Aaron over at AjaxNinja has a great post this week exploring why niche social media sites are better than Digg when it comes to driving traffic and conversions to most web sites. While I've never been much of a Digg fan myself, (it's like news for the angry ADHD techie) I see true value in niche, topical social bookmarking sites. The trick is, finding the audience that best fits your content.

Aaron writes:

Digg has an immense amount of traffic and getting landed on the front page will send a tsunami of new readers to your blog or website, but getting onto the front page is incredibly difficult.

Getting onto the front page of a smaller, more appropriate niche portal, by contrast, is much easier, quicker, and ultimately you get a better return on your time/traffic ration in the short run.

He goes on to outline seven reasons why companies should look beyond Digg and seek out niche social media sites.

  1. Digg has a very hostile user base; niche sites have supportive ones
  2. A lot of Diggers are in it for promoting themselves as power users
  3. Digg has too broad of an audience
  4. Digg's high volume of stories makes it hard to get noticed
  5. Digg's Categories are Too Broad
  6. Digg is not transparent; we don't know why some stories get buried
  7. In order to improve your effectiveness and visibility on Digg, you have to invest a lot of time into its social network

Aaron goes on to give examples in each of those categories of alternative sites more targeted to his content where he's see positive results. While the sites Aaron mentions likely won't work well for everyone, they're demonstrative of the need to find the sites that target your audience. Remember, just because something is the most popular doesn't mean it's the best.

If you've been thinking of playing in the social news and social bookmarking realm, I'd suggest you carve out some time to go hunting for options other than Digg. Think of it as the long tail of social bookmarking.

September 13, 2007

Jennifer Laycock is the Editor of Search Engine Guide, the Social Media Faculty Chair for MarketMotive and offers small business social media strategy & consulting. Jennifer enjoys the challenge of finding unique and creative ways to connect with consumers without spending a fortune in marketing dollars. Though she now prefers to work with small businesses, Jennifer’s clients have included companies like Verizon, American Greetings and Highlights for Children.


I've been a part of an interesting social bookmarking, social community website that is VERY niche, that started up earlier this year, in BETA form.


It's a site specifically for people that knit, crochet and spin (yes.. that means make yarn) and, while it's still in BETA, there are adding thousands of users who are lining up to get in weekly.

Who benefits, besides the hobbyist users of this site? Yarn companies, book and magazine publishers in the craft industry, Designers, and hordes of small businesses that cater to trade.

In this site, users post their latest projects, including links to designs, books, yarns they're using, links to designers and yarn companies. Each user's profile can also be tied to the rss feed of their personal blogs, so you can see headlines of users' latest posts. There is a huge forum component where people talk, dish, whatever about anything that has to do with the craft, and more.

As a web developer, it's been fascinating case study to watch unfold before ones eyes!

Jennifer.. you might want to get ahold of Casey and Jess.. the people behind this now worldwide phenomenon that is still in Beta. They are a test study in niche sites.

You can't get in yet, unless you sign up for the waiting list, but this site is the BUZZ in the knit/crochet/spin world. And they got the attention of their market via popular bloggers, podcasters, and publications that cater to the niche.

check it out. ;-)

Where can I find a directory showing visitors examples of various niche social media sites?

I'm actually into social bookmarking and been using Digg for quite a while. You are actually right, you need to spend more time and effort to improve your presence on digg.

Sam Milby
Did you see it? One more time? You won't get faked out here!


Thanks I visited the ninja liked the post and bookmarked it. Thanks

i need to know how to go for social boomarking. if i have a site and need to increase number of people who would be looking to bookmark the site. what should be the steps?

I see both the value in social bookmarking and niche engines -- social bookmarking is an indispensable traffic wielder, because it brings your webpage to the attention of internet users. It also has various SEO uses, because when titles and descriptions are written right, your bookmark gets up there in search results as well.

Niche search engines are very useful I agree -- like shopzilla is a great one for shopping. I've used Google Blog Search for blog searches.

I found this niche search engine that displays jobs within a given salary range, within a given area at http://www.salarydom.com. This is a great example of that -- because it's specifically targeted towards job seekers, and those looking to grow within their specific field. It provides complete salary information, salary rank and a personalized salary report.

Thanks for your post on niche search engines, very helpful!

You make a very valid argument. I use Digg to push niche content to the top of search results. It's very effective. I've been able to get some content to the top of the search results within just a few hours with Digg. I wouldn't totally give up on Digg.


I wouldn't skip digg altogether, but youre right on with focusing on niche sites. Several are Pligg-powered and are easier to reach the FP.

Niche search engines are very useful I agree -- like shopzilla is a great one for shopping. I've used Google Blog Search for blog searches.

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Search Engine Guide > Jennifer Laycock > Social Bookmarking: Skip Digg and Go Niche