You may have noticed last week one particular post here received quite a bit of attention. On February 6th, Five Things To Do With A PC When You Have No Internet Connection was submitted to Digg. I didn’t submit the story, but I did notice a small influx of traffic coming that afternoon and evening. When I checked my stats at around 3 a.m. on the 7th, there were over 17,000 referrals from Digg. The piece had been made popular at shortly after midnight CST. So I checked Digg and saw that the story had over 500 Diggs. The odyssey had begun.
First, let me say that when you first see the traffic flooding in from Digg that it’s hard not to simply sit there and keep refreshing your stats. Then it is hard not to keep refreshing over at Digg to watch the Digg number increase. And the comments begin flooding in, and I do mean that it is a flood, both at Digg and at the blog.
Much has been written lately about the quality of Digg traffic and what happens after, these are my observations on the Digg Effect.
The first thing I noticed was that the Digg traffic almost immediately propelled the blog to the front page of WordPress.com for most popular site of the day, most popular post and fastest growing blog. More traffic.
Second was that the Digg visitor comments were generally polite, and after reading some of the experiences written by others, I was expecting to get slammed for the blog template, content quality, etc.
Then I noticed the pingbacks, and the links from other blogs and this was at 4 a.m.
Other news aggregators started sending referrals and then del.icio.us traffic started coming in and then traffic from places like monitor.hr, popurls.com and Google reader. This is a modest little blog, two-three hundred uniques a day.
Emails started arriving, asking to translate the post into other languages. requesting typo fixes for comments, introductions, etc. The Digg count kept climbing. I was ecstatic when the Diggs topped one thousand.
Still wasn’t 9 a.m. By nine a.m. the post had 72 comments at the blog and around 90 at Digg.
Later, the story was submitted to Lifehacker, picked up by Gizmodo, Netvibes was sending traffic, poil.ca, and on and on. Backlinks were still piling up. Currently, the little article has garnered 2057 Diggs.
Quite a lot has been written about the quality of Digg traffic, most of it not positive. Here are my thoughts;
First, I need to dispense with the word ‘traffic’, it is real people showing up, not bots. These people are just like you and I, they have diverse interests and they use the Web. They like to be heard and they aren’t afraid to voice their opinions.
Here’s what I noticed.
Digg visitors are focused on the article at hand, they don’t click around much. That post got 73,169 views that day. The next most popular post received 69. Yep, 69.
What about outbound clicks? Here are the top 10 outbound clicks for that day:
The EnginePuller site is linked from a comment on the post. That next stat is interesting, that’s the subscription button for my feed. Compare that to the Google Reader stat for that day: google.com/reader/view 788
What about after the Digg visitors start tapering off?
Here’s the total referral info since the 7th.
75,865 on the 7th
20,503 on the 8th
3,815 on the 9th.
Google reader for the 8th, google.com/reader/view 753
Google Reader For the 9th, google.com/reader/view 124
Alexa’s rather humorous chart: http://www.alexa.com/data/details/traffic_details?q=speakingfreely.wordpress.com&url=speakingfreely.wordpress.com
I haven’t finished looking at backlink data, but I do know that I stopped counting at over 300 hundred and that the number of backlinks is still climbing.
Is there value in getting Dugg? Certainly is. Some of that value resides in the experience itself but the most tangible value is the increase in exposure and the connections that are made. I’m still trading emails with people that I would never have met, I’m finding blogs that have useful information that I may have never seen and virtually meeting the people that write those blogs.
What have a learned about Digg visitors? They stay pretty focused on the reason they arrived, they like to comment and while they may not read many other posts on the site, they certainly read the article they came to read. Do some of them miss the point or disagree with what you wrote? Sure, but that happens at every forum I’ve ever participated in and in every conversation that has more than one person talking. ; )
If nearly 75,000 people show up in one place, there’s bound to be some differences of opinion and a little chaos. The experience is certainly worthwhile though.
If anyone would like to see more comprehensive stats, shoot me an email and I’ll send what I have.
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