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How to Build a ‘Digg Culture’ on your Blog

Posted By Darren Rowse 27th of December 2006 Social Media 0 Comments

200612091300How do you build a ‘Digg Culture’ and get repeatedly on the front page of Digg over time?

In this post I’ll share 10 ways that top bloggers do it.

Last week on a post that Tony wrote about Digg Fraud one of those who left a comment wrote:

“I think it’s been pretty much proven that any traffic a site gets from digg is fleeting and doesn’t translate into long-term traffic.”

Many don’t believe that getting on Digg is worth much because the traffic is so fleeting however I think there is much more value for smart publishers than just the initial burst of traffic.

Such benefits to getting on the front page of Digg include:

1. Fresh RSS subscribers

Every time I get dugg I notice a leap in my RSS subscriber count. The first few times a site gets on Digg this is often bigger than subsequent diggings (after a few times I guess those who are interested in your topic will have already been subscribed) but there is a noticeable bump in subscribers each time.

2. Newsletter subscribers

Similarly newsletter subscribers (if you have one) will generally get a bump when you’re dugg. I generally add a link to subscribe to my newsletter on any post that gets on digg to leverage the traffic in this way. In this way (and with RSS subscribers) you are not only getting that first wave of traffic but are building ongoing waves of traffic each time you post or send a newsletter.

3. Secondary link ups

Digg has a ‘blog this’ feature and while it’s not used by every Digger it is used. I find that each time I’m dugg that there is a secondary wave of incoming links to your post via this feature but also other diggers blogging about you. I also find that when featured prominently on digg that you quite often get linked to on other social bookmarking sites (delicious, reddit etc) and get further waves of traffic and incoming links from their users. The secondary link ups don’t generally send a lot of traffic (although on occasion they can be from larger sites) but have the added benefit of helping the site’s Search Engine ranking (Google Juice) which over time helps build a site’s traffic.

4. A Digging Culture Emerges

If you are able to convert your incoming readers from Digg into regular readers you then have a unique opportunity to get repeat appearances on Digg again. I’ve found that with each appearance on digg that I seem to gather more and more readers to my site who will naturally submit my posts to Digg in future. I can’t quite put my finger on it but I guess the type of reader that is now subscribing to the blogs is now familiar with Digg and is even actively looking for things to bookmark. Once you develop this type of ‘culture’ the cycle outlined above can continue.

The Impact of Digg Culture over time:
Once this ‘digg culture’ kicks in a site can experience a series of ‘diggings’ which on each occasion will see the site receive a sudden and short burst of traffic followed by a return to lower traffic that is actually higher than pre-digg levels.

The actual traffic from digg is a nice (but short lived) thing – but the real benefit of being dugg regularly is the increase in traffic from loyal readers (RSS, bookmarks and newsletters) as well as the SEO benefits of new incoming links.

I’ve attempted to graph this below (this is not from any actual site’s traffic but is typical of a blog that enjoys the benefits of ‘digg culture’:


While each blog is different (and the graph won’t apply to everyone) I’ve witnessed this ‘digg effect’ on a number of blogs now.

Can you Encourage a Digg Culture on Your Blog?

So how does one build a ‘Digg Culture’ on their blog? I’m sure this is a question that many of us would like ‘the answer’ to.

I’m afraid I don’t have a definitive answer and while many articles have been written on how to be successful on Digg I’m not sure anyone has really got it completely worked out because it can be a reasonably unpredictable and whimsical beast.

Having said that – here are 10 tips that come to mind on how to build a ‘digg culture’ on your blog. They come both from my own experience of having my blogs regularly featured on Digg but also by watching what other successful sites do.

