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Generating Website Content: Is It Safe To Rely On Users?


19/01/2012

By Nick James, Fresh Business Thinking

Having good content on your website is important for two reasons.

1. It can help attract visitors via search engines

2. It keeps visitors interested and engaged

We might never understand the search engine algorithms – and if we ever do then they could change overnight – but what we should absolutely understand is what visitors to our website want to read, watch, listen to and see.

As consumers we don’t watch television for the commercial breaks nor do we buy magazines for the adverts. It’s the content, the films, dramas, soaps, reality programmes, game-shows and sport programmes that...

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...interests us on TV and it’s the articles, stories and pictures that gets us buying newspapers and magazines.

Website content can come from many places but usually you either have to write it yourself (or pay for someone to write it for you) or encourage and rely on user-generated-content.

User-generated-content is best explained by Wikipedia (itself a portal that relies on user-generated-content) but in essence it is content, in the main video or text, that has been filmed or written by someone other than the website owner.

Video sharing site YouTube is the most well known User-generated-content site where almost everything is filmed and uploaded by ‘amateurs’ and viewers are then allowed to add comment to the films.

Although at first glance user-generated-content might seem like an easy option it is not always straight forward. Using the analogy of a restaurant;

- Word of mouth can make or kill a restaurant – you can’t stop diners giving you bad reviews and the same goes for website visitors. Even if you monitor and/or censor your site content any bad feeling can leak out via social media sites.

- There’s something almost sad about an empty restaurant and a website forum with outdated posts or comments sends... continued on page two >

 

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