Did you know? An incredible 60 stories are promoted to the front page of Digg everyday. Each of those stories receive several thousand hits in a day.
With such power, Digg is the most popular social media site on the internet (though not always the most favourite among webmasters/bloggers), and it commands respect and authority of great magnitudes. Entire sites can be made/broken by Digg because of the flood of visitors, and making the front page of Digg, staying there and getting dugg massively is the wet dream of every webmaster.
Getting onto the front page of Digg has become an art itself, made popular thanks to sites like Mashable and Smashing Magazine. Old-timers will tell you that there are many ways to grace the index of Digg, and here are some of those:
- Rumours: The all-time favourites of Diggsters, rumours sell like hot cake, and are always on Digg. However, keep in mind that making it to the front page of Digg with a rumour post will require a considerably large, loyal audience that promotes your story once you put up the link on the post. Think Engadget and Gizmodo.
- Breaking news: Sitting right up the alley with rumour posts are breaking news posts, in terms of popularity on Digg. It is human nature to crave for the latest news, and the curiosity of the readers leap out in such cases. Think Engadget(yes, again), Techcrunch and various corporate blogs (ZDnet, CNET, MSDN).
- Digg-worthy topics: Digg has a massively biased audience, and you can sometimes get away with crappy stories, provided the topic is well-received. Digg-worthy topics are dime-a-dozen, and the list goes so forth: Apple, Linux, anti-Microsoft, open-source, list-posts, gossips, piracy, breaking/sensational news etc. Think AppleInsider and MacRumours.
- List posts: The social media darling and the favourite among lazy surfers (no disrespect, I too belong to the group at times), list posts are always well received, and enjoy tremendous success in the form of HUGE traffic, bookmarking, flurry of links etc. The number of items in the list can vary. Initially, ‘top 10/7 posts had done well, but it is now observed that the bar has been raised, and the benchmark for digg-able posts is closer to 50 than 10. My recent top 40 GIMP plugins is a testimony to this fact. Think Smashing Magazine and Mashable(I can’t recall the last time SM had a non-list post).
- Write with passion: Passion enables you to write long, detailed posts without actually worrying whether you’d quit blogging if you do not succeed. I am an example of this myself – I have been blogging on and off for over a year without any significant revenue – that is because I like blogging even without the revenues involved (you might argue that it is because I cannot make money, but rather, I’d say that I cannot compromise a good user experience for some silly amount).
- Headlines: Use headlines wisely. Digg users (or for that matter, any other lazy surfer) typically see the headlines first, and proceed to read the excerpt only if the headlines appeal to them. So, headlines are your premium real estate. Use them wisely to make the maximum impact. Read (Copyblogger)Brian Clarke’s How to write headlines that work.
- Introduction: Once you’ve written an eye-catching headline, it is time to write a good introduction. Introductions can be of many ways: a brief definition of the topic, a question related to the post, an amazing statistic related to the post, or an eye-popping picture with a question about whether the reader would like to [insert aim]. If you cannot write artistic intros, normal, easy to understand definitions would do just as good.
- Friends/loyal readers: It is no secret that the reason for popular blogs hitting Digg frequently is the large, loyal readership that they command. A link at the end of the post requesting them to digg is all it takes. From then, it is a game of numbers, and the large blogs do it better than smaller ones. However, keep in mind that drive-by readers and search traffic will not digg as much as regular readers. So, establish a loyal readership by interacting with them, engaging them, giving away prizes and writing for the audience. Think ArsTechnica, TechCrunch etc.
- Keep it simple: Fewer links and options at the end of the post means that there is a greater chance of the reader clicking through to Digg. Think of Google’s search results page, which (though drab) has only the result links and ads, which translates to greater click-throughs for ads.
- Pleasant design: A well designed, usable page invites the readers into consuming the content, whereas poorly designed webpages usually drive out readers. For sites with large amount of content, light, pleasant colours work best.
- Time of submission: The time of submission is important, and you should take into account the potential audience to which your post might appeal. If you’ve got tech-related submissions, you should submit it in early morning or evening of US time, when most Americans come online (taking into account that the Digg Tech section is heavily trafficked by Americans).
- Lady Luck: Luck is one of the most important factors in getting dugg. Cliche as it may sound, the initial votes that your submission garners while in the deep trenches of the upcoming section is crucial, and is decided by luck as much as any other factor.