  1. Style of Writing – while many hundreds of pages get to the top of the digg pile every week and there is quite a variation in their style – many of them do tend to have similarities. They are often lists and are usually easily digestible pieces that appeal to a skeptical yet reasonably knowledgeable audience. I don’ t know their demographics but I suspect it’s largely a young male audience so your writing needs to be appeal to them. I find ‘how to’ posts tend to do well on Digg, as do posts that break news or that are irreverent to some sort of institution.
  2. Topic of Writing – Digg has recently broadened the topics that it covers, however it’s roots are technology based and I find that blogs that have a technology focus tend to have a higher chance of being dugg repeatedly than blogs that are on other topics. This may change with time.
  3. Become a Digg User – perhaps one of the most powerful tips I can give you is to actually use Digg yourself. Become a part of the community, be an active Digger (not just of your own sites), watch what stories make it big, analyze their style and topic, make connections with other diggers. Don’t do all this just to manipulate the system but because in doing it you could well learn a thing or two about building a successful site, have some fun and meet some cool people.
  4. Get on other Key Sites/Blogs – One way to get highly Dugg is to be featured on other sites with a Digg Culture. For example blogs like Life Hacker routinely have the sites that they link to get flow on diggings. Similarly, other social bookmarking sites like delicious and reddit often bring in a type of traffic which will then also digg your posts. Ultimately the more people that see your post the higher chance of it being bookmarked – however there are certain sites that can send traffic that are more likely to do so.
  5. Drive Traffic to Diggable Posts – a few weeks ago I noticed an interesting trend on one of my blogs statistics. It seemed that every Friday (or at least every second one) I was getting on the front page of Digg with one of my posts. This was strange to me as I had not purposely tried to get any of those posts featured in that way but almost as regularly as clockwork they were. Why was this? The answer lay in my weekly email newsletter which I sent, you guessed it, every Friday morning to thousands of readers. While I hadn’t mentioned Digg in those newsletters and had not asked readers to do it – the fact that I sent thousands of readers to a freshly written post all at the same time meant that a certain percentage of them Dugg it (partly because the Digg Culture was already in effect as I’d previously been at the top of Digg on that blog). It struck me that I was onto a good thing so I began to release my more ‘diggable posts’ on Fridays instead of randomly and let my newsletter continue to do its work.
  6. Make it easy to Digg your work – I know that some people hate the recently common practice of putting social bookmarking icons at the end of posts but they can at times be the difference between getting your post on the front page of Digg or not. I choose not to use them but if I do see one of my posts rising in the number of Diggs that they have I will generally add a text link at the end of my posts pointing to the Digg page that readers might like to visit in order to bookmark it. This means that not every post on my blogs has a digg button – but those that someone has bookmarked often get enough extra diggs to get on the front page.
  7. Titles and first lines are Important – I find that in most cases that I’ve had a post I’ve written submitted to Digg that the person who submits it uses my title (or at least something close to it). In many cases they also use the first line or two of my post as the description. As a result it is important to hone your title writing skills and to think carefully about how you start your posts. Posts that make it to the Digg front page are punchy, informative and draw readers in to read more.
  8. Digg Your Own Stories – With Caution – I quite often get asked whether I submit my own posts to Digg. To be honest, in my early days I did, but I found I had a much higher rate of getting to the front page when someone else did it naturally, so I stopped. My attitude is that getting into Digg is something that I want to happen naturally but that once it’s in and climbing the ‘upcoming stories’ ranks that digging my own story is something that I’ll do on posts that I think are worthy of digging. I’ll also pass the digg page link onto a few friends on occasion to help it on it’s way – however this is not something I engage in heavily because I’m much more interested in organic results for my blogs these days. Also don’t aim to get on the front page of Digg every day (or even every week). I’ve found that some digg users actually become suspicious of sites that get Dugg too much – moderation is the key.
  9. Celebrate Diggings…. Subtly – If you get on the front page of Digg I think it can be worthwhile to subtly mention it on your blog and/or thank your readers for it. Don’t go over the top with it (or your readers will think you’re boasting or obsessed) but to mention it reinforces that you’re a diggable blog which may trigger other stories that you write to be dugg. Subtlety is the key though – don’t be obsessive or cheesy about it.
  10. Quality Content – Ultimately Digg users (like most web users) like quality, useful and unique content. They get frustrated with second rate writing, lots of mistakes, recycled stories and sub standard site design. If you work hard on building a quality website you’ll substantially increase the chances of building a Diggable blog. Once again – don’t be obsessive about it. Build your blog up to be a site that people enjoy and want to come back to and let your Digg culture grow in it’s own time.

Digg This Here – I had to follow my own advice! :-)

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. […] How To Build A Digg Culture On Your Blog Problogger Darren Rowse explains the impact being dugg had on his readership. […]

  2. […] How to Build a ‘Digg Culture’ on your Blog Comment écrire pour exploiter l’effet trafic de “Digg”? Bientôt valable avec Scoopéo? (tags: digg digg-like blogging tips writing ecrire) […]

  3. […] Digg och dess kloner kan användas strategiskt av bloggare — 10 tips från proffsen: ProBlogger: How to Build a ‘Digg Culture’ on your Blog […]

  4. does anyone have any suggestions how to get a URL (or two) un-barred from Digg?

    klm, ed, travo

  5. Ahh but what about non-diggable topics?

  6. […] Darren Rowse responds to suggestions that traffic gained from being on Digg is fleeting and not long-term. He offers some excellent insights as to how Digg can benefit a blog’s traffic. […]

  7. I’ve heard that it’s not always a good thing to get “dugg” since the quality of readers are less than desirable.

  8. What about sites that aren’t really technology oriented. Correct me if I’m wrong, but most Digg users are either Technology oriented, Politics oriented, or both.

    Would Fark or Delicious be more suitable for certain sites?

  9. Both Ian and Nicholas have good thoughts here. I appreciated the tips, Darren, but based on personal experience with Digg itself (nothing to do with getting my own blogs ‘Dugg’) I strongly question the value of wasting time with those folks.

