You can also create your own awards program to draw traffic to your site; however, this requires a considerable amount of work to maintain.
The benefit of having your own awards program includes having links to your site from the awards placed on winners’ sites. Having links back to your site is important for search engine placement because of link popularity. If you are the host of the awards program, you control the text around the link that takes people back to your site, so make sure you include your most important keywords to enhance your link relevancy score to further improve your search engine ranking.
There are also great opportunities for permission (“Click here to be notified via email when we have a new award winner”) and viral marketing (“Tell a friend about this award—click here”).
In addition, having your own awards program provides you with “bragging rights” and the opportunity for press releases to announce your awards, which gain exposure for your Web site and increase traffic. You need to work at it daily or weekly, so you must be committed to it.
Be sure there is a benefit from a marketing perspective before you design and develop your own awards program. You must also be prepared to conduct your own searches to find sites worthy of your award if the quality of sites being submitted to you is not up to your standard.
There are a number of steps involved in getting your awards program up and running:
- Develop the criteria to use in your site selection.
- Develop several Web pages related to the award, including information on selection criteria, submission forms, today’s or this week’s award winner, and a past award recipients’ page, in order to promote the award. (Be sure that you stipulate whether you are looking for submissions from commercial sites or personal pages and what criteria will be used in judging submissions.)
- Develop your award icon. Have this icon link back to your site. The award distinguishes the winner; thus, the link might be displayed prominently on its site. This is a great traffic builder.
- Finally, announce the award and market, market, market.