StumbleUpon Tutorial

Welcome Everybody!

You've arrived at the StumbleUpon Tutorial, which will give you all the how-to information you'll need to know to make the most of this unique internet resource!

How it Works
Part One: Getting Started
    Part Two: Networking
Part Three: Stumbling Effectively
Part Four: Get Others to Stumble You
Part Five: Get More Stumble Influence

How it Works
StumbleUpon is perhaps one of the most underestimated resources on the web for driving traffic to your website.  They are very secretive about how it exactly works, but basically the principle is this:

1. You like something you see on the web—let's say it's a video of a cat that's whacked out on catnip and ripping the stuffing out of its favorite toy while running in circles (everyone loves cat videos), and you tell StumbleUpon you like it by pressing the thumbs-up icon on your StumbleUpon toolbar (you'll download this toolbar in a minute).

This is what it means to "Stumble" something—when you click the thumbs-up, you submit it to the vast StumbleUpon database.

2. Some guy in Sri-Lanka likes the same cat video and also gives it a thumbs-up, thereby also "stumbling" it.  

3. StumbleUpon will now notice that you and Sri-Lanka Dude have similar interests, and when he uses Stumble to surf the web, it will send Sri-Lanka Dude to places you've given a "thumbs-up." If one of those things is your own blog, well, now Mr. Sri-Lanka gets sent to your site.  

4. A butterfly-effect ensues, and before you know it, all sorts of folks are being sent to your site (and Sri-Lanka Guy's too). 

You may say—okay, I get it!  Or you might be saying...HUH?  That's okay too—you'll get the hang of it.  This tutorial will be broken down into easy-to-complete parts so that you don't get too much thrown at you at once, and you can make sure you are doing things correctly. 
But inevitably, you're asking: so how many people is this really going to bring in?  Well, in the case of a friend of mine from another mommy site,  someone stumbled her page and it got 9,000 hits the next day.  So apparently, it works pretty well.  So what do you need to do to get in on this veritable gold mine of traffic?  Let's get started!

Part One: Getting Started
Step 1: Download The Toolbar
Download the toolbar for whichever browser you are using.  You can download all of the toolbars directly from StumbleUpon.

Safari users, click here.

Step 2: Create Your Account
Go to and set up your account. I recommend not signing in with Facebook—it will pull information from your personal FB account.  That's fine if you're only using this for personal use, but I'm assuming you're trying to get your blog noticed, so create a new account and give yourself a username that corresponds to your blog.

Step 3: Spruce Up Your Profile
Click the Your Settings link that on the bottom of the left-side column in the new interface (it used to be in the upper right).  If you haven't already been prompted to customize your account. If you don't see this link, click on the word "Profile" in the upper right of the new layout to bring up the proper page. Upload a nice picture of yourself for your profile   Provide any information in your profile that you feel comfortable with everyone seeing.

Note: You will have the option of linking a Facebook or LinkedIn profile. I personally choose not to, because again, it pulls information from your personal FB account. Since my Stumble profile is for my blog promotion and thereby highly public, I keep it separate. 

*Put a link to your blog in your profile*  
Most people miss this step, and it's very important!  Let's say you write a glowing review of someone's site and they see your review.  They'd like to visit your site too and return the favor, but they don't know how to find it.  They click on your profile but just see information about you and the sites you've given thumbs-up. They have no way to know which site is yours. This is why you need to post your link! *

*But wait, aren't I mostly going to be giving my own stuff they'll see that?  No! We'll tackle why later.  You can't just thumbs-up your own posts.  SU is very smart and will see you as a spammer and ignore you.  So, if you do it right, your site will be lost amidst lots of other "favorites." You need to post that link!

How to post your blog link: 
It's easy!  Make sure you have clicked "Profile" in the top right.  Then "My Settings" at the bottom of the left hand column.  When the new window opens, you will see a section titled "Description." After you have entered whatever personal information you choose, just type the address of your blog, which will then be automatically turned into a link when you save your profile. 

