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Every time I launch a new website I try to come up with an overall traffic strategy, not just an SEO strategy. Why? Because traffic is where the money is! Most times, an SEO strategy will take 3-6 months to start seeing rankings and start building a considerable amount of traffic… The truth is I want money now! And I am sure that you do to!

Because search engine optimization is a long term strategy, you need to develop short term strategies as well. I use Blog & Twitter Contests to boost search engine rankings, skyrocket website traffic, grow my customer base, and increase the number of sales through my site.

To run a Blog or Twitter contest effectively, you will need to follow the steps below. I will go into each one in detail:

  1. Determine a prize(s) to give away
  2. Decide how people can enter the contest
  3. Build awareness
  4. Set rules & launch
  5. End and announce the winner(s)

The very first thing that needs to happen when planning a contest is to determine a prize or multiple prizes to give away to the contestants. These prizes can be anything from free services that you or your company offers all the way to gift cards from Amazon or other businesses.

Second, you need to decide how people will enter your contest. I have run promotions requiring either a Tweet or a blog post to enter the contest. You also need to decide if you want to give away multiple entries for other things like blogging about the contest or company and linking to the company from their website.

Gaining entries into this type of a contest should have two purposes. One to promote your name or company to potential customers, and two, to help build links back to your website. Keeping these two goals in mind throughout your planning process will keep things going in the right direction.

Third, you need to figure out how to announce the contest and build interest in what you are doing. You can do this by guest blogging on industry specific blogs and announcing your contest. You can ask friends or other business contacts to talk about it on their sites. You can Tweet about it and announce it on Facebook. The options of gaining publicity are limitless, and this step is crucial if you are planning a successful contest. It may be a good idea to have frequent updates and announcements on how the contest is going. This creates more opportunities for additional contestants, customers and links.

Fourth, you need to establish a set of rules that you and contestants are going to abide by. Some details that should be included in these rules are: an established launch date, an end date, ways you can enter the contest and how/when the winner will be announced. After the rules are laid out, it is time to launch the contest!

Last, you need to end the contest when you say you will. You should then pick a winner, announce that they won, and award them the prize.

Many times, it is a good idea to follow up the contest with a blog post thanking everyone for their participation and congratulating the winners. If the contest went well and you would like to do it again in the future, you might also mention that you will run another contest in a few months and to check back for more details.

Well folks, that is how to set up and execute a blog or Twitter contest.

We are currently running a Twitter contest for one of our clients, myhosting.com. If you would like to visit their contest page and see how it was organized, please do so here.

They are giving away three web hosting packages so you can enter for that as well!

Contests can be a powerful way to grow your business. If you want to really boost customer awareness, increase your sales, and get some links back to your website, a Blog or Twitter contest just might be for you!