    First and foremost Digg is a service which mainly supports the self aggrandizement of a certain clique within the ‘inner circle’. They have no interest in actual newsworthy items unless such item be submitted by an ‘insider’. There have been numerous examples reported of items submitted and ignored and then re-submitted by a member of the Digg cognoscenti and rapidly advancing to the top. Blogging takes a lot of time and effort to do ‘right’, I can’t see spending that time and effort to make others feel important. This leads to the question of the quality of readers one might get from Digg.

    If one is a techno-geek, or a rabid political idealist, Digg readers might be worth the effort. However the ‘snarkiness’ and immaturity evidenced in a majority of Digg comments leads me to believe it’s not much of a source for most who want to attract a broad spectrum of thinking, polite readers.

    Purely my own thoughts, but Digg is certainly not on my list of “ToDo’s” for 2007. The type of reader interested in say, “retirement planning”, “GPS vehicle tracking”, “Philippine travel” and such may well not even know what Digg is and, in a practical sense, why should he or she care?

  10. So, what kind of a traffic jump did you see from this one?

  11. Completely agree Darren… esp about the RSS subscribers.

  12. Digg is an amazing tool, writing excellent content in all reality is all that makes or breaks a web site and in the end will determine the number of users that read the content.

  13. good post, but kind of long. I would have just kept it to “post interesting stuff, and do it often”.

  14. There is no doubt that Digg can be a great source of traffic and a way to let your Blog known by people. However, it is become increasingly difficult to compete with all the people who have realized this and make it on the front of page of digg.

  15. […] story No Comments so far Leave a comment RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI Leave a comment Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTMLallowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong> […]

  16. I’ve become a regular reader of ProBlogger over the last few weeks and I thought it was cool to see an article posted on digg that I had already read.

  17. Thanks that was really helpful, and I have definitely seen those results with my site. I like this site a lot.

  18. Yet another great article!

  19. Ha, These are some of the techniques I’ve been implementing on some of my blogs. It takes a bit of learning to figure out how to monitize DIGG, thanks for more great advice
    Build a Niche

  20. […] xmen the films As he writes, "Many don ’t believe that getting on Digg is worth much because the traffic is so fleeting however I think there is much more value for smart publishers than just the initial burst of traffic." and list down ways to build a digg culture. How to get dugg Often. xmen the last stand pictures of sentinelsread more | digg story […]

  21. For a little more on the pluses and minuses of Digg folks might wnat to look at the 21 Dec entry here: http://www.bruceclay.com/blog/

    Apparently there is even more under-handedness going on at Digg than I personally observed before I quit wasting my time there.

  22. Great post, Darren. I am employing many of these techniques to cultivate somewhat of a Digg Culture at my blog, both for mine and my reader’s (more importantly) benefit.

  23. Solid stuff. As a relative newcomer, I’ve employed some of these tactics. Some good observations.

  24. Angus Desveaux says: 12/29/2006 at 2:06 am

    I use a free web hosting site that gives me 10gigs in traffic, if I used
    Digg would it bury my site?

  25. SearchCap: The Day In Search, Dec. 28, 2006…

    Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web:……

  26. Hey Darren,

    Great list! Found this via Digg, of course. I’ve made it here before the same way and I’m consistently impressed with the quality of your posts.

    One question though, there’s a noticeable absence from your list:

    Digg-centric content.

    If there’s one thing I’ve noticed it’s that Digg users tend to be very interested in how Digg is operating or being received in the mainstream media. So when drama about Digg being rigged is around or they do a new version or MSNBC mentions Digg, that will consistently hit the front page. Almost to the point that it should have it’s own category.

    I tend to attribute this to a form of digital web-2.0 pride. ‘Something I help sustain made it on CNN’ kind of satisfaction.

    Had you considered and dismissed this? I’m curious to know what your thoughts on it are.

  27. […] Over at Problogger, Darren Rowse has a good post about how to build a steady readership from Digg, one of the original social bookmarking sites that promotes content based on user voting. Darren’s point was that, while a single Big Digg might generate only fleeting traffic, a series of Diggs will slowly build both your base site traffic and your RSS readership. He even made a Handy GraphTM to prove his point. And hey – if it includes a graph, it must be true! […]

  28. >>I can’t see spending that time and effort to make others feel important.

    With that attitude why bother with traffic at all? No one wants to read someone who writes to make themselves feel important.

  29. What a joke. Who in their right might would want to get Digg users on their site? Digg’s demographic consists of 13 year old kids. Culture, my ass.

