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  1. #1
    Affiliate Manager MINDsprinter's Avatar
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    Digg for Dummies
    As requested by Rhia7 over at http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread.php?t=87117, here's my quick rundown of what I'd call the most powerful social news site on the web right now: digg.com

    The Idea

    Digg is a social news site. That means the users of the site decide what articles, videos, pictures, and other content should be on the site by submitting them to digg. Once the stories are submitted users can vote on them, if they like them. This is called digging a story. Stories with enough votes move onto the "front page" of digg where they are clicked on by a ton of people. The power of digg and its success lie with this traffic.

    Using The Site

    Digg is really easy to use. I'd suggest if you are just getting started you sign up for a free account at http://www.digg.com/register. From there you should probably start by checking out the "front page" at digg.com. The front page is a list of the current stories that are popular (meaning a lot of people have dugg them). I find them pretty consistantly interesting. I don't click on everything, but I find myself interested in a lot. Click on the story to be taken directly the page that contains it. If you like what you've read, click the "digg!" button underneath the yellow numbered badge next to each story. Your vote will be added to the count, increasing the number of diggs the story has. Alternatively, you can use the white "Bury" button to decrease the number of votes if you don't like the story for whatever reason.

    Some Tricks

    Digg is more than just a list of stories though. It has a bunch of other social features as well. Click on the comment link to be taken to the story page. You can comment on stories, read other's comments, and even digg or bury others' comments individually.

    The comments often play another important role. Getting on the front page commands a lot of traffic (more on that later). Fairly often peoples' servers are not up to the task. They crash, taking the story that was dugg offline. However, there are usually mirrors, caches, or other copies of the story floating around on the web. When a story goes down, a helpful user usually posts a link to one of these mirrors. Scan through the comments for links and you can usually find a working copy of the original story.

    Also, Digg has an RSS feed (which is my main reading tool) that updates with story headlines and descriptions from the front page. Clicking the headline takes you to the story page with comments directly, which I find useful.

    Submitting

    So, you are ready to submit a story?

    First, I'd recommend doing a quick survey of the types of stories that get on the front page. I find they fall into some loose categories:

    - tech news (new program, new game, etc...)
    - web 2.0 companies, lists, services, or design tutorials
    - breaking political news, especially news having to do with the Internet (net neutrality, etc...)
    - top 10 lists (especially tech themed)
    - pretty pictures or weird pictures
    - funny videos
    - articles about digg itself

    If you can write something or have expertise in some of these categories so much the better! However, all sorts of things make it to the front page. If you have found or written something interesting or new that not a lot of people have heard about, it is a good candidate for submission.

    To submit, just click the submit a new story link in the upper right and fill out the form. The key to this is to write a catchy headline that will make users want to click while explaining what it is they are clicking. A nice description is important too. Again, familiarize yourself with the stories on the front page to understand the style. Once your story is submitted it will be placed in the Upcoming Stories section of the site for others to vote on.

    Upcoming Stories

    This is where the real action is, so to speak. These are all the stories that have been submitted by users. There are thousands. Right now there are about 6,000 upcoming stories. This is where you can really find some interesting things, though it takes some looking. Obviously, there are a lot of submissions that are un-interesting or just plain spam, but a quick scan through the headlines and bylines and you might find something worth clicking on. When you do make sure you digg it so it starts moving up the ladder.

    The digg algorithm is complex, but after 15-50 relatively fast diggs by different users stories appear in the Hot in All Topics list. From there, if people keep digging, they make it to the front page.

    The upcoming stories pages are a real goldmine for interesting links. Once you've gotten the hang of digg, I'd recommend checking them out so you can really participate in the community and find links that appeal specifically to you, even if they don't appeal to the general community.

    Popular Stories = Tons of Traffic

    Once a story is deemed "popular" by digg's algorithm it is put on the front page. This means traffic! One of my blogs had a front page story in February. I received 8,000 unique visitors in one day. Crashed my server! The traffic kept coming too, all in all I probably received 12,000 - 15,000 unique visitors from that one story, because once it was on the top of digg other people blogged it and linked it, bringing more traffic.

    However, digg traffic can be fickle traffic. During that day 90% of the visitors only visited that one page on my site with the front page story. They stayed for an average of 4 minutes, but I've heard of some stories (pictures usually) where users only stayed for 20 seconds. Most of them never came back to my site again.

    However, some did. I doubled my consistant traffic, signed up a lot of email subscriptions, and gained some new commentors. It was definitely a positive thing.

    Submission Tips

    First, be ready for the traffic! There is nothing worse than your server going down just when you are starting to see a flood of people coming in. Optimize your site to get it as small as possible (good tool: http://www.websiteoptimization.com/services/analyze/). Makes sure your server can handle the flood. Didicated hosting is pretty much a must! If you notice one of your stories moving up the digg ladder, get rid of images in the story or create a static version of the story at the same URL (instead of a dynamic, PHP, java, or ASP based page which takes up a lot of server muscle).

