Thanks for reading this week’s blogging tips! If you’d like to check out tips from past weeks, just go here.
This week’s blogging tips are a continuation from last week about how to get more people to enter your giveaways. Last week I talked about exposing your giveaways so that more people see them and thus want to enter. Now let’s discuss some of the issues that may occur once a reader gets to your giveaway and wants to enter.
- Captchas and Other Verifications - I hate spam. (Unless it’s fried. I will admit I actually enjoy the taste of Spam from a can. You hate spam. We all hate spam. (Ever had Spam Musubi? I’ve always wanted to try it.) However, what a lot of people hate even more is when they go to leave a comment on a site and they have to enter a captcha to do so. It’s even worse when you think your comment has gone through and you’re about to visit another page and you see the captcha come up. You will lose people who would otherwise enter if you use captchas for each comment left. If you use WordPress, please use Akismet. While nothing is perfect, it’s still awesome for catching spam and there’s a free version. Sadly, I’m not that familiar with Blogger options, but I would say taking a few minutes to scan your comments is much better than losing readers.
- Mandatory Entry - This was always a pet peeve of mine as someone that loves entering giveaways. If I have to do 5 different things (or more than 2 really) just to get the main mandatory entry in the giveaway, odds are I’m likely going to skip your giveaway. Let’s be honest, if you were entering someone else’s giveaway, would you want to have to do more than a few things just to get that main entry in? I always try to limit my mandatory entry to 2 tasks, one of my own and one from the sponsor if applicable. Don’t get me wrong, you totally deserve people to like you on all your networks, etc., but even though it’s 2011, not everyone uses them and some flat out refuse to. If you make them do so to enter your giveaways, they’ll likely get fed up and not return. List your social media networks as extra entries. You’ll be surprised at what people will do for a chance to win something for free for the ones that don’t mind.
- Extra Entries - I’m of the mind of the more entries the better. A lot of people like getting extra entries from liking you on Facebook or voting on your site, etc. However, a big pet peeve for extra entries is making them count for more than 5 entries. This means a person has to leave 5 or more comments (unless you use Rafflecopter, which is still in invite-only beta testing – you can get on the waiting list here) to get each of those entries. This takes a lot of time, especially considering most of us have anti-comment flood mechanisms in place so that people can only comment so many times in a minute. Show your readers you appreciate them going the extra mile, but don’t punish them at the same time for doing so.
- The Giveaway Setup - Make sure you have your giveaway clearly setup. Be specific in what you want people to do to enter. Too much information is better than too little, which just leads to confusion. List who can enter as people outside the US are looking to enter too! Have a clear end date and time stated. If you want someone to tweet about the giveaway, have a button that’s easily accessible or write out the tweet you want used (which is what I do for the sake of hash tags). Make sure all the links work and that you include them in the first place. It’s not fun to have to search sidebars and pages. Don’t ask them to do illegal things, such as like a page on Facebook AND leave a comment on the Facebook page (liking a page is fine, but you’re not supposed to require them to leave a comment on the wall as well). Be sure you have it plainly stated how the winner will be contacted, preferably by email. I usually don’t participate in giveaways on blogs that require the person to come back to the page and then email them. I keep up with too many blogs for that and it may take a few days for the winner to be announced, which means I have usually forgotten by then.
- Your Blog Setup – If you don’t have your blog setup to break your comments down into pages and you happen to get a hundred or more entries on a giveaway, your site will take quite a while to load those. If you have multiple entry methods, that can end up being quite a long time spent on a giveaway on top of having to scroll from the comment the person left back up to the entry form.
- Prizes – I know that when you’re beginning as a blogger, it can be tough to get quality giveaways, but if your prize isn’t appealing, people aren’t going to enter. If you’re having a giveaway dry spell and can afford it (and there are always programs like Swagbucks, Superpoints, survey sites. etc. to get them for free), put up an Amazon gift code or PayPal cash giveaway, even if it’s just $5 or $10. From my understanding (and I’m not a tax expert so don’t take my advice as law), you can write those expenses off on your taxes as advertising costs as a blogger.
- Winners – Have a clear winners list or at least go back and put the first name of the winner on past giveaways. If people can’t be assured you are hosting legitimate giveaways with legitimate winners, they likely won’t spend time entering.