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Earning Awards for Your Web Site!
By David Bancroft -- Revised September 3, 1999
Whether your commercial or personal site is brand new or has been on the Internet for some time, the itch for it to be recognized is normal and healthy.

And that is why many of us apply for the many awards offered on the Internet.  Also, it is a good way to promote your site and enhance visits, especially from the target audience.

Earned!
However, the attitude of winning an award is wrong.  It must be earned!

David Bancroft, president of F0CUS Associates (business and marketing consulting)

Yes, there are some awards that can easily be won by almost any site whether it is truly earned or not.  Sites that would have difficulty winning any other award except for reciprocal purposes normally issue these awards.

A site should be developed with your target audience in mind and should be synergistic.  Content needs to be rich, fluent, and grammatically correct. Graphics should support your content and not be over powering or distracting.  Ease of navigation is very important with access to key areas available on every page that you want people to visit.

Animation and plug-in requirements can be a problem.  Many of the awards, including the better ones, will have criteria against too much animation and plug-ins.  Both of these require more time to load; and thus, will test the patience of many award reviewers.  (Load-time concern will become less of a problem as considerably faster access technology becomes more economically feasible.)

Additionally, sites that utilize midi and wav files can jeopardize being considered for awards if there is not an option to turn off the music by the visitor.  It is worth adding this on/off feature even for regular visitors, especially if it is a commercial site.

Go Visit!
Now, go visit some of the sites that won the awards that you believe your site deserves!  

  • What do these sites have that yours doesn’t?  (I am talking about style and development, not actually what the site is about.)  
  • Are they content rich? 
  • What type of navigation is being used? 
  • How quickly does the first page load? 
  • What is on the first page? 
  • What is the length of the average page? 
  • Is the copy easy to read?

You should find that most of the awarded sites are content-oriented.  They offer useful information, services, and/or products.  They are interesting, visually pleasing, and enjoyable.  Graphics can be simple to exquisite, but are in a supporting role unless it is an artistic site.

You are welcome to visit FOCUS Associates’ site (http://www.focusa.com) for an idea about earning awards.  It has received over 230 awards.

While I have lost count on the number of hours that are involved with its development, revisions, and updates, the point is making the effort to keep it fresh, crisp, and worth revisiting.

Description!
Okay, you have checked other sites and made revisions that enhance your site’s chances.  What now?  Develop several descriptions for your site.  A 25 to 35 word, 50 word, or 100 plus word descriptions can be used depending on each award’s submittal guidelines.  A badly written description can eliminate your site from even a visit.  Do it right!

Apply!
Now make the effort to apply and reapply for awards if you want your site to be recognized.  (The development of
AWARD SITES! . . . which rates and lists awards with descriptions and graphical/text links . . . was based on assisting site owners to determine what awards to apply for relative to the quality and/or purpose of the site.)

Special Note
Many awards are issued from a subjective point, which means personal preferences of the reviewer will come into play.  It also means that even the "best" sites will not receive every award.

Also, there are awards issued by major search engines and other high profile sites that are geared towards traffic count and/or lean towards other high profile sites. Your site might be better designed, but it may not be considered important enough by vote count or the reviewer(s).  For those that use reviewers, apply anyway and repeat every 6 weeks or so, because you may come across the right reviewer(s).

Copyright 1998-9
All Rights Reserved
David G. Bancroft

Chosen as the "Tip of the Day" for 05/09/2000 on the HTML site from About.com.

The original article appeared in the January 19, 1998 Informer Newsletter - Issue 20.
About the Author
Besides being the founder / owner of Award Sites! . . . David Bancroft is the owner of FOCUS Associates, a business and marketing consulting firm; founder / owner of USA Patriotism!, a showcase of love and pride of the USA with top rankings at Google and other search engines; Poetry Galore, a showcase of original poems, short stories, and resources; and co-founder of Awards Scoop, an online media kit concerning the awards community.  Additionally, David has authored two fiction novels, Mere Chance and Cemetery Wood, 100+ poems, and many articles.

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