Entries Tagged 'Uncategorized' ↓

Performance Improvements

I’ve just implemented some changes that should make the site consistently faster than it has been.  I suspect regular users will notice a fairly decent improvement.

Do you have Suggestions?

I know it’s been a while since I’ve made any changes to the site, but please rest assured that I’ve been steadily working away on some new features. In fact, now would be a great time to let me know if you have any suggestions or ideas that would improve LookContests.com.

One of the main problems that I see right now is that the site is confusing at times. To help new users, I’ve been considering recording a short video that would demonstrate the basics, and I hope to complete this very soon. An even better solution, though, would be to make the site more intuitive.

Some of you have been using it for quite a while now, so it might be difficult to remember what was confusing when you started, but if you have any feedback that might help me improve the site for new users, it would be much appreciated.

New Feature: “Expiring Soon” View

In the current release, I’ve added a new view of the contests that are expiring soon.  That way, if you’re short on time and you just want to make sure that you’re not missing out, you can select this view and quickly enter the most urgent contests.

You’ll find this view in the drop-down list of views, along with “monthly”, “weekly”, “new”, etc.

Be sure to contact me if you have any questions or comments.

New Feature: Add a Contest

As promised earlier in the week, I’ve added the ability to enter your own contests.  It’s not fancy, but it’s functional.  Before you add a contest, though, it’s a good idea to search for it first and make sure that it’s not already in the database.

Anyway, give it a try and let me know what you think.

Coming soon: Add your own Contests

We’ve got quite a few people using LookContests.com on a daily basis these days, so I thought this might be a good time to write about the next steps for the site.

First and foremost, I’m making changes that will allow you to add contests that aren’t already included. As you probably know, the contests that are listed on LookContests.com all come from our partner site, ContestCanada.net. They’ve got pretty thorough coverage of the Canadian contest landscape, but they don’t find everything. So, in the future, if you know of a contest that isn’t included in our listings, you’ll be able to add it.

To make adding them even easier, I’ve been working on a toolbar. The toolbar will make it very easy to submit contests that you come across when you’re browsing. It will also have a button that will allow you to quickly search for contests on LookContests.com, and a form-filler.

You may have noticed that our contest listings occasionally (yes, it’s rare, but it does happen) contain errors. Sometimes a weekly contest is listed as monthly, or the contest URL may be incorrect.

I’d like to add functionality so that when you encounter one of these mistakes, you can quickly submit a form that will inform me of the mistake and I can ensure that it is corrected.

So, that’s a brief summary of what I’m working on.  Have you got a killer idea for the site? If so, let me know.

webmaster@lookcontests.com

Invite a Friend!

LookContests.com is open to new users on an invite-only basis right now.  Anyone who wants to join has to add their name to a waiting list.

If you’re already a member, you have the power to invite friends to join the site, and they get to bypass the waiting list!  Everyone has been set up with a limit of five invitations that they’re allowed to use.

To invite a friend, just enter their e-mail address on the main page after you’ve signed in.  Make sure you type the address correctly.  They’ll be sent an e-mail indicating the steps that they have to take to complete their membership.

Loading Contests Sites in their own Window

I’ve added a new shortcut that you may find useful.  As you probably know, when you click the contest title, the browser loads the contest site in the top-right window so that you can enter the contest.  Sometime, however, it’s more convenient to have the contest site load in its own window.  Clicking on the new button pictured below will do this.

new-window

If you find that you always want the contest sites to load in their own window, go to your settings and check the box labelled “Open contests in new tab”.

Enjoy, and please feel free to comment if you have any suggestions.

Mike

Using Reminders

LookContests.com does a lot of the work of organizing and presenting contests in a way that frees you from manually having to keep track of everything. However, you’ll still run across things that we can’t automatically handle. For example:

  • A site may require that you return to a particular page on a particular date to see if you’ve won.
  • Some contests require that you watch a TV show to acquire a key word or phrase.
  • Some contests may not fall into the reguar ‘monthly’, ‘weekly’, ‘daily’ categories that we use.

LookContest.com’s Reminders function was created to deal with these situations. You can add a Reminder for a contest at any time by clicking on the “New Reminder” button in the contest details window. You then get to specify:

  • the date that the reminder is due
  • some text that will remind you of the meaning of the reminder (i.e. “Watch Global News at 6pm”)
  • the URL, if applicable, to indicate a web page that you should visit
  • whether or not you want an e-mail reminder

Any time you view that contest’s details from that point forward, you will be able to see that the reminder has been recorded. To see all of your active reminders, you can click the “Reminders” button in the main contest list window.

Every morning at 6am, LookContests.com goes through all the reminders and e-mails the ones that are due that day to you. This way you don’t have to do anything. Just add the reminder and then forget about it until you get the e-mail. Simple and effective!

Quick Reference

The contest listings on the site pack a lot of information into a small area.  I created this image as a quick reference, which will hopefully make it easy to get up-and-running for new users.

Instructions

New Features and some big Performance Improvements

I’ve updated the site this morning with the latest code that I’ve been working on over the past few days. Here’s a brief summary of the changes for your reference:

  • New option to open contest windows in a new tab or window. Normally, the contest site is displayed in the top-right frame of the contest listing display, but now you have the option to have the contests load into a separate tab or window (depending on your browser settings.) Once you’ve changed this setting, you’ll need to refresh the contest listings in order to have the changes take effect.
  • Search has been implemented. You can now search for contest listings by clicking on “Search” and entering the key words that you would like to find. If you enter more than one key word, only contests that contain all words will be displayed. Also, the results currently exclude expired contests.
  • New option to see the original ContestCanada.net post. The contest details section now includes a button called “ContestCanada.net Post”, which when clicked will display the original contest posting on ContestCanada.net. This allows you to quickly browse the posting comments to see if anyone has added helpful information.
  • Performance Enhancements. The site will now load a lot faster. There is still room for improvement here (loading almost 300 daily contests will still take a few seconds), but this is a big step forward.

Enjoy! And if you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to add comments below or e-mail me directly.