StumbleUpon is website that helps you to “stumble upon” articles, posts and photographs that match your interests. After reading the article presented to you, you can choose whether or not to “like” it. The more likes an article receives, the more times it will be presented to future stumblers, which in turn means more pageviews for that website owner.

Many website owners and bloggers encourage the sharing of their articles to StumbleUpon in hopes of driving traffic to their sites. StumbleUpon can be a very powerful tool; when used correctly, some stumblers have garnered up to several thousand hits on a single post, in a single day.

How to Get Started on StumbleUpon

Before you can enjoy the additional traffic that StumbleUpon may bring, you first need to create an account and find other users to follow. Like with many other social media and social bookmarking sites, you are given the option to search among your current contacts.

As you find and follow other users, be sure to check the box beneath the Follow button that reads, “Accept Shares from the Toolbar”. This extra action will come into play when sharing your own content with others.


The StumbleUpon Toolbar

The best way to use StumbleUpon is to download the toolbar to your browser (For all available browser options, visit StumbleUpon’s toolbar download page.)


This is the toolbar that Google Chrome users see. If you are using StumbleUpon to find new content to read, click the Stumble! button at the far left. You’ll then be presented with a new article to check out.

For those who use StumbleUpon as a potential traffic driver, you’ll mainly be focused on the Thumb Up (I like it!) and Share buttons on the toolbar.

How to Thumb Up a Post

StumbleUpon’s Thumb Up button is similar to a Facebook Like. By clicking it, you are telling StumbleUpon that you give that post your vote.

If the post you thumbed up has been liked before, the Thumb Up button will turn green and you’ll remain on that web page.


But if you are the first person to thumb up a particular post, it is considered a “Discovery” and you’ll be prompted to complete a review of that post. It is important for every thumbed up post to receive a review, and a review pop-up is only presented after a discovery. So be sure to take a few moments to mark the required fields and add tags for all posts that you discover.


Adding Your Own Content

Once a post is discovered, it’s added to the extensive StumbleUpon database, giving it a chance at another user stumbling upon it. StumbleUpon wants its database of articles to be based on unbiased readers’ suggestions of enjoyable, worthwhile posts, so excessively thumbing up your own content is frowned upon.

That’s not to say that you can never thumb up your own content. Many stumblers use the 10% approach, meaning that for every 10 articles they thumb up, only 1 is their own content. Also, you can use the toolbar’s Share function, which is a way to suggest your content to your followers in hopes they’ll read it, enjoy it and click the Thumb Up button.

How to See Your Favorites

As you start thumbing up others’ content (and hopefully receiving some thumb ups of your own), you may want to check on how those articles have fared.

From your Profile page, click on the Favorites tab to see the number of views, reviews, likes and tags of each article you’ve thumbed up.


StumbleUpon is a very popular – and somewhat complex – social bookmarking site. While this post explains how to get started with this tool, upcoming posts will include topics like sending and accepting shares from others and how to add and change a review.

Are you using StumbleUpon?  If so, come find LizJostes, TamingInsanity, MyTimeAsMom and AmandaEAustin.

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This is the 1st in a series of posts about how to use StumbleUpon.

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