Summary: Google loves fresh content – and there’s no better way to get more of it than to get your users to do the work for you! This article looks at specific examples of how you can get more user-generated content for your website.
Back in August we wrote a post that compares user-generated content to gold dust. We explained that high-quality user-generated content (UGC) is hard to come by and we gave you several simple tips for increasing the UGC on your website.
In this post, we’re going to expand on those ideas and present you with some more specific examples. So let’s get stuck in:
Providing a good platform to generate the content
First, if you haven’t already, you must provide a platform for your website users to generate content. You’ll need to think about what type of platform you’ll need, there are lots of choices, for example: you could use simple commenting box? A forum board? A wiki area?
Remember, it’s worth keeping things simple: try looking for a technology that allows your users to generate content using an existing log-in for another website. For example, allowing your users to generate content using an existing Facebook, Open ID or Twitter identity. This prevents users from having to sign up to too many services, which can often be a bit of a hurdle.
Here are some great examples of platforms you could use:
Disqus comments: Their tagline is: “bring out the best discussion on your site”, which sums up what this tool is all about. Your website users can have debates instantly using this easy-to-use commenting box. This tool supports both Twitter and Facebook login, which reduces your chances of being spammed and allows users to sign in with an existing identify.
Facebook Social comments box: A simple Facebook box that allow users to comment on your site’s content. The user can also post their comment to their own Facebook wall, which could initiate further discussion.
Another great tool is Nabble: It’s a free tool that allows you to create free forums and other embeddable apps, which you can paste straight into your website without much fuss. Sadly, this does not support any social log-ins, but it does make the process of getting UGC pretty easy.
Creating debate: ask your readers the right questions
If you’ve provided your readers with a place to comment/debate on your site, but nobody is bothering, you’re probably not asking enough of the right questions.
At the ends of your blog posts, try writing emotive, thought provoking questions that compel the reader to post an answer. For example, you could ask your readers to share a memory or recall an experience about a particular theme.
If nobody is participating in your forum, try posting interesting questions, games or ‘memes.’ The most popular threads in forums are those that are quick and easy to join in: for example ‘what are you listening to right now’ or ‘post your favourite photo’.
You should think of similar threads for your forum that fit your topic or theme.
Other types of user-generated content
Photos and videos: If users upload photos and videos to your website, they’re likely to start showing up in Google searches under the image and video tabs respectively. These are great alternate ways to get people onto your website.
Social networks: Get fans to interact with your Facebook page, generating content (pictures, videos, notes and links), which will help increase the popularity of your brand. Your users’ interactions will spread virally through Facebook, which means you’re likely to see an increase in traffic to your website as a result.
Reviews: There are hundreds of different reviewing websites out there, are you taking advantage of them? For example, Tesco import scores and comments from REEVOO.com in their furniture catalogue. And take Amazon for example, they allow users to review their products. This generates pages and pages of free content for them. You should do the same on your website.
How do you generate content, do you have any tips that you’d like to share?
How do you feel about generating content for other websites, for free?
Let us know in the comments section below: