How To Use StumbleUpon: Tutorial

by Gigi Ross on September 23, 2010

This tutorial is going to quickly show you how to use StumbleUpon.

This assumes you already have a StumbleUpon account and that you have installed the StumbleUpon toolbar in your browser.

StumbleUpon can help drive traffic to your blog. But first, let’s talk about how StumbleUpon works.

StumbleUpon is a network of sites (not just blogs). When your site is registered with SU, you have a chance of receiving free traffic from other members (called Stumblers). But like with any other social media tool, you have to BE traffic to get traffic.

You go visit other sites in the network and review them. People do the same for you. The more reviews you get, the more traffic you’ll get to your site!

It’s really just another flavor of people “liking” your Facebook fan page or retweeting one of your posts.

So let’s see how it works in practice.

See that “Stumble” button up on your StumbleUpon toolbar? When you click Stumble, you’re going to be taken (fairly randomly, to start) to a website that’s part of the StumbleUpon network. Let’s pretend that my friend Lori’s site, In Pursuit of Martha Points, is what came up when I clicked “Stumble.”

Now I decide whether I like her site, or don’t like it. This will help StumbleUpon build a profile of what kinds of sites I like and which I don’t. Well, I like Lori’s site. So I click I Like It.

Now, a little pop-up screen is going to appear and I will get to write a short review of In Pursuit of Martha Points for OTHER Stumblers to read. (you can think of this like a retweet!)

I answer the questions on the review: is it safe for work (yes or no). I add some tags that I think relate to the site or the specific post (here, I entered humor). I write a little review of the site and tell people how fantastic I think Lori’s writing is.  Then I click “add review.” This review is now added to Lori’s profile.

The more reviews you get, the higher your rank in StumbleUpon, and the more times your page will be presented to other people who are Stumbling!

If I don’t want to write a full review, but I still want to give Lori’s site a mention, on that same pop-up screen, I click on Quick Submit tab.

Now, I simply just answer whether the site is safe for work and hit submit. Voila! I’m done! I’ve just helped Lori increase her visibility within the SU network.

When Lori sees a post on my site that she likes, ideally she’d return the favor.

As I Stumble more sites and tell SU what kind of sites I like, the sites it presents back to me will, theoretically, be more suited to my interests. It’s kind of like when Amazon presents “You Might Like” recommendations based on what you’ve already purchased.

Or, you can go into your SU account, click Settings >Manage Interests to tell SU what topics you’d like it to show you when you Stumble.

Now, one issue with SU is that it’s easy to forget it’s up there on your toolbar. With reading posts, adding bloggers to Twitter, and commenting, you might overlook the chance to click I Like It for someone. As with anything else, you need to get in the habit of doing it.

So how many different ways can you utilize SU? There are a few.

1. Randomly Stumble when you have a free moment. See what random sites come up. Build your profile for SU. You may find some great finds.

2. As you read blogs in your Google Reader or other service, make sure you start telling SU whether you like or don’t like the posts you’re reading. (if the site is not part of SU, nothing will happen).

3. Join a StumbleUpon group that will go and “like” your posts for you and you do the same! We have set up a StumbleUpon group that you can participate in to do just that. It’ll be a great way for us to get started.

I hope this helps explain more of StumbleUpon. Admittedly, I am a newbie at it too and need more practice. So let’s learn together and get stumbling!


Tractor Mom September 23, 2010 at 5:51 am

Thanks for the tour of Stumble Upon! I was looking at the toolbar last night wondering how to use it!

How do you join a group? I’m not sure how to do that yet.

Stumble Upon my blog when you can….

kludgymom September 23, 2010 at 8:16 am

Liz is getting a group set up for anyone who wants to participate in a SU group. It’ll be in my blogFrog community. I think she posted a discussion about it this morning. Check it out! I’m going to be doing my first set of stumbling from there because I’m currently too tied up with the challenge to read any blogs! :)

Kasey September 23, 2010 at 7:02 am

This was really helpful! Thanks GiGi!

kludgymom September 23, 2010 at 8:15 am

hope to see you in the SU group, Kasey! :)

alyson: common sense, dancing September 23, 2010 at 7:04 am

Thanks for this. I ponder the usefulness of this kind of site, and Digg and …. at times it seems overwhelming.

