Contest on Your Blog

Running an Awesome Contest on Your Blog

Holding a contest on your blog is a fantastic way to increase traffic, get new readers hooked, and improve the engagement of those regularly perusing your witty musings. Relevant to you and your audience, contests are easy to run, and bring an element of excitement to your blog that’s hard to beat.

There are a few things you need to remember, however, in order to capitalize on your contest efforts. Follow these tips, and your contest will be so successful, you’ll wonder why you didn’t try it years ago.

The Basics

Before you get started, there are a few things you need to consider regarding the purpose and practicalities of your contest.

1. Why are you running it? What to you hope to achieve? More subscribers? Social media fans? Sales of a product? Comments and engagement? Know all of this when you start (and think in terms of measurable metrics) and you’ll know for sure whether your contest has been successful once it’s finished.

2. Choose your contest carefully. There are many different types of contests out there, so consider your objectives before you decide on a particular kind.

3. Pick your prize well. Make it relevant and exciting, and don’t spend more than you can reasonably afford! Sponsors might be a good option here, but be sure to set up expectations (yours and theirs) right from the start.

4. Write clear terms and conditions before your contest, and keep it as simple as possible. You don’t want to alienate your audience by making them jump through too many hoops.


Once you’re ready to get started, there are a number of fantastic tools available online that will make running your contest simple.

  • Wizehive contest manager lets you run photo, video, audio or text entry contests and even accept paid entries.
  • Rafflecopter is an easy way to run a giveaway for free. It’s embeddable anywhere, and is cheap and effective in just a few clicks.
  • Binkd is a social media contest platform that allows you to customize and run contests quickly and effortlessly, and is packed with awesome features.


As ever, marketing is a huge factor in the success of your contest, especially if your aim is to increase your audience. Take it step by step, as detailed below, and news of your contest will spread as fast as salacious gossip.

1. Promote your contest on your blog itself. This is a simple contest, but it’s important to point out that this should not be at the cost of your regular blogging activity. If you’re running a particularly big contest, then it’s sometimes a good idea to pre-write your content, to give yourself time for administration.

2. Send an email out to your subscribers (or use your contest to build one, if you haven’t got one already!). With the huge buzz around social media, it’s easy to forget the importance of email marketing, but it’s a great way to reach out to your audience personally.

3. Use social media, but be careful not to turn your Twitter feed into a constant stream of advertisements for your contest, or to drive people to distraction begging them to retweet your posts. So, keep advertisements to a bearable level, and maintain your regular social media repartee to ensure your followers and friends stay engaged.

4. That being said, it’s OK to reach out personally to (not nag!) your advocates – the people who love your blog. As well as entering themselves, they’ll more than likely be happy to share your contest, or mention it on their own blog, in return for a mention on your site.

5. Think about paying for advertisements. There are a range of options out there for you to consider, all can be instrumental in making your contest a success. However, be careful not to spend too much. Think about the returns you’re hoping to get from your contest, and how much you should reasonably spend in order to achieve them.

As well as all of these options, a lot of ecommerce platforms have automated promotions, which will entice your audience to complete the calls to action that you need them to, and take the stress out of promotions.

And Finally…

Throughout your contest, and once the dust has settled, keep an eye on analytics to see what worked, and what didn’t. This information will be priceless when it comes to running your next contest.
Heed these tips well, and you can’t go wrong! Best of luck!

Rob Toledo resides in the great Pacific Northwest -- A lover of all things dog, sarcasm and the great outdoors, he shops almost exclusively at Thrift Stores. He currently runs Chess Club as well as thebestofnetflix.com and streamingfruit.com


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{ 25 comments… add one }

  • Silas Nkoana December 10, 2013, 2:30 pm

    I have thought about this kind of user interaction method before when i received one cellphone free with a contract purchase, however i didn’t know how to go about introducing it to customers and in didnt have enough traffic to make the competition fair in any case.

  • Joe Hart September 27, 2013, 4:41 am

    Often the popularity of a contest depends on the Prize offered.If the intention is to woo a niche audience then prizes which excite the core group of people should be fixed because these are the people who will discuss the contest and promote it.

  • Jamie September 7, 2013, 7:57 am

    Running contests is an amazing way to generate new business. More importantly it’s awesome for generating viral traffic. The best strategy is to offer free stuff in return for certain number of points which correlate with social shares each person sends. Run them through FB & Twitter.

  • Edille Rosario September 7, 2013, 3:41 am

    I am thinking of running a contest on my blog but have no idea how to start. Thank you so much for putting these tips together. Gonna try it out. The hard part here is choosing the Prize to attract others to join.

  • James September 5, 2013, 12:00 am

    Great post Rob,

    I’ve been thinking about running a contest for sometime, but haven’t really had the time to research the contest or the budget to get one off the ground, but your tips have given me some more thoughts about running a contest in the near future.

    Thanks for sharing your tips…
    James recently posted..Pretty Link Pro–The Ultimate Cloaking & Redirection WordPress PluginMy Profile

  • Abhi Sharma September 3, 2013, 9:23 pm

    After Google penguin update our website lose traffic stats. So it’s hope we can back it through contest or giveaway. Thanks to suggestion.

  • Navid Moazzez September 3, 2013, 4:19 pm

    Hi Rob,

    Great post, thanks for sharing this with us! I haven’t personally run a contest on my blog yet, but this article sure helps if I want to try this in the future.

    All the best,
    Navid Moazzez recently posted..Site Update: August 2013My Profile

  • Olivier September 3, 2013, 8:15 am

    You have done a great job :) got the rafflecopter such a nice one and very useful Thanks again

  • Rahul Sharma September 2, 2013, 11:57 pm

    Using contest is really a nice way of driving traffic but how do you make your contest popular so that more and more users can take part.

  • Denise September 1, 2013, 1:08 pm

    We are getting ready to try this out! Thanks for the great tips.

  • Ashish Mittal August 29, 2013, 5:47 pm

    Hello Rob,
    It is very clear that in order to attract the visitors we should have to had the contests. The reasonable and affordable prices will definitely help to increase the traffic of the blog. It will increase the returning traffic. I will use it in mine in future. Thanks for sharing it.

  • Stephan August 25, 2013, 12:38 pm

    Hi Rob!
    I had some contests for my blog in the past but it didn’t work .
    Your information will help me a lot to create more interesting contest with fully organised.
    Thanks for your article.

    Stephan Wu.

  • Silviu August 23, 2013, 4:55 am

    Hi Rob,

    This is an interesting, useful and beautiful article. So many tips and also links to go to dig deeper into the topic. This is a good starting point.
    There is no doubt in my mind that a quality contest and carefully chosen prizes can boost your blog and hep you reach success faster.
    What I want to know is if there are specific things you must be careful when you are a beginner and had no contest on your blog. The process seems a little bit intimidating.
    Can you really create a list only by starting a contest? In my mind you should have a list first.

    Have a nice day
    Silviu recently posted..How to Record a Video with Screencast-O-MaticMy Profile

  • Ben Troy August 22, 2013, 9:54 am

    Some hardfast rules and legalities pet bloggers need to know before posting any sort of product or prize contest or giveaway

  • Eli Sultanov August 21, 2013, 8:04 pm

    you could also use PunchTab, its also a giveaway plugin but its free

  • qasim August 21, 2013, 4:32 pm

    Hi Rob,

    I have run multiple contests at different blogs and not all of them was successful, those tips will really help in making each future contest successful. I would also suggest using Promosimple as a contest tool.
    qasim recently posted..Online Services that can Boost Your Internet Marketing SuccessMy Profile

  • Jafar Dhada August 19, 2013, 2:10 am

    Running a successful online contest can give you a lot of exposure! We could promote our online contest by giving extra entries in Contest for sharing our contest on Social Media sites. Also we should write that one could get more entries on contest if he write a post on blog regarding that.!

    Thanks for the nice post!

  • Touqir Abbas August 19, 2013, 1:31 am

    Good job Mr. i like more traffic,followers and more exposure .Bloggers who can afford to host contest should certainly go for it. GREAT Article …


  • Bilal Malik August 18, 2013, 1:03 pm

    Nice article about contest!

    I tried it once before but i didn’t get good traffic. After reading your article, i’ve realized that my contest wasn’t pure perfect along with i made mistakes in promotion. Now I’ll try it again in upcoming days. Lets see what will happen :)

  • John Wheal August 17, 2013, 9:37 am

    I’m going to try and run a contest within the next few weeks. Thanks for the tips.

  • Dhiraj Das August 17, 2013, 2:56 am

    Nice article, for promoting Contests there are some nice groups on Facebook related to Contest and giveaways, probably the best places to promote it to get targeted users
    Dhiraj Das recently posted..Ultimate Source For Blog Post IdeasMy Profile

  • Babanature August 15, 2013, 10:16 pm

    Hello Rob,
    You know, since i started blogging, i haven’t run any contest but i am still planning it. I just need the right tools so it won’t be a flop when i roll it out. Thanks for this useful information, i truly do need it. have your self a wonderful week ahead :)
    Babanature recently posted..7 Major Reasons Why I Love And Use WordPressMy Profile

  • Dean Saliba August 15, 2013, 5:07 am

    I have tried TWICE to run contests on my blog, I got together some very cool prizes and did a lot of promoting about it and at the end of the day I received a grand total of ZERO entries. Maybe contests are not for me. :)
    Dean Saliba recently posted..4 Reasons to Have a FundraiserMy Profile

  • Pramod August 15, 2013, 4:17 am

    Nice post dude !
    Its always a good idea to host a contest on a blog as it comes with many advantages like more traffic,followers and more exposure .Bloggers who can afford to host contest should certainly go for it .Thanks for sharing the information .


  • Scott Craighead August 15, 2013, 12:37 am

    I’m trying this kind of method myself. Though It is a little differently put together. It’s like those your our 1,000th shopper sprees things. I’ll leave it below so others can reference it. – Scott Craighead

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