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.
4. Managing Your Links
In managing your links section, you have two options. You can either add and edit your links by hand or install a link manager. I would very much recommend a link manager and directory builder such as Zeus from Cyber Robotics. Zeus will make your job of organizing your links much easier and will even search the Internet for you to find related sites that you can ask to exchange links with you.
Whatever you do, do not just create a long list of links on a page and upload them. This will not only not make your link partners unhappy, but will offer no service to your visitors. Compare the following.
This first links page is simply a long list of the link partners’ web sites.
Now, compare that with the below links directory.
Clearly both your links partners and your visitors will benefit more from a directory such as the second one with clear categories and descriptions for each link. These can take quite a long time to create in your web site editor and manage however. Zeus does this for you and is one of the reasons I would very much recommend it to anyone serious about building more than just a few links. If you are trying to build a few dozen or more links to your site, I would very much recommend in investing in an organized link directory. More information on Zeus can be found at http://www.edgepromote.com.
Here is a screen shot of Zeus.
Zeus costs $199, but they do offer a free trial that you can try to start off with. Do note, however, that Zeus will take a few hours to learn how to use and you will have to make some formatting changes to make the directory look like you want it as the layout provided initially is not very professional. Here is a screen shot of the standard Zeus link directory compared with two formatted link directories I have created.
Zeus Standard Directory
So some HTML editing and formatting will be needed to customize your links directory. Fortunately, this capability is provided. If you are not too adept at HTML or graphic design, let your web site designer handle this. You’ll have a much better chance of someone being willing to exchange links with you if your links page and web site has a professional looking design.
Important Tip: The more professional looking your links section and web site is the more chance you’ll have of someone being willing to exchange links with you.
If you do decide to add them manually in your HTML editor, be sure to create a separate page just for links. If you have a lot of links, say, more than 30, organize them into categories and create a page for each to create a true link directory. To get the best response from potential link partners, you’ll want to link to your links page from every other page on your site including your home page. Do not make it the first thing people see or make a large links graphic, however. While offering this resource to your visitors will increase the chance they will come back to your site, the first time they are there you most likely will want them to spend some time at your site and evaluate your offerings.
Also, do not wait until you already have sent out your link exchange requests before you create the directory. You will get very little response unless you tell potential partners where their site will be listed. It is always a good idea to already have a few links in your directory, perhaps the most well known sites in your area, so potential partners can get a feel for how their listing will look and feel comfortable you really will add their link.
Finally, do not just call your links page a links page. If anything, call it a resources page. Even better, however, is to give your directory a specific name. You’ll notice at the Zeromillion.com link directory (http://www.zeromillion.com/resource/) that I have not only avoided using the word links in the URL, but also have titled the directory “The Business & Entrepreneurship Directory.” Would you rather be on the links page on some site or in an exclusive directory?
Give your directory a title and in your link requests make it clear you will be linking to them in your directory and that the directory is an integral part of your site. If your directory has been around long enough look at your site access statistics and determine the percentage of visitors who access your resource section in their user sessions. If this percentage is high, mention it in your requests. Also, if your traffic is high, be sure to mention this as well.
This will give your potential partners a sense that you are providing a service to them and also increase the desirability of having a reciprocal link, thus increasing the chance they will link to you.
Quick tip: When creating your links page, do not make it a page and do not call it a links page. Rather, call it resources page or brand your directory The Your Topic Directory and make it seem that only select sites may be in the directory. Create a sense of exclusivity and you’ll find many more site owners will be willing to exchange links with you.
Here is a review of all the suggestions I have had so far for creating and managing your links page or directory.
Four steps for proper link management
1. You must decide how to manage your links. If you plan to have a small links page or directory, you should be able to add each link individually. If your directory begins to grow larger, however, it may become too time consuming to make all the changes by hand. In this case, or if you hope to obtain more than a thirty or so links in the first place, it may be a good investment to use link management software such as Zeus. More information on this software can be found at http://www.edgepromote.com.
2. If you decide to use Zeus, it will take a couple hours to learn how to use it and some time to format your directory to your liking. Updates and new site additions are much quicker however.
3. Create your link directory before you start asking others to exchange links with you and put a few links in there to start. Potential partners will feel more comfortable if they can see how their link will look and how well it is connected to the rest of your site.
4. Either call your links page a resources page or if it is more than one page, brand your directory with a specific title such as “Llama Breeders Directory” or “
Now, I have talked quite a bit about link exchange requests and potential link partners. But how exactly to you request others to link to your site and how do you find good link partners? Continue on to find out.