Today, as the video opens with some awesome sounds from a V18 amp head in the background – Ed lets us know, we’re going to be learning about StumbleUpon…take a look at the video below.

Find Great Websites With StumbleUpon

This lesson is kind of a tough one to do, and the reason for that is StumbleUpon. It’s a powerful tool, it’s very cool – but it can also be a bit of a distraction. You’ll see what I mean.

So, what is StumbleUpon?

StumbleUpon - SU Logo

StumbleUpon - SU Logo

Basically, if you’re in a “discovery” frame of mind – or looking for ideas, StumbleUpon is a terrific way to go through the internet looking for things you like. It gradually gets to know the things you like and the things you don’t like – and comes up with some real gems based on your preferences. The longer you use StumbleUpon, the better it gets at serving up sites that you’ll like.

The reality is, there are billions of web pages out there – you’ve probably only actually seen a tiny fraction of a percent of them. You’ll never get through them all – and you could never search out just the ones you’d like. In fact, you probably have a fixed set of sites you go through and rarely discover anything outside of your “bubble.” And I mean that in the nicest possible way…

StumbleUpon also has awesome potential for internet marketing. We’ll learn more about that as we get into the actual Thirty Day Challenge. Like many social bookmarking sites, the more a site gets a positive rating – a thumbs up – the better it is. This ranking system works very well to connect users with sites based on their preferences. We can utilize that to bring attention to our sites as well.

This should be mentioned now, Ed and the Thirty Day Challenge Team is operating under the assumption that your content adds value for the reader, offers up a solution to a problem or just plain makes somebody’s day. If it’s none of those things, social bookmarking will work against you and eventually lead to your demise.

Take this site for example – does it add value for you the reader? I hope it does. I hope that you’re watching the training videos in their entirety – and then I’m hoping these notes add value as a reference tool for you.

Do these posts offer a solution to a problem? Well, that may be debatable. But it probably solves a problem for some people. By posting summarized notes on the thirty day challenge – I’m creating a reference tool for my own use that I expect will also become a reference tool for other thirty day challengers.

Does finding a resource like this make your day? Only you can answer that one – but I’d like to think I made your day a little bit better. Whether I did or didn’t – please let me know in the comments area below.

StumbleUpon, and sites like it want to add value for their users – and because of that, they don’t want to be victimized by spammers. So they look closely at how people use their service. If you want to avoid being lumped in with the spammers, don’t spam. Learn how to use social bookmarking sites the way they were intended to be used.

Let’s Get Ready To Stumble!!!

Now, I’ve been holding off on this – and I’m glad I have. To review, back in the post “Extensions To Install In Flock” one of the extensions we installed was the StumbleUpon toolbar.

If you haven’t signed up ro StumbleUpon yet, you should go ahead and do it now:

StumbleUpon - Join

StumbleUpon - Join

Now, let’s get it fired up.

Once I’d installed the StumbleUpon toolbar and restarted Flock – my screen came up with this:

StumbleUpon - Continue Customizing

StumbleUpon - Continue Customizing

And the actual toolbar looked like this:

StumbleUpon - Start Stumbling or Sign In

StumbleUpon - Start Stumbling or Sign In

What to do…What to do…Okay, I’ll hit the “continue” button… and here’s the screen I get:

So this is how StumbleUpon gets to know me in the beginning…

StumbleUpon - Select Your Interest

StumbleUpon - Select Your Interest

Now it’s time to open my StumbleUpon account

StumbleUpon - Create Account

StumbleUpon - Create Account

My user name is SteveH2008 – feel free to look me up if you’d like to be my StumbleUpon friend.

And now my screen shows this:

StumbleUpon - Start Stumbling

StumbleUpon - Start Stumbling

AND – my toolbar now looks like this on the left:

StumbleUpon - Toolbar, Left Side

StumbleUpon - Toolbar, Left Side

and like this on the right:

StumbleUpon - Toolbar, Right Side

StumbleUpon - Toolbar, Right Side

Now We’re Ready To Stumble!!!

