There are thousands of people out there on internet just waiting to take a look at your site. These people want to give you an award if your site measures up to one or more standards. Each of them has a different set of criteria that they are judging.
- Occasionally you will run across someone who just says "take my award". These really are not awards as your site is not judged. Unless award "plaque" looks cool, I wouldn't bother as there is no real value.
- Many awards are passed out to any site after a brief review. Basically, if site loads it gets an award.
- Others require site be good and on a specific topic. For example, "Best Star Trek Site" would be one of these types of awards.
- The better webmasters who offer awards ensure that winning sites meet specific criteria. These awards are not hard to get as long as your site is reasonably good.
- There are some highly coveted awards out there - these are hard to get as your site must be good.
- And finally, cream of crop are awards given out by very high traffic sites, newsletters and magazines. These are extremely desirable, but generally are much harder to get.
Why are all of these people doing this? Several reasons. Many people, myself included, see it as a way to get to see some pretty cool sites. In addition, granting awards usually requires a reciprocal link. Having lots of sites link to your site will increase something called it's "popularity", which helps to improve ratings in some search engines.
So, once you've finished your site (and make sure it's relatively complete), it is time to try and get some of these awards. Now, some webmasters feel that awards are useless. I disagree. Awards are very useful. The better awards can boost traffic as much as a top listing on Yahoo, and at very least they improve a site's popularity.
Here are some good reasons to apply for all of awards that you can find.
- It's an ego boost. Presumably you've spent lots of time building your dream web site and it's nice to be recognized. A note of caution, however: most of these awards are not judged very harshly. It's nice to win but unless it is one of top 100 or so awards it's probably not saying much about your site except that it's not too terrible.
- Many awards sites will link to pages that win their awards. This can improve traffic. Don't count on much, but every little bit can be helpful. More importantly, having more sites link to yours can improve your popularity in search engines, which is occasionally used to give you a higher rating.
- Having lots of awards looks very good. Most visitors don't know a good award from an easy one, so having a page listing dozens or hundreds of awards makes your site look like it's very cool indeed.