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How To Get to the Front Page of Digg – 6 Ingredients of a Successful Digg Campaign

digg-front-page.jpg“How do I increase the chances of getting a blog post to the front page of Digg?”

I’ve had questions about getting to the front page of Digg many times in the last few weeks so thought I’d put together a guide with a process for doing it. By no means is this something that will guarantee you success on Digg – but from my experience it’ll increase your chances to follow some of this advice.

1. The Content

If there’s one factor that can influence the success of a post on Digg it is the actual content that is submitted. This should go without saying but I chat to bloggers all the time who tell me they have no success with Digg and when I look at the posts they’re submitting – they’re just all wrong.

Digg users like a certain type of story and it can be well worth your time doing a little research into what works and doesn’t work by spending some time on Digg:

  • Topics – a large range of topics work on Digg but some are more likely to work than others. For example Tech, Offbeat, some Entertainment stories can work really well – but if you have a craft blog or are blogging about cats you might need to work a little harder. It’s not impossible to do well on digg with some of these less popular topics – but you’ll need to think carefully about how you present it (read on)
  • Voice - one way to rank well for a more obscure topic is to write your post in a style that grabs attention and appeals to the Digg crowd. They’re a bunch that likes humor, irreverence and quirky stuff – so if you’re writing on cats you would do better to do something off the wall like strap a camera to one than to write about something more serious.
  • Titles – sadly, some stories get voted up and down on Digg simply based up their title. Take time to get it right.
  • Page Layout - make sure your blog’s design is well laid out, not stuffed withe ads, professional looking and not cheap and nasty. Pictures can work well.
  • Format – some people say that the best way to get on the front page of Digg is to write ‘list’ posts. I agree – but also find that when you write a more comprehensive and in depth article that this can also appeal.

For more on the type of content that works on Digg I’d highly recommend that you read Maki’s post on how to create Digg-Friendly Content.

2. The Submitter

The person who submits your post to Digg can be a very important factor in how well it does.

From talking to hardcore Diggers there are two theories going around in how to approach who should submit your Diggs (and these theories change depending upon what Digg is doing with their Algorithm:

  • Power Diggers – one approach is to find a power Digger to submit your posts for you. What happens when you have one of these Diggers submits a story is that it gets seen by their friends on Digg and voted up quite quickly. You can expect to see 100 or so Diggs within a few hours of them submitting it. Once the initial rush dies off things tend to slow with Power Diggers – although just having their name on your post can create buzz and additional diggs.
  • Small Time Diggers - another approach is to have posts submitted by lesser known Diggers. The theory here is that it can take these Diggers less votes to get to the front page while a Power Digger can take a lot more.

Whichever method of submission – in the majority of cases on Digg it’s not enough. As a result you might also want to consider some of the following.

3. On Page Digg Cues

One important factor in drumming up some more organic Diggs to go with those that your submitter naturally brings is to add visual cues on your posts inviting people to Digg the story.

  • Digg offers a variety of Digg Badges for you to use
  • The ‘Digg This’ button is also fairly influential
  • Also check out the Digg Widget – this is particularly good because you can get it to show any recent posts from your blog that have been submitted to Digg. Put it in your sidebar and it means people who are on any page on your blog know there’s something climbing up the ranks in Digg (not just those who are on the post itself).

Don’t feel you have to use these buttons on every post. I actually will use them more when there’s a post climbing up Digg.

Lastly – add a text link to an upcoming post inviting readers to submit it. Again – I wouldn’t do this on every post but it can be effective when you’ve got something on the rise.

4. Giving it a ‘Nudge’

So you’ve got some great content that’s been submitted to Digg, you’ve got visual cues in place that will make it easy for readers to Digg it – now it’s time to give your post a nudge.

There are a number of ways to do this. Some are more blatant than others.

