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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  • Next to friends and activity level, the title is everything. It isn’t hard to get friends to digg your stories if you’re active with a lot of active friends that you digg back. Titles are the way that stories get from “Hot in…” to the homepage.

  • Yep they have really bad titles.

  • Good points – they go back to what I learned as a Freshman in a high school journalism class. The Internet was unheard of then (publicly…) yet it’s funny how the basics never change.

  • Sevonee

    My friend writes great articles, but is lousy at coming up with a title that will catch both the eye and interest of potential readers. Unfortunately, without that title, no one is going to bother reading on to check out the content of his articles. Realizing this, he began using Glyphius, a database capable of generating variations on keywords, headlines, ad copy, etc. and scores them in comparison to other copy in the database. To make a long story short, he no longer suffers the headaches of having to come up with terrific titles, and I no longer receive frantic calls at 2:00 am…”Shev! Help!”

  • This is useful information. I just use the titles I give to my posts without thought. I’ll keep this in mind from now on.

  • An interesting post. I am quite new to the blogging scene, but have been in the seo and marketing game for over 12 years, so learning tips like these for getting my article posts popular on social networking sites are invaluable. Ive bookmarked and dugg it, so well done.
    Keep up the great work.

  • Good article, i’ve dugg in dig, but title of each posting is’nt my focus. after read this article i will give more time to choose words of title. Thanks