User-Generated Content Sites: 3 More Ideas to Steal


In last year’s post on TIME’s 50 Best Websites: 8 Ideas You Can Steal, I highlighted the trend towards user-generated content. Along with Turntable.fm, Polyvore, Proust and Gogobot, here are some more user-led sites with great ideas.

1. SPOTCRIME

SpotCrime

After finding PadMapper, I had the brilliant idea that the same tool could be used to highlight crime incidents. Of course, SpotCrime developers are way ahead of me.

Here’s what I like about the site:

  • They use clear icons to identify the crime incidents.
  • It’s immediately obvious how you can report a crime.
  • They have an iPhone application – every site like this should be mobile-friendly.
  • They’ve made their service free to any police department.

Of course, I’m assuming the last point will prove to be mutually beneficial, but removing barriers is core to a site like this.

Idea to Steal: Take down walls. The easier it is for users to contribute, the better your content. 

2. ACOUSTIC MUSIC ARCHIVE

Acoustic Music Archive

Speaking of sharing, have a gander at The Acoustic Music Archive.

Though not as fancy-pants as other user-generated music sites, it has some excellent features:

  • It gives you tools, such as chords and lyrics, to create your own masterpieces.
  • It educates with helpful background information and demonstrations.
  • Like Wikipedia, it is based on user enthusiasm and expertise.
  • It has elegant sharing options.

I particularly like this last feature. For example, when you click on the “Share” button next to the title, you see:

Acoustic Music Archive Share

Not only can you share socially, you can also embed the music on your own website, prompting more interest in the original site.

Idea to Steal: Share the expertise. Offer free tools to help users build a knowledge community.

3. SHAHIYA

Shahiya

If you don’t read Arabic (which, alas, I don’t), this article on Wamda will give you the lowdown on why Shahiya is proving successful in a competitive user-generated space.

For starters, the founders:

  • Combine online promotion with offsite, in-person marketing.
  • Are careful to monitor the quality of their content carefully.
  • Use extensive testing to see what site features, tools and apps would be most effective.

Idea to Steal: Test and monitor your site often. Your users will let you know what they want if you ask them.

THINKING ABOUT A USER-GENERATED SITE?

Need some help with ideas and best practices? Contact me at any time for a free consultation.

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