Blog contests can single-handedly drive lots of traffic to your site, or even encourage people to take actions to promote your site (such as linking to it). It can encourage people to return, if your method of entry involves something like subscribing to your feed via Feedburner or some similar engagement.
You may have no idea how to begin the process of hosting a contest, however. You might even think you need big bucks to host a contest, but you need not spend a dime. Here are some basic steps:
- Decide the purpose of your contest. Don’t have it for the fun of it, but have a goal in mind. That way, you can measure the success afterwards. Perhaps it’s to see more traffic, or perhaps it’s to encourage other bloggers to link to your blog.
- Get a prize. This isn’t as hard as it sounds. If you have an advertiser, I would approach that company first as they are a logical choice. Find a company with a service or product that closely matches your readers’ interests. Look on their site for contacts in departments like marketing or partnerships. When you approach that person, be sure you let them know what they will get in exchange for providing a prize (obviously mention and linking in all your contest promotions, but also let them know how you plan to promote the contest). If it’s your first contest or you are a new blogger, don’t ask for something huge, either.
- Decide how they will enter. Be sure that you are fair in all ways, and do some research on laws regarding contests. How will you pick your winner? Will you stick all names in a hat and pull one out? Be sure you also require enough information from entrants that you can reach a winner.
- Spread the word. When you post about the contest, encourage others to link to it. There are also many free contest sites, but most require a link back so determine if it’s worth it. Instead, you might consider posting to social bookmarking sites (particularly ones that fit your niche).
Contests are a lot of fun, and really aren’t difficult to run. That’s especially true if you keep things simple. And they provide a great way to get some buzz and excitement for your blog.