  30. […] Obviously buttons and icons can only go so far in helping something win more votes. I suppose they’d work well with if you already have a large readership and something of a Digg culture on your blog. It undeniably provides a shortcut for loyal subscribers to Digg your post. However if it’s the first thing a person sees in your post, they’ll immediately question your motives for placing it there. I think it might be better to place Digg text link requests that appear organically within paragraphs from now on. When I’ve applied this before in other markets – conversation rates have soared. […]

  31. Several of the commenters have questioned the value of diggers, which are lovely wonderful people with high moral standards and are some of the nicest people in the world…
    …They are almost all irrelevant “sorry nice diggers” if you look at this post and look at the trackbacks you will see a mix of regulars who watch comment and write about Darrens blog and new ones but look at the numbers and compare them to a normal non digged post. I think the value of dig is that it reaches a minority of diggers who are also bloggers, and if interesting enough (I thought it amusing quality was #10 but I suspect that was deliberate) will refer mention or otherwise cite the article.

    Digg brings a temporary annoying spike of visitors and long term visibility in both links and through its search facility which seems to be becoming more used as it pops up often enough in referrers logs. But I should point out the Digg community are lovely and are all ways welcome and the annoying spike is a by product.

  32. This is a very cool article. I’ll try it immediately

  33. […] Seeking ways to increase chances in Digg? Read ProBlogger article, How to Build a Digg Culture on your Blog. […]

  34. […] How to Build a ‘Digg Culture’ on your Blog Permalink • Print • Email • Comment […]

  35. […] On the SEO side of things (which is the only reason anyone reading this blog cares about Digg), it’s been proven time and time again that Digg traffic does not translate to increased revenue (unless you create a Digg culture, which you couldn’t do by Digging yourself repeatedly). […]

  36. Somebody put one of my articles from a site on Digg yesterday, today I noticed a small bit of digg traffic but also noticed traffic from a BBC website. Seems as if the BBC read digg for news stories not just 13 year old kids.

    Makes you wonder….but the good news is I have a nice backlink from the BBC to a new website

  37. […] How to build a Digg culture on your blog Share and Enjoy:These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages. […]

  38. […] Come costruire una “cultura Digg” sul tuo Blog […]

  39. […] In the “How To Build a Digg Culture” article on Pro Blogger, Darren mentions that every Friday one of his articles would mysteriously appear on the front page of Digg thanks to the additional awareness that his weekly newsletter would bring to the specific posts. It might be worth consciously adopting a similar approach where you leverage your own userbase to boost your articles popularity. For example you could plan to release your story at 2PM and send out your newsletter a few minutes later. Incorporating a Digg prompt into your post can help boost your efforts here too, especially if you have a newly established blog. […]

  40. […] The importance of subscriber acquisition is getting its fair share of attention within the social media space, which is good. Darren Rowse recently posted on the value of conduits like Digg and other social media traffic sources to build up your own subscriber-based community over time. […]

  41. […] How to Build a ‘Digg Culture’ on your Blog (tags: digg seo) […]

  42. […] Lets take a quick look at SMO results over at shoemoney.com. Jeremy released a blog post about 10 reasons why Microsoft will aquire Yahoo! in 2007 and soon after that released his traffic stats which shows almost a 100% boost in his traffic from reaching the first page of digg. These results are being seen all over the web but the problem I see is that the boost of immediate traffic is extremely fast BUT the drop in traffic is also fast. Darren Rowse posted a pretty interesting article on how to cultivate your digg traffic into long term traffic which is a great resource for anyone looking to become successful as an SMO. […]

  43. […] How to Build a ‘Digg Culture’ on your Blog Digg bait (tags: seo) […]

  44. […] However, it does seem that sites with the best results are sites that get repeated Diggs. Whether it’s becoming a made for Digg site or building a Digg culture it’s more or less up to the site owner to decide what kind of relationship they want to these social media sites. Building traffic to a site has always been a longer, invested approach. Marketing has always taken more than a single channel to build a good brand, customer base, site links, content, and a business. Online marketing is no different. As a point of clarification, this article is directly related to using the social bookmark sites as a method of building links and traffic, not to sites that are using social media to create engagement for their own user base. That is a different matter entirely. […]

  45. […] Of course Digg traffic isn’t completely useless – in fact if you harness it you can grow a blog over time. It comes in such high numbers that even if only a very small group stick around it can be worthwhile. […]

  46. […] So here’s the steady paycheck analogy. digg is like working on commission or for bonuses where the payout can be huge, but the consistency and longevity isn’t so good. It could be feast or famine from one week to the next. Other sites might not “pay” as much but the reliability is like a steady paycheck. So there are plusses and minuses either way. Problogger suggests it’s totally possible to build traffic through digg. But the more I go at this blogging thing, I’m definitely finding I’m more of a steady paycheck guy (just as in real life). […]

  47. […] For some sites, there can also be a residual linking effect. Some of the people visiting Digg will learn about your site for the first time, and they might like it so much they link to it from their own site or blog or wherever. Call it trickle-down-linking. Links beget links. The filthy linking rich get filthy linking richer. […]

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