On Being Dugg

On June 19, I posted 3 articles, “15 Exercises to Known a Programming Language,” which came to the attention of Digg and was, for a few days, on the front page (and even the top item) in the Programming theme.

I’ve finally gotten around to reviewing my logs. While the article got about 8 times as many hits as my next-most-popular article ever (about ~40,000 hits), the click-through to the second and third articles dropped dramatically (5297 and 3919). I’m not disappointed by these click-through rates: each article was several hundred words long.

It’s difficult to determine how many people subscribe to your RSS feed, since there is not a 1:1 relationship between hits to your XML file and “eyeballs.” My blogging software (dasBlog), like many, puts a Web bug in each post, though, so I use the average number of aggregator-based reads as an indicator of whether my blog is gaining or losing ground. By that standard, it doesn’t appear as if being Dugg made a long-term difference. From my baseline rate, I saw a 17% spike in June (the month the article appeared) and a return to the baseline (actually 94%) in July. (Hmm? I should switch that to median rather than average?)

In terms of immediate economic boon, I have a minimal AdSense presence on my Website. AdSense TOS forbids discussion of your actual income, but in the spectrum of latte-book-graphics card-rent, 40K hits from Dugg was in the high-latte / low-book range.

Thoughts:

The article was pretty on-topic for this blog, so I was hoping to pick up some long-term readership. While I may have done that, it’s not apparent in the data. I have been having a long-term growth in my aggregator reads, and while there was a spike, July actually fell back a little (on the other hand, my posts in July have been pretty lame, because of my hardware problems).

The 40K direct hits are nothing to sneeze at. I imagine that if I had been pitching something (a book, a tutorial, etc.) and had embedded an ad in the article, that might have led to some income. However, I think in-post contextual ads are beyond the pale, so for me it highlights the fact that ad revenues for a programming related blog are trivial. (Having said that, I am convinced that blogging is easily the most cost-effective form of marketing there is for a consultant. Absolutely worthwhile.)