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  1. #1
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    Bait the hook or let the fish do it? (content/social website)
    I think I have a really good "hook" or idea to build a website on. Haven't seen it anywhere else on the web, so not going in to detail about the idea. Sorry if this is a bit vague..

    But, I've been thinking of ways to improve what the website offers visitors, and I've been coming up with more and more social and interactive ideas (blogs, forums, PMs, profiles, galleries, etc). Members would also be able to submit some things to the website.

    Then it came to me, why not let users submit a lot more to the content of the website?

    Like, one section, lets just say I have 3 categories in it. Instead of researching and finding 20 to 30 items to put in each category (items being content), why not put in 5 real good items and set it up so members can add to the list. Of course, I'd want it set it up so I have to approval submitted items, and it would turn in to a lot of work if the website took off. But that'd be a nice problem, lol.

    Still.. despite how vague that was, how would you respond to a website you thought had a great idea/theme, and had content supporting the idea/theme, but didn't have a ton and was welcoming people to add more? Would you think the webmaster was lazy or like the idea of becoming a part of something?

    And I'm not really thinking along the lines of a wiki, submitted items wouldn't be editable by members.

    Thanks for any and all feedback.

  2. #2
    Antisocial Media Expert ProWebAddict's Avatar
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    You have to see what works for your idea.

    In general people don't like to go to empty websites. For example with forums, if you start a new one it's good to keep the subcats small and fill in some content so it's not empty.

    No one wants to go to a forum with 100 boards, 25 subcats, and 10 threads.

    I would assume the same goes for any other thing that requires people to dive in and participate.

    But in the end [see first sentence]

  3. #3
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    Wouldn't be completely empty, but good points.

    I think it could work, this way, but it may not. I could be totally wrong the idea I have being a "hook" to people too. Already spent months building one website with a ton of content, to have it fizzle out, and the merchant it was meant for be a crook.

    So bit gun shy in investing that kind of time again, lol.

  4. #4
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    Just be sure to be above board, as we've seen with "user generated" websites, exclusive coupons etc can get put in.

    I've been trying to get my head around "social features" as one of our astute members here is quick to say. In my niche, it's about figuring out what they like on the web that isn't already being done well. True of other niches too, but the demographics of my "niche" is very broad.
    Kevin Webster
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  5. #5
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    It's just more widgety nowadays. I've had a forum for one of my sites from the beginning. Doesn't get more social than that. We have this forum here. Sigs, avatars, private messaging etc.

    It is hard starting these things out. Mine wasn't too bad because with my forum, which is around my niche, it was first a standalone freebie type of deal but got some nice traffic. Then I decided to upgrade and pay for one and also connected it to a site that was doing well. So I just linked to it from my site and got lots of new sign ups and they're all real nice creating much spiderable content everyday

  6. #6
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    Interesting Trust.

    I am taking it a bit beyond a forum though, and it is such a huge project. That a newbie mistake, seems all my projects have been huge ones, although this one makes the others look small. Mainly because of the learning how to make Joomla do what I want and the content has surprisingly been harder to find all neat and nice in one place.

    But that would be in my favor, lol.

  7. #7
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    Don't forget the main principal of successful investing: diversification... which (to me) can also apply to affiliate marketing. I say go for your idea, but don't put all your eggs in one basket.. keep other ideas (or sites) going at the same time.

    I would never promote just one product or merchant, and I'm really sorry to hear you got burned!

    The best advice I was ever given was to "turn on all the switches"... as you never know which one will be the one that works. It's usually the one you least expect...

    As for social sites, I've been adding "widgety" and have a social network, but (for me) these are only expansion components. Without my original niche in place, readers may slightly go adrift.. and I'm careful about content, otherwise it can turn into another site for dropped backlinks...

    Going back to diversification.. what's wrong with the original content site that you launched for one merchant? Can you dust it off & expand it to include other merchants? Why not work on the new idea, at the same time managing the existing site...

  8. #8
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    The one website I mentioned, it is still active. Just more an informational website (do have another merchant on there too) Unfortunately, there are hundreds of other websites that provide the same information. I didn't copy anything, rewrote it all. So.. I think I just made a huge newbie mistake there, and seems most people who come looking for the information, aren't interested in buying anything.

    The new social type website I mention here, it really won't be aimed at selling either.. more trying to drive traffic. Would have affiliate links, and if enough traffic can come, sell ad space.

    Hmm..

    Do agree with diversification. Just seems I really only have time to focus on one thing at a time, especially if I have to teach myself how to do it (like using Joomla).

    More good things to keep in mind. Thanks.

  9. #9
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    I think I just made a huge newbie mistake there, and seems most people who come looking for the information, aren't interested in buying anything.
    There's content, and there's sales content. Blend the two.
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  10. #10
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    Personally I think quarantining the two would produce better results...

