Every successful blogger knows that updating your blog with engaging material on a regular basis is a must if you want to grow your reader base and retain the existing one. But what else can you do to engage your visitors? How do you keep your audience coming back for more? One of the easiest ways to keep your existing readers interested and bring in new ones is to run a contest or a giveaway for them. When you are a beginner blogger, this may seem like a daunting task, but the truth is, there are plenty of WordPress giveaway tools out there that will make hosting a contest on your blog a piece of cake. Here are some of the most popular ones to get you started.

1 Giveaway Tools

giveawaytools

Giveaway Tools is a free Web application that creates an embeddable entry form for contests and giveaways. It is extremely easy to use for a beginner, as all you have to do is choose the settings and options for your giveaway and you will receive a small piece of code to place wherever you want your entry form to appear on your blog. Giveaway Tools offers a number of different built-in entry forms, including blog comments, RSS subscriptions, Twitter follows and Facebook page likes. There is also an option to create a custom entry type. Another nifty feature is the option to share the same Giveaway Tools widget code with others, which is useful for group giveaways. The plugin also features automatic entry confirmation to simplify the process even further.

2 Rafflecopter

rafflecopter

www.rafflecopter.com

Perhaps the most popular and widely-used tool on the list, Rafflecopter prides itself on being the easiest way to run a giveaway. You can embed Rafflecopter on any page or social network, even in more than one place at once. You can sign up for the free service that offers unlimited giveaways, but you also have the option to sign up for a paid Blogger plan for $7.99 per month, which will give you the ability to conduct polls and surveys, change start and end times, and add photo slideshows of prizes, among other features. There is also a Business plan for $59.99 per month that includes real-time analytics, VIP support chat room, no Rafflecopter branding and automatic email list subscription.

Rafflecopter allows you to customize your widget and place it anywhere where HTML is accepted. All you need to do is fill out the fields with promotion details and you are good to go. You can easily run your promotion from your Facebook page as well. Some of the entry methods offered by Rafflecopter include blog comments, Facebook page likes and Twitter follows. You can also “choose your own task,” which gives you pretty much unlimited possibilities in creating your own entry method. Like Giveaway Tools, Rafflecopter allows bloggers to share the same widget code with each other. After the promotion is over, you can download all your entries and giveaway history into a spreadsheet. You can either let the program choose the winner for you or select one yourself. At the end of the promotion, Rafflecopter displays the winner on the widget for everyone to see.

3 PunchTab

punchtab

www.rafflecopter.com

PunchTab is famous as a loyalty and engagement platform, but it also offers a free giveaway widget that can easily compete with the others on this list. Setting up a promotion with PunchTab is quick and easy. You can choose up to nine different entry methods, including tweeting, liking, watching a video or answering a question. Unfortunately, there is no custom entry type, which a more advanced blogger may find limiting.

At the end of the setup process, you will get a snippet of code to insert into your blog or website. You can choose your own winner or let the program do the work for you. Apart from the free service, PunchTab offers a Grow plan for $99 per month, which removes PunchTab branding and helps you grow your business through features like collecting emails and demographics, and the ability to create your own rewards catalog. There is a 30-day free trial available for this plan. Other custom plans for agencies, brands and organizations provide even more customized features for a price on request.

4 PromoSimple

promosimple

Promosimple.com

As its name suggests, PromoSimple’s mission is to make your job creating a giveaway or sweepstakes as easy as possible. You need to sign up for an account before you begin creating campaigns, but the process is quite straightforward and quick. Setting up a promotion involves simply entering your basic campaign details, but PromoSimple also gives you a variety of bonus entry options to choose from, which in turn provide your readers with multiple ways to get involved with very little effort. Entry options include Facebook likes, Twitter follows, newsletter signups and others.

Another great thing about PromoSimple is that unlike many of its competitors, it allows you to customize the look of your entry form. This is an important feature for bloggers who are concerned with the visual aspect of their site. You can choose what displays in your entry form, alter its width and add an image. You can also customize colors and fonts to match your theme. Best of all, this requires no graphic design skills and can be done by anyone through the easy-to-use interface.

PromoSimple lets you promote your campaign for free by adding it to the PromoSimple network, which ensures that it is seen by a diverse audience you may not be otherwise exposed to. The Reports tab helps you track the progress of your giveaway, and the data your users enter is exported to spreadsheets. PromoSimple offers a basic service that is free, as well as a number of paid plans starting at $15 per month and up, depending on your needs.

5 Wildfire

wildfire

WildfireApp.com

Wildfire by Google is another user-friendly tool for building promotions. It features a drag-and-drop interface and a guided process to set up your promotion. Wildfire doesn’t focus much on various entry methods; instead, the only way to enter a sweepstakes is to fill out an entry form. Wildfire is extremely comprehensive and effective in building audiences, offering access to real-time analytics, so that you can easily keep track of your campaigns. It is more suited to a serious blogger who wants to run large-scale campaigns, and therefore it doesn’t come for free. Wildfire offers a Pro and an Enterprise plan, as well as a Custom plan, with pricing available on request.

Notes By Oliver (Webmaster.Net Admin)

Although I haven’t tried many of the tools on the list, I would recommend Rafflecopter. It is incredibly easy to use and allows participants to get points for tweeting, liking a Facebook page or Pinterest board and many other ways to boost your social followers. It’s also relatively cheap at 7 bucks per month.