StumbleUpon: Is it Worth It?


I’ve been hearing it everywhere lately: StumbleUpon drives more traffic to your site than any other social bookmarking service.

But is the traffic GOOD traffic? By this, I mean do people stop and read your work? Do they comment on it? Do they poke around your blog and possibly follow you on Twitter?

All traffic isn’t good traffic

For the past few months, I’ve been experimenting. I signed up for Digg, as well as StumbleUpon. Both are social bookmarking sites. For those a bit newer to the social arena than myself, social bookmarking sites:

  • are like a mix between Twitter and blogs.
  • allow you to follow people, and others can follow you.
  • give you the ability to submit links to be rated higher or lower. The more people who rate them well, the more sets of eyes will see your links.
  • let you leave comments, like blogs.

OK, so back to my original point. I’ve been experimenting. Are social bookmarking sites worth my time? Digg has hardly brought me any new traffic. StumbleUpon has. Check out these page hits (from StumbleUpon only):

  1. This Year, I’m Thankful For … = 49 “Stumbles”
  2. Occupy Yada Yada Yada = 80 “Stumbles”
  3. Top 5 Posts to Develop a Solid Online Presence = 58 “Stumbles”

But I had no new subscribers, no unusually high amount of comments, and no new Facebook or Twitter followers. In essence, these people literally “stumbled” on my site and then continued “stumbling” through more. They probably read nothing other than the first line.

So, is it worth it?

Well, that depends–on YOU. What do you care about? If all you seek are traffic spikes to count in your stats, then yes! StumbleUpon is worth it.

But for me? I’m building a readership. I’m building a community. Traffic spikes mean nothing to me if visitors don’t return. So for the time being, I think I’ll stumble over StumbleUpon.

**If you’re curious about this tool, however, I’ll run a post within the next few weeks explaining how to use StumbleUpon, so it actually works for you. Stay tuned!**

WHAT DO YOU THINK? Have you had any success driving traffic to your blog or website using social bookmarking sites, like StumbleUpon, Digg, and Reddit? What worked, and didn’t work, for you?

******************************************************************************

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19 thoughts on “StumbleUpon: Is it Worth It?

  1. I’ve been wondering the same thing about Stumbleupon lately. It’s hard to give up the traffic, on the off chance that someone who visits from SU will become a consistent visitor/reader. But every time I post my own stuff to SU, the traffic drags down my Bounce Rate and Average Time on Site metrics. Like people are just clicking through websites like we used to click through TV channels, just hitting “Next” no matter what was on.

    [I know this is an old article, but I got here from its top rank on Google 🙂 ]

  2. I have to concur as well. The excitement from seeing numbers spike from a stumble is exciting, but nowadays I don’t even have time to worry about my own numbers. I have stumbled some business clients and they didn’t turn into any returns, as far as comments or followers either. Back to the drawing board!

    Good article though

  3. It certainly is an opener, as I’m thinking how to get to the bigger public, and was looking into StumbleUpon as an alternative. Looking to my blog stat, most of my readers came from facebook, and very little from twitter. As I post mainly pictures, I also get quite a number of hits from google image search engines.
    Whether they read the blog or just dropping by for a few seconds is something I can not tell. B-)
    Thank you for your thoughts, this post and the one on comments with Nina Badzin do help me.

  4. Fantastic post, Shari. I, too, tried StumbleUpon for a short time. While it’s fun seeing the numbers spike, the “campaign” didn’t lead to any additional comments or subscribers…as far as I could tell. Slow, steady growth and quality relationships trumps plain old numbers in my book.

    1. Hi August! Thank you! And I agree, completely, 100% (not be be redundant or anything, ha!). Slow, steady growth and development of quality relationships is what will pay off in the end, especially for writers who need a solid base to help support them when they launch their books. Thank you for commenting, and thanks for being my newest blog subscription!

  5. Hi Shari.
    I have been to this blog three times now…never stumbled any post but today I did, for one reason.
    I started my own blog on 7th November this year and have seen little traffic from stumbleupon…though it looks like the stumblers don’t do much other than stumbling. But who knows what may happen tomorrow. They may be the same people that become the R in our ROI.

    Guess we’ll just keep experimenting and putting everything under the lens.
    Have a good day.

    1. Philos, well welcome! Hoping third time’s a charm and you’ll continue coming back. 🙂 So pleased to have you stop by and comment … thanks! I think you bring up a very interesting point, that one of those stumblers may become the R in our ROI. And especially when you’re starting out, the more exposure you can garner, the better.

      And by the way, I just checked out your site, and LOVE the concept!! I’ve never been to Kenya, but it’s one of the places on my list! I’ve talked about visiting your country for years. Can’t wait to check out your blog in more detail (after work 🙂 )!

  6. I think that as bloggers, stat spikes are fine and all but what we want the most is feedback on what we write. If we didn’t want feedback, if we didn’t want the interaction between the reader and writer, we’d probably be writing in a paper journal instead. For me, I’m not really doing anything to drive traffic except reading other blogs, commenting, and putting up new posts consistently.

    1. “If we didn’t want feedback, if we didn’t want the interaction between the reader and writer, we’d probably be writing in a paper journal instead.” EXACTLY. That’s why it’s called “social” media. And I just don’t really think StumbleUpon is too social.

  7. I’ve seen huge numbers for seemingly random posts to StumbleUpon, but like you said, it’s not necessarily quality traffic. That said, I’d still like to know more about how to use it. Let me know when you have that follow up post. 🙂

    1. You bet Jami!! I’ll post it to Twitter, to my Facebook page, and of course, there’s always the subscription option. 😉 I’ll make sure to let you know. Thanks for commenting!

  8. Hi Shari,

    Great post! I signed up for StumbleUpon a few months ago, downloaded the menu bar and everything! But for me, it’s not worth it. On average I get a few stumbles a day, but when I take the time to stumble around StumbleUpon I will get a few more hits.

    Like you said, are these people actually taking the time to read my content? I don’t think so. I think social media has become an obsession for some, who can get the most stumbles, tweets or likes, it’s all kinda school-yard game-ish and takes up too much of my time.

    I’m more apt to tweet an article I like than to stumble it. It’s easier.

    1. I’m with you, I’m WAY more apt to tweet an article I appreciate, or post it to Facebook. I’ve also started dabbling in Google+ lately. Still need some more experimentation time on that. But I agree 100%. I think social media HAS become an obsession for some. Stats and page hits aren’t the be-all, end–all. Thanks for commenting!

  9. Hi Shari,

    Stumbleupon contacted me once by spiking up my stats, for one day, enough to have me intrigued. I’m still not clear how to best leverege it. As far as my blog stats at the moment, today’s spike in my stats relates to an unfortunate thing, the fact that we are still battling AIDS on World AIDS day. A few years back now, I wrote on my reflections on seeing RENT for the first time and then seeing it again with my newly minted teenage daughter. For two years now, this blog post gets the most hits around World AIDS DAY, because of searches for HIV/AIDS. I don’t know if any of these searchers wind up reading my writings, but it any false spikes in my stats gives me the encouragement to keep writing.

    Thanks as usual for your insights.

    1. If the stats give you the encouragement to keep writing, then I’d say that’s a plus! 🙂 I LOVED the show RENT. One of my favorite Broadway shows. Very moving, and very powerful music. And thank you for reading my insights!

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