I will have to dip a toe in….

kludgymom September 23, 2010 at 8:15 am

that’s what I’m doing, too, Alyson. Just dipping a toe in to see what happens!Liz is getting a SU group set up in my BlogFrog, it might be a good place to start trying it o ut!

liz September 23, 2010 at 7:18 am

This is great! Now I need to get to Kludgy Mom’s BF and start a thread!

kludgymom September 23, 2010 at 7:26 am

Let me know if you think there’s anything i should add to it. Should I change it to recommend that you write a review? if you do a quick s ubmit does the person not benefit from any traffic?

Joey @ Big Teeth & Clouds September 23, 2010 at 7:59 am

This is a lot like Digg. Is that not as popular?

kludgymom September 23, 2010 at 8:14 am

Admittedly, I don’t know much about digg. But this article by Problogger suggests some key differences for his site.

We haven’t even touched on Kirtsy, either. Oy. So many options.

Molly On Money September 23, 2010 at 9:11 am

I’ve been staring at the SU and Digg options on my dashboard wondering what they were but not wanting to put the time to research them. I’m so glad I found you so you can explain it all to me!

kludgymom September 23, 2010 at 9:27 am

Definitely check out the SU group in BlogFrog…it should be a fun way to experiment!

kludgymom September 24, 2010 at 4:16 pm

oops. I realized I said the same thing twice. Chalk it up to Dayquil.

kludgymom September 24, 2010 at 4:15 pm

Be sure to stop in at my BlogFrog and join our Stumble group!

Tracie September 23, 2010 at 9:57 am

What do you think about the option to share a post with your friends/followers on the toolbar?

Good idea? Annoying to people? I can’t decide…..but it seems that it would make things faster and easier. I had someone share something on mine the other day and I liked it.

Lori @ In Pursuit of Martha Points September 23, 2010 at 10:22 am


That was funny – I clicked the post in my reader this morning, saw my banner and immediately assumed I had clicked something wrong.

What a fun surprise!

Stumble can be huge. That’s the reason Leslie (Crunchy Betty)’s site has take off so fast – she got Stumbled/Reviewed/Liked a bunch of times and now she’s on a roll!

Alexandra September 23, 2010 at 10:44 am

Just did it. When some sites are set up for this with their “like it? stumble it!” I do it.

But, I’ve never used stumble myself.

kludgymom September 23, 2010 at 11:09 am

it is so a habit I need to get into for my favorite bloggers.

Kelley September 23, 2010 at 11:28 am

This was so helpful! I keep thinking to myself…I need to figure out what that StumbleUpon is all about. I have an account but never Stumble. You’ve been so helpful all week! You should blog or something.

Paula@Simply Sandwich September 23, 2010 at 12:07 pm

Thanks so much for clearing up this mystery for me! :)

kludgymom September 24, 2010 at 4:28 pm

you’re welcome!

Cori September 23, 2010 at 12:41 pm

Thanks Gigi for the tutorial! Off to join Liz’s group!!

Missy @ Wonder, Friend September 23, 2010 at 1:44 pm

Annoying, stupid question of the day, coming up…

So I created an account, and just went back to install the toolbar (I install it on my browser, correct?). It gave me a box that said the Stumble Upon bar would access my info on all websites and my browsing history. What exactly will that entail? We just had a credit card stolen this week and now I’m all jumpy about my info…

Am I being a total loon?

kludgymom September 23, 2010 at 2:18 pm

I would google that :)

Cara September 23, 2010 at 2:16 pm

another thing that’s important for getting traffic- stumble your BEST posts. Don’t just stumble ones that highlight affiliate links or are your most recent, stumble ones that people really want to read- that will up the views (think thousands rather than 10s) and make it more likely that people will subscribe.

kludgymom September 24, 2010 at 4:27 pm

Excellent suggestion. When I do next week’s stumble, I’m going to be more thoughtful about the post i choose!

