When I first ran into Digg and read about some of the traffic that got sent to people’s websites, I thought to myself, “Man! It must be great to be Dugg! All those new readers would be awesome!” While there are some really good things that come from being Dugg (e.g. some of my regular readers found me on Digg, you become “popular” for a short period of time, etc.), there were some aspects of a Digg that I really wasn’t prepared for (e.g. my site going down, etc.).
Since I have been on the receiving end of the Digg Effect a few times, I started to look a bit more at some of the long-term and unexpected outcomes of being Dugg. Some of my finding were quite surprising.
A Digg is like a traffic accident.
People slow down to look but very few stop and get involved. My typical bounce rate on DCoT is about 66%. This means that on a typical day, 66% of the people will come in to one page and then leave my website.
Yet, during my last Digg, my bounce rate was 79.3% for the day (13 points above average) and 81.7% for the specific page that had been Dugg (15 points above average). And, I believe that this number would have been even higher had the article not referenced another article on DCoT. And, I’d be willing to bet that the vast majority of them do not return.
Digg traffic can be poor quality traffic.
There is no question that I got a lot of traffic each time that DCoT was Dugg. In fact the last time that I was Dugg, one day page views and visits increased by a factor of five over the same day of the previous week! But, who were these new visitors? Were they new tech people eager for computer knowledge? Were they IT veterans willing to share their vast array of computer skills?
In general, I would say “No”. It seems that many of the people who read the article were average people reading a story that they thought was interesting. The majority of the information that was on the rest of DCoT was of little interest to them.
A Digg can reduce your Google Pagerank.
Many people believe that the more websites that link to your website, the higher your Google Pagerank will be. So, if you get a huge influx of links because of a Digg, then logically your pagerank should also increase.
Unfortunately, this can have the exact opposite effect, depending on who is linking to you. As explained in Google’s PageRank Explained and how to make the most of it, if the pages that are linking to you have a low pagerank themselves, this can reduce your website’s and webpage’s pagerank. So, by Digg linking to you, this may increase your pagerank (Digg presently has a pagerank of 8), all of the other smaller websites and blogs may quite quickly drain than increase in pagerank.
And what’s even worse, your pagerank will continue to suffer as the links to your website are removed from a blog’s main page (which typically has the highest pagerank on the website) to subpages further down the blog (which often have a pagerank of 0!)
Links resulting from Digg can be poor quality.
One of the other issues about websites that link to your blog from a Digg is that they may be poor quality links because they are linking to the post, not your website. My last Digg was about the USB drive that helped find a lost child. Most people linked to this post not because they were interested in USB drive technology. Rather, they linked to it because they wanted others to know how to find their child. Thus, the typical blog or website that was linking to this post were family or parenting blogs.
While it is nice that these blogs found my post useful, the type of people reading these other blogs are not the type that will continue to return to DCoT or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Many web hosts don’t like websites that get Dugg and “penalize” them.
This is definitely something that I ran into. I am using shared hosting and when I was Dugg the first time, I turned to my web host for help. What did I get in return, my bandwidth was throttled and my website was shut down without notification three times. To this day, there are still restrictions on my website that they refuse to take off because my site received too many hits.
Now, I can understand that they are concerned about their other customers on the server that hosts my website but to put on restrictions and refuse to take them off again because I could experience another Digg at any moment is a bit much.
Initially, I thought that this was just my web host. Unfortunately, this seem to be a common practice for many web hosting companies and I am not likely to get any better service elsewhere short of going to dedicated hosting. And, according to the forums, this may be no better and just be a lot more expensive.
You become a target.
When you suddenly have thousands of people coming to your little blog and reading what you have to say, it is amazing how many experts come out of the woodwork to tell you that you are completely off base and that you haven’t got a clue about what you are talking about. Or, that your idea is the stupidest thing that they have ever heard on the Internet (I actually got that one).
You really need to be prepared for this one but very few people tell you about it. If you take pride in what you do and what you post about on your blog, this one can really bring you down. People will quickly express their opinions about your post simply because they can but very few (if any) really understand the ramifications of these comments unless they have been on the receiving end. And, I would be willing to bet that very few of them have.
A Digg takes a psychological toll.
Much like the previous point, you need to be psychologically ready for the Digg. In the last few Diggs on DCoT, I have noticed five distinct psychological stages of a Digg. Please note that I am not a psychologist. These are just some of the patterns that I have discovered about myself in a Digg that you may also experience.
- Excitement - “Cool, I’m on the front page of Digg! Look at all those hits!” Occurs within the first few seconds of realizing you are bing Dugg.
- Panic - “My site is down! I need to get it back up! Now!” Occurs within the first few seconds of realizing your site is unavailable to the majority of viewers.
- Desperation - “Why are my numbers dropping? I need to write another amazing post to get them back! But how?” Usually occurs between one and seven days after initial Digg. All depends upon how long the Digg Effect lasts.
- Depression - “My website sucks! Why would anyone ever Digg it again? I think I’ll quit the blog because I have nothing to offer and nobody is willing to return the favor.” This is usually the longest and most dangerous part of the Digg Effect psychology. It can last for months.
- Acceptance - “I’m going to write my blog for myself and my regular readers. Who cared if it ever gets Dugg again?” If the blog survives the Depression stage, this will generally follow but when it comes depends a great deal on the psychological profile of the blogger.
There is a lot of talk about how to deal with a Digg. But most of that is about what to do to keep your site up while in the middle of the Digg effect. I believe that the effect of a Digg are much further reaching most would believe.If you found this post useful, why don't you buy me a cup of coffee to show your gratitude?