  • Ask for Diggs - lets start with the obvious, one way to get Diggs is to ask for them. You can do this in any number of ways and using any number of tools. Some will shoot quick requests to people that they know using instant messaging, others ask on social messaging services like Twitter, others have email lists that they utilize. The key with asking for Diggs is to think about who you ask and how often. Work out who is open to invitations and work with them, but only on your best stuff. If you ask for Diggs on every single post you write you might annoy people more than anything else.
  • Shout It - Digg has a tool on each digg page that enables you to ‘share’ the story – it’s there to help promote stories on Digg so use it. This enables you to email people, blog it or ‘shout’ it with your friends on Digg. Shouting can be a great way to get a story in front of other active Digg users. Once again – don’t shout too often – pick your best stories for this type of thing. Also know that the more you digg your friend’s stories when they shout them to you the more chance there is that they’ll reciprocate. If you’re looking for Digg friends – start with this list.
  • Drive Traffic to Your Post - another technique that is less blatant that asking for Diggs is to work instead (or as well) at driving traffic to the post you’re working to get on the front page of Digg. Here’s the thing – if you have a post with ‘digg this’ buttons and you’re able to get another popular blog or site to link to it you’ll increase the chance for organic diggs. You’ve got 24 hours once a story is submitted to Digg, so if you think you’ve got something that other sites would be interested in make sure you send them links at the start of the 24 hours (or even before it’s submitted).
  • Other Social Bookmarking Sites Help – I quite often notice that the posts that do well for me on Digg will often do well for me on Delicious or StumbleUpon first (although sometimes it happens the other way around). What happens is that when you get on the popular page of Delicious users of that service who also use Digg will bookmark your story in both places. As a result it can be worth working on ‘nudging’ votes in multiple places.

You’ll notice that on this point I said to give your post a ‘nudge’ rather than spam every person you know asking them to vote. Subtle promotion of your posts on Digg is recommended for two reasons – firstly you’ll annoy everyone you know if you’re constantly asking for Diggs and secondly, Digg has measures in place to track people who are manipulating their system and too many people voting up your stories too quickly or from the one source could send warning bells ringing and get your story buried.

5. Educating Readers

Lastly I want to talk about something that has less of an immediate impact upon a specific Digg campaign – but which over time can help.

Educate your readers about social bookmarking.

Many blog readers have never heard of Digg so finding ways to show them what the service is and how they can use it can have a real impact. The more of them who know what it is the more likely it is that they’ll use it – something that will benefit you as you begin to create a Digg Culture on your blog.

6. Organic Diggs

There comes a point in every story’s rise (and fall) on Digg where you have to stand back and let things happen.

What you’ll find is that at some point most successful Digg stories enter the ‘upcoming’ and ‘recommended’ lists and a certain amount of natural and organic digging begins to happen by people who you don’t know. This is where you see if your story has the legs to go all the way or whether it’ll be buried by people.

This is where you realize that it’s not about how many people you can get to Digg a story from your network that matters but whether you’ve actually written something that appeals to Diggers – because if you’ve written something bad you’ll find the story gets buried and all your hard work has gone to waste.

One more thing….

Let me finish with one more piece of advice. Don’t become obsessed with Digg.

I see a lot of bloggers obsessing over climbing the rankings on Digg and while it can bring a lot of traffic to your blog and be worth the effort to promote some of your posts on it when you become obsessed you can fall into these traps:

1. Only ever writing for Digg – I wrote about this earlier in the week but if all you ever write is content aimed at the Digg audience blogging can end up being a bit of an empty experience.

2. Spending All Day on Digg and Not on Your Blog – I’ve come across a lot of people on Digg that could benefit from spending a little less time trying to game Digg and a little more time investing into building a quality blog. The funny thing is that if they actually built a better blog they’d probably end up doing better at succeeding on Digg.

3. Submitting every post to Digg – not every post that you make will be ‘diggable’ – and that’s ok. IF you’re going to use some of the above techniques I would recommend that you only do it with your very very best content. Choose that content that people would want to naturally pass on to a friend or bookmark for later – this is the type of content that will do well on Digg – concentrate on promoting these ones, not your day to day posting.

