Sites like digg.com, reddit.com, stumbleupon.com etc can bring you a LOT of traffic. How about getting 20,000 and more visitors a day when your listing hits the front page?
Getting to the front page of these sites is not
as difficult as it seems. I have been successful with digg and
del.icio.us (and not so much with Reddit though the same steps should
apply to it as well) multiple times and have thus compiled a list of steps that have
helped me succeed:
add to del.icio.us
1Pay attention to your Headlines
Many great articles go
unnoticed on social bookmarking sites because their headline is not
catchy enough. Your headline is the first (and very often the only)
thing users will see from your article, so if you don't make the
effort to provide a catchy headline, your chances of getting to the
front page are small.
Here are some examples to start with :-
Original headline : The Two Types of Cognition
Modified Headline : Learn to Understand Your Own Intelligence
Original headline: Neat way to organize and find anything in your purse instantly!
Modified Headline : How to Instantly Find Anything in Your Purse
Here is a good blog post that should help you with your headlines.
2Write a meaningful & short description
The headline is very important to draw attention but if you want to keep that attention,
a meaningful description is vital. The description must be slightly
provocative because this draws more attention but still, never use
lies and false facts to provoke interest. For instance, if your
write “This article will reveal to you the 10 sure ways to
deal with stress once and forever and live like a king from now on.”
visitors will hardly think that your story is true and facts-based.
You also might be tempted to
use a long tell-it-all paragraph to describe your great masterpiece
but have in mind that many users will not bother to read anything
over 100-150 characters. Additionally, some of the social
bookmarking sites limit descriptions, so you'd better think in
advance how to describe your article as briefly as possible.
3Have a great first paragraph
This is a rule that is
always true but for successful social bookmarking it is even more
important. If you have successfully passed Level 1 (headlines) and
Level 2 (description) in the Catch the User's Attraction game, don't
let a bad first paragraph make them leave your site.
4Content is king
However, the first paragraph is not
everything. Going further along the chain of drawing (and retaining)
users' attention, we reach the Content is King Level. If your
articles are just trash, bookmarking them is useless. You might
cheat users once but don't count on repetitive visits. What is more,
you can get your site banned from social bookmarking sites, when you
persistently post junk.
5Make it easy for others to vote / bookmark your site
It is best when other people, not you, bookmark your site. Therefore, you
must make your best to make it easier for them to do it. You can put
a bookmarking button at the end of the article, so if users like
your content, they can easily post it. If you are using a CMS, check
if there is an extension that allows to add Digg, Del.icio.us, and
other buttons but if you are using static HTML, you can always go to
the social bookmarking site and copy the code that will add their
button to your pages.
Here is a link that should help you add Links for Del.icio.us, Digg, and More to your pages.
6Know when to submit
The time when you submit can be
crucial for your attempts to get to the front page. On most social
bookmarking sites you have only 24 hours to get to the front page
and stay there. So, if you post when most users (and especially your
supporters) are still sleeping, you are wasting valuable time. By
the time they get up, you might have gone to the tenth page. You'd
better try it for yourself and see if it works for you but generally
posting earlier than 10 a.m. US Central Time is not good. Many
people say that they get more traffic around 3 p.m. US Central Time.
Also, workdays are generally better in terms of traffic but the
downside is that you have more competitors for the front page than
7Submit to the right category
Sometimes a site might
not work for you because there is no right category for you. Or
because you don't submit to the right category – technology,
health, whatever – but to categories like General,
Miscellaneous, etc. where all unclassified stuff goes. And since
these categories fill very fast, your chance to get noticed
8Build a top-profile
Not all users are equal on social bookmarking sites. If you are an old and respected user who has
posted tons of interesting stuff, this increases the probability
that what you submit will get noticed. Posting links to
interesting articles on other sites is vital for building a
top-profile. Additionally, it is suspicious, when your profile has
links to only one site. Many social bookmarking sites frown when
users submit their own content because this feels like
9Cooperate with other social bookmarkers
The Lonely Wolf is a suicidal strategy on sites like StubleUpon, Digg,
Netscape. Many stories make it to the front page not only because
they are great but because they are backed up by your network of
friends. If in the first hours after your submittal you get at
least 15 votes from your friends and supporters, it is more likely
that other users will vote for you. 50 votes can get you to the top
page of Digg.
