Fresh, original content is the lifeblood of your website or blog and because sites that are posted to often are crawled more frequently by the search engines you need to have a constant supply of it if you want to maintain or improve your page rank. But we all know how challenging it can be to keep churning out great content that will keep your readers satisfied and feed the Google beast, so to help alleviate that particular headache here are five easy and effective ways you can source new content.

Hire a Ghost Writer

If youre pushed for time or writing just isnt your thing then why not get other people to write it for you? Hiring a ghost writer is easier and less expensive than you might think " there are many sites where you can find experienced freelance writers and a good quality article can cost as little as $5.

Using the services of a ghost writer is not all plain sailing, however so here are a couple of important tips to bear in mind. Firstly, its essential to make sure that you remain in control of your online reputation at all times. Proof-read all articles carefully before publishing and never ever allow your ghost writer or anyone else to post directly to your blog or article directory accounts under your name. Secondly, make sure that the content is 100% original. Google no longer gives prizes for duplicate content and may even penalise your site if the quality of your content is adjudged to be poor. Finally, make sure that your ghost writer can write convincingly in your personal style. Your readers will not easily forgive you if they think you are trying to pull the wool over their eyes.

Guest Blogging

Another way you can get other people to write your content for you is to employ guest bloggers who post on a regular basis. As well as providing a constant stream of fresh content guest blogging can be a great way to enrich your site by offering your readers different perspectives and styles of writing as well as expertise on a broader range of topics. Additionally, if your guest bloggers are well known and respected their contributions can enhance the authority and popularity of your site.

Community Content and Crowdsourcing

If youre open to the idea of guest bloggers then why not take this one step further and invite your readers to contribute their own content? For example, you could ask your readers to submit their own reviews, send in photos or stories on a particular theme or upload examples of films, videos, artwork or music they have created.

There are also lots of apps on the market that make it easy to incorporate community content on your site and this can be a very good way of adding variety and keyword rich content, particularly for e-commerce sites that rely on boilerplate product descriptions and third party reviews. Community generated content is not only highly likely to be shared, generating valuable links to your site, but is also a very powerful way of engaging with your online community and building a sense of connectedness which will have them returning time and time again.

Make sure if youre going to allow your readers to submit content that you are specific about the type of content you want and dont overlook the importance of SEO. For example, if you are inviting responses to questions frame them around your target keywords and make sure you include the keywords in your title. If readers can upload images or other types of content ensure that they have keyword rich alt tags and descriptions.

Repurpose Your Existing Content

The web has a very short memory which means that the ways you can recycle and re-use your content are limited only by your imagination. Of course we are not talking here about wholesale republishing of your content in its original form but its perfectly OK to update it periodically, give it a new twist or reissue it in a different format. For example, you can use Camtasia to turn Powerpoint presentations into videos by adding music and a voice-over, or you can present Powerpoints in the form of a webinar or turn them into blog posts and articles (or vice versa). You could also break up a long article into a series of shorter posts or pull together a number of your old posts into a lengthier article or ebook.

Another simple method that works very well for SEO purposes is to repurpose your existing content to create mish-mash pages that are relevant to the keywords you want to target. Typically a mish-mash page will include a few introductory paragraphs about the keyword, links to relevant pages or posts and related multimedia content on your site such as images, video, reviews etc.

Use Private Label Rights Material

With private label rights (PLR) material you acquire the right to edit, amend, use in any way you see fit and claim it as your own work. It can therefore be an incredibly useful source of content for your website or blog. There are a number of places you can source PLR content such as packs of articles and ebooks. The quality and cost is variable so it pays to shop around. Beware also that you are not acquiring exclusive rights to the content. Other people will be using it as well so personalise it and make sure that you change it enough to qualify as unique content if you dont want to fall foul of the search engines.

So there you go. Five easy ways to source content without having to do very much work at all. And in case you were wondering, this article is all my own work.

What methods have you used to generate content for your website or blog and which have you found most effective?