The Flying Chalupa September 23, 2010 at 3:32 pm

God bless you. I’m going to print this and keep by the computer. Did I precipitate this genius?

kludgymom September 24, 2010 at 4:18 pm

people doing the blog challenge harassed, I mean encouraged me to do it :) Hope you find it useful and stumble away.

AmyBlam September 23, 2010 at 7:59 pm

Dear Gigi,
Thank you for explaining stumble upon in a way that idiots, me, can understand it and see why it might be beneficial.
You rock.

kludgymom September 24, 2010 at 4:48 pm

you’re welcome. you should come join the stumble group.

mommakiss September 23, 2010 at 8:15 pm

i have an account, the toolbar and i’m thumbing posts.

kludgymom September 24, 2010 at 4:48 pm

I knew you could do it momma!

alicia September 23, 2010 at 9:05 pm

I’ve always been curious about what stumble upon was all about. Thanks for the great info. I need to add an acct. Sigh. Another thing on my list to do.

Dalia September 24, 2010 at 6:17 am

Great explanation! I have tried SU before but was never quite sure what I was really doing. Thanks for clearing that up!

kludgymom September 24, 2010 at 4:53 pm

i saw you in the Stumble group already – yay!!!

Melissa {adventuroo} September 24, 2010 at 1:14 pm

Great intro to SU! I’m new at it too but have seen a steady rise in my traffic the past month or so coming from there. I’m determined to put some more time into it and so I just joined the group. Can’t wait to get stumbling!

Natalie September 25, 2010 at 5:52 pm

Thank you for this! Because I got in there and had no idea what I was doing! Off to BF to join the group 😉

CraftyMummy September 25, 2010 at 7:29 pm

Great overview, Gigi! I started stumbling thanks to Liz, and have got the hang of it now, so its great to join a group to help others get it too.

Kali September 26, 2010 at 1:04 am

I cannot tell you how much submitting my site to StumbleUpon added to my page views. Okay, I can. I’d say the 1st day, I had about double the amount of views as I normally do. Since, I’ve had about a 30% increase from what I had before. That’s saying something!
I’d used StumbleUpon before while just stumbling around to different sites. I had no idea that participating in the way you guys directed would increase traffic so much. Thanks!

kludgymom September 26, 2010 at 9:16 am

Thanks to Liz! I’m glad that you’re seeing a benefit. I haven’t seen too much uplift yet!

Lisad September 27, 2010 at 1:38 am

Thanks for this. I was looking through BlogFrog and SITS girls while doing the Problogger challenge how to use Stumbleupon. Thanks!

TidyMom October 22, 2010 at 3:41 pm

Great post……but can I make a few suggestions?
I’ve heard you can get “kicked out” of Stumble for being in a Stumble “Group”….so you wouldn’t want to make it “public” if you are…..because Stumble is supposed to be random…not “stumbling for friends”…..

On that same note, I’ve heard you should NOT Stumble your OWN posts……again……SU is for sharing what you find on the web and what you would like to share with others…..they don’t want people using it for self promotion.

but you know……there are a lot of conflicting SU theories out there

@momstownmedia February 11, 2011 at 4:35 pm

Thanks so much for this helpful post .. found you from Bliss at Home FB. I was wondering though — when I click “I like it” box, I don’t get a pop up box .. what have I done wrong?? Any suggestions?

Jenn @Home is Where You Start From April 30, 2011 at 1:17 am

this was really helpful. I have had the toolbar for a while, I tried it once or twice, didn’t really understand it much and forgot about it. I think I will try to use it again, thanks- and I will look for your group on blogfrog :)

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