Shrinking Self Esteem

With so many social networking sites on the Web I’m sure everyone is curious about which one is a better promotional tool for blogs. So far I’ve experienced only the effects of the big four: Digg, Reddit, StumbleUpon and I thought it would be beneficial to share my observations with others.

It all started with a Group Writing Project – 37 Sources of Inspiration that was dugg to Digg’s front page on May 27, which resulted in over 17,000 visits in one day.

The next big wave of traffic (over 18,000 visits) came on July 7th, when my two-months old post 16 Best-Loved Font Bits In Web Design that was featured on Blogging Pro hit Reddit’s home page.

Both Digg and Reddit brought a secondary traffic from StumbleUpon and Hence my analysis and comparison of those fours sites based on my personal experience with them.


TRAFFIC: Digg’s crazy traffic lasted 4 days, starting in the evening (PST) and peaking on the following day. It got kicked out the 1st post within a few hours, from the 1st page within about 15 hours, but my blog was still getting lots of traffic from Digg’s page2 and from, where it was featured for over 3 days.

DAILY: It also boosted my daily traffic from the average of 400 daily visits to 600-700.

RSS: The RSS feed count was trippled – from 101 to 379, but didn’t last very long, dropping to 224 on the following day and to 176 the day after, increasing the average RSS number to 160.

COMMENTS: The article itself didn’t receive any comments from diggers on this blog, but it got 38 comments on Digg’s page, most of them just some out of place jokes.

INCOMING LINKS: within hours of being at the #1 spot, my blog started receiving incoming links from other blogs, totaling to about 8 links.

SECONDARY: “37 sources of inspiration” was bookmarked by 295 people on, bringing another wave of traffic of over 1,500 page views. StumbleUpon has brought another 6,600 page views. Popurls added another 500 views. LifeHack linked to the project post as well, bringing 500 more page views to this blog.



TRAFFIC: As you can see from the graph above July’s traffic caused by Reddit was even slightly higher than Digg’s in May. It also lasted longer, the blog was still getting about 100-200 visitors from reddit after a week of being on its front page, even though it was kicked out the homepage after 10 hours.

DAILY: After reaching the first spot on Reddit, the blog’s daily traffic increased from 600-700 to 900-1000 visits.

RSS: The RSS feed count was almost doubled – from 151 to 280. It dropped to 234 the next day, and to 216 on the following day, which became the new average RSS number for the blog.

COMMENTS: The article received only 23 comments on reddit, but about 10 comments on this blog during the first two days and another 10 followed within the first week. Some comments were tactless, others very positive, but overall pretty well researched and thought out.

INCOMING LINKS: It took a few hours longer than in a case with Digg for other blogs to start linking to my 16-bits article, nonetheless that post received about 10 incoming links

SECONDARY: “16 Best-Loved Font Bits” was bookmarked by 560 people on, bringing another 2,963 visits to the blog. StumbleUpon referred 6,282 visitors. Popurls pitched in with 1,169 new visits. The article has also received several votes on (a digg like site for developers), bringing another 584 to the site. Also this post has originally received 16 diggs after it’s been published two months ago, but after appearing on Reddit’s front page, it received additional 42 diggs. However, 58 diggs didn’t make any difference for Digg. I think it’s because of the time between the original submission and the new wave.

Note, that all those traffic figures, RSS feed count and the number of incoming links are representing all sources, not just Digg and Reddit. Unfortunately, I cannot tell for sure if someone has subscribed to my blog coming from Digg or, Reddit or SU.

StumbleUpon and

As you could see from the figures above, StumbleUpon and both brought me lots of traffic. But I doubt that it would’ve happened on its own without being triggered by Digg and Reddit. When comparing visitors from SU and with Digg and Reddit, I’ll refer to my stats from Google Analytics.

StumbleUpon users were checking out 1.82 pages/visit on average, but staying only 2 seconds on the site – you can’t help but notice the love-to-click nature of SU users. The Bounce Rate (the percentage of single-page visits) for SU was 35.91%. users were reading 1.32 pages per visit, but their average stay on the site was 5.5 seconds. The Bounce rate, however, was higher – 86.30%. Once featured on popular or design sections, both articles got a few hundreds more bookmarks: “37 sources of inspiration” are bookmarked by 563 people now (from 295 during the digg effect), and “16 best-loved fonts” are favourited by 790 people (an increase in 230 bookmarks after the big reddit wave).

