StumbleUpon: Sharing Brings a Spike in Readership!

Apr 22, 2016 | Blogging Tips & How-to, Featured Posts by Holly Jahangiri, Social Media, Social Strategy for Writers

StumbleUpon is now fourteen or fifteen years old, which is more like one hundred in Internet years. It’s clearly still a thriving site, even if many of the bloggers I know have forgotten about it. My young friend, Gloson Teh, periodically sends me links to sites he’s “stumbled” there – carefully chosen links he knows I’ll enjoy. Last time he did that, I realized it was time to revisit StumbleUpon. Okay, last time he did that as it turns out, was in 2014. I’m slow.

I began to wonder, though, why StumbleUpon (SU, for short) wasn’t included in JetPack. Apparently, StumbleUpon doesn’t work with https. Not a problem for this site! And apparently, it’s not as easy to just “add a new site” to JetPack as you might think it is – you have to know the right syntax for sharing a link. I found it, figured out how to set it up, and shared that tip in How to Add StumbleUpon Button to JetPack. But I was never quite satisfied with that, because I could never get the SU icon to match the size and horizontal alignment of the included buttons.

There’s a name for people like me, and the AR has little to do with Augmented Reality.

When I finally decided to try the Add-to-Any plug-in, I saw that SU was still included – and the logo icon looked just fine. Many years ago, most of these side “crawler” sharing bars used logos of different shapes and sizes, and that’s why I’d ditched them all. Apparently, I’m not the only blogger with OCD tendencies.

Of course I had to test the plug-in, and so I submitted some of my pages to StumbleUpon, with immediate results! Pageviews went through the roof. Unfortunately, so did my bounce rate. But with new visitors “stumbling” across the site, there’s a huge potential to gain new readers who were previously unfamiliar with my blog, or with me as an author.  With a bounce rate that was hovering around 3%, I’m willing to take a bit of a chance, and hope that some of those new readers will stick around and explore additional pages.

StumbleUpon is a lot of fun for its users. It’s a little like Pandora for websites; hit the “Stumble” button to be taken to a random site that’s based on the interests you select when you signed up. As you click the little thumbs-up and thumbs-down icons on either side of the Stumble button, you teach SU what you like best – and it shows you more of that. Just remember to click around and explore your favorites, so you don’t send their bounce rate bouncing through the roof. They’ll appreciate that. Not because bounce rate matters – it’s just that a really low one implies you liked the site well enough to stick around and check out more of what they have to offer. Trust me – bloggers and webmasters love it when you do that!

Your Turn

  1. Sign up and/or log in on StumbleUpon. Customize your profile and tell it what interests you.
  2. Spend ten minutes “stumbling” sites. Bookmark or jot down the URLs of your favorites.
  3. Come back and tell me about some of your discoveries in the comments, below!
Holly Jahangiri is the author of Trockle, illustrated by Jordan Vinyard; A Puppy, Not a Guppy, illustrated by Ryan Shaw; and the newest release: A New Leaf for Lyle, illustrated by Carrie Salazar. She draws inspiration from her family, from her own childhood adventures (some of which only happened in her overactive imagination), and from readers both young and young-at-heart. She lives in Houston, Texas, with her husband, J.J., whose love and encouragement make writing books twice the fun.


    • HollyJahangiri

      Thanks for visiting, Aditya. Wow – I’m having enough trouble keeping up with ONE blog this month! I admire you for keeping up with two.

  1. fim

    You know, I’ve heard “stumble upon” for quite many years, but I had never thought about checking it out. But the idea that it is a place which is created to cater to our interests sounds quite interesting. I’ll be interested to see whether the ability to identify what really interests me can be sorted through, or will, like too many other things, I get a lot of similar (aka ‘people who also like this, liked thus and such’) but really not related to my interests coming in.

    Always fun to try new things though.


    • HollyJahangiri

      You tell it broad categories, then thumbs up or thumbs down what it shows you, and it learns. I’ve found some gorgeous and intriguing astronomy sites via SU. It”gets me” more often than it doesn’t.

      • fim

        Wow, that’s gorgeous! I think Mr. Quantum might like it as well (the stumble upon idea).

        • HollyJahangiri

          Glad I could introduce you to a new Internet playground! That it’s still there speaks to a loyal user base, because I hear very little about it these days – but it SEEMS to still be thriving. And I’m glad you could see why!

    • HollyJahangiri

      LOL – I was a sysop (think forum moderator) on a paid online service (GEnie) in 1990.

  2. Lisa Sicard

    Hi Holly, I haven’t been on the site in years now. I used to like it but when my bounce rate went through the roof I stopped using it and it took up time. I wonder how much it has changed? You are the not the first blogger I’ve read recently who has gone back to using it, I may have to check it out again. Thanks for sharing about it Holly.

    • HollyJahangiri

      That’s why I specifically warned about bounce rate. But if it brought you thousands of new visitors, and 70% bounce, so what? That’s increasing exposure and awareness of your site. Maybe they come back later. Right now, my bounce is around 3%. It does go up sharply when SU is a major referrer. But that’s normal. It’s not causing regular readers to bounce!
      HollyJahangiri recently posted…6 Reasons Writers Should Use TwitterMy Profile


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