Inside money, markets, and Big Tech

This article was published on July 2, 2008


    Web publishers, forget about Digg. Use StumbleUpon!

    Web publishers, forget about Digg. Use StumbleUpon!


    Ernst-Jan Pfauth
    Story by

    Ernst-Jan Pfauth

    Ernst-Jan Pfauth is the former Editor in Chief of Internet at NRC Handelsblad, as well as an acclaimed technology author and columnist. He a Ernst-Jan Pfauth is the former Editor in Chief of Internet at NRC Handelsblad, as well as an acclaimed technology author and columnist. He also served as The Next Web’s blog’s first blogger and Editor in Chief, back in 2008. At De Correspondent, Ernst-Jan serves as publisher, fostering the expansion of the platform.

    As every ambitious web publisher does, I’m trying out some alternative ways to attract more visitors. The most important ways are still to offer great content and strive to address the information needs of readers as much as possible – yet it doesn’t hurt anyone to experiment with the possibilities digital media offers us. Of course there’s the SEO card, for which I gladly refer to Yoast, and then there’s that other popular option, social media.

    The long term benefit of Digg

    In the early days of this blog, Boris wrote a post about the long term benefits of Digg. Back then, we got a fair share of our visitors found us through Digg. According to Boris, this was caused by two trends:

    • People use alternative ways of searching, like social media.
    • Deborah Schultz reported that 61% of your visits go to posts older than a month, presumably through Google and.., social media.

    We still welcome around the same amount of visitors via Digg, only the percentage is much lower now (around 1 percent of all referring links from the last thirty days). As you can tell by the screen shot below, this isn’t really impressive. Although there’s a long tail of two pages, these top 5 results give an idea of the number of referrers.

    Top 5 Digg.com articles of the last thirty days

    Top 5 Digg articles of the last thirty days

    So apart from the frontpage mentions, Digg hasn’t be really useful. The long term benefit is quite marginal.

    Well, here’s an alternative

    Another service did prove to be very useful when it comes to finding new readers: StumbleUpon. Clicks from this service account for 3,2 percent of all our referring links the last thirty days (by the way, most referrers are other bloggers and Google). In a way, this makes sense, as StumbleUpon is all about discovery. When people want to search, they go to Google, when they want to find popular articles, they go to Digg, yet when people want to discover interesting content, StumbleUpon is the place to go to. Partly because of that, it has been the second most popular social media site the last thirty days (Reddit was no. 1 because we hit the frontpage). Here are the top five results:

    Top 5 StumbleUpon articles of the last thirty days

    Top 5 StumbleUpon articles of the last thirty days

    Some more fun facts

    • For this blog, an article on Digg brings in roughly three times more traffic than on Reddit (10000 compared to 300)
    • Hacker News is the no. 3 social medium for us, these guys from Ycombinator bring in 3 percent of all visitors who came here via a referrer.
    • Delicious only accounts for 0.6 percent, even though we got featured in the popular section. It seems like this service is really all about self-reference.