Fresh Content for Your Site
Keep visitors coming back for more by finding sources of new content.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Q: Ihave a Web site for growing children, yet it's quite achallenge for me to keep it constantly updated with fresh,interesting content. How can I get editorial content andcontributions for my site?
A:Keeping your site full of fresh, new content is the best way tokeep people coming back for more, but it can be difficult to keepproducing more and more content on a regular basis--especially ifyou're a one-person shop. Fortunately, there arealternatives.
Before we get into that, however, let me take this opportunityto remind everyone about Internet copyright laws. Some siteoperators choose to keep their sites fresh by cutting and pastingcontent out of other people's Web sites. Because it's soeasy to do so, some people mistakenly assume that this practice islegal and ethical. However, it is neither. I've seen thisfirsthand--articles I've written have appeared on numerousother Web sites without my knowledge and, even more grievous,without any compensation.
There are plenty of legitimate ways to get new content withouthaving to write it all yourself. If you have a special interestsite, many of your readers may enjoy contributing occasionalstories, just for the thrill of seeing their names in virtualprint. Also, if you see an article you like somewhere on the Net,you may be able to get permission to reprint it. I get requestslike these on a regular basis, and I'm usually more than happyto grant permission. If it's a small site, I don't ask formoney; if it's a large one, sometimes just the extra exposureand an added link back to my own Web site is adequatecompensation.
Another common technique is to incorporate a newsfeed onto yoursite. This can be done a lot cheaper than you would imagine, and itautomatically keeps your site updated with a fresh news section.The process is simple: The newsfeed provider simply gives you apiece of code, which you paste directly onto your Web page. Theytake it from there. The news window that this code makes appear onyour site links back directly to their own news server, constantlyupdating the content in the background. Two places to look fornewsfeeds are Screamingmedia and iSyndicate. If you're on a tighter budget,there are free or very low-cost models that often supplement theircontent with advertising. You can find a list of free sources atFreeSticky.But examine the content carefully before incorporating it--some ofthe free content may be nothing more than a thinly disguisedadvertisement for something unrelated to your Web site'smission.
Besides general newsfeeds, there are also special-interestnewsfeeds that provide content that's more likely to berelevant to your own site. ARA Content provides several vertical contentsections. Bible-related content can be found at Back to the Bible, jokes can be found at Jokes2U.com andfamily-related content is available from Surfing theNet With Kids.
Dan Blacharski has more than 15 years of industry experience,has written several books and writes about business and technologyfor a wide variety of trade publications. A Silicon Valley refugee,Dan now lives in South Bend, Indiana, and covers high-tech start-upnews in his Startup Trends newsletter. Free subscriptionsare available at http://www.startuptrends.bigstep.com.
The opinions expressed in this column are thoseof the author, not of Entrepreneur.com. All answers are intended tobe general in nature, without regard to specific geographical areasor circumstances, and should only be relied upon after consultingan appropriate expert, such as an attorney oraccountant.