Should I Use StumbleUpon to Build Blog Traffic?


I recently purchased a book written by another blogger about how she grew her traffic tremendously in less than 9 months. I don’t want to throw this blogger under the bus, as I think her intentions were great and overall I feel like I got some value from her book. One of the strategies she suggested was to share your blog content on StumbleUpon. So, I took her advice, and here’s what happened.

For those of you who don’t know, StumbleUpon is a social media-ish website where you can “stumble upon” new websites, articles, and ideas from around the Internet. The majority of the content on StumbleUpon is added to the catalog by users. You don’t need to be a blogger or have a website to use StumbleUpon. In fact, most StumbleUpon users are just people looking for new things on the Internet.

The way it works is you sign up for StumbleUpon, choose a few categories that you’re interested in learning or reading about, and hit the “Stumble” button.

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I added a few of my articles to the StumbleUpon library. It was easy.

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Once you’re signed in, you hit the little arrow next to your photo icon, then select “Add Page”.

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Paste your URL into the form, indicate if it’s SFW or not, and type in your category. Now, people can “stumble” upon your posts.

Truth be told, I had a lot of fun stumbling around the Internet. I found a few new awesome websites, including Uncommon Goods, a store that I foresee myself making a few purchases on come birthdays and holiday seasons.

When I did this, I was shocked by the traffic I received from the first post I shared.


My traffic skyrocketed overnight. I was so excited. I couldn’t believe that my 5 Ingredient Crockpot Pulled Pork recipe was going “viral”. I don’t even write a food blog! I just share mom-friendly recipes I invent occasionally. Could I really be boosting my way into mega blog success with StumbleUpon? Had I found the Holy Grail of blog traffic? Would my blog pay my rent next month?

Sadly, no.

But here’s what I learned.

So far, I’ve shared a total of 46 links on StumbleUpon. 6 of those links were to my own blog posts. Out of those 6, only 1 got traction – the first article I shared on StumbleUpon.

In just 3 days, the recipe was viewed 2.1K times on StumbleUpon. For comparison, most of my articles take weeks to get to that status. I’ll be totally transparent with my stats, too. In the past 30 days, my blog has received 39k unique monthly page views – that’s 39k unique visitors to my website. The recipe received 2.1k unique views. That means, in just 3 days, StumbleUpon’s traffic accounted for 5% of my overall traffic this month. That’s a huge portion of traffic for a new referral source.

The bad? In those 3 days, StumbleUpon increased my bounce rate by 3%. I have a very low bounce rate on my blog. It hovers at 24%. The lower the bounce rate, the better, because it means that people are visiting your site and staying there a while. After using StumbleUpon, my bounce rate went from 24% to almost 28%. I’m really not happy about that.

Another thing? The traffic boost was temporary, and none of the other articles I shared from my blog got referral traffic from StumbleUpon. You can see from the stats below that the traffic spiked, then neutralized.

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Google Adsense and Google Analytics both agree with my WordPress Jetpack stats. A blip of traffic, then a decline to normalcy. As you can see, even though my traffic increased, my Adsense earnings actually went down. I’m not sad about that, though, because the most I’ve made from Adsense is $27 and change in a month. It’s negligible.

As far as my recommendation for StumbleUpon? For my blog, it isn’t worth it. My goal is to build readership and grow my audience. I want a large following of moms dedicated to my articles on parenting, pregnancy, and working from home/blogging. Perhaps if you have a product to sell and you really want exposure for that product, StumbleUpon would be a great tool for you. But if you’re just looking to grow your blog traffic and build a loyal following, StumbleUpon is not the best option.

Have you used StumbleUpon? What were your results? 🙂

Thanks for reading and happy marketing!