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November 7, 2007

How to Use Digg to Assplode Your Blog

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[I think I’m in the right room? There are lots of round tables with cups and saucers and silverware. Are we eating or are we blogging? Why am I the only one in the room? What’s going on?

…Okay, that was totally, definitely not the right room. But it’s okay because we’re better now. And I’m sure that the 200 yard dash I just did to get here on time will help balance out this giant cup of coffee I’m enjoying. Life is good. And I hear my luggage, which was accidentally sent to Omaha, should be arriving in Vegas shortly. Huzzah!

Okay we’re starting.]

Jeremy Wright is doing the introductions. I recognize Jeremy because he was at WordCamp. He explains that Brian Clark is not yet in Vegas so Tris Hussey is joining us in his place. Hi, Tris.

Funny title aside, this session is going talk about how to grow your traffic using social networks. We’re going to talk about Digg, StumbleUpon, Delicious, and Twitter. So basically, just another day at the office for us.

Bowing to the Digg Fanboys

Aaron Brazell starts the conversation talking about Digg, calling it the penultimate social network. It was the first site that took the whole concept of democracy online and the idea of what’s popular and what’s not and applied it to the Web. Stories go in, they’re submitted by users and then users can choose what gets popular and what doesn’t.

He uses a post he wrote that made it to Digg entitled HP Gives Consumers the Middle Finger that brought him 12,000 page views in an hour. Yowsa.

Tris says there are a couple of lessons in that. The headline Aaron used in the post was something Digg users like (i.e. it was inflammatory). Use things people can relate to. Controversial headlines get Dugg because people want to find out what it’s all about. Writing a good headline is really important. Many people will base their Digg almost entirely upon that.

Jeremy asks what happens when you get Dugg, become Digg popular and get this massive influx of traffic? He says that it has brought the b5media servers down plenty of times.

Digg users don’t like when you submit your own post. Its okay to Digg it yourself, but you have to get someone else to submit it. The submitter should have no visible connection to that network whatsoever. That makes it look like you’re not trying to game the system. If it seems like you’re a blog network trying to game the system, the Digg fanboys will toast it.

Aaron tries to define the concept of a "Digg fanboy" and say it is really important to understand how Digg works. Digg users are unlike any other group of users on the Internet. They defy logic in so many ways (hee!). He likens Diggers to gatekeepers. They’re guys between the ages of 18-24. They think they know more than you. You have to have thick skin in order to participate.

People who benefit the most from Digg are those working off a page view-based payment systems. Hardcore Diggers circulate their entire Internet activity around Digg. They’re not going to stick on your site. They’ll come in, see your story, they may Digg it, they may leave a comment, but then they’re going back to Digg. Don’t expect to get loyal users from Digg. It’s great for traffic and if you’re getting paid based on CPM. It’s not going to bring sticky users. Digg users come in swarms and then leave.

What About StumbleUpon?

Aaron talks about StumbleUpon. Unlike with Digg, it’s okay to submit your own stories. Aaron says he Stumbles every one of his.

Tris says that the great thing about StumbleUpon is that it works very well with Digg. He talks about the Digg Shouts (which I hate) where your friends can send you a "shout" asking you to Digg stuff for them. StumbleUpon will bring continuous traffic to you over time. (This is something we’ve seen a lot on the Bruce Clay site.)

What happens is that you Digg a post and then you Stumble it. It gives people a better chance for longer term traffic. What you do is hit the Stumble button and it will randomly pick another page that they think you’ll like based on listed preferences. The sites you submit and you say you like, your friends will get as well. This is why it’s good to Stumble all your own posts. It generates long term growth traffic. You’re not going to get a huge explosion, but you’ll get a nice, steady increase of traffic. As a growth strategy, it goes hand in hand with Digg.

Aaron brings up his traffic numbers to see the power of StumbleUpon. Basically, SU is his leading referrer.

Tris calls the Stumble button very much like the I’m Feeling Lucky Button on Google because you never know what you’re going to get.

Tris talks about Reddit and says it doesn’t have a lot of presence. I silently hiss. He says he also uses Delicious. It’s different in that it’s not a popularity driver, you’re sharing bookmarks. The power of Delicious is sharing links and having people subscribe to that link feed.

Twitter for Breaking News

Aaron says if you’re not using Twitter, you need to start. It’s his favorite social networking tool. It drives a tremendous amount of traffic when used properly. The best traffic, the sticky traffic, develops out of relationships, out of knowing and understanding people. With Twitter, it’s all about the relationships, who you’re following, who’s following you, etc. When you say, hey, I have a post here or I’m sending people to this link, it drives traffic.

Twitter is great for saying right now I am interviewing this person. It’s great for breaking news. It’s immediate.

Closing Thoughts & Key Tips

Digg is like playing the stock market. You can get a fast growth but then it might fall.
SU is like a money market. It grows over time.

Don’t Digg your own post. When you do Digg something, spread it around your network. When you Digg your friend’s post, Stumble it.

The ultimate sticky traffic thing is Twitter because it’s all about relationships.

What do you think about Facebook?

Aaron – it hasn’t been fantastic for driving traffic. It’s great for relationships. He uses FB to import his RSS feed from his blog. His connections on FB are people he’s also engaging with via other social networking channels. It may be a way to expose your content to new people.

An audience member says that Digg is more male-oriented. If you have a post about saving money on something female oriented, it gets laughed off Digg. It’s better to Stumble your "girly" posts or make your headlines more masculine.

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One response to “How to Use Digg to Assplode Your Blog”

  1. Tris Hussey writes:

    Thanks for the write up Lisa. Yeah, the title certainly wasn’t my idea.

    Hope you enjoyed the talk (sounds like you did).



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