Brag About Your Content

September 21st, 2006 by Chris

If you read my articles and this blog, or if you know much about me, you know I’m a fan of public domain content, and I am a fan of user submitted content. Specifically I am a fan of using user submitted content to make your site more unique when the base content of your site is not unique (ala public domain).

It used to be that public domain content could still create a unique site, however success breeds imitators and no longer can you expect your site to be unique if you use public domain content. So, in order to make your site unique you should solicit users for their own opinions either through a comments system or forum integration.

There is another hurdle though, and that is avoiding the perception of spam. Lets be honest, public domain content sites, or even unique content sites on some topics, are a dime a dozen. They have gotten incredibly common and many of them are by people who have absolutely no desire (or no clue) to make a long term living with them and instead are just looking for a quick buck. In short, they’re ugly and spammy and they put a foul taste in the mouth of people everywhere.

You can, as I’ve said, use user submitted content to up your unique value, but you can’t always show that content prominently on the first page view. Likewise you cannot put a notice at the top of your site along the lines of “Dear Directory Editor, we are not spam, thanks.” So what do you do?


Businesses bragging about their popularity is nothing new, just look at the “billions served” on a McDonalds side. With the Internet it didn’t take long either with most of the early search engines quickly listening their index size on their homepage or Amazon listing the size of their product catalogue. Even now many sites list their number of members, how many orders they have, how many sales they have, or something along those lines.

Why do businesses do this? Well in most cases it is because if people perceive you as being popular they will be more likely to trust you and do business with you (or link to you, or reference you, or not boot you out of their index).

How does this matter for a website publisher with a not-so-unique website? Well look, directory editors are inundated with submissions of turnkey crap content sites with similar or duplicate content. Search engines regularly prune their indexes, manually at times, weeding out duplicate content. You want to be absolutely sure that when a human that has the power to link to you, list you, or kick you out of an index, visits your site that that human gets the impression that you are unique, you are useful, and you deserve to be listed.

So, brag about your content. A site that has done this for awhile and is a good example is SitePoint, not that SitePoint has duplicate content or anything, but by listing their impressive statistics prominently they give an immediate impression of authority and success. Half a million subscribers did they say?

When I recently redesigned one of my public domain content sites, IDDB, I did this as well. This site has been perceived as spam before so now I prominently list that yes, we have 5000 patient comments stored. So that directory editors and everyone else can comfortably include this site as a useful resource.

As I rework or redesign my other similar sites I plan on doing the same thing, and of course I recommend you do it as well. If your site has some nice vital statistics (obviously a brand new site isn’t going to benefit from this), then list them, and list them prominently. Reassure your visitors and everyone else that clicking to your site was not a mistake.

2 Responses to “Brag About Your Content”

  1. Masetek  Says:

    Nice post Chris. I’ve always been a fan of bragging about content. On my sites, as soon as the content is “braggable” it goes straight up.

  2. ToddW  Says:

    Great advice!

    I’m going to be re-doing one of my sites and this information made me re-think what I have planned :)

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