Graham at EntreCard has done a really wonderful thing in being the catalyst to create a huge EntreCard user block on Digg. Using EntreCard we can find each other's blogs via card dropping. And now, taking card dropping to the next level, we can find great posts from users of EntreCard that previously we really didn't have any access to using our drop lists and our own dropping criteria. And now, we even have the power, when we choose to use it wisely, of making a quality post of a relatively unknown blog, popular on digg for the whole world to stand up and take notice of.
Fortunately, my experience the last couple days is that I've received more drops on EntreCard, an increase in my average hourly traffic counts, and at least a handful of new readers of my blog that have added my blog to their blogrolls!
Unfortunately, my experience these last couple days has also been that the users of EntreCard that have joined this group on Digg are using Digg more as a spam promotion site, almost indiscriminately sending out shouts to the entire EntreCard block that has joined Digg. All this has accomplished really is to bury the truly great posts that probably deserved legitamate shouts among the average daily posts that all of us produce for our blogs; and to fill up all of our email mailboxes with hundreds of emails from Digg to the point where most of us are now just deleting them instead of reading them.
Using Digg as a block from EntreCard is a brilliant idea. Both Digg and EntreCard are amazing tools. So after spending the better part of two days learning the ins and outs of Digg, this is what I recommend to the EntreCard Community block to most effectively use Digg to increase traffic to all of our blogs and to make popular our most deserving posts.
1) Read Graham's Blog Entry Pro-torial on using Digg.
Many of us who answered the call and who have started using Digg have no idea what we're doing, or had no idea what we were doing. This blog tutorial is your first step to be able to understand the power of using Digg. It's only after you understand how the service works can you use it to your advantage.
2) Install the Digg Buttons Correctly in your template so that the Digg button appears on every post.
I've come across so many blogs that have the Digg button placed in their sidebar, not in the posts. If you put the button in your sidebar, all you will ever Digg is your blog, and none of your posts have the chance to get the recognition that they may deserve. The blog entry linked above gives users of Blogger and Wordpress instructions on how to add the Digg button directly to your posts. You can add the full size button, you can add the compact button, you can add alternate images, you can put them in the upper left, upper right, lower left or lower right of your blog entries. Just make sure you put them in your posts.
3) After you make a post, Submit your post to Digg yourself, and Favorite it on Digg.
I can't emphasize this strongly enough. We all know that dropping 150-300 EntreCards a day takes a lot of time. What I have discovered is that it's easy to click the "Digg" button IF it has already been submitted. If the Digg Button says "submit", that means that there are no Diggs yet on that post. That means if I want to Digg it, I have to spend time adding this post to Digg, typing in a title, assigning a category, and writing a description of the post. Honestly, I don't have time to do this when I'm dropping cards. But when I come across a post I really like, I still want to Digg it. But if I have to submit it, I'm less likely to take the time to do so.
So the first thing to do right after you make a post, if you want others who come across it to Digg it, is to Submit the post yourself. When you submit the post yourself, you also write the description that shows up on Digg. This gives you complete control of your own content. You don't want someone else to write a description of your post that isn't correct or relevant to your post, do you? Of course not. So take the time to submit the post yourself and write your own description. That makes it so much easier on everyone else who comes across the post to Digg it because then all they need to do is click the Digg button and they are done. Try it, I bet you'll see your Digg counts skyrocket.
And the second thing to do right after you make a post and submit it to Digg is to Favorite it. This way, if anyone is looking at your profile on Digg, they will see your latest post right underneath your name in the Favorites section. This has great value as I'll explain below.
NOTE: Two separate individuals have commented that submitting your own posts will get you banned from Digg. I have looked at the TOS quite thoroughly and I have read the FAQ. I cannot verify this information at this time. A few minutes ago, I sent an email to the abuse team at Digg asking for their thoughts on this practice for the beneficial reasons I have stated above. As soon as I hear back from them, I will post their decision.
Until then, however, I recommend that you refrain from submitting your own content to Digg. Instead, find an EntreCard blogging buddy. Someone who drops on your page every day, write the description for them, and ask them to submit your new posts to Digg on a daily basis for you. This will help you control the content of the descriptions that appear on Digg, and get your posts submitted quickly so you can take advantage of the benefits of doing so outlined above.
All, Ken Armstrong just pointed us to the Submission page on Digg's Website that clearly indicates it's OKAY to DIGG YOUR OWN POSTS:
"All of Digg's content is submitted by people just like you, so thanks for submitting. There are just a few simple things to keep in mind:
--Submit things you think a lot of other people might be interested in.
--Link to the original source, not a site that's simply copying others' work.
--Don't submit content with spam, pornography, profanity or material that otherwise violates our Terms of Service. It's there for this reason.
--Yes, you can submit your own content to Digg — just think about whether it's of general interest to others.
--Also see our Frequently Asked Questions about submitting."
So, thanks everyone for this discussion and your comments; please feel free to Digg your own post as soon as you post it--this makes it easier for everyone else to Digg while dropping EntreCards.
And thanks Ken for helping to clear up this matter! It's much appreciated, Mate!
4) To Shout or Not To Shout: That is the Question.
We all want recognition. We all want our posts to be read. We all want our posts to be wildy popular. I understand this. Using the Shout feature on Digg allows you to send your post to everyone who is your friend on Digg--this means the 300 of us who are part of the Digg EntreCard community.
But no matter what, RESIST the urge to Shout your posts to the entire Friends List. Just don't do it under normal circumstances. Let's face it. Most of our posts are average. Most of our posts are ordinary. Most of our posts are normal. Most of our posts are NOT Pulitzer Prize Winners nor are they ever going to be.
This does not mean that are posts are bad. I'm not saying that at all. But the Shout feature on Digg should only be used for your very best posts. That kind of quality comes along rarely--perhaps once a week, perhaps once a month, perhaps once a year. If you have a "Best Of" section in your sidebar, these are the types of posts that should be shouted to the entire group.
There are many reasons why you want to be careful when you're shouting out your posts: first and foremost is your credibility as a blogger. If you shout out ordinary stuff, people will come to believe that your blog is ordinary and that you are wasting their time. They will remove you from their friends lists, meaning that if you do have a really good post, they won't receive your shout or ever see it. It's the boy who cried wolf syndrome. When you finally have a really good post, no one will believe you, no one will go look at it, and you will not get Diggs.
Another important reason to be careful when shouting out is because you are sending out an email message to the entire group. If everyone of our group sent a shout every day, that's 300 emails that contain notices of shouts. None of us are going to look at 300 shouts. So if our group is not careful, we will end up devaluing the shout feature. If I have an exceptional post that I want everyone to see and Digg, I don't want people to miss it because my shout is lost in a group of 300 other shouts that same day.
I hope all this makes sense because there are better ways to use EntreCard and Digg to increase your blog traffic and to get your posts read, as I will itemize below.
5) When you receive a Digg, Comment.
This is actually quite simple. When you receive a comment on your blog, you are probably accustomed to commenting back. It's the same principle. Every day you will receive Diggs, normally on your most recent posts. If you have favorited your post, it appears on your profile page. Click on the posts that have Diggs. There is a button below the post for you to click on to see which Digg users have Dugg your post. Click on those users, go to their blogs, and comment on their current post and thank them for Digging your post. The advantages of doing so are the same as they are with comments for normal reasons. You will get to know other bloggers and increase interactivity. You don't have to Digg their post if you don't like it, and really, you shouldn't. But you should comment and acknowledge the Digg.
6) Only Digg blog posts that you really love and/or are very strong posts.
I can't emphasize this enough. Just like you don't want to send a shout on all your posts, you don't want to get caught up in the game of: "I Dugg your post, please Digg mine." First, doing so is against the TOS of Digg and may result in your account suspension or termination. But secondly, the whole purpose of Digg is to make popular really outstanding posts. You want to contribute to that goal by only digging posts that you consider to be really outstanding. Doing so enhances your credibility.
Digg has an automatic feature called "Recent Activity". Anyone viewing your profile will see the posts that you have recently Dugg. If you Digg crap, those that find your blog and your profile who follow the posts that you Dugg in hopes of finding good content will see that you Digg crap, and then they'll stop reading your blog because you aren't referring them to superior or interesting content.
But if you always Digg very strong or interesting posts, others who come across your profile who look at what you Dugg will recognize that you have taste and are likely to follow the Recent Activity Links on your profile and spend time reading what you write, what you refer, and visiting your own blog--which should be one of our goals for using Digg in the first place.
Does this make sense?
7) Install a Digg Widget in your Sidebar.
You can look at my sidebar to see my Digg Widget. You can find how to construct and customize a Digg Widget Here. What this widget will show is the last 5 or 10 or more (you select how many posts to show) blog posts or stories or media that you have Dugg. Having this on your blog is great. It shows all your readers that you participate in Digg, and there are great stories out there that you really enjoyed. If you like a post and you Digg it, you probably want others to find it and to Digg it too. Having this widget right on your blog is like sending a shout out for other content that you find that you really enjoy--but unlike a shout out, you're not hitting your readers over the head with it. The widget says: "Look at these posts because I really liked them and I think you will too." Having the widget on your site showing the posts you have Dugg is giving your stamp of approval to those posts. Naturally, your readers will be interested in them and from time to time they will click on the ones that look interesting and help increase traffic across the board.
If everyone in the EntreCard Digg block has this widget installed in his or her sidebar, it would help all of us find the truly superior posts to Digg and to increase the visibility of really great posts across all of our blogs--and increase the chance that we will come across them faster WHILE WE ARE DROPPING CARDS.
The whole advantage to participating in Digg while we drop EntreCards is to more efficiently use our card dropping time to generate traffic to our blogs and posts. Dropping cards generates a certain amount of traffic. Digging great posts will generate a certain amount of traffic. If we can Drop and Digg all at the same time, we can generate more traffic for each of us and for each other, easier and more quickly.
Following the tips I've laid out above will really help our group generate more traffic and really help the bloggers with the hidden gems out there to really stand out. I'm looking forward to finding great posts and great blogs out there, and utilizing the tools of Digg and EntreCard to my greatest advantage. I hope you are too.
If you found this post helpful, please comment and let me know. It is NOT necessary to Digg this post. This post is not intended for a wide audience. It's just intended for the Group of EntreCarders to help maximize their time while card dropping and to help each of you get the most out of Digg and EntreCard in concert together.
Thanks for reading.