The Thirty Day Challenge is all about taking action – so let’s take some action now. Go ahead, click the Stumble! button.

StumbleUpon - Stumble Button

StumbleUpon - Stumble Button

Let’s see what comes up:

StumbleUpon - Nelix Nebula

StumbleUpon - Nelix Nebula

This comes from www.wikisky.org – a picture of the Nelix Nebula.

What do I think? Do I like it or not?

StumbleUpon - Thumbs Up-Thumbs Down

StumbleUpon - Thumbs Up-Thumbs Down

Now, it has nothing to do with making money online, but at the risk of revealing my own inner geek – I happen to like it – so I click the “I like it” button

StumbleUpon - I liked it

StumbleUpon - I liked it

Let’s try one more – I click the Stumble button and…

StumbleUpon - Dr. Grammar

StumbleUpon - Dr. Grammar

This comes from www.drgrammar.org – and might come in handy if, say for instance – you have to do some writing 🙂

What do I think?

StumbleUpon - Thumbs Up - Thumbs Down

StumbleUpon - Thumbs Up - Thumbs Down

Now, this could actually be a good resource for copy writing – AND I can think of a few people who might like it too – so I click the “I like it” button

StumbleUpon - I Liked It

StumbleUpon - I Liked It

Enough of my little personal digression…let’s get back to the rest of the lesson.

What if I didn’t like it? Well, I could just click on the “thumbs down” button. Does that deal a devastating blow to someone’s content? Not really, it’s mainly a way for StumbleUpon to serve up websites that I would actually like.

If you use this in a genuine way, any time you come across a page or a post or content you like – you should get into the habit of clicking the “I like it” button.

Now, as I click the Stumble! button – I’ll be going through pages that have already been “Stumbled Upon” by someone.

What if I come across a piece of content that hasn’t been “Stumbled” before?

Man, I am so glad you asked that. Here’s why…

I haven’t done any social bookmarking for this site yet. I’ve made a few blog comments, and started including it in my Thirty Day Challenge signature – but that’s it. So, I’m going to go ahead and “Stumble” one of the posts here that I think is very useful. The “Table of Contents” page…

StumbleUpon - Submitting the TOC

StumbleUpon - Submitting the TOC

So – that will become part of my routine. In addition to writing up my notes, once I publish the post – I’ll start using the “I like it” button to add my posts into StumbleUpon.

As I was typing this post and doing the screen capture above, I realized that I forgot to add tags before I submitted the site to StumbleUpon. In fact, in looking at the screen shot – there wasn’t a place in the dialog box for adding tags. In the video, Ed talks a little bit about tags – and they are important. But I couldn’t add any – so, now what? I’m glad you asked…

To fix or edit something like that, I’m going to click on the link in my toolbar marked “Favorites”

StumbleUpon - Favorites

StumbleUpon - Favorites

From here, I can locate the site I just posted.

StumbleUpon - EditMyPostTags

StumbleUpon - EditMyPostTags

I click on the “edit” button in the upper right corner of the entry.

StumbleUpon - Adding-Editing Tags

StumbleUpon - Adding-Editing Tags

The editor allows you to edit your description, and also add tags at the bottom. It seemed to limit me to 5 tags, I’m not sure if that’s consistent within StumbleUpon. But I wasn’t able to get more than 5 tags to save or display. Take that for whatever it’s worth. Once I was finished adding tag, I just clicked the “save” button.

Of course, if you’d like to practice using StumbleUpon – feel free to click YOUR “I like it” button while you’re still reading THIS post. If it’s already been “stumbled” – that’ll be all you have to do. If you happen to be the first to “stumble” a post – well, you may end up writing a description and selecting a category and tags too.

Now, the homework Ed assigns is pretty simple. Spend some time, maybe an hour or so – and Stumble. Click “I like it” for the things you like, and click the “Thumbs down” button if you come across something you don’t like. This will help you get to know StumbleUpon better AND will also help StumbleUpon get to know you too.

