March 22nd, 2007 - by Golgotha

What a difference a day makes! On March 12th Search-This’ traffic hit an all-time high; a ridiculous high. Thanks to Paul O’Brien’s CSS article, “No Margin For Error” and the social phenomenon known as Digg.

Search-This received 22,633 unique visitors that day; about 20 thousand more visitors than normal! On day two we received 10,798 visitors and on day three we were almost back to normal with 2,837 visitors. You can see this in the charts below:

In addition to all the new-found traffic we also had many new subscribers to our RSS feed. FeedBurner showed an increase of 321 new subscribers the same day the article broke on Digg. However, it’s been steadily decreasing ever since.

I must say that I find this a bit interesting and disheartening. It means many people added our feed only to read the article, “No Margin For Error” and once they were done reading it they removed us from their feed list. Seems like a lot of work to read only one article. Why didn’t they at least give us a week and check out our other articles before ending their subscription?

The image below shows our FeedBurner spike and then decline:

In closing I’d like to share with you some of my thoughts on the Digg spike. It’s easy to say that the new-found traffic was great. If it introduces people to what I think is a great blog full of valuable information that allows them to make their websites better, then I’m all for it.

However, I think as a blog we need to guard against becoming addicted to the quick and easy ‘fix’ type of traffic that Digg provides. I don’t want Search-This to take the path that some blogs have, where they don’t create any real content. Instead, they create quick and simple lists mostly made up of screen shots from other sites. These simple lists seem to do well on Digg, but do little to teach the blog viewer. These type of sites seem to concentrate their efforts more on getting “Dugg” than offering their viewers any real solutions.

As a blog dedicated to providing solutions to webmasters, we will continue to create articles that inform and teach first and if they then get “Dugg”, that’s great. We will not create articles for the sole purpose of Digg trafficking.

9 Responses to “Digg – Means Business”

1 Paul

I think you are right and if you concentrate on quality content then you ignore the sudden spikes and work on gaining a broader more sustainable user base.

2 Dan Schulz

“As a blog dedicated to providing solutions to webmasters, we will continue to create articles that inform and teach first and if they then get “Dugg”, that’s great. We will not create articles for the sole purpose of Digg trafficking.” — from the article

Amen to that. And people wonder why I’m not very fond of Digg. Quantity may have a quality all its own, but I’m not going to engage in any “drive-by” practice – whether it be writing an article, commentary or review, or building a Web site. If I did, everyone would be denied the benefit of a quality work, and I’d appear to be a selfish pig.

3 Golgotha

I’m not against digg, quite the opposite, I love digg. It has tons of great links to fun stories and informational stories.

I just think one needs to be careful of becoming a digg junky and trying to get the quick fix. The goal, as Paul states, should be a more sustainable user base.

I want all the traffic we can get, from digg or elsewhere, but I won’t compromise this blog to get it.

4 TOMAS

First off, congratulations on the newfound exposure for search-this!

Second, your site has already shown that it is much more than just “link bait”. If anything, I would think of ways that you could keep more of those visitors by offering a list of your “most popular posts” or some other incentive (free WP theme, plugin, et cetera)

Third, I believe that the Feedburner numbers will always fluctuate because (I could be wrong) feed readers may not always be pinging your feed for new content if users do not see any new posts from your feed. For example, wait until tomorrow and see how much your numbers change after this post. There’s a good chance you’ll see the numbers spike up a bit.

~Tomas

5 TOMAS

FYI, I’m pretty sure I’m wrong about the Feedburner thing, but I definitely notice that my subscriber number increases after I post a new article (see this article for more info).

I honestly doubt people would go through all the trouble of subscribing to this blog then un-subscribing just to read one post, so keep the hope alive.

:)

6 Golgotha

@Tomas: “most popular posts”…hmmm, not a bad idea.

Damn, I still need to get that plugin done. Life gets in my way.

I’m still learning about FeedBurner as I go.

7 TOMAS

Check out Chris Garrett’s “Killer Flagship Content” eBook, it’s free if you subscribe to chrisg.com. It’s got some nice tips in there (most you’re probably aware, but some you might not be).

8 Golgotha

Yeah, I like Chris’ blog, he does a nice job. I haven’t had time to read his eBook, but it’s on my list of things to do.

9 Dan Schulz

Hey TOMAS, thanks for sharing the link to Chris’s site.

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