One of the most effective ways to build traffic to a website is through the use of contests. Why is that? Well, contests engage people, draw upon communities and spread like a viral infection does through a college campus (okay maybe not the best analogy).
One contest that has the real estate community smashing away at their keyboards is the Greatest Real Estate Agent in the World contest. Developers, SEO experts, do-it-yourself real estate webmasters, critics and so on are all participating to see who will own the top spot on Google for this term come May 1, 2008. The contest has drawn in a lot of attention from around the real estate industry and there are many top dogs competing, even when they say they are not.
Why do contests like this work or get so noticed?
They Engage People: People naturally thrive on competition; it is just in our nature. It brings out the best, and sometimes the worst, in people and test abilities where normally they would involve themselves.
Drawing Upon Communities: Usually contests happen in already established communities and those communities all come together to participate. Website owners gain traffic from communities members visiting as well as sharing the contest with friends & family who are usually not part of the community.
Viral Potential: We all know the story viral videos, like the Brittany Spears cry fest of last year, and how far they can spread. Viral strategies are nothing new to web and large companies have been working diligently trying to get things to spread through social media outlets.
Contests also have a dark side; they can bring out the worst in people. Nah, really? I am afraid so. Look at the Nancy Kerrigan attack of 1994. The extremes people will go to is not to far fetched.
What to watch out for.
When starting out in a contest like the Greatest Real Estate Agent in the World look at see who is entering. Are they friends you currently know, are they new people, what is there demeanor on their website, do they use hard language or take many aggressive positions, do you mind have your naming affiliated, no matter the out come, with the contest?
But most importantly; it is to have fun while participating in them and not to take them to seriously otherwise what is the point. Well have fun and try and enter a contest to see if you can get some free traffic out of it.