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 the Twitter Profile widget so that users can see you being active on Twitter. Use the Twitter 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. Either way, the frequently updating content will give users something they’ll want to check back on.
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?
Thanks for the great advice Lisa. Did you write this while you were here at PubCon?
I think user polls are an invaluable tool. Every time I’ve done one I’ve learned something important – usually that one of my assumptions is wrong. Also, I have learned that if I offer some incentive for completing the survey, such as a free report, I get more response with more thoughtful and detailed comments.
I’d agree that polls are probably the simplest. Contests and user-generated content such as photos are also effective.
Great points Lisa,
Another one that may work is if you have a regular thing that you do (i.e. a series of calculations or a particular way you go about a task) why not turn that into a free tool and put it on your site. This will mean people will continually come back to your site to perform that task and they’ll be thankful that you made it so easy for them
I will add the Twitter search widget on my new site EgoSoleTrader.com later on. I am thinking of adding TwitterCounter & TweetFeed too.
Definitely agree! People (and businesses) spend so much time and effort creating a great presence across the web, it’s a shame when they can’t put it to good use on their own website. This article struck a chord with me specifically because we’ve been working a simple solution to help business owners collect their existing social content, integrate it into their website, and use it to give their visitors a more comprehensive view of their online presence. Would love to see what you and your readers think! http://www.TurnSocial.com
Overall, great advice!
I’m starting to work with video for my site (put up my first one a short while ago). My goal is to do 1 video a month for a couple of months and see if my audience engages (I’ll have a comment and/or contact page up too). I’ve never liked being in front of a camera or video but I do understand the value (I like to ‘see’ who I’m talking to or taking advice from too). Thanks for the info.
Great advice Lisa!
For Dynamic Websites I personally always recommend installing the most recent versions of Apache, PHP, and MySQL. The best quality of all three is the pricetag: Free 🙂
Dynamic is good. Make sure the content is relevant to the user and above all make it valuable. If customers _get_ something each time they visit, they will be more likely to return.
Great tips there.
I made a podcast a few months ago for http://www.photoguides.net and that was the cause of my websites success.
It shot to number 1 for all arts podcasts and has dramatically improved my reputation and profile for photography and photoshop tutorials.
I highly recommend podcasting. It’s incredibly easy to do, a great deal of fun, and it really helps to improve your website.
i make use of videos and images on my site and it is working kvery fine.
Thanks for sharing Lisa
Some useful tips for site-seeing.
Samples of your work are important in making the person get a feel of what you do. And in this sphere, pictures, podcasts, videos and twitter widgets helped me like nothing else for my custom publishing firm’s website (www.writewing.in).
I would recommend all of these tips to everybody who is serious about making a great online presence.
Today’s time dynamic website is important for user, they change any content and image time to time for self requirements.