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’m quite suprised to see a post like this on problogger, its been said so many times it just bores me to read about diggs front page.

  2. Todd says:

    Great advice. I happen to write one of those more obscure sites, Home Improvement, and I find it very difficult to get much traction with DIGG. I do much better with Stumble.

    I’ll try some of these ideas on my next really good post and see if it helps.

  3. Jacob Cass says:

    I also wrote a bit more satirical version of how to get onto digg’s front page…

    http://justcreativedesign.com/2008/02/14/how-to-get-onto-diggs-front-page/

  4. A couple days ago I hit the front page for the first time. One of the main reasons it worked is because I did it as a guest post on a big blog, where I suspect the audience is more Digg-savvy than average.

  5. Home Biss says:

    Great post but you forgot to mention one thing. People can actually buy DIGGs. Tell them about SubvertAndProfit Dot Com. Tell them about groups of DIGGers offering DIGGing services on some forums to make money.

    Thank God Google abandoned their DIGG bid!

  6. pavs says:

    @home Bliss, as much as I hate to say this, you are an idiot. Buying digg campaign don’t work because there is something called burry brigade in digg, and they smell spam like a dog small cocaine from miles away. Buying diggs don’t work, end of story.

  7. esvl says:

    I guess I can blog all i want and it wont get on the front page of digg. My site got banned from digg.

  8. Rian says:

    In my experience the content of a post is less important than the marketing behind the post. For instance, this post itself is digg-fodder because it’s in list format. That’s a surefire way to get your post to the front page of digg.

    Yes, it’s true that the content behind the post needs to be more than nothing otherwise it’ll get buried, but really, diggers aren’t a very discriminating bunch with what they “like”.

  9. Shanel Yang says:

    Or there’s always the cheaters’ way: http://www.cracked.com/blog/2008/07/16/digg-this-7-cheats-for-hitting-the-front-page-of-digg/

    Not my way, mind you. Digg is really not my target crowd. : )

  10. Anyone know how John Chow managed to get dugg till he made it on the list?

    I have written a number of post especially for digg but it did not manage to shoutings etc. ( Need to work On that a little bit more)

    Need to work on that site, plus you need to be a poweruser if you want to regularly own that place. I certain being regular submitters.

    Great post,

  11. Jeff says:

    This was a really good article. I’ve often wondered why, even using Socail Netowrking, my articles don’t fare well on Digg. Now I uderstand. My main focus right now is getting the public aware of small compannies that are socially responsible…so I can see why the Digg Crowd would yawn at it.

    However, anyone reading this should feel free to go to http://www.ShopForTheGood.blogspot.com and Digg any article they think is valuable! ;)

  12. Milinda says:

    Nice article. It gives information what I am waited for months..

  13. Daniel Smith says:

    Dugg ;)

  14. Great post, with nice reality check at the end. — Now let’s move on from Digg’s front page ;-)

  15. jbj says:

    Very good tips! I totally agree about the fact that “lists” articles works very good on digg. My first digg front page was a list, hehe.

  16. These are very useful tips on understanding Digg, Darren.

    I think that your last point is especially helpful- not to become obsessed with writing for Digg… or indeed any Social Media site.

    While, obviously, it is great to get the traffic from popularity on these sites, I think the main priority should be to write first and foremost for your loyal readers.

    If you continually give them quality content that delights them, then your blog community will want to share what you do with others naturally.

    Too many Social Media inspired titles and posts have the great potential to alienate existing readers who signed up for your original content which was aimed at them rather than Diggers or stumblers.

  17. charles says:

    You said about the digg button but you are not using it here in problogger.net? I think the best way to go to the top of digg is to post best titles and content. Like the recently dugged, slow motion video of a lightning. That was awesome. Awesomeness is one key factor in digg.

