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How I Got 158,000 Stumbles on One Post

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Like money, one thing you’ll never get enough of is traffic.

If you want to get a lot of traffic, one of the greatest sources is Going from a couple hundred visits a day to a couple thousand visits a day is a common result of getting picked up by the social media giant.

The problem is that this traffic typically dies down after a day or two.

If you’re clever, however, and you implement these tips, you might be able to carry your traffic for weeks or even months. This is exactly how I got 158,000 Stumbles on one blog post.

Step 1: Create Content that StumbleUpon Users Like

StumbleUpon traffic is difficult to please – if you don’t grab their attention in a split second, they’re on to the next one.

They key is to create remarkable, witty, bite-sized content. Photos and videos do well. Every once in awhile, blog posts get picked up too.

How to Get StumbleUpon Traffic

For me, it was a list of 101 entrepreneurship quotes. That article has 158K+ stumbles which makes it one of the most stumbled articles of all time in the Entrepreneurship category (only 220K Stumblers).

Step 2: Get Someone to Submit it to StumbleUpon

StumbleUpon has made it clear that the tool is meant for social collaboration. They track everything that their users submit. If they see that you only ever submit your own content, you could be banned and your content could be penalized.

My post was submitted by a guy in Florida. After it got it’s first 20K Stumbles, I sent him a thank you package. I’m not sure if that helped my results.

Here’s a timeline of how my post got submitted and picked up by StumbleUpon:

StumbleUpon Traffic

  • March 25th, 2011 – Article published.
  • July 28th, 2011 – Submitted to StumbleUpon.
  • August 21st, 2011 – 1,000 stumbles in a day milestone.
  • October 15th, 2011 – StumbleUpon traffic became more consistent.

Ever since, the Stumble traffic has been fairly consistent because of what I did next.

Step 3: Keep the Stumbles Rolling

If you’ve ever gotten an influx of StumbleUpon traffic, you probably noticed that it all came over the course of a few days or maybe a week.

To keep my stumbles going, here’s what I did:

Added a StumbleUpon Badge

With the Sharebar plugin I added a StumbleUpon badge to the side of my content. This way, anyone who didn’t come from StumbleUpon could stumble the article.

Included “Tweet It” Links

I first saw this strategy on OnStartup’s 23 Tweetable Startup Insights from Seth Godin.

I saw that it worked well and I figured that people would want to share quotes just as much as Seth Godin’s insights.

There are two ways to do this.


The easy way to generate these links is to use

2. Hard-Coded Tweet It Links

Whenever I can, I prefer to hard-code my links because it gives me more control over the output and it’s generally more stable. In this example, hard-coding allows me to customize the tweet to use trackable links.

Here’s an example of the HTML for the first quote link:

<a href=”’There are two rules for success. 1) Never tell everything you know.’ – Roger H. Lincoln ” target=”_blank”>[tweet it]</a>

Direct People to the StumbleUpon Landing Page

This is the secret to the consistent Stumbles.

You’ll notice that all of my “Tweet It” links link to Rather than sending people directly to the article, this link sends them to the StumbleUpon version of the article.

StumbleUpon Traffic Toolbar

So everyone who shares the quotes on Twitter leaves a link that sends their followers to the version of the article with the StumbleUpon toolbar, which makes it easy to Stumble.

A good friend of mine gave me this tip while I was working on a project here for IncomeDiary. You’ll hear more about this project in a few weeks.

The Final Word

StumbleUpon traffic typically consists of people who are looking for a few seconds or entertainment or insight. It’s synonymous with flaky, one-time visitors. I found different, however.

With the entrepreneurship quotes article, the average time on page for that post is 19:07 (150% higher than the site average).

I encourage you to try out these tips, especially the “Click to Tweet” links. Just remember, that if you follow all of the advice here and you don’t get any results, it’s probably because there’s a problem with the content.

Give it a shot and let me know how it goes.

