How To Engineer Your Way To The Front Page Of Digg

Shayne Tilley

As you’re all no doubt aware, digg is a traffic-delivering juggernaut—some of the busiest days in SitePoint’s history have come off the back of hitting the front page of digg.

The ability to move massive amounts of traffic to one site has many marketers, site owners, and entrepreneurs salivating at the very prospect of producing something that the digg crowd will, err, dig.

So much so, in fact, that it is possible to engineer your way to the front page of

Don’t believe me? Try these approaches and see for yourself:

How To Game digg

    1. Nudge, Nudge! Wink, Wink!You’ve all got friends—some of them who are members of digg—so sending a few of them a subtle “Is this digg-worthy?” via email or IM might just get the ball rolling. The more friends you’ve got, the better result this approach will deliver.
    2. Spend Cash, Get TrafficI have a confession to make—I’ve considered going down this path. But I’ve never acted. What I’m referring to is a simple “pay cash, get diggs” agreement.

      It’s quite concerning to discover that one of these sites is “not taking submissions at this time. (We’re overbooked.)”. With that much interest, the owners of these services are certainly in a position to expose a few organizations for pursuing questionably ethical promotion strategies, if they wanted to.

    3. Direct Marketing, Digg-stylePerhaps the most brazen approach I’ve seen to date (and the inspiration behind this post) is to make the most of your network in order to push them to your story on digg. I received an email from a company who I’d had just one business meeting with. It contained the following:

      Subject: Please Digg Our Story…
      Please Digg our recent announcement in
      {link to the digg} story was here
      (If you are not a veteran Digger, please do not leave comments since these tend to backfire.)

      Now keep in mind that I’ve had just one conversation (and a couple of emails) with this company, and all of a sudden they’ve slapped me on a mailing list with no other intent than to request a digg. I can imagine the outcry if I were to email, say, our entire forum user base, and ask them to digg a story for me. Now, I’ve purposefully not named and shamed here, because that’s not the point—the point is that stuff like this does happen, and people need to know.

    4. Be a good little digg userHitting the front page of digg is difficult enough to achieve, but doing so regularly is even harder. To achieve that, you actually need to immerse yourself in the digg way of life. Any time you spot something interesting, submit it; if you’ve got something intelligent to say on a story, leave your comment on digg (and do so early); leave comments and vote for upcoming stories that you think stand a good chance of hitting the front page; build your friends list … this is all essential, but of course you also need to be smart about it. The ideal outcome for all of this effort is to build a reputation that translates to your votes on digg carrying more weight, with the side effect that you’ll gain a whole lot of active friends that you can either shout out to for a vote, or who will just naturally follow your lead.

Of course, this strategy is not going to yield instant digg success, but committing to it for the long term will produce benefits that completely eclipse any other approach.


  1. Content is king …It would be remiss of me not to point out the obvious strategy for gaming digg—by focusing on creating GREAT content and using GREAT titles that people actually enjoy reading and sharing with others. Whether you’re involved heavily in the digg community or not, if your content is awesome, then the crowd will do all the digging for you. And that’s the kind of digg front page story that you should be most proud of.

As you can see, there are many ways to engineer an outcome on digg. Some are relatively easy, but run the risk of being ethically questionable. Others require substantially more hard work, persistence, careful timing, and a bit of luck, but are infinitely more rewarding.

The digg crew are combating some of the shady behaviour that I’ve mentioned above. But whilst they currently wield the mighty sword of traffic generation, they’re going to find themselves in an ongoing arms race with people willing (and able) to exploit digg for their own personal gain.

If they lose too much ground in that arms race, they’re going to destroy the fundamental element that makes digg so popular:

Newsworthiness decided by readers, not by commercial interests.

And in that battle, I wish them the best of luck!