Content aggregators give publishers the opportunity to reach a larger audience. And users can find anything they want from a variety of providers on a single website.
So how can you break into the content aggregation market? In this article, we’ll talk about great examples of content aggregators and provide some insights on how to craft your own content aggregator platform. But first let’s answer the question: What is an aggregator?
What is a content aggregator website?
A content aggregator is a website that collects different content including news articles, social media posts, images, and videos on particular issues from around the web and makes them accessible in one place.
NOTE: Content aggregation is not plagiarism. Plagiarism means using content without permission from the author. Content aggregation is presenting somebody’s work with proper credit and a link to the original source.
Content aggregation vs. curation vs. syndication
There’s often a serious misunderstanding regarding content aggregation, curation, and syndication, as they’re fairly close in meaning. To prevent confusion, let’s look at each of these practices in more detail.
Content aggregation is the automatic collection and grouping of content from multiple sources on a particular topic.
Content curation is more than just collecting content. Content curation is about selecting the best content that’s valuable to the target market and usually including some commentary, context, or views.
Content aggregators must provide benefits for news publishers
There are mixed views on the interactions between aggregators and publishers. At first blush, it looks like aggregators provide content producers with new ways to reach target users and subscribers, but in fact not all content aggregators are interested in meeting publishers’ needs. Some aggregators don’t care that much to promote a publisher’s brand, but rather their own.
- Content aggregators should help news publishers reach a wider audience.
- Aggregators should produce revenue for publishers.
- By partnering with aggregators, publishers should be able to gain recognition for their work.
- Content aggregators should provide publishers insights as to what kind of readers consume their content, what articles are most popular, and when users are consuming their content.
Seven great examples of content aggregator websites
Since content aggregators provide convenience, more and more consumers are interested in using these platforms. This is why there are lots of aggregators built each year. Some have already achieved great success and won the hearts of users.
Originally set up by Guy Kawasaki, Kathryn Henkens, and Will Mayall in 2008, AllTop is a content aggregator platform that provides users with continuously updated news on any issue. Readers choose topics they’re interested in and then see the most recent news headlines from multiple providers on a single web page. Users can position the cursor on a headline and read the first few sentences of the article to get a general idea of what it’s about. Additionally, users can create customized pages 一 their own AllTop pages. Users can choose topics and news sources they’re interested in to be displayed on their own pages. They can edit their pages any time by adding, removing, or reorganizing feeds.
News feeds are displayed on the AllTop website if the founders of the platform consider them credible, informative, and interesting. And since AllTop uses RSS feed aggregation, the platform captures data only from sources that enable RSS feeds.
Created by Thomas Marban in 2005 as a single-page news aggregator, Popurls provides users with a clear picture of what’s going on in the world each day. Four years later, Popurls became one of the best online content aggregators and was number five according to the top 50 websites listed in Time magazine.
The Popurls platform has won the hearts of users by providing convenient access to content, smart search, and a no-frills interface. Popurls doesn’t just aggregate news feeds from such websites as Reddit, Flickr, del.icio.us, Digg, and many more, but curates them. By simply positioning the mouse over a headline, users can also see the first sentences of an article without being forwarded to a new page.
Feedly is one of the best aggregators, offering easy access to news websites, blogs, YouTube channels, and podcasts within one platform. All content is grouped by topics, sectors, and trends. Feedly is now available on iOS and Android and as a web-based service. On the Feedly platform, users can search content by keywords, the name of a website, or an RSS feed address. Users are also able to share any content they like on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Evernote with a single click. Other handy features include tagging, auto-marking as read, read later, and you might also like.
NextDraft is a very interesting case. Created by David Pell, the NextDraft app provides smartly curated news stories wrapped with David’s view on things. Each day, David picks the day’s ten most captivating news stories and tells readers what’s happening in the world by writing what these stories are about. Users can also find links to the original sources to read more.
Created in 2012, theSkimm is an aggregator platform that presents the most important news to start your day. The major events calendar in the application synchronizes with a user’s calendar so users know what’s happening in politics, sports, the entertainment industry, and other spheres. The application also provides video and audio interviews with people of influence. Once a week, theSkimm presents a ten-minute audio episode that highlights key and relevant topics to users.
At Steelkiwi, we have experience in content aggregator development. Khabar is one of the best examples of a news aggregator we’ve developed. This Saudi platform helps users find the latest news from over 100 news providers. Khabar runs on both iOS and Android and supports two languages, Arabic and English. The application has a minimalist design so users don’t get distracted from articles and lets readers share articles they like on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.
One of the other great content aggregator examples is Answers.how. This aggregator website gives answers to top search queries. All content is grouped by category and subcategory. In addition, readers can use the smart search bar and benefit from smart suggestions or ready-made questions to quickly and easily find information. If no answer is provided to a query, Answers.how pulls data from third-party providers.
How to build an aggregator website
Here are the principal stages in developing a content aggregator:
- Define your core value
- Identify content aggregator tools and technologies
- Create a design that engages readers with content
- Build strong filtering features
- Choose a monetization strategy
Create a content aggregator website using WordPress or from scratch?
One more important step is deciding how to actually create news aggregator website. There are two common ways 一 from scratch or using WordPress.
WordPress. When time and money is an issue, you might consider building your platform with WordPress.
From scratch. You can choose any design you want 一 the only limit is your imagination. With custom development you’re not limited in functionality. You can add new features whenever you want. In addition, your website will provide great performance and will be protected against hackers.
A few things to remember when crafting a content aggregator
When it comes to building a content aggregator, the process goes beyond the principle stages we’ve just discussed.
Aggregate, curate, or syndicate?
The majority of content aggregators, like Flipboard and Hacker News, never publish full posts on their websites but instead redirect you to the original source. AllTop and Popurls go further and offer users the first few sentences of an article when positioning the cursor over the headline, however as soon as users click the headline, these platforms also redirect to the original website. Feedly lets users view full articles right on the Feedly website. This platform does include information about the original producer below the headline and allows users to go to the original page by clicking the headline. Answers.how aggregates data from outside sources if there’s no answer provided on the Answers.how website.
Aggregation seems to be easier than curation in terms of filling a platform with content. On the other hand, aggregators that curate content are much preferred by users. Remember theSkimm? As of March 2018, this platform already had six million subscribers and had raised $28 million.
Respect the intellectual property rights of publishers
When deciding what content to deliver, it’s important to make sure your content, whether it’s curated or syndicated, stays on the right side of the law. There are a few things that you need to pay attention to:
- Always ask permission;
- Avoid displaying content in full;
- Don’t forget to give credit to the author by backlinking to the original source.
Follow Google algorithm updates
Since a content aggregator deals with different data and links from a bunch of sources, it’s necessary to understand Google algorithms and track their changes in order not to be penalized for content duplication. Particularly important Google algorithms for content aggregators include:
- Google Panda for duplicated, plagiarized, and thin content;
- Google Penguin for spammy and irrelevant links;
- Google Hummingbird for low-quality content and keyword stuffing.
Want to craft your own content aggregator?
If you want to enter the news market by offering a unique solution, remember that everything you decide and do from the design to the technology stack should be relevant to your core value and target market.