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ProBlogger Readers Do it Better…. than Digg Users

Posted By Darren Rowse 25th of May 2007 Blog Promotion, Social Media 0 Comments

Wendy writes a great post today in her introduction to Social Media Strategy and Socially Driven Content.

In the post she talks to bloggers about why they should learn about social media, what results they can get and how to start out in it.

What caught my attention was right down the bottom of her post where she did a little comparison to how Digg, StumbleUpon, Netscape and delicious readers interacted on her site over a 7 day period in terms of visitor numbers, page views per visitor and time spent on her site.

She then did a little analysis of ProBlogger readers over the same period (54 visitors). The visitors came simply by writing quality comments on my posts here (and she does write insightful comments).

The results speak for themselves.

While social bookmarking sites can potentially send a lot more traffic:

  • ProBlogger readers stay longer per visit (you stay 18 times longer than Digg users)
  • ProBlogger readers visit more pages over that visit (2.5 times as many pages than Digg users).

Wendy writes:

I’ve grown to really appreciate the Digg crowd (even though they are mean as all hell sometimes), but if I had to pick, I’d take those 54 ProBlogger visitors over a big Digg any day.”

I guess that goes to show what quality readers you all are!

Seriously though (and you are quality readers – but there’s a lesson here) it’s also a good illustration of the power of different types of traffic.

While Digg can send you a heap of visitors in a short period of time they rarely stay long, rarely go deeper within your blog and rarely comment. On the other hand traffic from another blog on a similar topic (even if it’s just a from a comment) can drive a different quality of traffic.

Not only will they stay longer, comment more and view more pages I suspect they’ll also subscribe to your newsletter and RSS feed in higher numbers but they’ll respond more to your income streams (ads and affiliate products).

More reading on different types of traffic:

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. I agree about Digg’ers – they are not really into the conversation nor the relationship you can build with readers. Sort of like comparing clicks to leads :)

  2. Wendy makes a great point here…there are numerous ways to get higher traffic numbers, but is that all you need to be successful? More than likely we all have focused on just more traffic instead of more quality readers at one time or another. It is not an easy task getting people to stick around for more than a minute or two.

  3. There are some longer term benefits to being dugg (which I’m not sure if Wendy got into, I’m going to head over to her site after I post this comment).

    Typically I’ve found that a digg attracts a lot of links from other sites/bloggers, and eventually this will help your Google PageRank, which of course helps your site in search results (which continues to be the #1 overall source of traffic for my particular blog).

    But I do absolutely agree w/ what was summarized from above. In my case, the visitors that Lifehacker has driven to my site view more pages, are more likely to comment etc.

  4. That is a great point; I would prefer 54 quality ProBlogger readers over a big Digg day. But I wonder why ProBlogger readers stay longer– Digg users usually come from the section and title that they have interest in; ProBlogger readers the same. (I know I always check out the other posts if I like the post from Digg…)

  5. I think Digg traffic is probably the lowest kind, well apart from just buying untargeted clicks. Of course, people who read (and comment) here are a very discerning and well read group. I know, I’m shameless.

  6. I appreciate my daily readers like no other, but one cannot entirely deny the digg effect nor the chance for a small gain in your long term audience from a surge of hits (of any kind actually). That coming from someone who hasn’t been dugg of course.

  7. Chris – you’re right – I love the Digg effect (it’d kind of like what I imagine to be a hit of crack!). But the quality of visitors that come from this site (and really only a handful of others) just can’t be compared.

    I have made great friends with readers I have met because of Darren and ProBlogger. Digg users, on the other hand, bring out the worst in me – and the things I say to my laptop screen when I read their comments aren’t fit to be published online. Anywhere. LOL. :)

  8. I think if I got Dugg I would be tempted to switch off comments. Then you can get benefit of traffic, without having to deal with the comments. I know a few people do switch off comments.

  9. Problogger is my 6th biggest referring site, but the traffic sent is the BEST, with a whopping 5.23 PV per person on average! and an average site time of 12mins!

    Those are higher than any other site! It makes it more than worthwile to leave a good comment here, especialy as I would anyway due to the stimulating content.

  10. I’ve never been (un)fortunate enough to suffer a major digg, although occasionally articles I’ve written do find their way onto there, which sends a little traffic my way.