    Second, I argue that you should submit anything that is interesting. Even if your stories don't make it to the front page, digg can be a regular source of traffic. I haven't had a front page story on the above mentioned blog yet, but even if a story I submit gets 5 or 10 diggs, there are many more surfers than users on digg.com. 5 or 10 diggs can mean 25-100 unique visitors clicked the link. Not bad! For more discussion on this tactic see http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread.php?t=86909

    Conclusion

    Digg is fun, easy to use, and can command a ton of traffic. Rhia7, get started! Sign up for an account, spend a half an hour playing around with the site, and submit your first story. Here's a tip: this article I just wrote might be a good candidate for digg. I can't promise anything, but go ahead and submit this as your first article. The headline could be "Digg for Dummies". And write a nice catchy byline. I'll be tracking it throughout the day to see where it goes.

    Good luck! Happy digging!

    Any other comments from some other ABWers?
    Last edited by MINDsprinter; March 22nd, 2007 at 11:47 AM. Reason: grammer etc...
    Jason Rosenbaum
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  2. #2
    Online Marketing Consultant
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    Thanks for all of the advice, tips and ideas. this is a great post and resource for people just getting into web 2.0
    Adam Riemer Marketing, LLC. Online Marketing Blog and Affiliate Management Company
    Do you need help with your Marketing or Sales funneling, write me at adamr (at) adamriemer (dot) me

  3. #3
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    Nice rundown.

  4. #4
    Affiliate Manager MINDsprinter's Avatar
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    I'm waiting for someone to digg it. I could do it myself but that's not the point. Someone here who hasn't used digg before: digg this thread! Then post a link so we all can check it out.
    Jason Rosenbaum
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  5. #5
    http and a telephoto
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    Thanks for the detailed explanation Jason!!! I will post this link to another group of folks that needs to read about it
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  6. #6
    Affiliate Network Rep Kim Salvino's Avatar
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    This is awesome information! Thanks for sharing and putting into such a great format.
    Kim Salvino, Client Services Director, Performance Horizon Group
    Reach me at kim.salvino(at)performancehorizon.com or on (443) 617-4036

  7. #7
    What's the word? Rhia7's Avatar
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    Hi Jason,

    Thanks for this information -- this is great for all the newbies to Digg!
    Jason, I wrote a "short copy" to entice readers but I am not sure how to categorize this "forum article."
    It's not Technology or is it?

    I see this as an educational tutorial, but "Educational" is only found under "Videos" in the list of categories.

    Under what category would this forum tutorial be classified?

    Anyone?

    I'm not going to classify this under "Sports" -- that category is ruled out
    ~Rhia7 -- Remember the 7
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  8. #8
    Affiliate Manager MINDsprinter's Avatar
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    It's not Technology or is it?
    Quite honestly, categories don't matter so much on digg except for the big ones (news, videos, podcasts). It goes with the digg model. The interesting stuff from all categories rises to the top. Go for technology, yeah.
    Jason Rosenbaum
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  9. #9
    What's the word? Rhia7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MINDsprinter
    Go for technology, yeah.
    Could this be "Industry News?" It's not "Apple" or "Design"

    It's not really a "Gadet" or "Hardware" or "Linux" etc...

    Perhaps this article would be news for newbies and thus could be classified as "Industry News?"

    I'm looking for a "Yay" or a "Nay"
    ~Rhia7 -- Remember the 7
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  10. #10
    Affiliate Manager MINDsprinter's Avatar
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    I'd say that works too. From the way I understand most people use the site, they don't really get deeper than the big three categories (news, videos, podcasts). Once you submit the article it'll go into the big pool of news stories. So the specific subcategory isn't a huge deal. Classify it as best you can and then submit.

    And remember to post up a link to your submitted story so ABW can digg it up!
    Jason Rosenbaum
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  11. #11
    What's the word? Rhia7's Avatar
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    After spell checking & checking for duplicates I was lead to a page that says,
    "Success! Your story has been submitted.
    In the next few minutes your story will appear in the upcoming stories section in the topic Tech Industry News."
    I'm not sure of the url. Is it:

    http://www.digg.com/tech_news/Digg_for_Dummies_2

    I'm looking for a "trackback url/link" but I can't see it.

    I see it here:

    http://www.digg.com/tech_news/upcoming

    I find it odd that there is not a "trackback url"
    ~Rhia7 -- Remember the 7
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  12. #12
    Affiliate Manager MINDsprinter's Avatar
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    Nice! That's the URL all right. I dugg it, so you've got 2 now...we'll see what happens.

    No guarantees of course, but in 24-36 hours (it might take that long) we might have a hit!
    Jason Rosenbaum
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  13. #13
    What's the word? Rhia7's Avatar
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    New news articles can push one's article below the fold quickly.