My link was entered by typing this:

StumbleUpon will automatically convert it to a link for you, so visitors to your profile can find your blog.

Part Two: Networking

 Step 1: Creating a Profile Link
Your network of friends and followers will be taken to sites that you "thumbs-up" when they browse by stumbling, which, again, generates more traffic when they hit on one of your posts.  So, one of the first things you'll want to do is follow others and obtain some followers for yourself.  You'll need to share the link to your profile so people can find you and follow.  

Your profile link will look like this:

  Now replace "username" above with your StumbleUpon username, and you've got your link!

Step 2: Building a Network
It is important both to follow others and have followers as well.  Let's start by helping each other out. 

This is the link to my profile: 

Please click it and then click "Follow" when you get to my profile.  I will follow you back. This helps you as well as me, as it builds both of our networks.


Part Three: Stumbling Effectively!

All right!  Let's get right to it!  We're going to talk about what to Stumble, how to Stumble it, and how to get your own stuff Stumbled!

To Stumble something, simply press the thumbs-up button in your toolbar while you're on the site. The button will turn green, and that will let you know that you've done it!  That site will be automatically added to your "favorites' list.

If you are the first person to give something a thumbs-up, a little box will pop up to tell you that you have "discovered" something.  We'll talk more about this later, but don't be surprised if you see a box pop up congratulating you from time to time.  You'll be asked to write a little review.. you don't have to, but at least check the box that says the site is work-appropriate, or the person you've Stumbled will never be seen!  And it's nice to click a couple of tags to tell StumbleUpon what sort of site it is, too. 

1. The Basics: What to Stumble
Is it okay to Stumble your own stuff?  YES--as long as you are Stumbling lots of other stuff too.  The ideal ratio is 15:1.  You should Stumble 15 of other people's sites to every one of your own so that StumbleUpon doesn't view you as a spammer and ignore you.  

So if you want to Stumble your own stuff a lot, you're going to need to Stumble a lot of other people's stuff.  But that's easy—all you need to do is click the little green "thumbs-up" and you've done it.

Of course, this means you're probably going to end up with hundreds of "favorites."  That's okay!  The more stuff you have in your favorites, the more likely it is that one of your interests will match up with someone outside of your immediate circle and pull them in to see your site.  

This happened to me--the day after a friend Stumbled one of my posts--it was called "My Little Boob Man" and was about my son's fascination with my breasts, some random guy Stumbled upon it and was angry that there were no booby pictures in the post.  He actually ended up leaving a nasty comment about my post being a waste of his time... and where were the boobies?  But the point is, this guy was completely random.  He was brought in because of some match that was made between my friend's interests and his own.  And it happened the next day. 

So Stumble things left and right!  Find a funny kitten video on YouTube?  Stumble it!  Find a great recipe for mac-and-cheese?  Stumble it!  Click, click, click!!!  Except....

 2. What NOT to Stumble 
Okay, there is one caveat here.  Some of you are not going to like this, because this will apply to you and limit your Stumbleability (I think I just made up a word). 

Time-sensitive things are not great to Stumble.  This means things like coupons, contests and giveaways. Reviews are fine, because the product will theoretically be out there for a long time.  But Stumbling someone's deal, coupon, contest or giveaway is not such a great idea.  Here's why:

One of the great things about SU is that it creates a lot of residual traffic.  This means that in two years, the ripple effect will still be taking place and someone will still be getting directed to one of your Stumbled posts from long ago.  If they get there and it's a giveaway that expired a year and a half ago, that Stumbler will most likely give that page a thumbs-down, which can hurt your credibility. 

The GOOD news is... if you run a coupon/deal/contest/giveaway site, you can Stumble your MAIN SITE.  That way when someone arrives, he or she will see the current giveaway and not be put off.  

 3. Button, Button—Who's Got the Button?
Okay—this is a biggie—you will want to have a StumbleUpon button on your blog—ideally beneath each of your posts.  The button allows people to Stumble your posts even if they don't have a Stumble account or toolbar. 

