Digg Analytics

Like many others, I start my day off by visiting Digg.com. It is 9 am as I write this, and I have already visited the site four times since morning; if there is a scientific breakthrough, or Paris Hilton’s next exposé, I would like to be the first to know. On the morning of July 31st, on just such a routine visit to the website, I came across a submission titled “Lessons Microsoft can Learn from Napoleon”; I had written a similar article titled “Napoleonic Lessons for Google and Microsoft” just a few days ago, so at first site, I was disappointed to see that somebody else had beaten me to it. As I clicked on the article, however, I was redirected to my own website! As thousands of visitors flooded my webpage within a matter of mere hours, I promptly switched to Google Analytics to thoroughly examine various aspects of this traffic and the affect it has on this web site’s search engine placement. The article that follows introduces several interesting observations made on the web traffic originating from Digg.

Digg users are primarily tech savvy; they define the web trend just as cheer leaders define school fashion. Hence, analysis of average screen resolutions, browser types, operating systems, connection speeds, etc. provide a good stream of statistics for extrapolating data on Internet usage by tomorrow’s mainstream users. Some of the data collected yielded surprising results; for example, did you know most Digg users prefer Mozilla Firefox over Internet Explorer?

Browser Wars

"Firefox is the browser of choice among Digg users"

Most statistics indicate that 80% of web users are accessing websites using Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. Comparatively speaking, Internet Explorer usage among Digg users is extremely low.
The adoption rate for Mozilla Firefox has increased over the passage of time, however, Internet Explorer continues to maintain a lion’s share of the market. Though, data collected from this tech savvy crowd indicates that Microsoft’s dominance is short lived.

Screen Resolutions

"800×600 screen resolutions are a thing of the past"

Two screen resolutions are predominantly popular among users; 1280×1024 and 1024×768. So if you are designing a website, stick to these two and you will have more than 50% of Digg’s web traffic covered. Operating Systems
I was surprised that while most Digg users preferred open source browser, Mozilla Firefox, over commercial browsers, relatively few people were using Linux as their choice of platform.

Connection Speeds

"Only 6% of Digg users are on Dialup"

A common tenet among web designers is to develop graphic friendly websites. In fact, whenever I write an article for Digg, I am careful not to add excess high resolution images in order to accommodate for the Dialup users. Well, as it turns out, an over whelming majoring of the Digg traffic is using high speed connections (Cable/DSL/Corporate) not Dialup. So, if you as a web designer, are engaging Digg traffic, you may now design worry free.

The Digg Affect on Google

"Digg increased Google search results by 14, 000 in two weeks"

Once a website makes it to Digg’s front page, it encourages other websites to blog the news as well, hence further reinforcing the domino affect generated by Digg. This form of popularity is great for increasing website’s search engine placement. Search engine placement is extremely important for a website to be successful, as it provides a constant stream of visitors. Whereas, Digg will produce a gamma ray burst of traffic that lasts only a few hours.

Now for the interesting part; shortly after registering the website, a few weeks ago, I did a Google search on “Shuzak”, and the search engine returned 13 results. The day my article reached the front page, search engine results for the same term jumped to 500!
Wait, there is more. I kept a track of my search engine placement. Four days later, on August 6, Google was returning 9000 results.
By August 8th, the search results had incrased to 14, 000! Who would have thought that one appearance on Digg’s front page could increase search engine results by a factor of 14, 000 within two weeks!
While it takes Google a few weeks to update the PageRank, I predict this website’s PageRank has increased from zero to four, thanks to the Digg affect.

As I mentioned earlier, designing websites to meet the demands of Digg traffic offers significant advantages. Since this tech savvy crowd is ahead of the technology curve, any changes brought to the overall site design to accommodate this group will secure that website for tomorrow’s web users.

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