What’s the Best Way to Get Traffic: Great Content or Great Titles/Summaries?

We all know that submitting your sites to social news networks – places like Digg, Shoutwire, Reddit, Fark, etc. – can be a great way to get a steady flow of traffic to your site.  And, if you’re lucky enough to make it up onto the homepage of any of these social news networks it’s pretty safe to say that you’re going to get several thousand more hits than a typical day.

Because you know this, you’ve probably spent plenty of time trying to think up great ideas for posts that you could publish on your site that would be able to get you up on a high traffic homepage.  You check out what’s currently hitting the homepages, read some of the articles and figure they’re really not that much better than what you could do.

With all of these things in mind, you go about writing the masterpiece that will get you on the homepage of Digg and bring notoriety to your site or blog.  You take your great idea and write and edit it until it’s perfect.  Everything makes sense, it’s useful to the readers, it flows, doesn’t have any grammatical or spelling errors, etc.

You’ve finally put together the post that’s going to make it up onto Digg’s (or Fark’s, Netscape’s, etc.) homepage.  Now you submit it to the social news site and just sit back and wait for the Diggs or votes to come in.

Only they don’t, which means your great idea was essentially a big waste of time.  So, what happened?

Either you wrote about something that wasn’t useful or interesting (probably not the case), you submitted the article to the incorrect category (sometimes happens) or you were in such a rush to try and get your site submitted that you neglected the title and the summary you submitted along with the link.

Think back to when you originally went to Digg to get ideas for your homepage bound story.  Remember the titles or summaries of the articles?  They were probably the first thing that caught your eye and caused you to click on the link – and more than likely, they were funny, creative and/or thought provoking.

It seems to me that what most people do when they submit their articles to Digg or other social news sites, they will simply submit the title of the article as the title of the submission and use the first paragraph as the article summary.  Granted, this might not be a terrible idea, but at the same time, I don’t think you should ever expect this method to get you up onto the homepage.

Think to your own experiences as a user of sites like Digg.  How many times have you dugg a story before you clicked the link?  I know that there have been many, many occasions that I have dugg a story simply because it was submitted with a great title or summary – and then when I clicked on the story it was a piece of garbage.  I’m sure you’ve probably done the same thing as well.

Your job now is to come up with the best of both worlds; create useful content in your posts and submit the post with a catchy title and summary.

If content truly is the number one way to get people to your site, then having the ability to write catchy titles and interesting summaries has to be an extremely close second.