Do You Have What it Takes to Make the Digg Home Page?

Approximately every 10 minutes, a new article makes the Digg home page (front page or Digg FP). In the highest traffic hours, more than 10 new articles are submitted to Digg every minute. How will your submissions stand out from the rest?

Digg

The average Digg submission is lucky to receive a handful of votes. It often can have nothing to do with the quality of content; it’s that the user does not have enough reach to get people to notice. With hundreds of submissions per hour, you can be certain that good material falls through the cracks.

If Digg (and other social news sites) is part of an online marketing strategy, being an active participant in the community is just as important as submitted quality content. To help illustrate the point. here is a snapshot of 13 Digg user profiles who’s content was found on the Digg FP very recently.

Talha Dar Talha Dar (talhaasifdar)
A 21 year-old male who joined Digg on November 23rd, 2008

Activity & Network:

  • Articles Dugg: 3,515
  • Comments Made: 25
  • Submissions: 31
  • Submissions Made Popular: 9 (29% Popular Ratio)
  • 176 friends & 295 fans
Scott McIntyre Scott McIntyre (ScottMcIntyre)
A guy from Scotland, UK (UK) who joined Digg on July 4th, 2008

Activity & Network:

  • Articles Dugg: 36,544
  • Comments Made: 1,893
  • Submissions: 762
  • Submissions Made Popular: 270 (35% Popular Ratio)
  • 152 friends & 2,711 fans
bamafun bamafun (bamafun)
A female who joined Digg on May 24th, 2007

Activity & Network:

  • Articles Dugg: 96,325
  • Comments Made: 1,474
  • Submissions: 1,388
  • Submissions Made Popular: 278 (20% Popular Ratio)
  • 407 friends & 5,752 fans
XDVX XDVX (xdvx)
A 19 year-old male from Lithuania who joined Digg on November 28th, 2006

Activity & Network:

  • Articles Dugg: 41,575
  • Comments Made: 403
  • Submissions: 440
  • Submissions Made Popular: 78 (17% Popular Ratio)
  • 468 friends & 2,416 fans
Shiner76 Shiner76 (Shiner76)
A person from Massachusetts (US) who joined Digg on January 29th, 2008

Activity & Network:

  • Articles Dugg: 13,188
  • Comments Made: 121
  • Submissions: 54
  • Submissions Made Popular: 8 (15% Popular Ratio)
  • 201 friends & 946 fans
Surferess Surferess (Surferess)
A female from California (US) who joined Digg on April 17th, 2007

Activity & Network:

  • Articles Dugg: 44,371
  • Comments Made: 2,790
  • Submissions: 316
  • Submissions Made Popular: 86 (27% Popular Ratio)
  • 128 friends & 3,087 fans
Ronbry Ronbry (Ronbry)
A male from the United States who joined Digg on February 11th, 2007

Activity & Network:

  • Articles Dugg: 5,205
  • Comments Made: 0
  • Submissions: 568
  • Submissions Made Popular: 54 (10% Popular Ratio)

Network:

  • Ronbry hasn’t added any friends (unknown number of fans)
Louie Baur Louie Baur (louiebaur)
A dude from Southern California (US) who joined Digg on December 23rd, 2007

Activity & Network:

  • Articles Dugg: 50,534
  • Comments Made: 3,627
  • Submissions: 1,377
  • Submissions Made Popular: 466 (34% Popular Ratio)
  • 231 friends & 4,383 fans
neorocker neorocker (virgintech)
A 22 year-old male from India (IN) who joined Digg on November 6th, 2008

Activity & Network:

  • Articles Dugg: 10,291
  • Comments Made: 260
  • Submissions: 68
  • Submissions Made Popular: 13 (19% Popular Ratio)
  • 256 friends & 571 fans
tbhurst tbhurst (tbhurst)
A 36 year-old male from Colorado, USA (US) who joined Digg on August 2nd, 2007

Activity & Network:

