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How To Build An Awards Program

 

First off, I think it's best to advise the new awards program owner on a few important issues that I have experienced. Not at all good if you want good ratings with any of the affiliations.

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Do not copy anything from another awards program even if it sounds extremely good to you. This type of thing is copyright infringement.

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Make your awards program unique so that it stand out from the rest if at all possible.

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And remember, it's okay to study someone else's work so long as it doesn't end up in yours.

 
Building an Awards Program

There are many things involved when building an awards program. It's not easily done all the time and takes hours upon hours of work before the program is actually ready to be open to the public. However, with your dedication, commitment and patience, it is a task that can be achieved.

I've seen many not stay open for a year, if even that, but everyone has their reasons for closing. But it is my belief that their dedication and commitment were absent. One must keep an open mind at all times to evaluating other websites and be willing to go an extra step or two when necessary.

With all this in mind, there are seven (7) questions you need to ask yourself before building that awards program:

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Can I commit myself to running an awards program correctly to make it successfully?

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Do I have and am willing to devote a few hours a day to evaluations when I have applications being sent to me?

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If I should receive to many applications to handle, what am I willing to do in order to keep up?

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Am I willing to maintain all aspects of my awards program within a timely manner, which includes the winners list?

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Am I willing to offer information that will possible help my visitors with website design?

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Am I genuinely willing to be interested in evaluating other websites for my awards/award.

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Once my awards program is complete, will my own website be eligible to win my highest award?

If you answer yes to all seven (7) questions, you're ready to become a part of the Awards Community. Congratulations!!!

 

Research Before Building

No matter what you might think, it is always best to research the aspects of award giving before building your own awards program. There are simple facts that you need to know and should read up on before the fact of building or running an awards program.

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How should an awards program work or be ran?

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What is the best way to constructed an awards program?

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When judging or evaluating a website, what should I be looking for and why?

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How do I create my awards images?

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Where and how do I advertise my awards program?

With everything involved, remember that there are ways to find the information needed. One such way is by visiting Award Sites! for what you need to know. They offer about the best information out there. The reason for this is because they are the premiere rating service since 1997, which makes them the oldest and most experienced rating service online.

It's also a good idea to visit some of the awards programs listed at Award Sites! to get at least an idea of the questions above. Remember, never copy from these programs, whether it be their images or content, as you don't want to be in copyright infringement. As always, make sure your awards program is unique as possible, using your own ideas and images.

 

Getting Started

This will probably be the most difficult part, as you need to decide and create the design, layout and content of your awards program. Remember, all this should match your main website if there is one. The items needed for your awards program are:

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Purpose/Mission Statement - telling people why you want to give awards.

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Evaluators Page - giving information about yourself with experiences that qualify you as an evaluator.

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Criteria (Rules) - things your applicants to read and follow in order to receive an award.

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Code of Ethics - giving your applicants the standards by which you evaluate their websites.

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Ethics Pledge - shows your commitment to treating all people the same.

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Privacy Statement - tells the applicant that their information entered on the application is completely confidential. Also states the information will not be given out, and that the URL and Site Name are used on the winners list.

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Copyright Statement - telling people that you content, images (including award images) and other items are copyrighted by you. This protects you against infringements of your work.

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Credits Given Statement - telling people about any items that are not your own and that you have permission to use them. Giving the credit that is due to those who helped you, with a link to their website.

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Status Table - giving all applicants a place were their may keep track of the progress of their evaluation.

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Statistics Table - letting applicants know how many applications have been received during the year. This also lets them know their chances of winning.

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Winners List - a list of the winners with the date won, website title (linked to their website, the country and a short description of the website.

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Sample Awards Page - showing the awards with a description of each, and tells the points needed to win each, with the size of the award in pixels and the it takes to load onto a page.

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Memberships/Listings Page - this should have any affiliations or other listings websites where your awards program is listed.

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Scoring System Page - must be easily understood, explaining the points earning system that you use (including deductable points). It should also explain exactly what is expected of the applicants website.

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Process Page - must explain the complete process of the evaluation and notification. Give a specific time frame in which you expect to have the evaluation completed.

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Application Page - this holds the application form and instructions for applying (both should be as short as possible).

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Winners Selection Record (WSR) - in order to be eligible for a listing or any upgrades at Award Sites!, you must supply an WSR. You may review mine for an example here.

