Some bloggers look upon the Digg homepage as the holy grail of blogging. I don’t think this is true, but nevertheless, social bookmarking sites can be very helpful in raising the profile of your blog and generating the interest of new readers. If you really have enticing, original content, then there is no reason why it can not do very well on popular social bookmarking sites. These are some suggestions to make effective use of Digg and related social media.
1. First Impressions Count
The visual impact of the site does matter. People don’t just vote on the article, but their subconscious opinion of the site. Make it clean and attractive and don’t go over the top with ads and banners. It is also important that you have the content above the fold. Don’t have huge headers and graphics which makes it hard to see any of the actual content.
2. Be Focused.
Every week, try to create 1 or 2 outstanding posts / articles. These should be original and offer something of real value to visitors; it these 1 or 2 articles that you will focus on promoting. Be prepared to take time to write the best article that you can. Don’t be half hearted in creating content – it is better to have an attitude of all or nothing. It is also important that the articles have a clear focus. Don’t get sidetracked into relating unnecessary personal experiences.
3. Headlines are everything
Quite often people on Digg will vote for a submission based on the title alone – without ever reading the actual post. Because of this it is vital to hone your headline writing talents. A good starting point is to just look at the kind of headlines that get to the homepage of Digg. A good headline has the following characteristics:
- Grabs people’s attentions
- Is Descriptive
- Is Original.
A title like “How to Increase Your Traffic” is so boring and repetitive it has absolutely no chance, no matter how good the article. Try, “Secrets of Increasing Traffic to a new Blog” “10 Powerful Tips for boosting Your RSS readership”
4. First Paragraph.
Often diggers are lazy, when submitting they don’t want to write their own description of the article, but, will look to use the first paragraph of the article. Therefore, make sure that the first paragraph is an enticing description of why you should read the rest of the article. If, in the first paragraph, you get distracted into writing irrelevant content, you will lose many readers straight away. See: Importance of first sentence
5. Be Original
Perhaps the most difficult thing, especially for competitive niches. There are few topics that haven’t been done many times. To create greater originality try:
- A New perspective – Copyblogger has many good examples of this.
- Personal experience
- Link Article to Recent News Event.
- Looking at Topic from the Opposite Angle
6. Negative Perspectives Often Do Well.
It is perhaps unfortunate, but, a negative perspective often generates greater interest. If you don’t like being negative, you can still write from an opposite perspective. For example, if you write on the theme of self improvement instead of: “Tips on creating Happiness” why not try “Are these Beliefs keeping you Miserable?”. An article like this captures the interest but it can still be a useful guide to creating happiness. Negative titles need not be negative articles.
7. Make it 20% Better.
If you write an article, spend time to make it even better. We could use a bell curve to illustrate the distribution of articles.
Most articles tend to fall in the middle range of average to good. If you can make improve the quality of your article by 10% your article has a chance of standing out. By improving the standard of your articles by 10-20% you can gain an 80-100% improvement in return. Social bookmarking sites do not reward quantity but quality. Sometime people talk about creating ‘link bait’ for social bookmarking sites as a negative thing. But, in my view, the potential success and rewards of social bookmarking sites, is an incentive to produce excellent content rather than just writing for search engines.
8. Build Up RSS Feed Count
It is no coincidence that the Digg home page often features the most popular sites. Having a loyal and regular readership means you have a captive audience likely to vote for you and give your article an initial push. It becomes a self fulfilling prophecy – the most successful sites do well on Social Bookmarking Sites and so become even more popular. However, there is no reason why you cannot also benefit. If you are a new blogger, don’t just worry about getting on social bookmarking sites, build up your RSS readership through consistently good blogging. Also, try writing guest posts on these popular blogs – you at least may get on Digg homepage on another site! see: 8 Effective ways to increase RSS readership
9. Don’t Submit Your Own.
In the long run, submitting your own articles doesn’t work; it is also goes against the guidelines of sites like Digg. However, if you are a relatively small site, it will take a long time before anyone volunteers to submit an article. In this case, it is important to generate friendships with like minded webmasters who share you commitment to quality. It can work well to ask a friend to submit an article, and then returning the favour. It is good to have variety in people who submit from your site. Don’t just rely on one friend.
10. Become a Genuine Member
Don’t just look upon social bookmarking sites as “what can they do for me?” think about how you can contribute in a meaningful way. Don’t just be interested in promoting your own articles, use it for bookmarking articles that you really enjoy. Also getting to know other diggers is one of the best ways to helping your chances. Look for active Diggers who are willing to help each other.
11. Don’t Be Intimidated
Sometimes we look at the Digg home page, dominated by popular sites and think it would be really difficult to enter. However, every site starts off with 1 subscriber; think big and don’t be put off by the perceived ‘difficulty’ of getting on Digg.
12. Be Prepared for the Traffic Surge.
If your post goes viral, it is possible that you can get upto 100,000 visits in a single day. Would your server cope? If you are on a shared hosting account there is no guarantee. I am currently with host i Can, although I feel Dreamhost may offer an even better chance of coping.
Important Tip: If you use WordPress make sure you have WP-Cache installed, change the settings on time elapsed to 9999999, this will significantly reduce the load on your server. Basically, any CMS which uses mysql and php you want to look at cache settings. How to configure wp cache to abate the digg effect
13. Get To Know The Social Bookmarking Sites
I often see people submitting content to Digg that I feel has little chance at all. At the moment, Digg are not so keen on SEO and blogging tips. – How often does Problogger get on the front page of Digg these days? If you are writing articles “Top 10 ways to monetise your site” I think it will be difficult to do well on Digg at the moment. For these kinds or articles, you may have more return on sites like Sphinn and Mixx.
Social Bookmarking Sites are Not Everything.
Many people comment on how the traffic Social bookmarking sites send is low quality. Also, it is important not to lose focus and feel that getting tons of traffic from Digg is the holy grail of blogging. It can help, but it is not indispenable. I think this advice is particularly important for new bloggers; often time spent on improving your blog is more beneficial than making friends on social bookmarking sites.