Has anyone had any experience with any award sites? Are they worth the linkage? Do they provide links back to your site? Or do you just stick their graphic up with a link to their site?
Or has this become kind of an out of style thing to do?
Hi, Bobriggs... Award sites may not be in vogue, but they may not be totally useless, either. Most award sites provide a list of past winners, with links. The "quality" of this link may be poor, particularly if it's just a super-long list of random URLs. An industry-specific award that relates to your keywords would certainly be preferable to a random "Kewl Places on the Web" award.
The best idea, if you have the time: start your own award program targeted to your site's topic, and give it out to sites that will post the award with the link to you. In return, you should provide a quality link back to them someplace, plus a small but handsome graphic for them to post. Including a text label with the award graphic would be even better. This approach will give you well-targeted link popularity, and will be a powerful draw for reciprocal links. (What small site owner can resist an award?) On the other hand, more important sites probably won't be interested, and you will have to decide how crass you will be in seeking "winners" - i.e., will you hold your nose and give the award to an on-topic but crappy-looking site? For a general discussion of link popularity, check out the AIM-pro link pop help file [aim-pro.com].
I would have to say that award sites only tend to waste valuable advertising space. This, of course, is directed to those random awards on the internet that are not prominent. However, I do feel that if you would like to go after an award and your site qualifies for the upscale awards, you should go after those mentioned in magazines like PC Magazine, Yahoo Internet Life, etc, which mean a lot more to visitors than "Joe Shmoe's Seal of Approval".
Like the other person mentioned, a great marketing scheme that definitely increases your web presence and traffic is to host you own award and have your logo/button posted on these other websites. I run a top sites program which is similar to this and it definitely has increased the amount of traffic received to my site. You should definitely look into that.
I have applied for and have gotten a few awards. I have created an "awards page" on my site and have been listed in their winners site, but I can't say that it has increased my traffic as much as my reciprocal links.
I would apply for an award you feel you qualify for and not just any "Joe Shmoe's Seal of Approval". The higher rated awards I think are worth some look. Also too, you can submit their winners page to the SE for link popularity.
Starting your own award program will take some time and effort but people like to win awards.