Monday, January 29, 2007

Stumbleupon in Five Easy Steps

StumbleuponThis one's not just for bloggers . . .

***

If you pay much attention to the blogging world you may have noticed that the most influential and popular blogs are tech blogs--blogs about blogging, computers and the internet. Why is this? The percentage of the population involved in the tech industry isn't representative of the percentage of tech blogs in production, so why do they have such a chunk of the cyber world's attention?

It's from two things: First, those who are interested in tech subjects are the ones building the internet and the blogosphere but second, readers who are interested in tech blogs are also savvy to social bookmarking: tools to mark and rate websites that have the power to drive certain blogs into the blogosphere's attention.

I'm frustrated that with as many smart, capable bloggers as I've come across few are aware of these social bookmarks and the power they represent for driving non-tech blogs into the public notice.

Many bloggers are concerned with little outside their niche and are therefore generally languishing in anonymity. I'm hoping to help change this with this third post in my Blogging 101 series, by explaining and encouraging the use of one social bookmark I've fallen in love with: Stumbleupon.

Whether you're a blogger or a reader, Stumbleupon is a web-discovery tool that operates much like your remote control on your television: with each click you can forward to the next randomly-selected website offered for your approval. Well, it's not entirely random, websites are generated based on various criteria you select when you join the world of Stumbleupon.

Here's how it works:

1. Go to Stumbleupon and click the Sign up Here button to register. It is compatible with both Firefox and Interenet Explorer.

2. Download the Stumbleupon toolbar. It takes just a moment and once you download it you'll have to close and then reopen your web browser to see the toolbar appear at the top of your screen.

3. Create a profile page. They'll walk you through the details and they'll ask for information such as where you are, if you want a picture included, things like that. If you have a blog you can register the URL with Stumbleupon.

4. Customize your stumbles. Once you've done steps 1-3 you'll be able to visit a page that looks like this where you can select which topics interest you. For example, I've selected things such as gardening, family, humor, home, hobbies and cooking.

5. Click that new Stumble! button you now see at the top of your page and see where it takes you. You'll immediately be whisked away to a site chosen for your perusal based on the topics you've selected. If you especially like it, click the "thumbs up" icon. If you hate it, find it objectionable or are just feeling cantankerous click the "thumbs down." What could be more democratic?

It is the process of each user rating the sites he or she visits that can drive certain posts or sites to the top of the charts. If you are a lucky blogger such as Mom on A Wire, you may have gone to your stat counter one day and discovered piles of mysterious visitors who arrived at your blog via the Stumbleupon train. Once someone Stumblesupon your site and gives you the "thumbs up," it places your site higher in the rankings and more likely to be Stumbled on by the next viewer, and the process grows from there until--if you're my husband--you suddenly have 4000 visitors in a single day (lucky dog).

So go register, get that toolbar, pick the topics you want to read and start Stumbling. Here are a few of the sites I've Stumbledupon this week:

Mom'sMinivan.com which has travel games and activities.
Kitchen Myths A site to debunk common cooking myths.
Smoothie Recipes which brags about over 100 different smoothie recipes.
ManyBooks.net One of many sites for free books compatible with an MP3 player.
Build the Best Paper Airplane in the World My boys will be thrilled.
Dave Barry's 25 Things I've Learned in 50 Years This isn't new, but it's new to me--and funny.
Top Secret Recipes A site that recreates favorite restaurant recipes.
Il Bloggo Specifically, a post that teaches how to make a concrete birdbath using a rhubarb leaf--and concrete.
Craft Bits Make a purse out of playing cards and duct tape. I'm not sure if it's hysterical or brilliant.
U Handbag Sells and shows instructions for making the most beautiful handbags.

As with television, you'll come across a lot of junk but vote for what you like--including the blogs you visit regularly while you're there--and see how mommybloggers and their readers can change the makeup of the blogosphere.

Technorati tags:

30 comments:

Miscellaneous-Mum said...

Sounds good! I'd heard of it before, but thanks for putting it into 'normal' English :)

Nicole said...

Thank you for your blogging 101 series. As a new blogger I can't tell you how much it's helped me. Your step-by-step descriptions make it so easy.

Steve G said...

Technology is sure making life easy...or is it. Stumbleupon does sound interesting.

Janet a.k.a. "Wonder Mom" said...

This is just ONE of the reasons I "hang around" your blog...Informative, personal, funny and all around a great place to be....

Thank you for your kind words...

You won't be getting rid of me any time soon!!!

Nicole said...

Ummm. This was so over my head. I'm sure someone is busting out laughing because it was SO easy for them to understand. Maybe it is too early. BUT. I will be checking this out. It sounds like I need to do some studying up on this whole blogging thing. And here I was feeling good. HHMMMFFF!

chilihead said...

