The reading level for this article is Novice

Note: This is an excerpt from the 37-page “Building Thousands of Links to Your Web Site.” You may download the full ebook here.

3. Developing Your Reason to Link

The first step in developing a linking strategy is to develop the reasons that another site would want you link to your site. Unless the benefits of linking to your site are clear, you will have a hard time convincing other site owners to take the time to put up a link to your site. Generally, other web site owners will link to you for three reasons&ldots;

1.       If you provide great content (or a useful utility) and they want to provide a service to their visitors

2.       If they link to you, you will link to them

3.       If you are willing to pay them for traffic or sales they provide you

This third reason is what occurs when you run an affiliate program. We will talk more about these in a moment. For now, however, let’s focus on how to build links to your site without monetary incentives.

Before you begin your process of building links, you need to determine whether or not you are willing to provide reciprocal links. As in all types of networking, reciprocity is essential. Why would you expect another site owner to link to your web site if you will not link to theirs? Of course, if your site has enough top quality content, some sites may link to you as a service to their visitors. However, you will receive many more links if you offer a link in return.

You may be thinking that by adding links to your site you will just be losing all that hard earned traffic you worked so hard to get to your site in the first place. While you will lose a few visitors, the aggregate effect will be beneficial. This is for two reasons.

First, by providing value to your visitors with a quality listing of relevant resources, you will make your site stickier. This simply means that the visitor will be much more likely to return to your site again in the future.

Secondly, most people that you lose are prospects that are not likely going to be buyers anyway. If they were, they’d be in your product information section and not on your links page. You may indeed lose these less than stellar prospects to web sites you have linked to. However you will gain a continual stream of new, very qualified prospects in return from your linking partners. These prospects will have purposely clicked on your link and pre-qualified themselves. Would you be willing to have a few unqualified prospects leave your site in return for qualified prospects very interested in what you are offering? If so, then the effects of a reciprocal linking strategy will be to your liking.

If you do decide to offer reciprocal links, you must now decide how to manage them. Let’s look at some options for managing your links.

This Building Links article was written by Ryan P Allis on 3/1/2005

Ryan P. Allis, 20, is the author of Zero to One Million, a guide to building a company to $1 million in sales, and the founder of Ryan is also the CEO of Broadwick Corp., a provider of the permission-based email marketing software and CEO of Virante, Inc., a web marketing and search engine optimization firm. Ryan is an economics major at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he is a Blanchard Scholar. [learn more.