If you run a contest/deal/coupon/giveaway site, you will not want to insert this below your posts, because of the reason I stated above.  Instead, you will want to post a badge on your main page so visitors can Stumble your main site.  If this is you, click the link below to get your StumbleUpon badge for your main site.

But if you write posts that are not time-sensitive, like personal stories, how-to guides, or really anything that will still be relevant in two years, you will want a little button underneath each post to prompt folks to Stumble your posts.  I will apologize in advance for the fact that I am only familiar with how to do this in Blogger.  But I'm pretty sure that even if you use Wordpress, you can access your code and find the appropriate place to insert the addition.

Now, I should mention that StumbleUpon has recently made some changes to their code, and you will often see badges with "counters" next to them, revealing how many people have Stumbled a post.  It is Javascript, and unfortunately it does not play nicely with all browsers or websites.  Therefore, I am including a basic code below, which will accomplish the desired effect of stumbling your post; you just won't have the little "counter" next to the logo. 

Get Your Button!
 Here is how you get an StumbleUpon button to appear under each individual blog post.

1.Log in to your dashboard--> layout- -> Edit HTML
2.Click on "Expand Widget Templates"
3.Scroll down to where you see this:


(hint: if you can't find the code, press Ctrl+F which will open a search box at the very bottom of your browser window.  Copy and paste <data:post.body/> into the search field and press Enter. It will help you locate it in your code).    

 4.After the above code , copy and paste the code below:

<a class='timestamp-link' expr:href='"" + data:post.url + "&amp;title=" + data:post.title' title='permanent link'><img style="padding: 0; border: none;" src="" width="32" height="32" alt="Stumble Upon Toolbar" align=""/></a>

5.Click on "Save Templates" and refresh your site.
It will look like this:

 If you would like it to be smaller, in the code above, change the numbers after "width" and "height" to 16, for half the size.  You can play around with the size until you find one you like.


Part Four: Get Others to Stumble You!

Share Through Your Toolbar!
So, you have installed your toolbar, prettied up your profile and put the SU button on your blog and/or under each post.  Now what?  How do you get people to Stumble you?
Well,as we said before, repeatedly Stumbling your own stuff is only going to get StumbleUpon to ignore you.  Thus, it is very important to have a network of people who will Stumble things for you.  As you follow stumblers and get follows back, you will build a network of people with whom you can share your posts.  You Stumble the posts they share with you, and they appreciate it and hopefully Stumble yours.

How Do I Share?
So on your StumbleUpon toolbar, you will see a little icon that looks like a mailbox.  If there's a number there with an arrow, it means a stumbler has shared something with you.  Click that icon, and you will be taken to a site someone in your network wishes you to see and hopefully Stumble. 

Then, when you write a post of your own, click the "Share" button on your toolbar, and you can select as many Stumblers as you wish to share the post with.  You can even write a little message to them, like "Hi! Hope you're having a great day! Will you please give this a thumbs-up?  Thanks!"  Being polite goes a long way toward getting your stuff Stumbled. 

Note:  Experienced StumbleUpon users will notice that the "accept shares" box has disappeared from the options when you follow someone new. Don't panic!  We are now able to share with everyone in our network by default. 

Part Five: Get More Stumble Influence!
In StumbleUpon, there is a factor called "authority."  This basically refers to how much power your Stumbles have (how frequently your Stumbles appear in the feeds of your followers and in SU as a whole).  There are several things you can do to increase your authority and visibility to other Stumblers.

Follow and be followed!
Follow lots of other Stumblers, and post the link to your Stumble profile in a prominent place in your social networks.  Get a network built, and StumbleUpon will give you some clout!  

Stumble a lot!
This is pretty straightforward: the more stuff you Stumble, the more StumbleUpon sees you as a valued user.  The number of websites you have in your "favorites list" impacts the amount of influence you have.  Basically, the more the better... period.  So Stumble stuff every day!  Then, occasionally throw in some of your own stuff, but remember the ratio: fifteen of other people's to every one of your own!

