[StumbleUpon](http://www.stumbleupon.com) is a popular social site that over 1 million people use. It is not as popular as [digg](http://www.digg.com) or [del.icio.us](http://del.icio.us), but it drove 17,209 visitors in the last 25 days to this blog. That makes it a valuable traffic source, so lets see how StumbleUpon works and how you can use it to get traffic to your website.
StumbleUpon is very similar to digg because the community votes for what they like, but unlike digg you do not go to www.stumbleupon.com to vote; instead you install a toolbar into your web browser.
As an Internet user you probably browse tons of web sites on a daily basis, with the StumbleUpon toolbar, when you see something you like, you hit the “thumbs up” button on the toolbar and when you see something you dislike you hit the “thumbs down” button. You don’t necessarily have to vote on each web page you visit, but you can do this with pages you really like or dislike.
If you want to see what people like on digg you would visit the [digg homepage](http://www.digg.com). If you want to see what people like on del.icio.us you would visit the [del.icio.us popular page](http://del.icio.us/popular/). If you want to see what other people like on StumbleUpon you hit the stumble button on the toolbar.
Every time you hit the stumble button on the toolbar a new page will appear. StumbleUpon has an algorithm that tries to show you pages that other people with similar interests may like. The algorithm is able to do this by looking at a few variables:
1. It looks at the stories you mark as thumbs up and thumbs down. Then it compares your votes with other users to figure out which users have similar interests.
2. StumbleUpon is like MySpace in the sense that you can view other people’s profile. If you see someone’s profile that you like, you can add them as your friend. Once you have added friends, the algorithm shows you pages that your friends like when you press the stumble button.
###Joining in on the community
So now that you know how StumbleUpon works, here is how you can maximize the number of people that see each story you give a thumbs up to.
1. Get involved with the community. Vote on web pages that you like and dislike on a regular basis. The more you stumble the better.
2. Add as many friends as possible (limited to 200), that way when you give a page a thumbs up more people will see it and potentially and also give a thumbs up if they like it.
StumbleUpon is time based so the more people that vote for the web pages you like with a thumbs up within a short period of time the more traffic those web pages will get. Some people use this to their advantage by voting for their own website which is fine (as long as it is not abused), but if you want to get a lot of traffic to your site from StumbleUpon make sure you have a lot of friends before you start voting.