 

Choosing the Title

Award seekers are usually looking for recognition for their websites. To achieve this, they apply to credible awards programs by searching for them. Therefore, your title should be as prominent as possible. It takes time and patience to accomplish this task and will never happen over night.

The title you choose can make or break your awards program success. The title you choose must be as prominent as possible to keep it running for as long as you wish to run it. Lets say you name your award program "Monkey Business Awards". The title says it all, and it tells the applicant directly what will happen in most cases with your awards program. Monkey Business! On the other hand, lets say you name your awards program "Delightful Designing Awards". This is another case of telling the applicant exactly what to expect. It's in the title.

When choosing a title, choose one that will be taken seriously. Try to it relate to the type of awards that are offered. You'll find your dreams coming true for your awards programs in the long run just by simply choosing the right title.

In this process of finding the correct title, you need to keep the applicant in mind. You may want to attract all types of websites, not just a few. By this, I mean business and non-profit websites, along with personal websites. However, it all depends on the type of websites you wish to attract.

 

Helpful Suggestions

When you create your awards program pages, the information needs to be organized with everything as easy for the viewers at possible. People should be able to understand the context, so make it make sense. Creating readable text or context isn't really all that hard if you take your time and make sure by proofreading your work.

Here are some suggestion to help you:
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Award Images - these should always be custom created to suit your awards program. Also, they should not be no larger than 200 x 200 pixels, and under 20kb (15kb is preferred). They should also be in the format of jpg or gif only and optimized for fast loading.

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Navigation - links should be labeled clearly so applicants know exactly where it is going to take them and what information is coming. If you use images, such as buttons, they should have an alt tags on each.

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Menus - be sure to organize all menus the same way. They should be same from page to page as not to confuse the viewers. They need to be readable as well.

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Winner's Lists - these should be organized from the highest to lowest award offered. You need to also list any special awards offered.

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Updates - things such as the winners list, progress of applicant and statistics of your program should be current and up to date always.

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Standards - make sure your own website could qualify and win your highest award. If your own website wouldn't be eligible for your own awards, how do can you expect other to follow your example.

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Listing Your Program - try applying to affiliations and listings websites. These can help make it easily for people to find you. Although, you might wait to apply to ratings affiliations until you have some experience with evaluating. These types of programs will evaluate your awards program and your abilities for meeting their criteria.

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Assist & Help Applicants - to do this, you can offer links to other websites that have tools and resources. Try to have links that offer applicants information about creating images, building websites and more.

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Email Address - this offers your applicants a means to contact you with questions about a verity of things about your awards program and for help with website design.

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Application Form - some applicants browsers may not handle forms, so you need to provide an alterative email for them to apply with. Also, you will need to provide them with the necessary information required to apply. See mine for an example here.

 

Affiliations and Listings

As mentioned before, there are several organizations where you can list your program. I'm sure you have seen their banners on other awards program websites and have visited the their websites.

Every organization has their own criteria and guidelines they follow. When you do apply for memberships, they will evaluate your awards program, along with the rest of your website before you're accepted.

Here's a list of them below:

 

Rating Programs

Award Sites!

Awards Treasure Chest

Independent Awards Givers Association

Web Awards

The Academy Of Fine Awards

UWSAG

 

Award Listings

Treasure Of The Web Award Listing

Awards Awards

Website Awards Worksheet

Web Awards Database

 

Ethic Programs

APEX

The Ethics Pledge Program

Team Programs

 

Family Safe Programs

Safe Surf

ICRA

ATC Safe Site

SpeedyAdverts Trustworthy Website

 

Your Content

Any and all content within your awards program should guidelines and criteria by which you govern your award giving. Especially if you plan to apply to any affiliations for membership. It is extremely important to keep in mind that they will go by theirs regardless of how you feel about your awards program.

You should try to organize your content so it reflects the organ in which people will understand it easily. Your menu is the key to this understanding, because it reflects the way in which your viewers navigate your awards program. So to keep the menu the same on all of the pages.

  

Offer Extras

This is extremely important, because it offers your applicants outside links to other websites for needed tools and resources that they might now know about. It usually does help them improve their skills and can ad to your visitors in the end. As the more information you provide for them, the more they will spread the word about your awards program and the help offered there for everyone. So go ahead, show them you're more then just an awards program. A little Tender Loving Care (TLC) goes a long ways when helping others.

  

I wish you the best of luck!

 

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