Write Reviews
Your authority will also rise if you write reviews of the websites you Stumble.  It doesn't take long, but it goes a long way towards StumbleUpon viewing you as an influential user.  To do this in the most efficient way, right after you give a site a thumbs-up, click the "Info"  button on your toolbar.  A stats page will open for that site.  You will see your picture under "People who like this."  Next to your picture will be a little "edit" button, which, when clicked, will allow you to write a review.

Make sure you give appropriate tags to the post too.

Make Discoveries!
If you are the first person to Stumble something, a little box will pop up letting you know that you have "discovered" it.  You will be asked to click a few keywords that fit the site, and you will also be asked whether the site is work appropriate.  For goodness' sake, click YES!!!  Otherwise no one will ever see the site because StumbleUpon will file it under "adult material."  

 *If you Stumble things daily, write reviews and discover a few things, you will be well on your way to having lots of clout in the world of StumbleUpon!  So whether you're shopping online, reading a blog or looking at a funny picture, Stumble it if it's something you like.  Write a little review—you'll help your visibility and your influence will grow.

Have fun!
Stumbling should be fun, and not a chore.  Enjoy helping out your fellow Stumblers, and they will enjoy helping you!  Also, you can use your toolbar to just "Stumble" around the web if you're bored, so feel free to click the left-most button on your toolbar that says "Stumble!" and enjoy the random sites you encounter.  I've already made lasting friendships with folks that I just happened to stumble upon with my toolbar.  So get clicking  get Stumbling, and if you are lost and confused, email me! 

You can contact me at any time at, and I'll be happy to help!


For Safari Users

Where's my toolbar?
StumbleUpon no longer supports the Safari toolbar.  Fear can still will just require a couple of extra steps.  

To Stumble in Safari, you will want to bookmark the "virtual toolbar."  Do this by going to the downloads page and following the instructions in the very first listing. 

What does the virtual toolbar do? 
When you load the virtual toolbar, you will see the thumbs-up option (this allows you to "like" or "stumble" a site or post).  You will also see the "Share" button, which lets you share a site with your followers.  If friends have shared any sites with you, there will be a red number in the far right of the bar.  You can click this number to view something someone has shared with you, and then you can use your toolbar to give it a "thumbs-up" if you also like it.  

*Note: When you load the virtual toolbar, a random site will open with it.  StumbleUpon will open a site based on what it thinks you will like.  You don't need to stay on whatever site loads. 

What does the virtual toolbar NOT do?
The virtual toolbar has one main drawback: if you enter a new URL in your browser window, the toolbar will disappear, and you will lose the ability to give it a thumbs-up.  You are somewhat limited in your abilities to thumbs-up things with the virtual toolbar, because the toolbar remains only as long as you are using it exclusively to view sites. 

So how do I Stumble a friend's post?
To thumbs-up/Stumble a post, you will need to submit it manually by filling out the StumbleUpon "submit" form.  First, make sure you are logged in to your StumbleUpon account.  Then, open the link below: 

It would make sense to have this form open in a separate window while you browse. Then when you find a site you'd like to Stumble, all you have to do is click on your "submit" window and fill out the form.  The website will then be "Stumbled," and it will be added to your favorites list.

Of course, this is a bit of a roundabout way to do things, but unfortunately it's the only option for Safari users at this time.  If you plan on doing a lot of networking and Stumbling, I would recommend downloading Firefox.  It is available for Windows and Mac, and you can find it on StumbleUpon's downloads page.  Chrome also supports the toolbar, but Chrome's version of it doesn't have as many features and can be harder to figure out than Firefox's.

Okay, now that you have read about the little tricks you'll need to use to get in on the Stumbling action, go ahead and return to the tutorial.  There's still tons of great information for you in the tutorial; just keep in mind that your methods of stumbling will be slightly different than others people's.  

Again, if you have any problems, feel free to contact me and I will be happy to help!  

Stumble Upon Toolbar
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