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Using Social Bookmarking Sites to Find Out What Your Readers Like

Alex Iskold and Richard MacManus have put together a nice analytical post with some insights into how they determined which are the most popular posts on Read/WrightWeb based upon social bookmarking sites Digg and Delicious.

I’ve seen people do this type of analysis of how their blog is going based upon comment levels and page views (in fact there are plugins to do it and post the results on your sidebar) but the idea of using social bookmarking sites as a basis for the information makes a lot of sense and as you’ll see by their post reveals a different picture.

Some of their reflections on the process:

On Delicious

“The pattern on del.icio.us is less obvious, but things become more clear once we realize that del.icio.us and comments on a blog reflect different kinds of actions. Comments reflect passions, bookmarks serve as references – so there is little overlap between them. More importantly, comments (like posts) are short lived. Unfortunately in our day and age, news and even analysis has a life span of a few hours. Once a post is off the front page of a blog, it is less discoverable and typically is not commented on anymore. The bookmarks of del.icio.us, however, have a longer lifespan.”

On Digg

“We noted that the posts that did well on Digg are somewhat different from the ones that got a lot of comments and picked up more links on del.icio.us. The full query results told us that while Digg users love posts about search, they also love the posts about browsers. In particular the Firefox vs. IE battle is dear to their hearts. And of course, digg users love posts about Digg – especially when it’s about Digg kicking competitor Netscape’s butt!”

While this type of analysis wouldn’t work for many blogs that don’t get much traction on social bookmarking sites – it is something a little different to what I’ve seen bloggers doing before to find out what readers are reacting to.

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, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. I agree, some of these different types of analysis can help you see things that weren’t apparent prior to that – some of my community websites especially so.

    Matt

  2. It’s interesting to see the effect of social bookmarking sites, even on a small scale.
    My blog was averaging 5-10 readers a day, without any promotion at all, as it’s on blogspot, with little advertising and needs some time spent on it before I go all out on promotion.

    But I started submitting the occasional story to Digg, and despite only getting a very small number of Diggs, my traffic has doubled and trebled on the days the stories are submitted.

  3. aaron says:

    It kind of surprises me that Netscape is thought of as Digg’s main competitor. It really doesn’t seem to have that much traffic. Now, Reddit has loads of traffic but a much different readership, much more political than techie.

  4. engtech says:

    To be blunt, I think this analysis of traffic is backwards.

    The statistics coming from getting on Digg, Del.icio.us, Reddit or spikes from popular blogs like Slashdot, LifeHacker and Problogger are anomalies (all of which happened to me this week — it’s been a busy week).

    They don’t tell you what your readers like, they tell you which of your articles intersected the interest of another community — which aren’t necessarily the people who read you day in and day out.

    Also, none of these are closed systems. How an article does on one of these social sites is largely a function of when it was submitted, who submitted it, and whether or not there is another high volume of readers coming from another site.

    Get linked on LifeHacker *guarantees* hitting the front page of Del.icio.us. Get Dugg increases your chances of getting Lifehacked… but none of it really has anything to do with what your readers liked.

    Taking outside linking out of the equation, it’s like saying that the articles your readers liked are the ones that have the most traffic, when realistically those are the ones that are ranked best for a common search term.

  5. Mike says:

    Another option to find out which posts your blog readers find most interesting would be to just add ratings to your blog post.

    At BlinkList we have just developed this feature last week. You can check it out here:

    http://www.blinklist.com/mreining/get_blog_extension.php

    It is already live but not yet publicly launched. In the future, will also give you a feed of your “top rated” blog posts.

    Would love to hear your thoughts on this extension.

    Mike

  6. iZeby says:

    Social bookmarking has become one of the major methods of free promotion for websites. We would be crazy not to take advantage of such a huge means of promotions.

  7. iZeby says:

    Social bookmarking can be useful as a way to access a consolidated set of bookmarks from various computers, organize large numbers of bookmarks, and share bookmarks with contacts. Even libraries have found social bookmarking to be useful as an easy way to provide lists of informative links to patrons.

  8. iZeby says:

    I love social bookmarking, it is an awsome way to promote sites for free.

  9. iZeby says:

    You should think about adding izeby.com to your list of social bookmarking sites.

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