digg IT

A new plugin being tested here.

Although I have my doubts about digg, I’ve always been curious about whether my posts have ever been “dugg.” I’ve often seen buttons with digg counts on other WordPress Web sites. I figured it was time to try installing one on this site.

digg what?

digg, in case you don’t know, is a social bookmarking site that’s pretty popular among blog enthusiasts. You sign up for a free membership, then “digg” blog posts you like. If the post has never been dugg, you can be the first to digg it. Otherwise, you can just add your digg to the count of existing diggs. You can also add comments about the post.

Posts with lots of diggs — generally more than 100 — get lots of visits, mostly from people who monitor popular posts on the digg site. So, for a blogger, being dugg could be a good thing.

I say could be because if you’ve got a lot of diggs, your post could become so popular that hits exceed your bandwidth. That happened with podiobooks.com, which I learned about today. A note on its site says:

We’ve been Dugg and Lifehacked in the last 24 hours, and the site is experiencing a little oddness from time to time. We’re working on getting things stabilized.

That’s when you can get the site. You’re just as likely to get a Server Error 500 when you attempt to access. Oops. Hopefully, things will calm down for them enough for their server to handle incoming requests.

The Plugin

Getting the digg button on a post is a matter of installing a plugin and modifying the WordPress theme’s template code to add a new function.

I needed to find the plugin, so I used by friend Google to search for digg wordpress plugin.

I first found Digg This, which was at the top of the list. I wasted no time downloading and installing it. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get it to work. And when I scrolled through the list of comments, I discovered that I wasn’t the only one.

I decided to keep looking.

I then found digg IT (which may have been called Digg This in a previous incarnation). I downloaded and installed it. It worked immediately, perfectly. If I’m still using it as you read this, you’ll see it at the top right of each post.

(I say if because I might not keep it. Although it works like a charm, seeing so many posts with 0 diggs is kind of depressing. I have a post that’s been read over 3,000 times and still has 0 diggs. [sigh] You can help cheer me up by occasionally digging my posts.)

The installation required a single line of code to be inserted in The Loop, right before the < ?php the_content(); ?> tag:

< ?php if(function_exists(digg_this)) { digg_this('', '', '', ''); } ?>

It’s a nice piece of code because it checks to make sure the function exists before actually calling it. So if the plugin fails or is not compatible with a future version of WordPress, your site visitors won’t see an error message. I like neat code like that.

Unfortunately, the documentation does have a tiny error. It tells you to insert the code in your index.php file. If the < ?php the_content(); ?> tag for your theme isn’t in that file, those instructions could confuse you. In my case, that tag is in my post.php file. So you do need to have a little knowledge about your theme’s template files to install it properly. Just open them all up until you find the < ?php the_content(); ?> tag and you can’t go wrong.

Anyway, if you’re posts are dugg or you want them dugg, you might want to give this plugin a try. You can’t beat it for ease of installation and use.

March 26 Update: I removed the digg count from my pages. The zeros were really getting to me. If the site ever starts getting diggs on a more regular basis, I’ll put it back. For now, the code is just commented out.

What do you think?