It would be safe to assume that everyone reading this article, is in some way familiar with the popular social bookmarking site Digg.com. You might use it to promote your articles, or maybe you just go to find articles and inspiration for future writing, either way you’ve used the service.
Overtime, having had articles on the front page several times from various projects, I have had the opportunity to notice several good and not so good aspects of this cyber-cultural hot spot. It is well known that Digg can be a powerhouse for traffic, and it is notorious for crashing the servers of unsuspecting webmasters around the world.
Traffic is of course an upside of Digg, in fact it is why most people even mess with it at all, because it feels good when you look at your web statistics and see that you have had 60,000 new people visit your site over the course of the last couple of hours, believe me its fun. On top of that you will usually see a huge jump in your daily profit margin, if you are using cost-per-click or impression based advertising.
So what’s the downside of this? Diggs traffic is often very low quality. The people that visit usually don’t care about the site itself and have no intention of returning again, they showed up because at the time it was the popular thing to do, its what all of their peers were doing. That’s not to say its all bad, I tend to see an increase of almost triple in my rss subscriptions, and over the course of a few days they tend to trickle off, however you can usually keep the majority, if you are continually posting new content. So from a traffic perspective, Digg is well worth the minimal effort, as you will undoubtedly gain something from it.
Lets face it, there’s no way your going to reach the Digg homepage, attain instant popularity and traffic and not see some backlinks come sailing in, for that article. You will get them, depending on how popular the article gets, you will usually see 15-30 over the course of a week, thats not bad. The problem is, 90 percent of those backlinks are super low quality.
Most of them come from Digg aggregators that have no ranking anywhere, and no appeal to anyone. In fact links like these can sometimes actually hurt your site, they are low quality and Google will notice. The other 10 percent of those links tend to range from ok to great. The ok ones being small scale bloggers, that don’t really add much to the overall scheme, you won’t likely see any traffic from them, but it is another link to add to your stats.
The great ones come from some of the larger more established sites and blogs, and those are what you like to see. My last frontpage article was linked to by MSNBC which brought a couple links from other news sites, and it also was picked up by some PR5 and PR6 sites, which are a great boost as well. A link from some of these big boys, will not only increase traffic, and popularity but look good come time for page rank updates also. With all of that said, from my experience the 10 percent of good links tend to out weigh the bad ones, meaning this is another check mark in the Digg tool belt.
The Comment Threads
What a joke! I have done really well at starting out with something positive to say on each one of these so far, but this is a little different. Don’t even bother reading the comments, I don’t even read comments on other people’s sites. The majority of users on Digg are young, usually teenagers that want to feel involved, they strive to be the cool guy. They react like a pack of wolves, and attack all at once. Its actually kind of funny and sad, because you could have 30 comments saying how great and informative the article is. Then all of the sudden, one guy comes in and says, “hey dude’s this sucks” and just that quick the friendly diggers are holding pitch forks and chasing you through the field. Don’t take this personally, in reality it has nothing to do with you, this is just the mentality they all seem to share and it happens with just about every homepage article, even the big sites.
People tend to feel tough, or high and mighty when they are hidden behind a monitor, most likely in the real world, this would never happen, and a lot of these kids are probably nice as can be, but you can’t let it get to you, if you do you are done. Don’t respond back, just ignore it, I never read the comment thread on one of my articles, just because they almost never hold anything of value. This is where I take big points off of Digg’s service. I feel they should focus on moderating these threads, and ban some of the real bad ones.
Digg is well worth the effort. There are more goods than bad, you get an excellent adrenaline boost of traffic, some good quality links and maybe a little extra money. There are a lot of you out there that have chosen to steer clear of the service, and probably rightfully so, but from my experience I would recommend it.