Using Polls and Contests on your website!
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Our-Hometown’s WordPress Publishing platform comes fully loaded with all of the tools you’ll need to boost visitor engagement, including the ability to run Polls and Contests!
Polls are a great way to collect valuable market information by gauging the opinion of readers, which can help to identify trends and see which way the community is leaning on important topics or issues.
Contests like sweepstakes and giveaways are useful tools for collecting leads, whether it be for an upcoming e-mail campaign or perhaps even as part of a deal to pass along that info to a paying advertiser. The more leads and info you can collect, the better; so you’ll want to do whatever you can to entice as many readers as possible to participate. Offering up a prize of some sort is an effective way to boost engagement in your contest.
Polls and Contests also present some new advertising opportunities. For example, you could have a local business “Sponsor” your poll or contest and include their logo and link somewhere on the page, or work out a deal where they provide a prize for your contest in exchange for the leads that are generated. After all, anyone who enters a contest for a particular prize is likely already interested in that product or service and can be considered a good lead for that business to pursue.
Now that we’ve covered some of the ways you can use polls and contests, let’s talk about how to go about creating them.
To create a Poll, we’ll use the standard WordPress Polls plugin, which accessible from your dashboard. Navigate to Polls -> Manage Polls for an overview of your existing Polls. If this is your first time using the Polls plugin, you’ll likely see only an example poll which you can edit to get a feel for how the system works, or just delete straight away and create a new one. To create a new poll, just click Add Poll under the Polls heading on the dashboard menu.
Creating a Poll is pretty straight forward. You’ll enter your question and the options you want readers to choose from, then choose the start and end date for the poll. If you want the poll to run indefinitely, you don’t have to enter any dates. You can also activate an option that will let readers vote for more than one option on the poll.
Once you’ve created your Poll, we’ll just want to place the Polls widget somewhere on your website — likely in the Default Sidebar widget area. From this widget, you can select a specific poll to display, or tell it to always display the most recent.
For Contests, we’ll use the GravityForms plugin to get a little more creative. If you’re not familiar with GravityForms, check out our recent post on Creating custom forms with GravityForms for a basic introduction. The possibilities are endless with this plugin as you can customize your form for nearly any purpose you can imagine. We generally see it used for a sweepstakes-style contest where readers simply enter their Name, Phone Number and E-mail Address for a chance to win a prize. Some take it a step further and ask a trivia question in the form that readers will have to answer correctly to be entered to win.
If you need any help getting started with your first Poll or Contest, please contact our support team at any time by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org!