” a lot of other posts, and at least I’ve found some amazing content through it. But as a consistent traffic source, it hasn’t done well for me. Still, your post has inspired me to give it another shot using your suggestions!

  5. Candy

    July 27, 2017 at 5:45 am

    I signed up for SU and was into it for about a day or so and then kinda just forgot about it. This post if giving my SU account life again. I had no idea that SU has been around since 2010. I totally thought it was a new social sharing platform. I also didn’t know that you can only follow a max 600 stumblers.

  6. Paige

    July 27, 2017 at 7:51 am

    I definitely bookmarked this for my to-do list. I feel like I can only master one thing at a time. I haven’t made it to StumbleUpon yet, so thank you for this resource! I also gave you a follow on StumbleUpon! I can’t wait to put this to use!

  7. Vibeke

    July 27, 2017 at 10:06 am

    I have tried stumbleupon a bit and loved it at first because I got a lot of traffic. But I saw on google analytics that it is so bad for bounce rate because those views are usually just less than 10 sec and they only visit that page they stumbled.

  8. Laura Nalin

    July 27, 2017 at 1:42 pm

    I used to use SU to boost my traffic but I realized it was actually negatively affecting my bounce rate, so I stopped. These are all great tips for those who are unsure how to use it. I used to use it all the time in college when it came out in 2010, but never really knew how those sites were put on there until I started blogging myself.

  9. Mel Butler

    July 27, 2017 at 10:06 pm

    I have not used StumbleUpon as of yet but I have been meaning to though. You have some great tips on here and I have pinned this for when I set it up, so I can follow them. It is good to know that you should not stumble your own content as it appears spammy. I am definitely a picture heavy person, so it sounds like an ideal thing for me to use.

  10. Cat

    July 28, 2017 at 5:35 am

    I have not fully looked into StumbleUpon, but I have heard some people have success using it driving traffic. Thanks for all the great tips. I will look into getting more followers and hopefully that will help with my website traffic.

  11. Chantell Collins

    July 29, 2017 at 5:54 pm

    Thank you for running this experiment and sharing all your insights. I have Stumbleupon but can say that i definitely have not been using it right. After an initial few months of using it, I basically gave up. It’s good to here what techniques actually work, thank you!


    November 25, 2017 at 10:52 am

    Really useful article- I have been on StumbleUpon for years and am only now starting to realize that it is a great traffic generator for bloggers.

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