Keep in mind as you start stumbling – use it the way a person would use it, not as a “marketer” would use it. It’s like a bank account. By “stumbling” sites that you enjoy – it’s like making a deposit to your account. If you “stumble” one of your own posts – it’s like making a withdrawal. Make sure you don’t overdraw your account. That’s something a spammer would do.

Let’s wrap this up with a look at the “Channels:” section of your toolbar.

StumbleUpon - Channels

StumbleUpon - Channels

Notice the “Globe” icon – that one randomly takes you through everything.

You can Stumble through “favorites of friends”

You can Stumble through images.

You can Stumble through videos.

You can Stumble through a list of popular websites, like YouTube or WordPress or Flickr – the drop down menu gives you a lot of options.

You can Stumble through News Items.

And the “All” drop down menu give you a host of ways to filter through the items you Stumble.

One thing I noticed – when I’m on this tab in my browser, editing my WordPress blog – the WordPress icon appears to the left of the Globe icon.

StumbleUpon - Channels-WordPress

StumbleUpon - Channels-WordPress

If I switch tabs to a YouTube video, the YouTube logo appears there.

StumbleUpon - Channels-YouTube

StumbleUpon - Channels-YouTube

When I switch to my Flickr tab to grab one of my screen captures – the Flickr logo appears in that place.

StumbleUpon - Channels-Flickr

StumbleUpon - Channels-Flickr

I’m going to go out on a limb and say the StumbleUpon toolbar can recognize the site you’re on and offers up the option of stumbling through items within that site. Pretty cool trick if you ask me…

So go have some fun getting used to StumbleUpon.

And if you appreciate this post, please take a moment to spread the word…

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This post will take us a little bit further into Google Reader by way of the settings. Here’s the video from Ed Dale:

Google Reader – Part 3

Hopefully you’ve had a chance to get started using to Google Reader. You’ve signed up for a few feeds and you’ve started using list view to get through your feeds faster.

Let’s take a peek under the hood and give it a few tweaks – to start, log in to your Google Reader and click on the “settings” link in the upper right corner:

Google Reader - Settings

From the Settings > Preferences tab you can set:

  1. Language
  2. Start page
  3. Scroll Tracking in Expanded View
  4. Navigation Pane Display
  5. Confirm when marking all as read

The key setting here is to set the start page to “All Items – as shown below:

Google Reader - Settings-Preferences-Tab

Google Reader - Settings-Preferences-Tab

—————————————————

Next up, the Subscriptions tab – here you can really dig in and manage the feeds you are subscribed to.

You can perform various searches from the search box in the upper right corner.

Google Reader - Subscriptions-Tab-Search-Box

Google Reader - Subscriptions-Tab-Search-Box

You can also “add to folders” or create a new folder from the “add to folders” drop down menu
In addition, you can delete a feed or you can rename a feed.

Google Reader - Rename-Delete-AddToFolder

Google Reader - Rename-Delete-AddToFolder

You can select multiple feeds and perform “more actions” from the drop down menu – like adding or removing tags – for search and filtering purposes.

Google Reader - More Actions Menu

Google Reader - More Actions Menu

The example given involves adding a tag to the feeds you follow for a particular niche – this technique will give you extra search leverage later on. It sounds like we will hear more about this as we get into the thirty day challenge content in August.

Ed also touches on the issue of having multiple Google Reader accounts to cover multiple niches. His answer – and it makes sense – just keep one Google Reader account. It’s organizational capabilities combined with its search functionality will be more than enough for you to be able to keep track of lots of feeds from lots of niches.

—————————————————

Let’s look at the “Tags” tab:

You’ve got tags that you can make “public” or “private” – you may want to keep some of your niche information “private” – here’s the place to do it.

