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.

5. Contacting Potential Link Partners

The next step to building links is one of the most important. You need to contact owners of related web sites and ask for a link. You can do this via email, phone, fax, or in person if close to you. The most common way, at least initially, is via email.

A Warning about UCE

You must be careful in sending out email to potential link partners. They have not requested to receive email from you, so in the broadest interpretation it is unsolicited email. Why is this not unsolicited commercial email (UCE), also known as spam? Well, it might be seen this way if you are not careful.

The best reason for why it is not UCE is because you are not sending a commercial advertisement to a consumer who has not requested it, which really is spam. Rather, you are sending a joint venture request to a related business. Joint ventures are a very important part of business and as long as you are serious, have a professional site with some quality content, personalize your link request letter, and make sure your email only goes out to businesses or webmasters, you should receive very few complaints.

Now, let me repeat this in list form. By sending out unsolicited link request emails, you are at risk of being accused of sending unsolicited commercial email unless you do the following.

Four steps to avoid being accused of sending spam

1.       Be serious and use proper business etiquette and language in your dealings

2.  Have a good looking site with some quality content and not only promotional information

3.       Personalize your link request letter

4.  And, most importantly, make sure your email only goes out to businesses or webmasters. Do not send email to usual consumer addresses such as or

Now, even taking these precautions, you are still likely to receive a few UCE complaints. Simply send a quick and polite email apologizing and explaining you simply wished to do a joint venture with their web site and then leave it at that.

If you do this, you will most likely stop any complaints from reaching your ISP, who can terminate your Internet connection or blacklists, which can block your mail server. One or two complaints are most likely not going to get your Internet connection shutdown or you blacklisted. Ten or twenty complaints most likely will, however. I have once before received a warning from my cable modem provider on this issue. I thought it was all right to send a link exchange request to a web site owner as she had a related personal site and I honestly wanted to exchange links and benefit both of us. However, she did not see things this way and complained. From this experience, I would recommend that you only email sites with their own domain and not any sites listed with free space providers such as GeoCities or Angelfire.

We all receive UCE everyday and dislike it. It is a cause for much wasted time and wasted computing resources. Please do not send unsolicited commercial email. It is not good for your company or your reputation.

Important tip: Be sure to follow the above four guidelines to ensure you are not accused of sending spam.

This said, email is one of the two most effective ways to build lots of links quickly. Here is a sample contact email.


I am the CEO and President of My Company, a company that provides &ldots; I have developed a web site on &ldots; that has lots of top quality content on topic x and topic y.

I like your site on [topic] at [url] and I would like to exchange links with your site, This will benefit us mutually by increasing both our indirect traffic from higher search engine and direct traffic from the links. If you’d like to swap links, please do email me back and I’ll add your link to my resources page at within 24 hours. If you could include the location of my link that would be appreciated.

If you’d like to include a description, please use the following&ldots;
(describe your site in 15 words or less)

Feel free to include a description for your link as well. I very much look forward to hearing from you.

Warm Regards,
Your Name
Your Company
(234) 555-5555

P.S.: If you’d like to use a graphic I can send one. I’d be glad to add one next to your link as well. Thanks again!



Please do modify and personalize this email as this is just a standard cookie cutter format. Be different and standout, yet remain professional and succinct.

Also, do remember that a phone call is much more personal than an email. If there is a web site with quite a bit of traffic or traffic that is your exact target demographic, a phone call may be very worthwhile.

As an example of a modified and unique link letter than stands out from the masses of unsolicited emails web site owners receive each day, here is the link request letter I used for with accompanying notes.

Hi, my name is Ryan Allis. I am an undergraduate at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

This is in regards your web site at [site].

This month I’m helping announce their new Web site about business, entrepreneurship, marketing, and ebusiness. The site is the companion site for an upcoming book called “Zero to One Million” which will be published next Fall.

On the site, there are currently two hundred and twenty articles on these subjects contributed by over forty authors and web sites. There are also quite a few dozen interviews with small business owners and CEOs, a directory of entrepreneurs, and a discussion forum for entrepreneurs at all levels.

We would like to exchange links with your site. We will add your site to the Business & Entrepreneurship Directory at in return for a link somewhere on your website. As a link partner, you will be listed at the top of your section in the directory with a full description of your site. We will also list you in our general link partners page at

If you’d like to swap links, please do email me back with the location of the link and I’ll add your link to the Directory and links page within 24 hours. Feel free to include a 10-20 word description.

Also, if you have any questions or need anything feel free to contact me at, at (XXX) XXX-XXXX, or on my cell phone at (XXX) XXX-XXXX. I thank you for your consideration.

My very best regards,
Ryan Allis
on behalf of
The Business & Entrepreneurship Resource

P.S.: As a thank you for linking to our site, I’d like to send you a fifty page ebook I have compiled entitled “Interviews with Entrepreneurs.” Do let me know if you’d like a copy.


To link to you may use the following description. –

Business, entrepreneurship, marketing, and ebusiness resource containing two hundred articles, interviews with small business owners and entrepreneurs, a directory of Entrepreneurs, and a discussion forum. Companion site to the book Zero to One Million.

Here is the HTML code for this link

Business, entrepreneurship, marketing, and ebusiness resource containing two hundred articles, interviews with small business owners and entrepreneurs, a directory of Entrepreneurs, and a discussion forum. Companion site to the book Zero to One Million.

Additional HTML code and banners and graphics can be picked up at

Say who you are.

Show you visited their site.

Tell about your site. Be modest and do not exaggerate.


What value does your site offer visitors?


Be direct about the link exchange request. Tell what you’ll offer in return.

Exact instructions to follow. Have them add their link before they email you back.

Provide contact details and phone number





See if you can provide a related bonus for that extra reason to link to your site.


 Provide your description





Provide HTML code


Provide link to graphics page

So now that you are well-versed in the methods of contact, how exactly do you find potential link partners? Continue on to the next section to find out.

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.