10Submit in English
Linguistic diversity is great but
the majority of users are from English-speaking countries and they
don't understand exotic languages. So, for most of the social
bookmarking sites submitting anything in a language different from
English is not recommendable. The languages that are at an especial
disadvantage are Chinese, Arabic, Slavic languages and all the other
that use non-latin alphabet. German, Spanish, French are more
understandable but still they are not English. If you really must
submit your story (i.e. because you need the backlink), include an
English translation at least of the title. But the best way to
proceed with non-English stories is to post them on where they
belong. Check this link for a list of non-English sites.
11Never submit old news
Submitting old news will not
help you in becoming a respected user. Yesterday's news is history.
But if you still need to submit old stuff, consider feature
articles, howtos and similar pieces that are up-to-date for a long
12Check your facts You must be flattered that users
read your postings but you will hardly be flattered when users prove
that you haven't got the facts right. In addition to sarcastic
comments, you might also receive negative votes for your story, so
if you want to avoid this, check you facts - or your readers will do
13Check you spelling Some sites do not allow to edit
your posts later, so if you misspell the title, the URL, or a
keyword, it will stay this way forever.
14Not all topics do well But sometimes
even great content and submitting to the right category do not push
you to the top. One possible reason could be that your stories are
about unpopular topics. Many sites have topics that their users love
and topics that don't sell that well. For instance, Apple sells well
on Digg and The War in Iraq on Netscape. Negative stories - about
George Bush, Microsoft, evil multinational companies, corruption and
crime also have a chance to make it to the front page. You can't
know these things in advance but some research on how many stories
tagged with keywords like yours have made the front page in the last
year or so can give you a clue.
15Have Related Articles / Popular Articles
gurus joke that traffic from social bookmarking sites is like an
invasion – the crowds pour in and in a day or two they are
gone. Unfortunately this is true – after your listing rolls
from the front page (provided that you reached the front page), the
drop in traffic is considerable. Besides, many users come just
following the link to your article, have a look at it and then they
are gone. One of the ways to keep them longer on your site is to
have links to Related Articles / Popular Articles or something
similar that can draw their attention to other stuff on the site and
make them read more than one article.
16RSS feeds, newsletter subscriptions, affiliate marketing
RSS feeds, newsletter subscriptions, affiliate marketing are all
areas in which the traffic from social bookmarking sites can help
you a lot. Many people who come to your site and like it, will
subscribe to RSS feeds and/or your newsletter. So, you need to put
these in visible places and then you will be astonished at the
number of new subscriptions you got on the day when you were on the
front page of a major social bookmarking site.
17Do not use automated submitters
After some time of
active social bookmarking, you will discover that you are spending
hours on end posting links. Yes, this is a lot of time and using
automated submitters might look like the solution but it isn't.
Automated submitters often have malware in them or are used for
stealing passwords, so unless you don't care about the fate of your
profile and don't mind being banned, automated submitters are not
the way to go.
18Respond to comments on your stories
Social bookmarking sites are not a newsgroup but interesting articles can trigger a
pretty heated discussion with hundreds of comments. If your article
gets comments, you must be proud. Always respond to commends on your
stories and even better – post comments on other stories you
find interesting. This is a way to make friends and to create a
19Prepare your server for the expected traffic
hardly a point of minor importance but we take for granted that you
are hosting your site on a reliable server that does not crash twice
a day. But have in mind that your presence on the front page of a
major social bookmarking site can drive you a lot traffic, which can
cause your server to crash – literally!
I remember one of
the times I was on the front page on Digg,
I kept restarting Apache on my dedicated server because it was unable to cope with the massive
traffic. I have many tools on my site and when the visitors tried
them, this loaded the server additionally.
Well, for an articles
site getting so much traffic is not so devastating but if you are
hosting on a so-so server, you'd better migrate your site to a
machine that can handle a lot of simultaneous hits. Also,
check if your monthly traffic allowance is enough to handle
200-500,000 or even more visitors. It is very amateurish to attract
a lot of visitors and not be able to serve them because your server
crashed or you have exceeded your bandwidth!
20The snowball effect
But despite the differences in
the likes of the different social bookmarking communities, there are
striking similarities. You will soon discover that if a post is
popular on one of the major sites, this usually drives it up on the
other big and smaller sites. Usually it is Digg posts that become
popular on StumbleUpon and Reddit but there are many other examples.
To use this fact to your best advantage, you may want to concentrate
your efforts on getting to the front page of the major players only
and bet on the snowball effect to drive you to the top on other
An additional benefit of the snowball effect is that if
your posting is interesting and people start blogging about it, you
can get tons of backlinks from their blogs. This happened to me and
the result was that my PR jumped to 6 on the next update.