Today I want to publish the first half of a ‘debate’. The topic is whether bloggers should promote their content on Digg. In this post Josh Klein argues the negative. Later in the week I’ve asked a big Digg users to tackle the flip side.
If you’re promoting on Digg, you’re losing your blog money.
The web is crowded, attention spread thin. It may not cost you a $70,000 full page print ad, but building a following requires patience and passion. It’s almost 2009, and the social media personal brand isn’t an early adopters’ secret anymore. Promoting your blog can be free, but not costless.
When you’re down in the trenches, scouring online guides for tips and tactics on how to drive traffic to your blog, you sometimes miss the big picture, the strategy. You don’t have a limitless amount of time or money, so you need to decide what not to do. It’s not always about “how to” — sometimes it’s about “which to”.
Like all social media, Digg costs time -– and lots of it -– so I want to make sure your time is well spent.
I’m not here to tell you Digg doesn’t work; there are plenty of people reading right now who have hit the front page and gotten that famously temporary blast of traffic.
But how many of those people have turned it into a sustainable strategy for making money? Did they do it after reading the same “Top 10 Ways to Win on Digg” guide as 100,000 other traffic-hungry bloggers?
I’m here to tell you the juice isn’t worth the squeeze.
For those who aren’t familiar with Digg (yeah right), here’s a snippet from the about page:
“Digg is a place for people to discover and share content from anywhere on the web. From the biggest online destinations to the most obscure blog, Digg surfaces the best stuff as voted on by our users. You won’t find editors at Digg.”
That requires some translation. Here’s what it really means (with tongue planted firmly in cheek):
“Digg is a place for 18-24 year old males to read about Internet gossip. From the smallest local news rags to the wittiest satire websites, Digg surfaces the stuff most entertaining to our users as determined by our large staff of editors.”
The problem is Diggers aren’t Doers.
Digg’s mission is to be distracting. People use Digg as a sanctuary, to be bounced from page to page as a momentary respite from their day jobs as knowledge workers. Unless your website’s tagline is “Distract Yourself Here,” it doesn’t match the Digg demography. The value you provide, no matter how high, will not match a Digger’s expectation, and he will eventually move on.
This makes visitors from Digg unqualified traffic. You might convert a few here and there, but it’d be like corralling a horde of anti-war protesters into an Army recruitment office; it doesn’t matter how many you get, they’re not going to join.
And what did it cost to get those visitors? How many people did you ask to Digg your submission? How much time did you spend wooing a power user? How much did you water down your content so you could submit the Top 10 Ways Ducks Quack?
I talk alot about value, so here’s the truth about Digg as succinctly as possible: your time is better spent elsewhere.
What else could you be doing for every hour you spend with Digg?
Don’t get me wrong; I enjoy entertaining myself on Digg as much as you, but we’re talking about making money here people. There are no shortcuts, just good ideas and bad ideas. Digg is not the right place to promote your blog.
If you want to really espouse the lessons of social media, find the people who matter and, you know, talk to them. Try forums, for one, or other blogs. If you ask Darren in the comments below, maybe he’ll let me come back and talk about those soon.
If not, maybe try shaking hands and kissing babies. Just stay away from Digg.
Josh Klein advises Fortune 500 companies on their web strategies and writes a blog about making websites that matter to human beings.
PS from Darren: Stay tuned for the flip side of this topic. In the next couple of days I’ve got a post from a big Digg using blogger who will tackle the topic of why Digg IS a site bloggers should consider spending time on.