    I’ve always held the belief that if you can get a visitor through the door, you’ve always got a chance to lock the door behind them to stop them escaping, and have never altered this view just because a visitor has come via digg rather than google, for instance.

    Maybe the problem is with Digg, and that once a dugg article goes from niche search to front page, the click through profile of your visitor changes – front page digg articles are likely to be clicked by someone with a passing interest rather than a passionate interest.


  11. Interesting. I think mostly because Problogger is more FOCUS! Then the information presented is more relevant compare to digg. I’m only visit digg for funny thing or trend but I do browse more detail in problogger or some other blog because the information is just want I”m looking for. I’m start playing around with FOCUS strategy in couple of my sites, it’s show better result then having so many things to talk about in one site.

  12. I do agree that Problogger traffic is better than digg, more so with your Group Writing Projects.

  13. I can relate from experience too. One of my articles got front page digg, server crashed, got a lot of buzz generated but the conversation mostly took place on digg itself. Partly because the server was down, even after it came up a few hours later and I still got like 14,000 visits, the ratio of total comments {72} was very low.

    On the other hand traffic that I get from other viewers reading my comments and intrigued to come to my site usually do end up staying longer and going deeper into my site, even searching for stuff {gasp!}.

  14. Good thoughts, Darren, and a tip of the hat to Wendy for doing the work to qantify things. I;m not an enemy of Digg, but I spend no time there and really consider them just a bit of noise on the net. This attitude would be different if I were an “echo chamber” blogger, writing about blogging and other bloggers … I’d then be vitally interested. But my readers, on average, likely don’t know what Digg is …. many of Wendy’s likely don’t either. That’s the chief reason opinions are so divided on Digg … Digg serves a particular audience and serves it well, but a great many bloggers have nothing to do with that audience.

  15. Great information. I have to be honest and say I have avoided digg because of the really mean things I have read about it. If Wendy is discussing how mean people can be it is something to consider. I guess I don’t want to have people coming to blog that have an “almighty” attitude. I like my current visitors which are calm and friendly. I am really seeing that blog community that so many people talk about and I like it. And I agree with many here. The traffic I get from ProBlogger is great and all I did was enter the latest contest!

    Thanks for all of your hard work and informative articles, Darren.

  16. I wrote an article too related on being or Digg or not!

    The only think you get when you hit the first page is getting a NAME. I would take those 54 probloggers, too, but would also love a digg once in a while, because that way people will think, hey this guys writes great articles. How about subscribing …

    Check out my site for the link!

  17. You know, I’ve found about the same results on my site as well. Visitors from other blogs, whether comment links or links from the blog to my interior pages, stay longer and look the place over.

    Everyone have a great Memorial Day!


  18. Great post. Even i’ve stopped using Digg for quite some time now… cuz the traffic offered by digg usually doesnt convert well. The visitors sent by digg spend less time on my blog.

  19. Wendy’s article has a lot of insight into social media. I’ve also done some research on Digg traffic vs. other sources, primarily to see whether it monetizes at all for AdSense (answer: mostly no, and far less than Slashdot traffic).

    But the number of visitors from a front-page Digg can be breathtaking, and can really benefit your numbers if you’re trying to build enough traffic to get the attention of ad networks.

    Wendy noted the expertise of Neil and Muhammad from ProNet. Rohit Barghava also has some interesting ideas (especially the social media bio), as does Maki at Dosh Dosh.

  20. Does anyone have any experience with the sort of visitor that is willing to link back, or actively promote an article they like?

    I’m just wondering if characteristics of that sort of visitor can be teased out in the abstract, and the information put to good use.

  21. I spend ages on Problogger because I arrive for one topic but then I click on related links and popular posts and before I know it 20 (useful) minutes have been spent.

    I still enjoy being on Digg even if it doesn’t result in such quality traffic. I guess it’s a bit like writing for magazines or newspapers – it’s such a high being on the front page, even once.

  22. Well, I’m sure the difference in quality of a problogger visit is they’re doing research and looking for contacts! I know that once I finish posting this I’m going to be checking out everyone’s site that has posted so far.

    I’ve never been to digg, but I’m a member of Fark and if they’re anything similar it really wouldn’t be a pleasant experience to be dugg. The culture of Fark right now is a contest to see who can say the snarkiest thing and I’m sure there’s a bleedover to digg. Luckily, that culture seems to be swinging back the other way so we should be seeing a change within a few months.