Image by: Robert Lane


  1. Excellent article. How do you get the tweet link set up?

  2. Christina Baglivi Tinglof says:

    Beautiful and very helpful. Love this. Thanks

  3. Brandon Halliburton says:

    I found this article to be VERY helpful. I just got back into using StumbleUpon again. Now I am using it for my business. I have noticed that one day I got an increase in view to my website. They the dramatically decreased the next day. StumbleUpon is very helpful. I just have to make sure I am creating useful and eye-catching content. Thanks for the good read!

    • Nicholas Tart says:

      Hey Brandon, I know what you mean. I’ve never had a Stumble surge last for more than a week before this article. I encourage you to use the tool for a few hours to see what type of content is getting stumbled in your niche.

  4. The main issue with things like StumbleUpon and Digg is that they can give great traffic for a short time and then it generally stops so it’s helpful that you gave us some ideas how to keep the traffic more consistent. Thanks!

    • Nicholas Tart says:

      Glad I could help, Niall. I’m not sure if this strategy will work for everyone, but it works for me. Could you give me a link to one of your articles that has gotten picked up on StumbleUpon? I’d like to read it.

  5. RCONNORIII says:

    Just tried the tweet link-real easy-just do not like the 140 limit-Thanks for the tip-Have a great day on purpose!

    • Nicholas Tart says:

      The limit is part of the reason that quotes work so well. Thanks, RC. You too.

  6. John Rockefeller says:

    Kind of comical, but I went to go like this on StumbleUpon and it turns out I was the first one to discover it LoL!

    • Nicholas Tart says:

      Hmm … This article on Income Diary? I don’t doubt that. It typically takes a few months for any of my posts to get submitted. Thanks for the like, John.

  7. Ashutosh says:

    this is really a stumble upon giude. the hardest thing is to maintain the traffic after a day or two [Direct People to the StumbleUpon Landing Page] this one is really revealing. i didnt know why people did this .

    • Nicholas Tart says:

      Yeah, I was wondering the same thing. A friend of mine told me about this and one of his posts has 1.3 million stumbles because of it.

  8. Toyin makes money says:

    Great content Michael! I have not been using sites like stumbleupon before, but I think this is a push in the bott to start using them. Thanks for the information

  9. Thomas @ Mobile App Tycoon says:

    Wow! You got an average time on page of 19:07???? That is amazing! I get around 100 visits from SU on every post I submit, but my average time on page is 0:00. Not even one second – and obviously no email signups either….


    • Nicholas Tart says:

      Yeah, I was shocked by that too, Thomas. I thought, “Surely that’s a mistake” but I don’t see how it can be. Here’s a temporary screenshot: (it’ll be taken down on June 15th.) Maybe you can help me shed some light.

  10. Anil Agarwal says:

    Tart, I’m going to try these tips. I don’t know if it will work on blogging or seo kind of niche’s.

    • Nicholas Tart says:

      You’re right that those niches are more competitive but there are also more people who are interested in them. The Weblogs interest has 67K Followers, the SEO interest has 16K Followers, and the Marketing interest has 107K Followers.

  11. Very useful article. The problem with a lot of these sites is that they only give you a short burst of traffic, these techniques should help improve that. Just added one more thing to the need to work on list.

    I particularly like your line at the end about how if these methods don’t work your content isn’t right. I’ve found that each area online has a particular type of audience, and if your material doesn’t fit that, then you won’t have people interested.

    • Nicholas Tart says:

      Good point, Kevin. How do you figure out what your audience is interested in?

  12. Rich Grimshaw says:

    Thanks, Nicholas. I’m astounded by the average time-on-page that you got. Surely it’s a credit to good writing.

    You’re an inspiration, and I sure appreciate you sharing your insights so generously.

  13. Sheyi @ says:

    As much as free SU traffic are good and could help build a brand, i guess the best is its exposure power. SU traffic can make your blog become known to the people who saw it as it hardly converts to sign ups or purchase.


  14. Amit Shaw says:

    I saw that if we have Tech Realted article then it will be sure we will get good visit From SU but its not for IM Niche.

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