12 Nov 2009 06:00 AM PST
Yesterday I mentioned the importance of using dynamic content to give users something to engage with and make your site more social media-friendly. That sounds good, but how does a small business owner go about that? How do you make your site more dynamic? What types of content should SMB owners be producing or aggregating to attract users, increase time spent on site and to help create a community?
Below are seven examples of dynamic content that can help you do just that.
Video: Video content is a great form of “sticky” content because it attracts people to your site and then keeps them there. As we’ve mentioned previously, it’s also perfectly suited for small businesses. Creating How To videos can help people learn how to use your product. It personalizes your company by breaking down that third wall. It entertains and educates. And it lets your customers get to you know, see your face and hear your voice. Don’t be afraid to play around with video. It’s one of the most effective ways to engage people.
RSS: If you have a company blog, put an RSS feed up on your home page. Let people see signs of an active community before they even enter the site. Create an RSS feed of local news headlines or aggregate other blogs in your niche. Something that will grab their eye as soon as they enter the site and hold them there. Immediately presenting users with content that is targeted to their interests is a good way to increase time on site and encourage them to dig deeper.
Widgets: Widgets allow your users to take their favorite content and share it wherever they want. If you’re not creating dynamic content on your site, using widgets is a great way to make it look like you are. Grab theTwitter Profile widget so that users can see you being active on Twitter. Use theTwitter Search widget so people can track your brand name or other town- or industry-specific keywords. Use the AllTop Widget to share content from your favorite blogs on a particular topic.
Images: Pictures are another way to suck people into your site and get them to interact more with your content. An interesting image that catches their eye, a chart that breaks down a complicated concept, something they can print out and refer to later or even an image they can create all on their own (ie ICanHasCheezburger) will draw people into your site and make them want to learn more.
Podcasts: If you marketing toward a more tech savvy audience, podcasts are a great way to engage visitors and give them a reason to keep coming back for more. Podcasts are fairly simple to create and set up and can help your customers relate to you on a more personal level. They allow you to sell and describe your product in your own words, in your real voice. Their one of the most effective ways to engage and to sell, however, not every audience type will keep customers coming back to your site.
User Polls: Polls are quick and easy to embed on your site and they give your audience something to play with. They can also help you do some painless market research by posing questions, asking for feedback, teasing new product launches, etc. Or you can just use them for fun. Another way to do market research is outsourcing to another company such as Circle Research.
Live Cam: You want to get users locked onto your Web site? Put up a live feed and let them see you in action. I’ve seen companies put live cams on their 404 pages, pet stores put live cams up on puppies playing, florists show the day’s selection of flowers, businesses pointing their cam to fish tanks, or even coffee shops using a cam to show employees engaging with customers. It’s fun, it’s really simple to set up with free service like UStream, and they’re completely addicting to watch.
Those are some of my favorite types of dynamic content to keep your site fresh and looking alive. Any I missed?