  • Articles Dugg: 26,101
  • Comments Made: 494
  • Submissions: 255
  • Submissions Made Popular: 103 (40% Popular Ratio)
  • 212 tbhurst & 2,851 fans
Mr. Baby Man Mr. Baby Man (MrBabyMan)
A gentleman who joined Digg on December 27th, 2005

Activity & Network:

  • Articles Dugg: 123,466
  • Comments Made: 2,161
  • Submissions: 11,780
  • Submissions Made Popular: 3,278 (28% Popular Ratio)
  • 242 friends & 14,021 fans
Griny Griny (Griny)
A gentleman from Manchester (UK) who joined Digg on February 27th, 2008

Activity & Network:

  • Articles Dugg: 36,106
  • Comments Made: 176
  • Submissions: 243
  • Submissions Made Popular: 101 (42% Popular Ratio)
  • 168 friends & 2,044 fans
SirPopper SirPopper (SirPopper)
A 37 year-old gentleman from Stuttgart (DE) who joined Digg on April 3rd, 2008

Activity & Network:

  • Articles Dugg: 72,075
  • Comments Made: 475
  • Submissions: 6,025
  • Submissions Made Popular: 676 (11% Popular Ratio)
  • 335 friends & 4,466 fans

What Do These Diggers Have in Common?
Here are some of the key takeaways and observations of this exercise:

  • All of these users are incredibly active, with no less than 3,000 articles dugg per user.
  • The ratio between articles dugg and articles submitted is at least 10:1, and often much greater. I.E., you need to digg more than just the articles you submit.
  • While comments may impact individual submissions, it does not appear that most of these users are overly active with their comments (similar ratio’s to overall digg activity). Takeaway: Don’t comment for the sake of commenting; comment because you really have something of value to say.
  • Age of profile plays only a limited role in this sample set. 2 of these users have profiles less than 6 months old and SirPopper has 600+ popular stories in less than 12 months of contributions.
  • Only 1 of 13 does not have an active friend network greater than 100 with a considerably larger “follower” base. Also, because Ronbry does not have a friend network, it’s unclear if that user may have additional Digg followers as well.
  • No one listed has a 100% success ratio and most fall under 30%. That means that for every visible success, these users are contributing 2 or more other submissions which do not make the Digg home page. Takeaway: Don’t get discouraged if it takes time and more than a few submissions for others to notice your contributions.

Tips for Being a More Active Digg User

  • Focus on Digg categories you enjoy most, or are part of your business strategy. Network with other users you see are active in those categories.
  • Maintain active participation in the “Upcoming” sections of Digg categories
  • Make use the Digg Recommendation Engine to find submissions and users who share your interests.
  • Use an RSS reader to aggregate the type of content that does well on Digg.
  • Use an RSS reader to follow the activity of Digg users who submit material you enjoy.
  • Make sure to add a complete Bio (and avatar) and include links to locations other Digg users can contact you or learn more about your interests.
  • If you don’t enjoy the community, you’re much less likely to have success

Conclusions
Participation is the key to most social media communities and Digg is no different. Contribution, quality and networking are all components of building a productive Digg profile, designed to gain an impact with Digg submissions. Remember, less than 1% of Digg submissions make the Digg home page. You face an uphill battle from the start.

In a similar way that Google penalized webmaster’s who abused the system, Digg has become more aggressive in removing the profiles of those taking taking advantage of the system or using shortcuts to automate activity. The point being: if you figure out how to cheat, Digg will eventually catch on and ban you (maybe for good).

There are many who would say Digg is just a popularity contest. This post does not refute that point and if anything, shows that having a network of Digg friends makes it much more likely you’ll have success.

However, I have noticed that in most cases, more than 50% of the votes must come from outside of a users network to get a submission to the Digg home page. It also takes at least 60 digg’s (more so for more active users and competitive categories). That means that as important as your network is, the quality of your submission still must resonate across the overall community.

I hope you find this information valuable and welcome questions, discussion and opinion in the comment section below.

Other Helpful Digg-Related Resources


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