If your web site doesn’t include the option for user-generated content, the chances are it won’t be the kind of web site that is required in the near future. Up until recently the web was one-way – someone published a web site and someone else read it. Now, new technologies mean that the web can become two-way, with users adding material to your web site. Because some of the most popular web sites involve a great deal of user-generated material, many Internet users are becoming used to adding material to other people’s web sites. If your web site doesn’t allow user-generated content, fairly soon you will be seen as out of date, past it, non accessible.
As an example, Amazon allows users to generate content in the form of reviews and book lists. MySpace, Technorati and DiggIt are all entirely user-generated. Google is almost entirely user-generated. And look at what Google is cooking up for the future – almost everything in its labs section is devoted to user-generated content. This should be telling you something. It should be pointing out that those people who look to the future of the Internet believe that user-generated content is the way to go. If you don’t cotton on to that thought, your web site may have no future.
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+