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Promoting Your Site With Awards
By Rick and Cheryl Thompson -- August 30, 2000
If you think your site is put together well enough to win awards, you may be able to stir up some traffic with them.  It is not as difficult as you might think to win awards due to the literally thousands of sites out there which offer them.  The most prestigious awards are of course very difficult to win but they represent only a small fraction of what is available.

Rick Thompson

In our opinion, any award is something to be very proud of.  The issuer may not write for PC Magazine and their site may not get thousands of hits per day but you should be flattered none the less if you are selected.

People who present awards will list the winners on their site so you will get some traffic out of the deal as well as the obvious gratification. The amount of traffic will depend on the how well known the award program is.  If you are lucky enough to win one of the more prestigious awards, you will net a significant amount of traffic from them.  We typically receive forty to sixty visitors a week from one of our major awards directly from the link on their site. 

Additionally, many Internet reviewers from around the world watch these sites for material so indirectly we receive even more traffic from being noticed and reviewed by others.  The less well known awards will provide a fewer number of visitors, on average, the bulk of our awards provide one to five hits each per week. This is not an insignificant number, every single visitor counts and the more awards you have, the better this overall number will be.

There are sites that are specifically geared towards compiling and describing all the legitimate award sites on the web. This is by far the best way to find and evaluate award sites for several reasons.  

First, there are award scams out there which are nothing more than another way to gather information on people so they may sell that information to spammers.  By looking only at award sites listed by these major compilers, you can be reasonably assured that you won't fall victim to scam artists. 

Second, it will save you a lot of time because they provide a brief description of each award. You will find that you do not qualify for some awards because they are very specific, these descriptions will allow you to weed those out so as not to waste valuable time.  

Each award site will have a description of their award and the criteria that must be met for them to consider you.  Don't apply unless your site meets their stated standards. It never hurts to look at previously awarded sites to see if yours measures up. Most of these award sites get a lot of applications, some of the top ones may get several thousand every week so don't expect a reply the next day.  It may take several weeks before you hear anything from them and if your site is not selected for an award, you may not hear from them at all.  Usually they will have their notification policy stated on the application.

One thing is common for sites that present awards.  They all have real people who take the time to review your site and they deserve recognition.  No one is forced to give out an award, it is a time consuming process and the nature of the material requires constant site modification. They put a lot of work into it and if you are lucky enough to win one, the very least you can do is send a thank you note via email.  They will also expect you to display your award prominently and link it back to their site both to draw traffic and to verify that you have won the award and not stolen it.  Yes, some people actually steal awards so unless its linked to the award site where you are listed, the award is meaningless.  

How and where you display your awards depends a little on the number that you have obtained.  While two or three awards can be displayed on a top content page without drastically increasing load time or looking gaudy, twenty of them will have the opposite effect. If you have a lot of awards, make a special section or page for them that can be linked to other pages on your site.  A few of the most prestigious awards require that you place them on your top page but most people will not have a problem with putting them on an awards page that is prominently linked.

The bottom line is that awards are a legitimate way to increase traffic to your site without a great deal of work.  A day or two going through the lists and applying for relevant awards can provide a steady stream of visitors to your web site.  Along with the traffic, you will also get a boost in moral when you win and everyone needs a little motivational push now and then to keep going!

HELPFUL AWARD LINKS

AWARD SITES! - Ratings, Recognition, and Resources  (www.awardsites.com) - The premier compiled list of award sites on the web.  Sites are categorized and rated here so you can save a lot of time by targeting awards related to your content.

Awards Worksheet (websiteawards.xe.net) - This is a free resource that helps you apply for awards and track your activities. Apply to over 800 Award Sites around the world from this list.  Another superb list of award sites including a form you can use to make your searching more productive.

Awards Jungle (www.awardsjungle.com) - You can now apply for over 200 awards in just minutes from this multiple submission form"... or so they say. Actually it is more like a handful by the time you reach that submit button but this site is still useful and worth a look.

Copyright 2000
All Rights Reserved
Rick and Cheryl Thompson

About the Authors
Rick and Cheryl have been working the web since 1996.  Their award winning Cheryl's Image Gallery at www.artbycheryl.com/  is the largest single artist image archive on the net. In addition to clipart, it also contains a number of tutorials on site promotion and imaging techniques.

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