How A Website Contest Can Drive Traffic To Your Blog

A website contest is one of the most effective methods of driving high levels of traffic to your site, increasing brand loyalty, boosting sales and creating publicity for you and what you have to sell.  If you can offer a great prize that people in your niche will value then news about your contest and your website could spread around the social media platforms like a viral.

Any successful bloggers will tell you that while a contest can be extremely successful, it requires a lot of careful planning and thought to make sure the benefits outweigh the effort and cost you put in.  So we’ve put together some tried and tested methods that any website builder can use to run a successful contest. 

What Type of Website Contest?

The type of contest you run really depends on whether you’re trying to draw in new readers and customers, or whether you want to encourage your existing readers to stay loyal.  For example, the “Best Comment of the Week” type of contest is better aimed at your existing readers.  A photography competition may attract more external visitors.

Whatever you decide, don’t request unrealistic expectations of people to enter the contest and keep the rules simple.  People just won’t bother to take part if they don’t understand what you want or if it takes too much time to enter. 

Also come up with ideas that actually add value to your blog, such as “The Best Idea for Next Week’s Post” or “The Most Useful Comment of the Week.”  This creates content you can post that your readers will enjoy.

Here are some ideas that bloggers have used successfully for their website contests:

  • A Writing Competition:  ideal for creating external interest that can become viral.  Ask entrants to write on a particular topic, such as “5 Top Tips” relevant to your niche or a “How to” article. 
  • A Photography Contest:  these contests are great for all types of blog because they bring a visual element to your website that helps to create reader interest.  Pick a subject that’s relevant to your niche and ask people to submit their photographs.  You can then display the images on your front page and update with the best photos every few days.   This will encourage entrants to keep sending in their images and revisiting your site to see if their photograph is still on the front page. 
  • Treasure Hunts:  these are a great way to increase your page views.  Hide clues for the treasure in old posts and archives, which entrants then have to piece together to solve the clue.  You can then pick the winner at random.
  • Comments Contests:  perfect for encouraging your existing readers, you can offer prizes for the “Best Comment of the Week” or the person who posts the highest number of comments. 
  • Retweets:  this is a clever way of boosting your social networking presence.  Offer a prize for the people who retweet a particular page the most times.
  • Subscribing Prizes:  use a prize to encourage people to subscribe to your RSS feeds or email newsletter.  For everyone who signs up you could offer a small prize, such as a free eBook, and then offer a larger prize to one subscriber chosen at random.  

Finding A Sponsor

If you can find a company to provide a prize it’s a win-win situation for both of you – free publicity for them in their niche market and a prize for your website contest that doesn’t cost you a dime. 

To find a sponsor you could post a message on your website that you’re looking for sponsors for a contest.  Or you could directly approach potential sponsors and request a prize.  Just make sure you get in writing the exact prize, its monetary value, who will pay for delivery and what they expect in return for providing the prize?  For example, how many posts will you have to mention them in, how many links to their website and what text do they want to use as their company description?

How to Decide On A Prize

First you’ll need to decide whether to self fund the prize or find a sponsor.  If you’re a website builder who’s created your blog to publicize your company or particular products and services, then you’ll already have a resource of prizes at your fingertips.  These could include:

  • A large discount, such as 50% off a purchase – whatever discount you offer make sure it provides enough value to encourage people to enter and spread the word to their friends.  10 or 20% just won’t be enough. It needs to be substantial, at least 50%. 
  • A free product or subscription
  • Your expertise for free – for example, a website builder could offer a free website design service.  Or an accountant could offer 5 hours of free tax consultancy.  These prizes are of real value to your target niche.    

If your blog is fairly new and traffic levels still quite low, self-funding may be the only option for prizes.  Be realistic on your outcome and don’t spend large sums of money on a prize unnecessarily.  Make sure the benefits you receive as a website builder outweigh the costs you have to invest.

Also choosing a prize that adds real value to your target market is essential and this doesn’t mean it has to have a high monetary value.  Instead it could be something your target audience would really like to own or use.  Sometimes smaller prizes, such as a book or expert manual, can create the most interest and drive the levels of traffic to your site you’d always been hoping for.

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About the Author

Melanie Citron

Melanie Citron is a freelance writer and self proclaimed “techie” who lives in Denver with her husband, Glenn, and their three dogs Ralph, Sam and Billy. Melanie has become the “go to person” for creating online businesses for her friends and family. “I do it every day so I may as well write about it” Her knowledge has appeared on websites, in local newspapers and in person as a public speaker. In her spare time Melanie loves the outdoors and hikes and cross country skis.