Automating content discovery:
One of the biggest complaints from food bloggers about aggregation sites was that the picture submission process was a pain. Every time they wrote a new blog post, they had to go to each of the food aggregation sites and make a submission. So we decided to automate this process for them. What we would pull in new pictures from their RSS feeds, add them to our site, and notify them once their picture was up. We threw up a sign up page describing this process and emailed a bunch of bloggers requesting them to sign up. Christine then manually simulated this automation process for them. The response was very positive from the bloggers. One even said that we were “a dream to work with” since they didn’t have to do the tedious work of uploading anymore. As the list of blogger signups piled up though, the manually process was difficult to keep up with (not just the initial picture uploads but monitoring their blogs for updates). So last week our tools finally caught up with the promise of an automated process. Our app now does a nightly pull from all the signed up blogs, and pulls in new updates into our system. The only manually step required is to add some tags to each entry, approve it, and its live. Here’s a screenshot our system.
Keeping content current:
Now that we have a system to add new pictures to Knapkins, we are able to provide a “time” component to our users. Pictures can be sorted by new this week, new this month, and all time, much like the other food blog aggregators Users are now presented with fresh content on subsequent visits. A first step on planning for retention.
A final component we added was the idea of rewards/items/badges, and more importantly, cleaning up the signup prompt and flow. The goal is to increase our signup activation step. Screenshots below: