For any website, quality traffic and inbound links are prized commodities, precious and valuable. Not only do links drive traffic, but they can help your website’s search engine rankings too. Anyone with a passing interest in increasing links to their site, as well as driving more traffic, should know and understand the term ‘linkbait’. Linkbait refers to generating content for your website, that is so compelling and interesting that people will organically want to link to it. Creating quality linkbait on your site can drive fantastic traffic when done correctly.
So what makes great linkbait? There are a million and one topics you can utilize, but ultimately your content needs to be valuable to people. You could right an article on a popular news item, try writing a detailed ‘how to guide’ on something complex, or maybe offer up tips and tricks from within your specific industry. One great source of linkbait often overlooked though is taken straight from the offline world – competitions. It might sound overly simple, but the lure of something for nothing is a strong one. Below are the basic steps needed to drive website traffic via a contest compliments of website hosting company 34SP.com.
First up you need to determine a prize. This can be supplied by your own company, or even another prominent organization in your industry. The prize doesn’t have to be dramatic or overly costly though. For example, Salt Lake City restaurant review website gastronomicslc.com routinely offers dining giveaways (anywhere from $20 through to $150), happily donated directly from leading restaurants – all very keen to promote their own restaurants in tandem with the review site itself.
When looking for companies to donate prizes, try to pick local businesses with relevance to your space. Where a big box national chain might not even acknowledge your presence – smaller locally owned businesses will be eager to promote themselves. Remember, you will be doing all the hard work of creating and promoting the competition.
With a suitable prize selected, you next need an entry format for the competition. Remember that the ultimate goal is to encourage maximum interest in your contest. You want people excited about your competition, so much so that they just just have to share it. Try to think as creatively as possible. Sure, having your entrants answer a simple question by way of submitting an email is simple and quick, but what’s intriguing about that to the outsider? For example, lets say you run a blog site that writes about all things photographic. You’ve arranged for a local store to donate a modest digital camera as the prize; you could ask entrants to submit photographs highlighting their best/worst/funniest/most embarrassing moments. As the competition runs, these photos could be displayed as additional content on your competition pages, redoubling interest in your site, and increasing the opportunity to link back. At every stage keep thinking, ”would I link to this page?” and if so, ”why?”.
Next up you need to set a deadline date for the competition. For the very best exposure you need to strike a balance between creating a timely imperative for people to check out your contest, but not so far out in the future, that the whole thing runs out of momentum. Typical entry windows run from a couple of weeks up to a couple of months (for a really big prize).
Also be sure to create a set of very clear rules. You will need to be very specific and open in how and when the winner will be chosen. The very last thing you want to do is create a wonderful, engaging giveaway, that ultimately descends into chaos, as arguments erupt over how many entries are allowed per person. Exact rules will vary and depend on your contest format and prizes.
Now you have a great prize, a time frame to work in, rules set to guide the competition, you are all set. Now is the time to make as big a noise as you can possibly make. Tell anyone who might be interested about your giveaway. Engage your customers or website readers, email them, blog, tweet, facebook post. If your prize was donated by a company, ask them to promote the piece on their site, or twitter and facebook pages too. Cross promotion can be a great thing, and a win-win for all involved. You need to generate buzz and excitement, don’t be afraid of getting the message out. If all the components of your competition come together, you can quickly create a genuine flood of interest and ultimately – a vast amount of quality website traffic.