    I have seen some widgets and "bling" that look like they'd be fun to play with. But so far, none of the newest stuff strikes me as especially good for a commercial site.

    A lot of this kind of thing provides users with a good way to waste time, but would be very distracting from the purpose of buying! Personally I'd rather have only one thing for users to do on a sales site: BUY! And what do they get to look at? The item they are to buy!

    So far the only thing I'd be interested in putting on a sales site is that functionality that allows people to zoom in on an image (it used to only be on merch sites, but lately I've run across a few affs with it). The other new stuff I've seen strikes me as things nobody would have cared about, had it not been thrust in their face.

    As for baiting the hook for a social site, I would post up some decently-discussion-sparking bait to start things off and motivate people to put in their 2c...but slant it in the direction you want (so you attract your desired audience, rather than their opposite). Not a big obvious slant, but let your opinion be known so you don't end up with a userbase you'd rather mass-ban
    Last edited by Leader; May 13th, 2008 at 01:48 AM.

  11. #11
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    Personally I think quarantining the two would produce better results...
    I'm not going down that debate road again

    Trust made a good point up above about it really just being more widgety now. Forums, Email to a friend, reviews... all of these things have been around, and just look a bit different now.

    The larger "advances" with these technologies would be the widget buttons you put on your browser to quickly add a product to a social shopping list, etc.
    Kevin Webster
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  12. #12
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    Eeep, I was too vague. My apologies.

    The website wouldn't be a commercial one. More a political/opinion/humor/current events type website. Although could have some religion mixed in too.
    As for baiting the hook for a social site, I would post up some decently-discussion-sparking bait to start things off and motivate people to put in their 2c...but slant it in the direction you want (so you attract your desired audience, rather than their opposite).
    Think this pretty much sums it up for me. Anything political in nature, is always discussion sparking. The hook is kind of like an opinion to slant things in one direction. The forums would be where people could discuss things or could use PMs, or could express themselves in their profiles, blogs, galleries, etc.

    Here is a better example for content. Lets say I have a section for Politician A. I have the categories of Accomplishments, Screw Ups, Lies, etc. Instead of searching for 20 items in each, I go with 5 maybe 10. Then allow members to add items to the list, which would need admin/mod approval. And of course I could continue adding more. There would also be content I'd be creating/adding to other areas, that members wouldn't be able to add too.

    That's not exactly what I'd be doing, but is a lot less vague.

    Think it could work like that, maybe, lol.

    The money making would come from developing a membership base that hopeful grows large enough to be able to sell ad space. And affiliate links to products that fix the website.

  13. #13
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    Too much work. Things that take time and do not produce results don't get done. You are setting yourself up for failure.

  14. #14
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    It does sound like a lot of work, but if it's a topic you're passionate about, it's a niche just the same.

    I only have one comment.. I've launched a lot of sites now.. content, social, etc etc.. if you build it, they don't always come.. I'm not trying to discourage (quite the opposite), just get something out the door quickly so you can test the waters. Let the site develop a following while you're implementing the "vision" ... in the meantime, I don't understand why your content site can't be re-worked using other products.

    A few months back I met with a fellow who had a great idea for a site.. during our lunch, he was already talking about his tv appearances! Last I heard, he never got his act together (it was BIG or nothing).

  15. #15
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    I don't understand why your content site can't be re-worked using other products.
    It wasn't about other products, more the fact that there are hundreds of website with the same type of content and traffic isn't very good. But all the comments I've received in the thread has definitely made me rethink about leaving it as is.

    So I might try toying with it some more, instead of working with this new idea for now.
    I'm not trying to discourage (quite the opposite), just get something out the door quickly so you can test the waters.
    That is good advice. The fear I have is that if I put out something quick, someone whose better at building better websites much quicker than me, can find my idea and take it. Then again if I never act, I'm guaranteed of nothing happening.

    Interesting about the fellow. The going big is a nice idea, but right now I'd be happy with a few sales a week. Big things can happen later, lol.

  16. #16
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    hundreds of website with the same type of content and traffic isn't very good
    Doesn't mean it should be shelved.. I'm sure there are hundreds of sites with my type of content too.. you just have to find something that sets you apart.. tweaking an existing site & letting it sit there is a better strategy.

    I mention the tv-guy as he was so keen on the Big Idea, he never actually got something off the ground! If you start small & efficient, you can stay under the radar. I'm like you tho.. I feel that as soon as someone see what's I've done, they will copy.. I spotted a VERY major site copy something I've been doing for 6 months now. The funny thing is, I've recently dropped it as it's too much work for the little conversion.. (I know they copied as I've seen them as regular visitors).

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