Now and then, I like to participate in blog hops as a way to draw new traffic to my website. If you sign up for a blog hop, then your link is included in a list of participants and you agree to post about a certain topic on a certain day. You also typically give away a prize. Some authors give away a small gift card while others give away copies of their books, or invite an author friend to give away books. Some hops also ask you to contribute money to sponsor a large prize such as a Kindle.

This is an example of one that I participated in sponsored by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer

Her schedule of upcoming hops is at:

The Marketing for Romance Writers Yahoo group, a fantastic resource, also coordinates blog hops.

Blog hops can be a great way to have new visitors stumble onto your site (and your books.)

Plenty of blog tour companies are also looking for bloggers to run easy copy and paste blog posts about their giveaways, as well as excerpts, interviews, and guest posts by authors who hire them for promotional services. Sometimes they will offer you an opportunity to gain new Facebook or Twitter followers on their Rafflecopter form if you agree to promote their event. An example:

If you enjoy reviewing, you can also receive free review copies. Get on their email lists and you can sign up for the tours and book blasts that fit into your schedule. As far as mass copy and paste blog posts, one caution: write your own introduction and change some words here and there as 200 other blogs might be publishing the same exact post and search engines such as Google want to see fresh content.

Here are a couple blog tour companies that I signed up to receive emails from:

There are also loads more.

Do you know a good place to sign up for blog hops, and/or can you recommend a blog tour company that has a lot of opportunities for bloggers? Please share them!

Lesson 5: Giveaways and Rafflecopter 101

Another way to draw traffic to your blog is to host your own giveaways, or solicit a bunch of author friends to participate in a group giveaway.

I find Rafflecopter the easiest way to run a giveaway, especially during a blog hop. You can set up an entry form individualized for your giveaway. That means you can offer extra entries for tasks such as following you on Facebook, Twitter, signing up for your newsletter, marking your book to read on Goodreads, sharing the giveaway on Twitter, etc. It's also easy to pick a winner.

Still, it takes some time to set up the entry form so I just do this sparingly. If I'm giving away an especially nice prize during a blog hop, I might set one up as an alternative to having visitors leave their information in the comments. Many blog visitors prefer Rafflecopter as it's so easy to go down the list of tasks.

Here is a resource on where to promote your contest:

What has been your experience with hosting giveaways on your blog and/or using Rafflecopter?