    I'm not sure how my Digg comment will hold up against offers of "Free Teen XXX Videos"
    ~Rhia7 -- Remember the 7
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  14. #14
    Affiliate Manager MINDsprinter's Avatar
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    You're right, but hey...tons of stories make it up front everyday...the fold isn't a huge deal here.
    Jason Rosenbaum
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    MINDsprinting

  15. #15
    What's the word? Rhia7's Avatar
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    This post of yours, Jason, is great for people (like me) who were not sure how to get started with Digg. Your outline is great.

    What about "enabling Digg" within one's blog?
    I use Google's Blogger for my blogs.
    I notice other blogs will write after the post:
    "Share and enjoy" and then will list a bunch of clickable buttons.
    Where would the webmaster get those clickable buttons that would let the
    readers of the blog click and Digg?
    ~Rhia7 -- Remember the 7
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  16. #16
    Affiliate Manager MINDsprinter's Avatar
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    Ah! Part 2!

    Right, you can easily include digg on your page. You can do it on a per story basis from digg's homepage. At http://www.digg.com/tools/ there is a bunch of cool stuff. Digg logos at http://www.digg.com/tools/buttons, and most imporant, digg badges at http://www.digg.com/tools/integrate

    Just copy the javascript, insert the URL, and you've got a live updating count of diggs on your site, plus an easy button for your users to hit and digg themselves.

    There are also a lot of other tools out there to integrate digging into your site, usually via easy copy and paste. AddThis (http://www.addthis.com/) is one. I use a wordpress plugin that automatically adds a bunch of chiclets (that's what the little logos for social sites are called) at the end of every post so users can easily digg and share.
    Jason Rosenbaum
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  17. #17
    What's the word? Rhia7's Avatar
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    Thanks, Jason, for the great Part II Tips
    ~Rhia7 -- Remember the 7
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  18. #18
    Affiliate Manager MINDsprinter's Avatar
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    We are up to 5 diggs already...nice! Go ABW!
    Jason Rosenbaum
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  19. #19
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    This is great, really demystifies it for me! Seemingly little things like "don't worry too much about the category" are very important to know, and to be able to find out without fishing around blindly is great.

  20. #20
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Should post the URL to the entire thread rather than just the first post. That can make a huge difference. I submitted a link to a thread and it made it to the front page due to the responses, not the first post. The more the thread grew the more diggs it got. Something like this where we're discussing the result of digging this thread might be an interesting experiment.

    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  21. #21
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    If anybody wants to test this theory we can see which story gets the most Diggs. Here is the link to post this entire thread, not just the first post:

    http://digg.com/submit?phase=2&url=h...ad.php?t=87330

    Save this URL for your own site too. Just replace the URL with your own URL and you can offer a link for your visitors to Digg your articles for you.

    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  22. #22
    What's the word? Rhia7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snib
    Should post the URL to the entire thread rather than just the first post. That can make a huge difference. I submitted a link to a thread and it made it to the front page due to the responses, not the first post. The more the thread grew the more diggs it got. Something like this where we're discussing the result of digging this thread might be an interesting experiment.

    - Scott
    Good point

    There's an "I don't know" smilie but I couldn't find it.

    Thanks for the tips, Snib.
    ~Rhia7 -- Remember the 7
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  23. #23
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    If you dynamically create links, make sure to stuff the title in as well - keep it easy for people... so add the &title=YOURTITLEHERE

    http://digg.com/submit?phase=2&url=h...gg for Dummies

  24. #24
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chetf
    If you dynamically create links, make sure to stuff the title in as well - keep it easy for people... so add the &title=YOURTITLEHERE

    http://digg.com/submit?phase=2&url=h...gg for Dummies
    Wow, I didn't know that. Got it implemented all across my site now.

    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  25. #25
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    other popular sites and their links.

    del.icio.us - eh traffic
    http://del.icio.us/post?url=http://f...gg for Dummies

    Reddit - Social site with people who actually visit the pages, same demographic as digg
    http://reddit.com/submit?url=http://...gg for Dummies

    Stumbleon - can return zero, but when it hits it dwarfs any other site for people who will actually interact with the site, mainly entertainment content
    http://www.stumbleupon.com/submit?ur...gg for Dummies

    Can also add netscape, furl, etc - but none of those have ever done much for me and there gets a point where you simply have too many little graphics.

    Out of all the sites, for articles that never reach out of the original voting pool, i have found you will only get 10-20 visits from digg, but many more from reddit, sometimes in the 100s - and still the story will stay low ranked. If you become a hot link on stumbleupon (where the user clicks stumble for a random page in a category) expect nice traffic for a long period.

    For surge of traffic, nothing still beats slashdot. For surge of converting traffic, stumbleupon wins. For surge of traffic that actually had an effect for the article written - digg and slashdot have both been good, but slashdot takes a written submission and some time - they have editors so it is only worth it if you have something worthwhile.

    Chet

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