Despite the huge audience and Brand that Digg has it is still widely misunderstood by new users. I get so many emails and talk to a lot of people all saying things like, "I submitted my homepage to Digg and no one voted on it?." So I hope this article can help you understand the the process of a successful Digg which should also help you in understanding why only good content makes it and how it makes it.
This is not a how to spam article, this is an article that will hopefully help you better understand the life of your stories on Digg. If you better understand the stories and the process you can increase your chances for a front page Digg. This is from my experience this isn't written in stone and with that if you have any additions or comments to add please do.
Within the 24 hour time span that your story is allotted to reach the front page of Digg there are different milestones that it needs to reach to better its chances at "Going Popular". This article will discuss what I feel from my experience are the most important milestones in order.
1.) Hot In Your Sub Category:
If you submit a story to Digg, your very first goal is to get it into the Hot Up and Coming Sidebar for Environment. This is done by getting a good amount of Diggs right off the start to separate your story from the rest of the pack, but even more importantly you need Diggs from non friends or those that don't often digg your stories. Getting Diggs from from users that don't frequent your stories is the best way for a story to grow in a way that is pleasing to the almighty algorithm.
This can be tough for a new user, a lot of people think that when starting out on Digg your story is automatically in front of thousands of users who will vote for or against it. This is not true, in fact unless you submit a story from a very popular website or blog and they have some sort of Digg Button on the site notifying the readers that it has been Dugg your story will be seen by virtually no one unless you have friends.
The most important thing before starting to submit stories is to go interact on the site and Digg stories from categories you like, then add the users that submitted those stories to your friend list and get involved in the community.
How do you get Diggs from non friends? I'm not going to go into all the hows there are a lot of ways both positive and negative in terms of how the algorithm sees it. It seems like for the most part users are using shouts, but you can also send out emails, IM's, twitters etc. whether you think that is legit or not is up to you. The black and white of it is you shouldn't pay for Diggs. Getting Diggs from "non friends" is really important as it makes your site look more "viral" or "natural" in that users that don't have any interest in you as a user are voting positively for the article. The quicker you can get on up and coming hot for your sub category the quicker you can start to get in front of a larger audience on Digg and hopefully attracting more votes from early on. When first perfecting your Digg skills your first priority should getting on "Hot" for your category as quickly as possible as this will always place your story in front of more Digg users
2.) Hot Up and Coming Main Category:
This is the next step in your stories progression. Again if you submitted to Science > Environment and your story has been on the Hot Sidebar in Environment for the last couple hours you now want to make sure your story gets on the Hot Sidebar of Science to reach more concentration of users. You will see here that the avg votes are higher than that of the Hot for the subcategory as you are now competing with all the subcategory stories in one place. You will need more Diggs to get here and again a good ration of friends vs. non friends is essential. If you look at the stories that have 20 Diggs and under that make the "Hot" section of a parent category they have virtually no friends that have Dugg the story. Whereas there maybe other stories with 72 Diggs not on "Hot" yet because 68 of them are from mutual friends.
You want your story to reach this status as quickly as possible as there will be a much larger audience viewing your story which can get you more votes if the story is any good. Try to do it before the 12 hour half way mark if you can, giving an additional day of being on the side bar. This is really the first time your story will start to reach the make it or break it status, watch the comments and you can look at buries at the Bury Recorder to get a feel for how the community likes the story but more importantly the headline and description. When you are on the side bar your headline is all that shows as the snippet of the story, this and a thumbnail is the sole reason people will click through to view the rest of the story, so it has to be tight and good. I recommend the "Inverted Pyramid" method for most stories. If your Title is misleading or showing the story out of context in hopes to get more votes you will get buries for this. When I first started out on Digg I used to think this was needed and every time my story got in front of a lot of people they started to bury and comment on the Title being misleading and the story would die. Think of ways to succinctly tell the entire story in a few powerful words.
3.) Up and Coming Most/Hot in All Topics:
The last milestone to the stories growth is reaching "Hot in All Topics" and the "Up and Coming All Most" page. This is where the most Diggers will see you prior to a front page, this is where you can see your story grow 60 votes in 30 minutes. There are a lot of people that subscribe to these pages and or come to the site with these pages as the main pages to scan and look for good stories that are not front page yet. To get here your story has often passed the test of a decent title, good amount of comments and a lot of natural Diggs.
There are some exceptions as far as passing the test for the Up and Coming All Most page you can spam your way to that page with nothing but friend or bought votes you will see stories there that are 4 ours old with 180 votes all from users that are 2 days old, but it is just a matter of time before the right amount of people bury them. You don't need a good ratio of friends to non friends to make this page, but you will to go Front Page so it is important you have it nonetheless.
The most important part of reaching this page is to do it quickly because again you will be in front of more users that are not your friends and if they like the story and vote on it your story will increase its chances on reaching the front page. It is best to try and reach this with 12 hours left or earlier but that isn't always the case. if you can reach this by at least 15 hours you will still have 8 hours left in front of a larger audience.
Those are what I feel should be your 3 main targets or goals as you are promoting your stories, again I am not condoning spam, and it doesn't really matter if I was cause the Digg community is getting larger and much better at burying spam and crap. On the Getting Votes from non friends again things that can legitimately help are opening up your shouts to all and then shouting to people that are not mutual friends. Shouting is what I think Digg made to answer people sending IM's and emails, they know you are going to share the story regardless so why not do it through the site and in a way that will drive more page views to Digg. Also if you have "real life friends" that use Digg don't add each other to your friends list and help each other out, but I also think it would be really easy for an algorithm to see voting patterns whether they are from friends or not so this would not work one very story if all you do was Vote each others back and forth.
If you need help finding good content to submit to Digg use the Social Media for Firefox Plugin it has been downloaded over 50,000 times and has helped hundreds of people build really good accounts at the different social sites.
Other Posts on Social Media:
- 12 Tips to Making the Front Page of the "New Digg" (Humor Kind Of)