Guest Post by Tracy Ruckman
When Valerie first asked if I would be interested in writing an article about StumbleUpon, I didn’t think I knew enough about it to write more than a paragraph. Then, one of our writing groups got into a lengthy discussion about it, and I hunted down more information to be helpful. I’ll share what I’ve learned so far, and encourage you to share your experiences with us so we can learn from you, too.
What is StumbleUpon?
Using StumbleUpon is like going on a road trip on the Internet – you don’t know where you’ll end up, but the fun part is the actual journey and what you find along the way. They explain themselves this way, “StumbleUpon is a discovery engine that recommends the best web and mobile content for each user.”
How does it work?
Users sign up for a free account. Depending on which browser you use, you may be able to download a special toolbar that will make using StumbleUpon easy – so easy, in fact, that I recommend switching browsers to make it possible. For years, I was a die-hard IE fan and used SU with it. But a few months ago, I changed browsers and switched to Chrome and never looked back. I soon discovered that SU LOVES Chrome, and it has made my interactions almost seamless.
Finding the toolbars for the various browsers on the SU site is rather difficult, so I’ll provide the links here:
Stumblebar for Internet Explorer – this is a plug-in, and it may or may not play nice, depending on your computer
The general help page for StumbleUpon is here.
How can writers use it?
Once you’ve set up an account, and installed the toolbar, you can “stumble” your own blog posts, or anything that interests you on any website, using the toolbar. Here’s a great article that explains how stumbling works.
I actually don’t spend a lot of time stumbling from site to site. But I do spend time stumbling articles I read on blogs I frequent or news articles I want to share, and I make a point to stumble all my own blog posts, too. To do that, I just click the little SU logo up in my Chrome toolbar, and the SU toolbar pops down. I copy a little snippet from the blog or article I’m wanting to share – sometimes the first few sentences, sometimes a few from further in – whatever I think will capture an audience. Then I click the “I Like” button and a small window pops up. I paste the snippet into that box, add some categories and tags, and then click Submit. That sends the blog or article out into the World Wide Web so that hundreds/thousands/millions can stumble across it. You’ll have greater success if you are intentional about the keywords you choose.
One important point – when you get ready to share your blog post – make sure you are on the actual post page, not on the general blog. For example, using an example from Valerie’s blog, you’ll need to use the specific address that would look something like this:
rather than just using the basic domain name, which looks something like this:
To get to the exact post you want to promote, click on the title of the blog, and that will usually give you the full address. If you have a forwarded domain, you’ll have to use the host to get the full address.
Why use StumbleUpon?
Basically, it draws traffic to your blog. A quote from their own site will give you their impact, “With over 20 million users and one billion personalized recommendations per month, StumbleUpon is the leading way to discover great, peer-sourced content on the Internet. More than 60,000 marketers have used StumbleUpon to promote their products and services.”
Over 20 million users – that’s an audience I definitely want to tap into. What about you?
Tracy Ruckman wears many hats – publisher, writer, student, wife, mother, mentor, writing coach, and friend. In 2011, she opened two publishing companies, Write Integrity Press and Pix-N-Pens Publishing, and by the end of March, they will have published six books, with several others contracted through the summer. She is currently seeking manuscripts – fiction and nonfiction – for the new HOPE series in the works. Tracy is excited about a summer project she’s planning that will involve many writers, many readers, and LOTS of fun – so sign up for one of her newsletters (on any of the websites) to get all the latest updates.
Valerie here: I asked Tracy for this post after I discovered that some of my blog traffic was coming through StumbleUpon. Then I added the SU button as one of the share options under each of my posts, and have been getting a bit more that way. Since talking to Tracy, I created an SU account and have been “stumbling” my own posts both here and at the Romancing America blog. I’ve seen an uptick in traffic, so like Tracy says, why not?