Back when I started blogging {5-8 yrs., maybe?) giveaways were practically unheard of. In fact if you saw a blogger giving away something you was in awe because that meant they were big enough to actually attract attention. Slowly giveaways started to evolve. Bloggers would fund their own giveaways and usually it was a small item. The first giveaway I ever won was for a bookmark. It’s true and I still have it! That giveaway attracted over 357 comments. Yes, 357 comments for a bookmark. You can see how much of an impression it made on me because I still remember 4 years later. At that time all you had to do was leave a comment, that was it. Shocking I know. Then over the months Twitter changed things a little. People wanted Twitter followers so bloggers started asking for follows in exchange for an entry. Then it became Facebook, etc., and soon someone realized that this was an awesome way to attract people to your blog. Giveaways using the comment only option became downright confusing and time consuming.

Time went on and then suddenly there was Rafflecopter. It exploded on the scene and giveaways on blogs haven’t been the same since. In one little widget you could ask for anything you wanted in exchange for an entry into a contest. Also, prizes got bigger. Gone were little prizes such as a book mark or even a little $15.00 gift certificate. The giveaways now include iPads, Computers, and of course a lot of cold hard cash. Someone saw how well Rafflecopter was doing and then Giveaway Tools came to the scene.  When you think about it, it really is amazing how giveaways have evolved. These new widgets took giveaways to a whole new height. Now you no longer have to just follow the person doing the giveaway. Now we have what is called opps and there are several bloggers involved in these opps, so now you have a ton more pages to follow and like.  It can be very confusing and yeah, time consuming. In fact the other day I spent more time entering a giveaway on Rafflecopter than I ever did commenting on one, even with the extra comments for extra likes.

So, what exactly are Rafflecopter and Giveaway Tools? What do all of these options mean? These giveaways attract a lot of new people a day. Some didn’t even know these giveaways existed and doing them can be confusing. So here is the basic run down on the widgets, entries, and some other tips!

Most used Giveaway widgets




Rafflecopter is definitely the most widely used giveaway widget. I used it for a long time but recently stopped because the down time was getting to be to much.

Giveaway Tools:


Giveaway Tools is a lot like Rafflecopter but I find it a lot easier and the down time is minimal. Plus the premium features are amazing! I just started with giveaway tools and so far it has been great!

I will just be touching on the most widely used entry options. There will be some giveaways that have a different option and it varies from giveaway to giveaway.

  • Mandatory Entries- You must complete all of these entries to be eligible for the giveaway.
  • Optional Entries- You do not have to do these but doing so will give you more entries.

Comment Options:

These are really simple. Usually you will have to comment on the post and often times there is a question asked you must answer. Also, sometimes you will have to go visit a sponsor’s page and tell a product you liked, etc. These are the easiest entries.

[warning]Tip- If the blogger has their comments moderated make sure you go back sometime before the giveaway ends to see if your comment was approved. If it wasn’t, you will be disqualified for the giveaway.[/warning]

Facebook Likes:

If a blogger is sponsoring the giveaway themselves and it is only on their blog the Facebook like will be on the giveaway widget. A lot of times though there are several bloggers involved. When that is the case the Facebook likes will be on what is known as a “Hosts Page”. They look like this HERE. You will then like all the pages and then go back to the giveaway widget and hit enter.

[warning]Tip- Again, make sure each page shows as liked. If you do not like a page but hit the enter button you could be disqualified for the giveaway if you can’t show you liked it. We do have a way to check to see if someone did in fact like a page. Also, sometimes widgets can be fussy and it may show you liked but Facebook didn’t register it.[/warning]

Twitter Follows:

These are just like Facebook likes. Twitter hosted pages look like this HERE. Also, especially with Rafflecopter, make sure the follow registered. I have actually been disqualified for a giveaway because Rafflecopter didn’t register the follow even though I did in fact follow the page. After mentioning it in a group I found I was not the only one it happened to. If you double click the follow button it will take you to twitter and you can make sure.

Pinterest Follows/Pins:

Pinterest is a new giveaway option that is all the rage right now. It follows the same structure as Facebook and Twitter. Please note you will need a Pinterest account to follow the Pinners. Also, sometimes you will have to pin an image. There will be instructions on how to do that on the widget.

[warning]Again, double check your entry. I honestly cannot stress that enough.[/warning]

Voting Entries:

Voting entries are pretty simple. The link will be there to the site that you need to vote at. Once there you will either be asked to click on Vote, etc, or like with Picketfences it will automatically register you voted. The most frequently asked for Votes are for Picketfences and Boost. Neither of which I use, lol.

Newsletter Subscribes, RSS Feeds, and E-mail sign ups:

  • RSS Feed– RSS stands for ‘Really Simple Syndication’. RSS feeds allow you to read feeds from the blog in your browser using a feed reader. The most popular ones at the moment are of course Google Reader and Yahoo. When you subscribe to any blog using this method you can go to your reader and read all of the updates. The feeder stores all of your subscriptions and all you need to do is click through. I am a big fan of Google Reader and usually spend a good hour every morning reading my favorite blogs on it.  If you do not have a Feed Reader you will need to set one up before using this option.
  • E-mail Signups- If you don’t have a feeder or don’t want one you can still get RSS feeds through e-mail. When you sign up by e-mail you will receive the blogs feeds in your e-mail box. Just remember though if you sign up for this option on 50 blogs you will have 50 extra e-mails a day in your inbox. Sometimes more if a blog updates more than once a day.  Again, there will be a link in the widget for you to sign up.
  • Newsletter Signups– Another entry option is to sign up for the bloggers newsletters. There will be a link for you to click to sign up. Usually bloggers send newsletters once day or like me, only send 2 or 3 a month. It is a great way to connect with a blogger you really enjoy. You get all the latest information and it comes right to your mail box.

Those are the most widely used entry options but of course you could see different ones from time to time. I hope this helped someone and of course if you ever have any questions you can always ask. I may not know the answer but I will try to find someone that does!

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Bobbie is a handbag addict who has a passion for product reviews, tech, and food. Her first loves are her daughters, Dakotah and Alianna. Her second loves are bacon and coffee. Lots of bacon and coffee.