    Thank you
    Charles
    Money making and Blogging Tips
    http://www.resourcesandmoney.blogspot.com

  18. Ms. Missive says:

    Word to the wise… don’t add your own posts to Digg. There’s an army of ‘Diggers’ ready to bury your submission if you do so.

    oh, and… great post.

  19. As much as I don’t like what Digg has become, you can’t deny the power of getting to the front page and the traffic it can drive to your page.

    This is a very informative article that I’ll be sure to try on some of my later submissions. It’s especially interesting to hear the commenters’ different experiences with this topic. Cool post! :)

  20. David Cheong says:

    Yes, digg truely boost some great traffic, I’ve been dugg before but only for some post, and not all, as you’ve mentioned not all are diggable. :)

  21. Interestingly, my website receives more access from del.icio.us than Digg. Maybe it all depends on the kind of content you provide as well.

  22. MYLN says:

    Another excellent post Darren. Always a pleasure to read your feed!

  23. Matt says:

    I aim to be dugg soon. I hope….

    In my niche (design) I find that most of the design content that gets dugg are showcases of sites, free fonts, ect.

    off topic but…

    Is their a plugin anywhere that lets you display a list of post titles on your site from an rss feed? Im on the wordpress platform.

  24. Jess says:

    great post Darren! I will try and use some of your tips

    Thanks

  25. shawal says:

    Really good tips…..

  26. Syed Balkhi says:

    excellent post about digg Darren. Very nice tips.

  27. Nice post. Would have liked to see some more depth on how to write that perfect Digg title, but great tips nonetheless.

    I totally agree with your final point: Digg isn’t the be all, end all. In fact, in my day job I’ve found that Digg posts convert very poorly to downloads of our product. We’ll get better conversions from tiny, specialized blogs (and we won’t get reamed by cranky Digg commenters).

  28. Shaun Carter says:

    I’ve heard time and again that digg is controlled by a pretty powerful group of users that dominate the front page or have quite a bit of control over diggs and buries.

    I think luck or knowing the right people would also play a role in getting to the front page of digg.

  29. Tim Hurst says:

    All valuable suggestions, especially the one about avoiding the trap of ‘writing for Digg.’ Indeed there are just some things that don’t do well there. With that said, there are LOTS of categories, and some of which are much easier to crack than others. Darren’s example of the cats blog is a good one; the chances are slim a post about cats will make it to the front of World News. But there is a much better chance that the same post might make it to the front page of Pets and Animals, because it is a much less competitive category.

    One point that is overlooked (although perhaps implied). Digg, like any of the other social media sites is about community. You can’t just submit a story and hope for the best.

    For your stories to get dugg, and for people to leave comments on them and shout them for you, YOU ABSOLUTELY MUST RECIPROCATE! Like many other diggers, I go through my friendslist on a regular basis and remove those who are not recently active (2-3 days max absence), or those who are clearly never digging any of my shouts. You will find that the more you do these little purging sessions, the better and more reliable your group of friends will become. What is the sense in having a 1,000 friends if only 50 are active and of those 50, only 20 digg your shouts?

    So in addition to all of Darren’s excellent suggestions, let me make this simple suggestion:

    Digg your friends.

    tbhurst on digg

  30. You put it all together nicely as usual Darren. I’ve just started getting active on Digg and faced the crossroads of am I spending too much time Digg when I should be working on my site?

    Please add me on Digg as I’m trying to reach power Digger status with help of good friends :)

    Digg name: “mrgadget777″

    P.S. I only add active Diggers but would be happy to read your pages too.

  31. amirulcyber says:

    thanks darren for your information.It is very useful.

  32. Terry says:

    Social media like digg works good for the traffic but how good is that traffic, do diggers buy anything, i doubt it. Nice tips on making it on front page.

  33. Very nice concise article on the subject of Digg.

  34. Ari Herzog says:

    Considering business thrives on word of mouth, how is Digg a word of mouth utility? It’s an example of social bookmarking but my experience shows it’s based on randomness, multitude of diggs, and personal shouts, not necessarily content.

    No?

