StumbleUpon v. Reddit

I’m looking at StumbleUpon and Reddit as key networks to expand into over the next year. The reason for that is simple: if you’re looking to bring visitors to a website as efficiently as possible, building a viable presence on one or both of those networks is probably a good move. The problem: They require a lot of engagement, and they step on sharing one’s own stuff pretty hard.

This means figuring out how much time you can get by with spending on them and knowing how often to put your own links out there are tricky. I have no idea how either of those networks decide what counts as “affiliation,” and I publish at and promote several blogs I do not own. I don’t want to be demoted before I even get started, and I don’t have a lot of time. So I’m proceeding slowly and cautiously.

But I have been experimenting. I have a StumbleUpon account I don’t use very often and no Reddit account at all. We’ve seen some success with both over the last couple of weeks. I’ll share a few numbers with you today and then explain the differences between these two networks as I understand them.

This spike happened here the weekend of Aug 10. I’ve included the mouseover info for the peak day. This is a good four-day spike from Reddit. It started on Sunday and trailed off on Wednesday. We still got a little from it on Thursday, and continued getting odd views last week.


Most of this traffic went to a Tolkien post and a Batman post that were shared on various subreddits by a friend of mine who is not affiliated with the blog on Sunday, Aug. 9. The Tolkien was shared early and the Batman was shared late. The Batman post generated about 100 views, and they came in over a shorter period of time than the views on the Tolkien post, which brought us visitors for days. I’m assuming the difference is explained by the relative sizes and activity levels of the subrreddits where the posts were shared.

Overall, we received around 240 documented referrals from Reddit from this. That’s two or three days’ worth of traffic for us, depending on time of week and how we’re set for content. So, totally worth the minimal amount of time it took to drop those links.

Just to put those 240 views over a 4-day period into perspective for you. In the last 30 days we’ve received 195 views from the WordPress Reader, 115 from Facebook, and 75 from Twitter. And we’ve only gotten a little over 1,000 from search engines.

As I was putting this post together Friday evening, this happened. These are stats from Part Time Monster. The Friday/Saturday spike represents almost 800 views. A few came from StumbleUpon, but most came from Reddit. The info in the mouseover is for Saturday, which turned into Diana’s best day ever.

PTM spike 15-08-23

This one was a surprise. Diana’s Girls and Gaming post was shared spontaneously on Reddit by a blogger who as far as I know, we’ve never talked to. That post received more than 307 views on Friday and we recorded 168 Reddit referrals that day. I stumbled the post around midnight and it got another 53 views from StumbleUpon between midnight and 2 am on Saturday morning.

The StumbleUpon traffic trailed off, but PTM received another 179 Reddit referrals, and by the end of the day on Saturday, the gaming post had been viewed another 298 times. Out of the total of 780 views at the Monster on these two days, 605 were on the gaming post. We’re sure that 400 of those came from Reddit and StumbleUpon.

Again, just so you have some frame of reference. In the last 30 days, PTM has received 204 views from the reader, 57 from Facebook, 57 from Twitter and 604 from search engines. It’s also worth noting that Part Time Monster’s previous best day was a 400-view day in mid-March, and 85 of those views came from StumbleUpon. Our best day here at Sourcerer is 391 views, and 81 of those came from StumbleUpon. In fact, every time we’ve set a new best-ever record in the last 18 months at either of these blogs, StumbleUpon has been involved.

This is real progress for us for a couple of reasons. We’ve seen handfuls of referrals from Reddit before, but never anything like this, and these numbers are comparable to all the StumbleUpon spikes I’ve ever seen aside from the two or three very best. The 50 views I got for Part Time Monster from StumbleUpon is also the first time I, personally, have had a successful stumble. Up to this point, it’s always been other people stumbling our posts that got the views.

So which is better, Reddit or StumbleUpon? That depends on how you like to play on the internet, and on what you’re looking to get out of it.

Reddit is basically a huge forum with sub-forums (called subreddits) for just about every topic you can think of. People chat and share links related to specific topics. Reddit users can vote things up or down. Enough up votes will land a link on Reddit’s front page. Enough down votes can disappear a link entirely from Reddit.

StumbleUpon is a network for sharing and curating links. Users follow topics (called “Interests”) and can follow up to 100 other Stumblers. StumbleUpon sends content from your interests and from the people you follow into your feed, and you can like/dislike things. StumbleUpon saves all your likes and allows you to build lists of things you like. You can also share pages to StumbleUpon and categorize them for other users to find.

