About a year ago Digg went through a dismal redesign that dramatically turned social-savvy folks away from using the platform. Although many consider Digg dead and buried, check out these recent worthwhile enhancements that just might bring it back to life.
5 Digg Website Enhancements to Watch
Newsrooms, leaderboards, and badges... oh my! Digg is finally getting back to functionality that users love...
1. Digg Newsrooms
Digg recently launched "Newsrooms" (beta) which allows users to follow content submitted to those areas. Newsrooms include the original 10 "topics" (currently featured under Newswire) along with 20 new Newsroom topics varying from big brands to local city news.
Digg Original Topics:
- World News
While the Newsroom (beta) topic list is currently a fraction of StumbleUpon "interests", the diversity of new topics shows promise for more future options. Digg has asked users to submit suggestions and feedback.
2. New Digg Submission Options
New posts can now be submitted to a topic and a Newsroom; however, you must first be "following" a Newsroom to have it appear as an option. Once a post is submitted, the Newsroom is featured at the top of the post.
3. Digg Voting Options (for submitted posts)
The voting button is now split into thumbs-down (Bury) or thumbs-up (Digg) icon options. Burying the post will reduce the count displayed.
Note: The "Bury" link has always been present with an "X" icon below the post description, but who paid attention to it there or knew was it was?! Bringing light to the actual purpose of "bury" will likely lead to increased usage.
4. Display of Social Proof Counts
Digg applied social media optimization (SMO) to their posts and listings by displaying counts of views and social shares (including Facebook and Twitter) to serve as social proof that content is read- and share-worthy. This will entice more click-throughs and votes and likely help good content more easily make its way to the "front page" of Newsroom listings.
5. Newsroom Leaderboard & Badge Awards
"We don't need no stinking badges!" Well, we might not need them, but Foursquare has proven that badges (though technically meaningless) entice user engagement.
Digg is building on that concept by rewarding users with "badge awards" for interacting with posts. These awards are available in different levels/quantities for Newsroom submissions/promotions, read stories (yes, just for viewing a story), Digg/Bury votes, comments, and replies. In essence, it's a loyalty program rewarding frequent and engaged Digg users.
Note: Offering an award for burying posts was great timing with the new voting buttons. This will likely encourage users to actively vote content down as well as up, in-turn helping to weed out not-so-great content.
Digg users recently acquiring award points are featured in the Newsroom right sidebars as "Leaders in Technology" (or respective Newsroom) with a link to view the full leaderboard. Since badges have an alluring draw for the competitively social media-savvy, expect this functionality to help increase interaction with your posts.
How To Leverage Digg For Driving Website Traffic
- Follow Newsroom topics applicable to your content or interests. You need to be following the Newsroom in order to post to it, so plan ahead and follow topics accordingly. (i.e., Technology, Apple, Google, Facebook, and Mobile)
- Submit your post to Digg just after publishing. By submitting posts yourself you ensure proper Newsroom topic filing (which improves post visibility) and optimal image thumbnail selection (which aids click-through rates). It also builds the baseline for "social proof" and expedites the voting process (no need to select an image, topic, etc.) for other Diggers.
- Add the Digg button to your web pages. Encourage users to submit to Digg by including the Digg button (with counts) on articles. Close articles with a call-to-action that encourages sharing and place sharing button(s) promptly after the article. Visibility, suggestion, and "social proof" will help optimize interaction.
Note: For your website, grouped social sharing widgets LinksAlpha and Sexy Bookmarks both include Digg. For personal use, enable Digg as an option in the Shareaholic browser plug-in (available for IE8, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and more browsers.) The Shareaholic browser toolbar menu (pictured at right) conveniently displays real-time Digg share and comment counts!
- Pay attention to who votes to Digg or bury your posts. Folks using social bookmark/submission sites are likely engaged on other social networks as well. (Check their profiles or try their username on other networks.) These people are your viral seed planters. Find them, follow them, connect with them, and share (Digg, Like, retweet, etc.) their content. When you have new content ready to post, notify them. Do this sparingly though. Don't take advantage of the relationship, and be prepared to reciprocate in sharing their quality content. (Note: Digg displays all users that Digg/bury posts while StumbleUpon only displays a select few.)
- Monitor the Digg Newsroom leaderboards for viral seed planters. If your content most likely fits a particular Newsroom topic, review the leaderboards (i.e. Leaders in Technology, Leaders in Facebook, etc.) to find top Diggers with whom to network. In their recent announcement about Newsrooms, Digg stated, "We hope this [leaderboard] visibility will create transparency around who is Digging and burying content, as well as highlight users who read stories before Digging them." The fact that Digg is measuring and awarding "reads" before "Diggs" is very interesting. Leverage it!
Digg Historic Trends & Future Opportunity
In the last two years, the amount of web traffic driven from social sites has boomed. Since July 2011, StumbleUpon has exceeded Facebook in the U.S. as the top social media source of referral traffic. In contrast, Digg statistics have gradually declined; the only major social network referring less traffic is MySpace.
While the numbers don't show much historical promise for Digg, keep an eye on these social media statistics. If Digg can run bug-free with optimal up-time and regain some attention from the social sharing elite, it should be poised to gain some ground.
Are Your Posts "Shovel-Ready"?
What do you think? Are these enhancements engaging enough for Digg to make a comeback? Are you tempted to try out Digg Newsrooms? Why or why not? Please share your thoughts in the comments below, and if this post made you a little bit curious, vote to Digg it!