    Stereotypical bloggers aside who want name recognition or increased ad clicks, how is a business with or without a blog best served with services like Digg?

  35. ChrisS says:

    Hi Darren,

    Thank you for this post. I have been spending some time on Digg trying to figure out how to use the site.

    I find that Digg seems to be targeted to more technical and computer articles then on topics like writing. I have a hard time Digging some articles because the articles I write don’t fit in any of Diggs categories. What’s the since of Digging stories when nobody is going to read them because there is no category.

    Best regards,
    ChrisS

  36. Paula says:

    Thanks for this great info. I can see the potential of Digg now. I’ve had an account with Digg since 2006 but never really used it that much. This post has got me back in there again. I just added a few friends – you included and just spent some time fixing up my profile.

  37. ITrush says:

    Very useful, thanks for sharing your secrets.

  38. IMPORTANT TIP THAT’S NOT MENTIONED ABOVE: your dugg post needs to generate comments on digg. A post without comments will have a much harder time making the front page. Many people shout out the link to their digg friends who then digg the post without a comment; this is how some posts have hundreds of diggs but are still never “made popular” i.e. hit the front page.

  39. Curtis says:

    Love this article, great information I was not aware of. Going to bookmark this and refer to it often as I continue to improve what I submit to Digg.

    Thank you very much.

    Curtis

  40. thanks for the very useful tips on getting on the frontpage of digg

  41. Tinh says:

    Great post, I will try to get my blog once listed on the frontpage next year too.

  42. nice post. I have an account with digg and other social networking sites. I also submit articles and lenses to improve my rankings…but certainly, your post will make a difference.It will further improve my chances.Thanks

  43. seotips says:

    well, for the first time, i read this post, cool. but i’ve fail from front page wars :(

  44. Ross says:

    I noticed some of the posters mentioned they had been digg banned – ?? how does this occur…. I would have thought it would be quite difficult, like spamming ++ etc??

    http://www.willitchangeyou.com
    Your Portal for Personal Growth

  45. Ladybeams says:

    I love your posts and always get a ton of information from them, but one of the perks is getting all the information from all the comments that are left in response. Many times your comments hold a lot of really good tips in themselves.
    As Always, thanks for sharing.

    Lauri
    Internet Marketing For Newbies
    http://www.productsandservicesultd.com/blog

  46. Abi Bakar says:

    I’d rather submit my stories to do follow social bookmarks serviceS than digg, since my main intention is link building, thus credit from Google for each link which link back to my blog is valuer than spreading stories to digg or other similar nofollow services that benefit me nothing for my linking building campaign.

  47. Great advice – just the article I was looking for. The whole Digg thing was becoming a bit scary as I tried to figure out ways of getting myself noticed.

    I particularly liked your advice about not obsessing about digg and just to focus more on improving the quality of my blog.

  48. Chris Lang says:

    Darren, you said ““How do I increase the chances of getting a blog post to the front page of Digg?”

    I would say more than anything your PR6 blog, ranked #43,000 out of 77 million blogs in Alexa, over 40,000 RSS subscribers with somewhere in the 100,000 visitors a month catagory in the worst month possible basically guarantees that any good content you write gets to the front page of Digg.

    All you have to do is get some to submit it and it takes care of itself with that kind of traffic.

    If you really want to help your readers write an article about how someone with little traffic, no subscribers and no REPUTATION can get to the front page of Digg.

    Also be sure to let them know that Internet marketing articles are only going to get buried on Digg and not to waste their time.

  49. Getting onto front page of digg. the same old story. i guess people should learn that organic way is the best way to get traffic. I have seen people on freelance sites paying money for diggs. I do not know if they really understand the meaning of why social sites exists. Anyway thanks for the article

  50. Okay, Darren… I did the “digg” “stumbleupon” and delicious. Looking forward to the results of my post. Also Tweeted about it and put on my Facebook and LinkedIn pages.

    Thanks again for all the great tips!

    Heidi Richards Mooney