Getting your content out into the world can be very difficult, but as the web community grows, everyone is looking for new ways to find the best content on the Internet. To deal with this need, many social sites have been developed that allow users to vote, bookmark, or randomly find the most interesting things posted online.
This article is going to highlight a few of those service based sites, as well as talk about the type of traffic you can expect.
Digg is still considered the premiere place right now to gain attention for your site. Getting on the front page of Digg will bring so much traffic, that many sites find themselves unable to keep up with the requests, thus succumbing to the Digg effect. If you are lucky, you can get a fair number of new RSS subscribers from Digg related visitors.
That leads me to the biggest issue that I have with Digg is that the traffic doesn’t convert well. Getting on the front page of Digg a few times will use up huge amounts of bandwidth, create a big influx of one time readers, and do very little else. Don’t expect your Google AdSense to be filling up with cash from Digg related visitors.
You can promote news/articles, podcasts, and videos on Digg, but the biggest traffic effect comes from being on the front page of the News section.
Reddit is a much simpler looking site when compared to Digg. It has more or less the same basic premise though: voting up moves the story closer and closer to the front page. And just like on Digg, getting on the front page is where you can get most of your traffic.
Where Digg is very technology focused, Reddit seems to do well with more traditional news, including politics, world affairs and “funny news”.
The traffic here, just like Digg, are web savvy users, who know how to avoid advertisements, but they don’t come in the same numbers as with Digg. Also, from what I have seen, Reddit users seem to have a longer attention span, and are more likely to check out other articles on a site once they arrive.
Even with its strange domain name, Del.icio.us is the most popular social bookmarking website. There are no votes here, only a system that counts how many people have added the same link. If enough people add your link to their Del.icio.us account, you will find it on the front page.
The Del.icio.us community is very diverse, but technology stories seem to make up its Hotlist more often than not.
The visitors from Del.icio.us are a lot like the ones from Reddit. They are more willing to stick around, though they are still very web savvy and most likely won’t click on any advertising you have.
One of the newest “big” players to the social scene is Netscape, and from what I have seen, it is probably one of the most filtered and managed services, with Scouts and Anchors on shift to filter out garbage from the site.
The front page is littered with political stories and news. I have seen topics such as movies, music and science also hit the front page regularly. The users here range from the inexperienced to the very web savvy.
The traffic received from reaching the front page is much smaller than most of its competitors, but I believe that it is of a slightly higher quality, mostly due to the lack of knowledge that some of its users have. This means traffic from Netscape is more likely to click on advertisements than Digg or even Reddit, but just like Digg, they probably won’t stick around to see what you write next.
A very different system than all the rest, StumbleUpon is primarily for randomly bringing you to sites and stories you will like. You add StumbleUpon to your browser, and when you click on it, you stumble to the random site that the service chooses.
The service is growing at a viral rate, especially lately as reports have started appearing on sites about the massive amount of quality traffic that StumbleUpon is bringing to their sites.
I haven’t experienced this first hand as of yet, but it seems to be one of the communities worth joining. A word of warning though, one of my friends has spent hours aimlessly stumbling from site to site, saying that the service can be addictive, and a great way to procrastinate.
All The Rest
There are many other social news and bookmark sharing sites, some with a broad focus like most of the sites I have listed above, and some with specific niche focuses, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. My biggest tip would be to cast a wide net, and involve yourself with as many of these communities as you have time for. Over time you will learn which ones work best for you, and focus on those.
The best thing you can do for your site is networking, so give it the time and energy it deserves.