The Qualities of a Good Digg Title

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Each day, thousands of stories are submitted to Digg by its users, who often have vastly different reasons for submitting them. Some use Digg as just a personal bookmarking service, while others submit their own content in the hopes that it will get attention from others. Still others just want to share good, quality content with the world. In any case, a key component of getting people to notice your story is having a good Digg title. But exactly what makes a good Digg title? This blog has written about the characteristics of good Digg titles in the past but today I thought we should take another look.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen Digg stories titled poorly, slapped my forehead and wondered to myself, “What was this person thinking? Did they really think that people would digg this?” This screenshot above was taken just this morning at random from Digg’s upcoming section and I can tell you, I will never Digg any of these stories, or stories like them, for reasons I will describe below.
I thought it might be useful for me to give a few tips as to what makes a good Digg title and description. Note that a good Digg title may possess only one or as many as all of these characteristics; occasionally, they will possess none. Nevertheless, I think if you follow these guidelines, you’ll maximize your chance of a front page submission. Here are adjectives I would use to describe a good Digg title:

1) Informative –
Your title should tell me something about what’s going to be waiting for me on the other side of that link.

2) In English –
This doesn’t just mean that you shouldn’t submit French or Spanish titles to Digg (although that’s important too). This means that you should read over the title and the description and make sure they don’t sound like they were written by a five-year old. Check for typos and make sure sentences are complete and grammatically correct.
3) Intriguing – This one is key: Your title should be written in such a way as to make me want to find out more. This will often mean that you need to use a title that is different than the original title for the article. For example, see “Toy-themed virtual worlds” in the above screenshot. The submitter just used the title of the original article, not thinking of what would make for a good Digg title. The story is somewhat interesting, about how virtual worlds can undermine basic human values. So a title like “Virtual Worlds Undermine Basic Human Values” or “Virtual Worlds Shown to Undermine Basic Human Values” might be a better headline for the exact same story.

4) Relevant –
Pai Gow Poker Rules” may be a fascinating or intriguing topic, but it’s not one that the Digg crowd is likely to be interested in. Read what gets onto the front page of Digg and tailor your Digg submissions to people’s preferences if you want your story to make it big. I don’t think this is necessarily that restrictive, as Digg users have a wide variety of interests. But unfortunately, I don’t think Pai Gow poker is one of them.

Cameron Olthuis

Cameron Olthuis

Cameron Olthuis

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