Why Digg, StumbleUpon and other social media sites are a waste of time

by Robb Sutton

That’s right…I’m saying it (I’m not the first). Digg, StumbleUpon, Propeller and all of the rest of them are a complete waste of your time. While these social media sites may give you a large bump in traffic for one day, I am about to tell you why you should completely ignore them and focus on your blogging. I know what you are thinking…didn’t Robb just tell us how to capitalize on this kind of traffic a couple of articles back on this very blog? Yes…I did, but I am about to show you why that is all you should do when it comes to social media sites.

  1. Time Management – To build a significant, worthwhile profile on sites like Digg and StumbleUpon, you have to be an active participant for a long period of time. This will include a lot of web browsing, community interaction pushing other members pages to increased traffic. So what are you doing during all of this time? You are making other sites and the social media site stronger while ignoring growing your own site! In order for you to have a powerful profile on any of the social media sites, you have to spend a lot of time that you could be using building your own brand.
  2. Very Low Conversion Rates – The typical member of a social media site that finds your page through their favorite toolbar has an extremely low conversion rate as it applies to RSS feeds, newsletters, sales and click-throughs. Have you ever noticed that during these extreme peaks in traffic due to a good Stumble hit your pageviews per reader drastically decreases? That is because this type of reader is not interested in going deep into your site or converting on your call to action. They are interested in absorbing some of your content (99% of the time not even your full page) and moving onto the next. If you are looking to build a business behind your blog, these are not the kinds of readers that you want to appeal to.
  3. Article Writing – Typically, articles that perform really well on sites like Digg are not the kinds of articles that perform well for building a business behind your blog. If you continually focus on writing articles for social media sites, you are ignoring the needs of your core reader base in favor of a fly by night reader. For long term growth, this can prove to be dangerous.
  4. Traffic is Here Today, Gone Tomorrow – Do you want traffic that is here to stay, or traffic that spikes erratically. I don’t know about you, but I would rather see my traffic grow over time by providing a true value to my readers.

All of that said, I still recommend doing the things that I outlined before on how to capitalize on social media traffic. After all…traffic is still traffic and if you can convert even a few of the masses that visit your site from a social media outlet…you still win. However, spending massive amounts of time focusing on ways to get more of this kind of traffic is a waste of your current resources. Instead, focus on what is successful with your current reader base and adapt your content as your readership grows. By focusing on your true audience, you will see much better success over time.

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