  23. Let’s not forget that Problogger and Digg cater to two VERY different constituencies.

    Digg is a site devoted mainly to user voted news posts whereas ProBlogger is devoted to those who are interested in learning how to become better and eventually, Pro Bloggers.

    You generally won’t find the smarmy, once off kind of web user on Problogger whereas you will find plenty of those on Slashdot and Digg.

    Problogger readers are the more serious type because they are interested in learning how to start a business whereas Digg and other sites like it are for those who want to mouth off.

  24. I agree with many above that I would take the Problogger traffic anyday over Digg….BUT – and that’s a big BUT – I would love to have an article hit the front page of any of the social sites! I’ve tried about a dozen times now, and I haven’t quite done it yet. I was thrilled when one article of mine got 18 Diggs…I thought I was king of my own little world.

    To the person relating it to crack, I would have to agree (even though I’ve never had crack, I hear it’s pretty addictive!) I haven’t even experienced a Digg effect yet, but I seem to crave one so bad!

    Just once! That’s all I ask….

  25. Darren,

    When you say it like this: “While Digg can send you a heap of visitors in a short period of time they rarely stay long, rarely go deeper within your blog and rarely comment.” —- why do I even care about getting on Digg then, except for my own personal (ego perhaps?) goals?

    It doesn’t sound like the traffic is quality anyway, and if most of the people are of a negative frame of mind, do I really want to deal with that?

    I would prefer quality over quantity because the quality visitors who stick around will tell others about my site. I’m not doing anything to purposely attract digging right now and if it ever happens it will be an interesting experience based on what I’ve read here.

  26. Ken is right in saying that they cater to two very different audiences. Both have their benefits, and I like to think they(along with the other “services” out there) can co-exist. Though, I suspect that turning off the comments is more applicable to getting Dugg rather than receiving traffic from Probloggers.

  27. To follow up on what Ken says, I think probloggers would naturally tend to spend more time on a blogging productivity blog because that’s what they’re interested in. Problogger and the target blog have a lot in common in terms of topic and subject so the reader will find stuff they’re interested in. Whereas Digg readers are not necessarily interested in blog improvement and productivity, they were just looking at an interesting headline.

    I run a fitness blog called 60 in 3. I can advertise it here or I can advertise it on a small fitness blog. I may get a lot more traffic here but I’m guessing that the traffic won’t be the quality I want. That’s not a dig (argh! Unintentional bad pun alert) at Problogger readers. It just means that many of them may not be interested in fitness or health. Where as the small fitness blogs readers are there because they are in fact interested in the very topic I discuss.

    I guess the lesson learned for me is to not try the shotgun version of a marketing strategy. Instead, find where your audience is and talk to them there.


  28. Interesting. I tend to think many people at those social bookmarking sites are just in it for the traffic themselves. Here at ProBlogger it seems people geneuinely want to talk and learn from each other and you.

  29. mm… I tried leaving this comment before and it never showed up. If it does, well, sorry for the unintentional double post.

    I just wanted to expand on what Ken said.

    It’s much easier to find and retain good readers if they’re already interested in your subject matter. Wendy’s blog seems to have a topic that is at least related to ProBlogger. So people who go there from here will have a greater likelihood of being interested in her posts. Digg folks are just looking for an interesting headline. They’re basically bored and looking for entertainment or something to read. So there’s a far smaller likelihood that they’ll be interested in a marketing tip for bloggers or some such topic.

    Personally, I run a fitness and health blog called “60 in 3”. I could advertise it here and get exposure to tens of thousands of readers, or I could advertise it on a small fitness blog and get exposure to a few hundred readers. Sounds like Problogger would make a better choice, but I disagree. This isn’t a dig (sorry for the unintentional pun) at Problogger readers, but there’s simply a lower likelihood that they’ll be interested in my subject matter. I might find some readers here who are but I know for a fact that all of the small fitness blog’s readers are interested in what I write.

    It’s not just about number of eyeballs, it’s also about target demographics and audiences. I’ll pick a small audience who I know is interested in my topic over a large random one any day.