I have tried similar sites in the past, but just wasn't happy with the results. In order to have my blog 'watched' I had to browse through the other blogs as well or my blog would get demoted. Is that the case here? If not, I'll be giving it a try. Who can pass up free traffic?

Julie in Texas said...

Thanks for a wonderful idea! Some many times I feel like such a techno loser...I don't understand what seems so easy to others! For example, why is it that everyone else can put buttons in their sidebar and have them work. I sure haven't got that mystery down!

Thanks for stopping by, I believe we are all well now. I did use my Saturday to get lots of knitting done. I was going to bake as well, but my oven died!

wheresmymind said...

interesting...I'll have to check it out!

Gina said...

Thanks..Let me check them out!

Steven Novak said...

Never actually heard of stumbled upon.

Will have to check it out.

Steve~

ChristineKane said...

Hi Michelle! I'm a newbie reader. I'm liking the ease with which you write about this techie stuff. I got "Stumbled Upon" last summer by sheer accident. I didn't post my post or anything. My site visits went up to about 4000 each day, my feed subscriptions shot through the roof. I like your advice. AND it also can happen completely out of the blue. (My post was called "21 Ways to Be more Creative." I've been told since that anything on creativity is popular on the web. And I'm a songwriter, so that's kind of where I thrive.) I'll be back to visit! Thanks! (Oh, how I love Alaska. I perform fairly regularly in Sitka.)

scribbit said...

How fun! Does it count that I knew Jewel when we were kids? Very briefly, she wouldn't know me from Adam now--but Alaska isn't that big of a place. It's amazing how you make your way around to everyone sooner or later it seems :)

local girl said...

I've actually signed up with them but haven't done anything with it yet. Thanks for the encouragement. I'll definitely take a more serious look at it now.

Mike said...

I'm so glad I visited you this morning. I'm learning a lot from you (and looking forward to learn more).


Mike
http://somethingaboutparenting.typepad.com/

LFC fan! said...

I am quite impressed by your technorati ranking. Great work. Also your blog template/design is quite neat.

Cheers,
Guhan
http://internetbazaar.blogspot.com

Thomma Lyn said...

Wow, how cool! I'll definitely check out Stumbleupon. Thanks for your wonderfully informative post!

Susan said...

Michelle,

I just saw that you have listed Food "Blogga" as your site of the week. I am so flattered. Yours is a blog that so many of us look up to.

With sincere appreciation,
Susan

Haley-O said...

Wow! I've never heard of that before! I can barely keep up with all the blogs I already read, though. But, I'll definitely check it out. And, I'm definitely glad you told us about it! Thanks!!

Catherine said...

I'm just feeling grateful that I stumbledupon you recently. Very cool information, Scribbit.

The Lazy Organizer said...

I've been noticing Stumpleupon on my site meter for the last couple days. I'll have to get registered. Thanks!

Did I tell you my parents are in Naknek now?

jchevais said...

I'd never heard of this. Thanks!

chelle said...

I can waste so much time Stumbling! Great overview!

Dana said...

Cool idea...but perhaps you can help me?

I got as far as the start stumbling appearing on my toolbar, but never got a page to enter any registration type information. I cannot use it without a username or password, but have never been able to find a screen that allows me to choose one.

I'm lost...I can log into Firefox just fine, but that password isn't working, either.

scribbit said...

Dana, I wish I was at the computer, seeing what you're seeing--there's got to be a registration button somewhere. It should give you an option (probably near the top of the screen) to either log in or register or something like that. If you've got the toolbar that's a start. Maybe if you emailed me I could get more info.

Dana said...

Thanks!

I actually found my way to their help community, and from reading the posts there, it sounds like others have had similar issues. However, I can't post there without having any password or ID.

I'll email you, though, rather than take up more space in your comments!

John Wesley said...

I can vouch for the power of StumbleUpon. It has brought by blog 7,000 visitors in the past two days.

Miscellaneous-Mum said...

I have logged in this morning to see my traffic blown out expentionally (did I spell that right?). I mean, HUGE.

Thanks to you! I wouldn't have signed up otherwise, I don't think

scribbit said...

I hope I helped. I recently went through and registered, or whatever they call it there, the blogs I like to visit and gave yours a thumbs up. I don't know if that did that much for you, but I hope it helped.

All the talk about Stumbleupon though has ironically done nothing for me. Everyone seems to have some story about massive hits but I have yet to see any even register on my stat counter.

Oh well.

Smoothie Recipes said...

Hi, I see you stumbled upon a smoothie site, well here is my Smoothie Recipes site. Let me know what you think. And Stumble Upon is the greatest time waster ever invented.

Mer said...

I am absolutely loving surfing the web like this. It is fun to give a big Thumbs Up to the bloggers I know and enjoy... I felt kind of silly rating my own blog... but that is how people will see it, right?

Thanks again for introducing me to Stumbleupon.