When You Don't Make An Effort On Digg, You Still Get Buried
As I mentioned to Mike McDonald of WebProNews the other day, I’m using this blog to experiment with the wild and crazy world we call the web and will report back on my experiences here. Other blogs give you best practices, guidelines, suggestions. They outline case study successes. I give you what those blogs don’t — a study in the random, the half hazard, the non-focused, impromptu, accidental stuff.
Because I am not kidding when I say that I have the attention span of one of those really annoying mosquitoes that buzz around your ears when you are trying to sleep and so you get up and it’s like 3am so you are so very tired, but you turn on the light and of course, the mosquito is nowhere, because it’s gotten distracted from your ears and has zoomed off somewhere else, only once you turn the light off and try to sleep again, there it is, buzzing, then going away, then back, then… Right. So, it’s like that, combined with a really hectic schedule that gives me about five minutes at any one time to spend time on the blog.
In other words, I’m like you. So, if you want to know what it’s like when you don’t have the time of focus to do things the right, structured, and planned way, then you don’t want to miss my updates!
So, Digg. It’s a way to get your site in front of people who may not otherwise know about it, which should get you traffic. These new visitors will be amazed and impressed by your content, and link to you, which in turn increases your traffic, helps your PageRank, makes the world a better place. Diggers can discuss your posts amongst themselves, elevating the level of discourse on the web, giving you thought-provoking commentary to write about further. What’s not to like?
Someone submitted my video lament to Digg the other day. There are lots of articles out there telling you how to best craft your post to do well on Digg, how to write great titles that pull in the Diggers, how not to get buried. I didn’t follow any of that. I didn’t give Digg a thought. I was just ranting about video.
But hey, there was my story, sitting there on Digg. Why not take advantage of the opportunity to check out Digg from a content owner’s point of view? First, I twittered that hey, my story was on Digg. I wondered, does it help to let people know that the story is there, in case they think it’s Diggworthy? Several people dugg the story based on my twitter, so hey, maybe that’s worthwhile. Then a friend told me I should put a Digg button on the story. Well, sure, what the heck. If I read a story I like, it won’t cross my mind to submit it too Digg (see previous, re: unfocused, hectic brain), but if I see the Digg button right on that story, I’m likely to click it. The button bumped up the Digg count a bit more.
The story actually got enough votes to go popular in its category, but it didn’t. Why? Because it got buried. How can I tell? Not by looking at the entry. Only because a search without the “include buried stories” checkbox doesn’t list it. So, if you seek it out, you can see that a story has been buried, but it’s not obvious and you can’t really find out why. If you are looking for an article that has actual research, facts, and actions you can take on the subject (in other words, not this one), you might read something that details buried stories on Digg, what you can find out, what you can’t, and how.
So, why did my story get buried? I’m not sure. It wasn’t that the story was useless and crappy. Lots of other places picked it up, including Techmeme, and was discussed on a bunch of different blogs. It may not have been War and Peace, but it didn’t make people run screaming from their keyboards, scarred from ever reading the written word again. (When I twittered that I had been buried, Barry suggested it may have been that by twittering about my post, diggers may have thought I was trying to game the system, but I so don’t have game that I would be surprised it that were the case.)
Did the diggers feel betrayed by false advertising? Looking at my logs, I can see that 17 people came to the blog after searching Digg for the word “nude”. (Someone even noted in the comments that they saw nothing nude on my site, but I break the news about the lack of pictures right at the top of my site, so I guess that digger didn’t read that far.)
It’s impossible to know why the story got buried, although you’ll notice that the next day, someone submitted another of my posts and it was buried at the very first digg. Which seems odd, because even if the story was worth burying, at one digg, how could anyone have seen it long enough to bury it?
But speaking of traffic, did I get any? Well, the story got buried before it got popular, so one wouldn’t expect much traffic, and I didn’t get much, but it’s interesting to see the visits I got as the story rose on the upcoming pages. I got 116 visits from the entry page itself, which is pretty good for my fledgling little blog (87 from the digg.com and 29 from www.digg.com, by the way, so I guess Digg hasn’t taken that advice about canonicalization; and it’s interesting that most people seem to be using the non-www version of the URL — make of that what you will). I got the most visits from the upcoming pages when the story was on the first page, but I got visits when it was on page 11 of upcoming too, so I guess the diggers don’t mind clicking next. I also got hits from the profile pages that show was someone has dugg, so at least some diggers check out what their friends have recommended.
In terms of getting more diggs, it did help to add the Digg button to the post. I found that since I show the full article on my home page, in order for the Digg button to work right from that page, I need to include the following code:
And you know, replace PERMALINK_URL with the actual URL.
With a second post buried at the very first digg, I’m not sure how much more experimentation I’ll have a chance to do with Digg. But hey, I’ve gotten 176 visits from stumbleupon, so Digg’s not the only traffic source out there. I hear there are these things called search engines that help people find you too. So, I have plenty other things to be unfocused and non-targeted about.