Understanding StumbleUpon

[adsense_id=”1″] This piece will serve as the first in a three-part series that will allow us to open our social media section here at 4dev.net with a look at one of the web’s great pushers of traffic, though one that is often ignored when thought of in a context that includes giants like Facebook and Twitter: StumbleUpon.

Before we can investigate the trick and tips needed to take advantage of what StumbleUpon has to offer, we’ll have to first familiarize ourselves with the service itself.

How Does StumbleUpon Work?

StumbleUpon is a popular social bookmarking community, owned by eBay that is used by thousands of people all over the world. As a member of StumbleUpon, you are able to rate websites, video clips, articles, photos and more. Members within the community are known as “stumblers,” and they highlight websites that they have enjoyed by clicking on the “thumbs up” button that is located in the toolbar of their browser, or by submitting content directly via the StumbleUpon website interface.

The more “likes” a website receives, the more popular it becomes throughout the StumbleUpon community, and in turn, the more traffic it can expect from the constant exposure to new stumblers. In essence, StumbleUpon is a recommendation-based system powered by the members who visit websites and decide which ones are worthy of a notable stumble.

Clicking the Stumble button resembles “channel-surfing” the web, with a series of web pages in a system rotation of sorts. In addition, there are toolbars available for those who wish to simplify their “stumbling” by implementing the StumbleUpon product directly into their browser. Then, with just a single click, they can rate, like, and add the websites that they visit and enjoy. They can also provide a personal review on a website, and categorize it based on the subject matter, all within a few seconds of visiting a site.

Getting Started on StumbleUpon

To get started, you will have to create a StumbleUpon account; you can do that at this link. As soon as you have created your StumbleUpon account, you will be given the option to download a toolbar for the browser of your choice; toolbars are available for Firefox, Chrome, and Internet Explorer.

Once you have the toolbar installed, you will see a button that will allow you to stumble and “like” (highlight for others to view), web pages based on your selected preferences and options as indicated in your StumbleUpon account profile.

Now, visit a page with potential on your website and click on the “I Like It!” button (sometimes shown as the thumbs up icon) that appears in your browser toolbar. This will open a pop-up window that allows you to rate and categorize the page; you can also optionally enter a short description and tag the entry with specific keywords.

Once you do this, your site will be entered into StumbleUpon’s database instantly, and will appear when other users with similar interests (as the tags you use) use their StumbleUpon toolbar to surf the internet. Given the service’s sheer popularity, this can result in a tremendous amount of traffic if other users find your content as interesting as you did!

Next time, we’ll have a look at some of the tips and tricks that will allow you to make the absolute most of your StumbleUpon experience from the point of view of a webmaster and online publisher!

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