Reddit users clicked on only 1.10 pages per visit, but staying a whopping 7 seconds on the site. However they also had the highest Bounce Rate – 94.56%.

Diggers were reading 1.22 pages per visit on average, and spending only 4 seconds on the site. However, due to the nature of the article, it was understandable, since they were checking out other 37 sources of inspiration, linked from my post. The Bounce Rate with diggers was 86.47%.


To summarize, both Reddit and Digg bring lots of traffic to the blog. I’m just happy that my server has managed to survive those attacks. Digg users prefer commenting on their site rather than at the actual source, and being quite nasty with their comments without contributing much to the topic, occasional words of wisdom though can be sometimes found even there. Reddit users like to comment both on reddit and the originating blog. Their comments are much more intelligent and targeted.

Digg’s traffic is one huge wave that doesn’t stay longer than a couple of days, while reddit’s wave takes more than a week to go back to the ocean. They both trigger several other secondary waves of traffic, however Reddit users tend to use more than diggers.

Diggers like to subscribe to the blogs in a big hurry, only to unsubscribe in large numbers on the following day, apparently never remembering why did they subscribe to so many blogs and feverishly cleaning out their RSS reader. Now, in my case, I didn’t post anything for a few days after the post was dugg, perhaps if another “killer” post followed the one that’s been dugg right away, the picture would’ve been different.
Reddit users like to get familiarized with the blog first, checking out posts by categories, and then decide whether to subscribe or not, which shows in a lower number of Subscriptions than Digg, but also the lower rate of RSS subscription removals, even though once again I didn’t post anything for a few days after being featured on reddit.

Traffic from StumbleUpon and tends to be on a rise for the first few days, and spreading thin but lasting longer for weeks after. But can you get all that traffic without Digg or Reddit triggers? I’ve had other posts bookmarked on, but none of them brought me that much traffic.

As I mentioned before those are just my observations based on my personal experience with the above mentioned sites. There’s also another very detailed and interesting analysis of Digg vs. StumbleUpon that’s worth checking.

I’d love to hear from you about your own experiences with the social networking and bookmarking sites. Which one was more effective for your site and why? How would you compare the “big four”?

P.S. Btw, for all of you on Mac, there’s a new Dashboard widget called Dashalytics that’s linked to your Google Analytics account, so you can track your stats with just one click to Dashboard.

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21 Insightful Bits in response to “Digg vs. Reddit vs. StumbleUpon vs.”

  1. This was a great article based on incomplete information. I will now show you the power of StumbleUpon. :-)

  2. Vivien,

    I’m glad to see you doing so well. I personally like StumbleUpon traffic, but I don’t think they like me anymore since I keep getting errors when trying to stumble a post.

    PS: I hope to be getting a Mac within three months (crossing fingers).

  3. Diggers are blog nympos. As you mentioned they rather comment on digg than on original site, which is good, cause they say nothing to contribute :) The very nature of Digg is to bring a lot of traffic that will not last. Mostly, it just crashes a server. Though, that amount of traffic gives a small percent of readers (those that will be back). But small percent of a number that huge can be considerable. It is like catching a fish by net. It is fine from time to time, if it doesn’t crash your server.

    Those bouncers that stay for two seconds from stumbleupon…. there is a nice plugin for firefox. You choose yur niches and just click next… next… next… it browses through the sites, and you click next… and next…. I will admit that I have used that couple of times. And yes, the time spent on most of the sites is about two or five seconds. It is just cruising the net on random for something to catch attention.

  4. I just can’t get excited about any of the sites. I also have not tried to go after traffic from any either.

    I have never been to Reddits site. I have been to a few times but didn’t like it. Stumble upon doesn’t work with IE7 so I can’t browse it at work because most of our vendor sites won’t run on anything but IE7. Digg is okay if I just want to see what people are reading. I think the comments are mostly useless especially with this blog project.

    Just call me anti-social.

    Thanks for the analysys Vivien.

  5. Vivien

    RT Cunningham, Thanks for the Stumble. I’ll let you know how much traffic it will bring to my blog :-) I didn’t say that it’s impossible to get lots of traffic from SU without digg or reddit triggers, I was actually wondering if such thing is indeed possible, since I haven’t noticed happening with my blog yet. Thanks for starting the experiment.

