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Spend the Time On Your Site So You Can Win Awards

There is an interesting phenomenon on the web called awards. What happens here is that a webmaster agrees to visit a site and review it based upon certain criteria. If the site passes the review, it gets a graphic known as an award. In return for the time spent on the review, it is understand that the winning site will link back to the award site.

site awards

Many webmasters feel that awards are nonsense, they just take up time and bandwidth for no good reason. If you hop onto a newsgroup and post the question, you will get this response. They will patiently explain (and point out that they've explained it a hundred times before) that award programs do not build traffic and thus are useless.

Well, in my humble opinion, this is blatent nonsense from webmasters who do not understand what award programs are all about. While they do not build huge amounts of traffic, they do have a huge number of advantages and benefits which should not be overlooked.

When a webmaster applies for an award, he is asking for his site to be reviewed by a third party. Usually this third party will check the site for a number of factors, including load times, clean graphics, good navigation and so on. So one immediate fall-out from the awards process is better sites. In order to win any "real" award (as opposed to awards just blindly given out), a webmaster has to clean up his site to a certain degree.

Of course, if that webmaster continues submitting his site to awards he will eventually run into one that he does not win because it requires a really good site. Now the webmaster has a challenge - really clean up his site and make it very good indeed! Thus, this causes even better sites to be created.

Okay, so one benefit is awards lead directly to better sites. Are there other benefits? Of course. Most award programs of any value have a list of winners - thus you get a link exchange. And since you link back to the awards site, they also get a link exchange. This raises the popularity of both sites in the eyes of some of the major search engines, perhaps improving the rankings of the sites.

Oh wait, but won't this increase the traffic to a site which has won a number of awards? It can lead to quite a few more hits to a site. Hmm.

On top of that, if you win any of the big awards such as those put out by any of the major PC magazines, you will see a very large increase in traffic.

What an award really is, at it's base level, is not a traffic builder. What an awards program is is a way to get some peer review going on the web.

And that makes it a wonderful thing.

So what is my advice to any webmaster, good or bad, beginning or advanced? Apply to at least a dozen awards a week! If you don't hear back within a couple of weeks, review the criteria again with an eye towards determining why your site might have failed (you won't hear back from any award if you lose).

For example, if the criteria are "quick load time", "good graphics" and "good navigation" you should check all three. Get on a modem and verify your load time. See if your pages have dozens of tacky animated GIFs and double check your navigation. If you have to fix some of these things, feel free to resubmit to the award when you have finished. Be sure to let them know you have make major changes so they will review your site again.

You see how it works? If you don't get discouraged and simply take a non-response as a way of saying "do better and try again", you'll do great.

What's the long and short of it? Awards programs are excellent! They cause peers to review sites against posted criteria, which improves the state of the whole web. They do increase traffic, and last, but not least, they cause webmasters to start communicating with each other.

Isn't it grand?

What's So Special About the Internet?

In this article I'm going to give you a special secret - a secret and tip so powerful, so life-changing that you will never be the same. Read on and learn. The internet (which includes the world wide web, email, newsgroups, discussion lists and many other things) will change the world. I'll go even further - the internet is the biggest change to human society since the wheel was invented.


But wait a minute? The internet is just about surfing around, looking at stuff, chatting with people, and maybe buying something now and then. Isn't it? What's so special about that? I mean, couldn't we always talk to people, buy something and go to the mall and window shop? The internet doesn't change anything, right?

Wrong. Think about it for a minute. You are now connected to literally everyone (potentially at least) on the entire planet. Currently (and this statistic changes daily) you can directly communicate with over 300,000,000 people! In a few years this may top a billion, all available almost instantly!

Never before in human history have so many people had the opportunity to talk to one another.

It gets even better. The other day I surfed to a web site which was in another language. It was in Italian. Normally, say if this was a book, I would have moved on and read something else, but the site looked interesting. So I pulled up a dandy translation tool and within a few minutes I had a decent translation of the page! I could now communicate with someone with whom I didn't even share a common language. That's fantasic!

I needed to write an article on relationships and marriage and I wanted some data. Years ago this would have required going to a library, searching through magazines and books for articles that I wanted. Not these days. I put in my request to a search engine and, after a few tries to get the proper search, I had exactly the references that I needed to complete my article. What would have required perhaps days took less than ten minutes!

You need another example? I needed to buy a CD for my wife. The CD was not easy to find, and I dreaded the search. Using the proper search engines I was able to find what I wanted within minutes, and in less time than it takes me to heat a TV dinner I had the CD ordered and on it's way to my house.

In my field I often need expert consultants very quickly. A machine is down or our email system stops working and I need an answer NOW. Just a quick jump onto the internet, post to the right newsgroups and discussion lists, and in a short time I have exactly what I need.

Wow. I could go on and on. The internet gives you (and everyone) incredible power and control over your environment. And that's the incredible secret and the tip of a lifetime.

You can use the internet in any way that you see fit. You have at your fingertips such an incredible tool that there is, for the first time in history, almost nothing to stand in your way. You've got a product to sell, using the internet you can let people know (without spamming of course) and sell it for little or no cost. You've got an opinion which needs to be told, you can post it to a newsgroup.

You want to tell the entire world about what a great person you are, you can just create a web site and submit it to the search engines. You can even add pictures, sound and movies if you want!

Maybe you want to start a company! You can do it for very little cost without even renting an office on the internet. Maybe you've even got a closet full of old paperback books that you are never going to read - go to an auction site, post their descriptions, and most likely you will find someone who wants to buy them.

You like to talk? Find a chat room and have at it. You like to write poetry? You can easily find a hundred places that will publish it - and if you can't, you can publish it yourself.

For the first time in history, you can do anything that you want from your apartment or your house. Take advantage of this opportunity and the world is yours to enjoy.