So far, I don’t have any tags like Ed does – guess I’ve still got a ways to go…

Google Reader - Tags Tab

Google Reader - Tags Tab

You can view the public page of your shared items. You can also email a link and add a clip to your site. We’ll get into this later in the challenge – teaching you how to use Google Reader as part of your internet marketing arsenal. For now, we’re more concerned with getting used to using it.

Now, on to the “Goodies” tab:

At this point, we won’t be covering or using anything in the way of these goodies – unless you are lucky enough to have an iPhone. I hear the implementation is brilliant!

—————————————————

Moving along, let’s click on the “Import/Export” tab – if you’ve been using another feed reader, this will be pretty crucial – and pretty painless.

A lot of people, myself included – have been using Bloglines as a feed reader. And now, I get to “Say Goodbye To Bloglines” by exporting my feeds as an OPML file so they can be imported to Google Reader.

First, I’ll open up a new tab so I can log-in to Bloglines.

Google Reader - Bloglines

Google Reader - Bloglines

Then, on the left side – I scroll down to the “Additional Features” section and click on the “Export Subscriptions” link.

Google Reader - Bloglines-Export-Subscriptions

Google Reader - Bloglines-Export-Subscriptions

From there, a dialog box opens called “Opening export.opml” I want to save this file to disk – (my desktop) – so I select that option and click okay.

Google Reader - Opening-Export-OPML-dialog-box

Google Reader - Opening-Export-OPML-dialog-box

Now that the export.opml file has been saved to my computer – I just click back to my Google Reader Tab – where I’ve left the “Import/Export” dialog open…I browse for the file and click “upload.”

Google Reader - Import-OPML-file

Google Reader - Import-OPML-file

I love it when a plan comes together… Now instead of 3 feeds, I have the 75 I know and love…

Google Reader - My Subscriptions

Google Reader - My Subscriptions

That’s almost too easy – can I just say thanks, Ed? – Thanks Ed!

By the way, this will work with any feed reader that will export your subscriptions as a .opml file. Nowadays, almost all will…

—————————————————

The last tab in our Google Reader Settings is the “friends” tab.

Google Reader - Friends Tab

Google Reader - Friends Tab

We won’t be doing much with this tab for now – there are ways to maybe use this within your teams, but for internet marketing purposes – we’ll be using other, more effective tools…

—————————————————

Back to Google Reader – one of the major issues with feed readers in general is that once you read a post, it goes away. If you decide you want to read it again, you pretty much have to go to the blog – which means you just left your feed reader.

With Google Reader, the items don’t get deleted. You can mark them as read, and still find them later. Oddly enough, with Google being “pretty good” at search technology – now that your feeds don’t get deleted from your reader, you can search and filter through in several ways.

You can search through all items for a particular keyword or phrase. You can also filter through posts that you’ve read or starred or shared – there really are a lot of filtering options for this. If you’re new to this, it may not matter much – but when you’re following feeds across several niches, this will be a powerful resource for you.

—————————————————

“One other thing” – Google is pretty good at determining “relevancy.” Based on the kinds of feeds you are subscribed to, Google can help you find additional feeds that may be relevant to you. And they do it from the “Discover” link:

Google Reader - Discover

Google Reader - Discover

Once you have added several feeds to your Google Reader, try clicking the “Discover” link and see what kind of feeds Google suggests. You may be pleasantly surprised…

Now, on the one hand, you don’t want to get in over your head – there’s no point getting overwhelmed with feeds. But on the other hand, Google Reader makes it so fast to scan through posts and so easy to manage and search through your feeds – Ed basically says, “Go for it.” I guess all I would add to that is 1) Know your limits 2) Use good judgement 3) Prioritize 4) Make sure you’re focusing on taking action.

You can learn and learn and learn and learn – if you don’t do anything with that knowledge, you’ll never get where you want to go. Focus on taking some action every day. You’ll be learning specific action steps throughout this year’s Thirty Day Challenge – the best thing you can do for yourself once you learn them…is to take them.

Here’s an action step you can take away from this post – go hug someone you love. 🙂

And if you appreciate this post, please take a moment to spread the word…

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