Alright for starters this will be the last Digg related post for awhile! I mean jeez looking at last few and I feel like the apple touting "top ten list loving" fan boys that dominate the site. However having said that Digg is certainly attracting more attention then usual as copy cats begin to pop up (some very fat copy cats). Can you blame them? They took a very basic voting concept and executed it perfectly while keeping up with any traffic surges its army of users brought. So how can the small guy get a piece? Well first off don’t try to be Digg, sorry they have already done it and can do it much better than you. Instead your Digg clone should be niche specific like some of these web sites. Creating a Digg clone that aligns with your main demographic is a great place to start. What are they passionate about? What sites do they visit and talk about? Wouldn’t you love to find out..
- Pligg Software – Lucky you! Some smart guys have already created an open source Digg application you.
- Domain Name – As always, the shorter the better.
- Web Space - Linux web hosting that supports MySQL, bonus points if you have access to root. You might need it to enable SEO safe URL’s.
- Some Ninja Skills – If the line above made you say "HUH" you probably aren’t ready for this. Find someone who has experience installing and editing open source PHP applications.
Now in typical Digg fashion here is the top 5 ways to launch your Digg clone!
1. What is your hook?
So like we talked about earlier, if you try to be the "all seeing eye" of internet stories you’ll probably find yourself with a very slow site. Instead find a niche market related to your product or something you are passionate about. In my case I wanted to create a sister site to my ecommerce site which sells car parts. Building a community around your web site or product can be very valuable because of its "stickiness". My main demographic is 25 year old male Volkswagen owners so I setup www.vdubit.com. Even though I drive an Audi (shhh don’t tell them) I know this demographic very well and how much time they spend on VW related message boards. Creating a social bookmarking site for them not only gives me additional marketing options but adds to their online community as well.
2. Content Seeding
The most time consuming part of launching one of these sites but one of the most important. Take time to pick out good categories add seed each with at least 5-10 stories. We all know the feeling when you come to a message board with no threads…you hit that back button before the site finishes loading. Try to pull friends and colleagues into the site and get them to contribute.
3. Dangle a Carrot
You’ll find as I did that many visitors who aren’t regular Digg users "don’t get it" at first. Try to explain Digg to one of your non techie friends to recreate the experience yourself. So in addition to doing some education with them you’ll do even better if you give away something. Yes give away free product, shirts, gift cards, hell paypal cash to reward your top users. Adding some type of incentive at launch will greatly increase your chances of the site catching on.
4. Ring the Dinner Bell
Announce your new site to all your customers, clients, mailing lists, myspace friends, mail men, and Aunt Gracie. Mention your incentive if you have one and explain what the site is all about. Invite them to join and respond with any feedback they have about the site. Do your usual SEO and site map work to get your pages indexed as quickly as possible.
Don’t blast advertisements on the web site at first, in fact you should launch ad free. After you have built the community begin to include your advertisements throughout the site. Direct traffic to your other web sites by submitting links to these domains, as admin you can bring them right to the front page. The Pligg software supports Google Adwords nicely and has plenty of room for banners along the right side.
I’m not going to cover Design because that is a whole other subject, but do make some effort to create a unique look and feel for your Pligg based site. The templates are nice but if everyone uses the out of the book look we really are going to have "attack of the clones". After running our Pligg site for 1 week we have signed up 100 users and recieved 2000 unique visitors. We have just begun to market it so I expect to greatly increase those numbers and along with it the sites value.
Look, we want you to express yourself, ok? If you think the bare minimum is enough, then ok. But some people choose to wear more and we encourage that, ok? You do want to express yourself, don’t you?
STAN – Office Space
Ratings: (on a scale of 1-5 hams)
- Social Networking
- Social Engineering
- Viral Functions