    Ronald, how about creating another SU account? Make sure to contact me first be4 purchasing your Mac. I would hate to see the same thing happening to you – purchasing a Mac only to have a newer model (in my case, newer processor) released within a month.

    “Diggers are blog nymphos” – haha. Dandelion, you’re funny, you know :-) I too used to browse the Web with clicking away on SU, and still do it on rare occasions. I have to admit that’s the quickest way to find some interesting unknown sites out there.

    Joey, I can’t call you anti-social, at least you don’t posses that quality when commenting on this blog. Btw, I’m not using any of those sites too often myself either.
    What I’d like to know is why so many companies insist on using IE at work and prohibit employees from using FF? What’s wrong with them?

  6. About that non-ethical practice on forcing employees to use IE…. I have portable version of FF on my USB flash with my extensions and my bookmarks (though I rely more on for that matter) and my password manager. Unbeatable feeling! I know this promotion is a bit offtopic, but it is for the cause of the better web :)

  7. In my case we are a multi line franchisee and both manufacturers systems are not compatible with Firefox. A few of the applications will work but it gets old switching back and forth. I don’t complain as much since IE7 has tabbed browsing.

  8. Vivien

    Thanks so much for that link, dandelion. I don’t have a need for FF portable version at this moment, but who knows what can happen in future. It’s always better to have a backup. I’ll put FF on my USB flash too, just in case :-)

    Joey, I wonder why they built their systems to be compatible only with IE, and not with other browsers? Too much overhead?

    Btw, I know there are many companies like that. Some banks websites don’t work in any other browser but IE, which isn’t very smart, ’cause they’re loosing many clients this way. I personally know a few incidents when people switched to other banks because of those browser issues. I know I would switch too if my bank’s site didn’t work in FF.

    huh, I know – IE vs. FF is always a hot topic to talk about.

  9. Hehe, IE only compatible websites are rather funny. I don’t know why they do it except for the reason that practically the entire world uses IE (not that I’m promoting it! I love FF!!). The website I use for my time sheet at work must have a script somewhere that tests to see if the viewer is using IE or not; it always opens a “Netscape Browser” window, assuming that if you’re not on IE, you’re using Netscape. Silly!

    Anyway, to actually contribute to the conversation: the social bookmarking type sites are nice, but I think your big traffic will come when another prominent blogger links to you. I’ve read it time and time again, that’s the way to bring high quality traffic to your site (people who will subscribe and come back repeatedly). Now if you could only get in touch with ProBlogger… ;)

  10. Vivien

    I was actually thinking about interviewing Darren (not so much for the promo, but to find out more about the ProBlogger himself), but then I don’t comment much on his blog and not sure whether I should first start commenting more often there to get noticed or should I just shoot him an email and ask for an interview. What do you think?

  11. shoot an email!
    Getting noticed there is hell of a job. Though I doubt he gets less emails than comments. Just make a good email. Darren seems pretty communicative. Looking fwd to read the interview.

  12. I would say just email him. When someone takes the time to send an email, that says more than a comment, in my opinion. He doesn’t respond much to comments anyway, though he may recognize your name if you do start commenting and then send an email later. How awesome would that be to read your interview with him! Good luck and let us know how it goes!

  13. Hey Vivien,

    I’ve emailed Darren twice. Once about a plugin I wrote, and once about someone stealing his content. I hardly ever comment on his site, but am a subscribed reader. Both times he responded to me personally, and even helped get the word out about my plugin on his site. I’d say e-mail him. What do you have to lose?

  14. Vivien

    Thanks for the encouragement, guys and girls :-)
    I have nothing to lose by emailing Darren. I’ll get my questions ready and will email him very soon. Will keep you posted :-)

  15. Great article, Vivien :)

  16. Vivien

    Thanks, Kulpreet. Why did you edit your comment and deleted your insight on StumbleUpon? :-) Seriously, it was quite helpful to read about.

Pingbacks and Trackbacks

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Hi, I'm Vivien. Thanks for visiting my Inspiration Bit. I often find myself scouring the internet looking for either answers to many questions I have or websites that inspire me, sites that I can learn from. On what topics you might ask — any topics that interest me, anything from web design to typography and art, from blogging to entrepreneurship, from programming to open source.
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When I'm not blogging, I design web sites, teach, play with my daughter and try to balance family, work, friends and a somewhat active social life on