Reddit strikes me as easier to use — I find the StumbleUpon interface difficult. Reddit is also probably a more predictable source of traffic if you can learn to share there effectively, but StumbleUpon probably has higher traffic potential. (I’m saying “probably” here because I’m not well-versed enough to be sure). StumbleUpon was one of our top five referrers here in 2014 and brought us almost as many views from two or three lucky stumbles as Facebook did from every link we shared there.

The value of both to bloggers is simple. If you generate enough views on a single post in a short period of time, that helps the post get into Google searches. I’d say 80 percent of the the search traffic we get here is from people finding posts that were put into those searches originally by StumbleUpon.

I plan to eventually use both of these networks, but I am starting with StumbleUpon because I have more friends who use it than use Reddit, and because I already have a StumbleUpon account set up.

What about you? Do you use either of these networks, and do you have any advice for us newbies?

Happy Monday!

16 thoughts on “StumbleUpon v. Reddit

  1. I just left a comment, but it disappeared into thin air. Stumbleupon gets you lots of views, but it makes your bounce rate skyrocket! There’s no engagement and it’s a draw for spammers. This has been my experience, anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve seen enough Stumbleupon spikes to say you’re right about the engagement. It may also be so with Reddit. Seems to be a general rule that links shared on other networks get most of their engagement on those other networks, and if you can just get people to click and have the chance of making a strong enough impression that they come back, you’re lucky.

      I think if you want lots of engagement for a blog, it has to come from WordPress. Not sure how I’d go about getting it for a self-hosted site.


      • I have a self-hosted site using the WordPress platform and interact with everyone, everywhere. The key to engagement is commenting, sharing and getting your brand out there. Check out Triberr, Twitterfeed, Hootsuite. 🙂 You have a pretty good following from what I’ve seen.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yeah. My following is very engaged. There are lulls, of course, but I have a lot of friends who make a point of stopping by consistently and who are good about sharing info and sharing our content. Something I’ve worked at.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Reddit can be a reeeeeally viscious place. I shared some posts on there before I figured out how it worked, and some bloggy friends shared some too and I received some really awful comments and was marked as spam. Totally my fault, I should have read up first, but I’ve seen on many occasions how nasty some redditors can be. However, my views shot up and I received hundreds of extra ones over the next few days… It’s great for traffic but be careful!

    Someone shared a post of mine on Stumble Upon in Dec last year and it received quadruple the amount that I got from Reddit. I still don’t understand how to use it though!


    • I’ve been puzzling on the StumbleUpon for a while. Haven’t paid much attention to Reddit, and I’m still ambivalent about it. Definitely a network where you want to understand the social rules before you start making noise.

      I don’t understand StumbleUpon either, but I’m getting there and I feel as though I’m only a few months away from a breakthrough with it. It has to be first. And of course I’ll share anything useful I learn about it.


  3. Gene’o, I’ve been tossing this idea around for a while, and I may as well pull the trigger– do you have any interest in being added to IFT as a contributor, not so that you can write posts but just so that you have access to another source of stats? Give it some thought and let me know.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That requires only a second of thought. Fabulous idea. I have access to way more blogs’ stats than I share in these posts, and just being able to look at the data has been super-helpful.


  4. I was wondering if you could any comments from the Reddit visitors. The issue I have with that site is that it has some very nasty trolls. I’m not really surprised that a post titled Girls and Gaming got views from there because they also have to have many misogynists, which is why I hope you didn’t get any nasty comments either at the blog or at the Reddit post!


    • No trollery to speak of, and a couple of comments might have come from there. One of the reasons I decided not to try and use Reddit for traffic in the beginning is because of its reputation for attracting trolls, and I’ve had several people tell me that if I do use it, it would be smart to keep my sharing there not-political.


  5. Hadn’t used either of the networks before, so I learnt quite a bit from your post, thanks. On the back of this I set up a StumbleUpon account and immediately saw an increase in visitors and a couple of follows. Still haven’t got the hang of it and navigating my way round, but seems like a useful tool. Interested in others’ experiences with this.


  6. Reddit has what I consider to be a strange relationship to self-created content. If you are an artist or a comedian, sharing sketches and paintings and drawings and other such content is encouraged. But sharing writing samples, especially more essay format like what I write on my site, does not seem to go over very well.

    If you’re going to Reddit, I’d advise doing as much surveillance on the social rules of the subreddit as possible.


    • I agree with the surveillance, Reid. And I did not know there the norms for sharing self-created content were double-standardish that way. Good to know, and thanks for the tip!

      Liked by 1 person

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