I was wondering, How does a website that is based around content uploaded by users get started? When the website launches there is no content for the users to view or use/interact with so there really is not much of a drive for the user to make a account and use the website. How do I get started? Dummy content? Or just good SEO and patience? In case it's not clear what I mean; think of it as day 1 of Youtube(Example site) what motivated people to still upload content and continue to visit/use the site? I hope I'm posting in the right Stackexchange. Thanks in advance.
There are usually two methods to getting users, and deciding which one to focus more into or what balance you will strike is, as always, up to you. There is no magic method, no algorithm, no howtoforge.com article you can follow.
As always, content is king, so if your content isn't what people want you can do everything in your power to get visitors but nothing will help. That said, here are some tips.
Something I have heard dubbed, "organic growth" which is usually under the banner of "word of mouth". I have always found this method of growth to be far more reliable because it is not just a potential user learning about a website, they are learning about it while hearing someone else talk about it in a positive light. The more the person is trusted, the more likely they are to participate or buy. One way to get this type of growth is to just start sharing on social media. Get it in front of the right people on Twitter, post links on Reddit or Hacker News or some other site. This isn't always a reliable method as you can't control how many people see it.
The other method, which is the one that costs money, is to buy advertising to sites that fit the demographic of the user base you are trying to build. Some times you can pay a price for a certain period of time at a single site, other times you may have to pay more but you get many sites that your ad is featured on.