  30. I think the landscape of digg is slowly changing – As more and more people realize the power that a frontpage story carries, articles are written more and more for the sole purpose of landing on digg.

    This really seemed to be the case 2-4 months ago – top 10 lists abounded, everyone was throwing their two cents in on apple and linux (two digg favorites), and it seemed every post title included the word “AMAZING!”.

    Lately though, it seems there has been a bit of a backlash – the formula for a frontpage digg became overused and tired, and diggers started recognizing attempts to so obviously cater to them.

    In the last month or so, it seems like stories making it to the front page of digg follow this abused formula less and less, which is a great thing for everyone. If bloggers can focus on simply providing great content that is relevant to their niche and truly useful (or at least truly interesting), they’ve still got a chance for a digg front page story.

  31. I like how Wendy did numbers research and analysis in her article – this is the kind of blog post that I find very valuable (as opposed to simply guessing or speculating). And Darren’s thoughtful remarks deepened the learning for me. Thanks Wendy and Darren – you are both good examples of the “content is king (or queen)” concept.


  32. yet again another great article Darren. I have signed up for Digg but it hasn’t done much for me. I actually prefer StumbleUpon..I didn’t realize you have a community. I am so in..

  33. JoLynn Braley – there are some great reasons to get digg traffic – it’s not all bad.

    – Firstly, it does help the ego, give you a boost of energy and a little inspiration to keep on blogging to see 20,000 people an hour hit your blog
    – Secondly, while most diggers won’t hang around, even if just 2% do it can be significant when you’re talking those kinds of numbers
    – Thirdly, it does have a secondary effect. For starters when you get dugg you often also appear on other social media sites. You also generally get links from other blogs/sites also because many digg users are webmasters/bloggers. This is great for secondary waves of traffic and SEO.

    I personally don’t mind digg traffic – although it is all about balance.

  34. a digg effect is very useful, even if it doesnt result in long term traffic directly.
    once its on digg, bloggers will blog about it , and start throwing you a lot of link-love.

  35. This is fascinating!

    One of the issues when you are trying to monetize is the ranking mechanisms tend to privilege certain, easily quantifiable things like traffic to the site, or inbound links. Advertisers seem to use this as short hand: We love your content, you are getting visitors who are our target audience, but what is your page rank, alexa etc.?

    When I first started blogging on my MilSpouse blog a few years ago, my main goal was to put information out there for those who might need it and to also have a semi-anonymous outlet for thoughts about a specific aspect of my life. I was not really focused on traffic or inbound links.

    Now, however, there are so many blogs out there, that even if you are only trying to get quality over quantity (ie, get readers who are genuinely interested in your content), you need to get that traffic and that ranking to show up in the searches.

    There is also something to be said for quantity…sometimes. If 1 of 10 visitors is genuinely interested and you have 100 visit, that is ultimately equal to having 10 visitors visit who are all interested; plus you get that traffic boost.

    Ultimately, I agree I would prefer the quality over quantity, though…and it is great to see that the ProBlogger audience is genuinely interested in the blogs they visit.

  36. Digg…. simply means more traffic. the y wont stay for more than a couple of seconds. my experience was horrible with Diggers.
    They just dont like good articles , they need color and presentation and uniqueness and such stuffs and they clog your site down also.

  37. I’m wondering if the difference isn’t just that someone who is trolling on Digg is looking for a quicker, shorter hit, sort of like reading the headlines on CNN verses sitting down with the paper.

  38. Hi Darren,

    Thank you very much for your feedback. I was focusing on the negatives but you pointed out some very good positives. So, if I ever have a post on the front page of Digg, I know what to expect and I will also think about the longer term benefits rather than getting down about any negative comments.

    Thanks very much Darren. :)

  39. ProBlogger Readers are getting better information. Garbage in Garbage out right?

    I think that the readers here at ProBlogger truly value networking with others and share information to raise the bar on quality online.

    Thank you for doing so. . .

  40. What baffles begins with target=”_blank”

    StumbleUpon opens pages in the same window, whereas Digg opens links in a new window.

    I would bet that if Digg links opened in the same window that pageviews/visit time would increase. I believe most web browsers get pretty ancy to close a new window.

    The effect is that when coming to a new SU page, that page has all the attention, and a Digg link is getting less.

    Something to consider anyways. Personally I wish Digg would open their links in the same window.

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