Note from the Editor
Sometimes times stay rough. Other times they get a bit better, unexpectedly.
I had that happen for me the other day. An unexpected $1000 check from an affiliate program right when my family really needed the money. Few things feel better than that. Hard work really does pay off.
How Do You Get Links to Your Website?
Building links to a site may be one of the most challenging things you can do. Most webmasters are very aware of what giving links can do, and some are reluctant to give links, even when deserved, to competitors.
It can make link building pretty difficult.
But links are vital to the health of any website. It’s not just that search engines use them in their algorithms. It’s that high quality links themselves can send in regular traffic. Low quality links not so much, but they can still send occasional small amounts of traffic.
Article marketing is a very popular way to get links, and just like any other method requires a lot of work. But perhaps the biggest challenge is getting your high quality articles noticed when they’re surrounded by all the spammy junk other website owners are submitting because they heard that article marketing is a good thing. It can be pretty frustrating.
Social Media Marketing
A better way, when you can manage it, is to get attention through social media marketing. The Digg effect does more than just crash websites, after all. It can generate links as other websites blog about your post.
Crafting something that will do well in social media takes time and a great deal of research, as a rule. You cannot just write something quick and expect massive results. You may once in a long while hit it big with something you never thought would. And often the results aren’t what you expect. There’s a degree of chance in there, due to algorithms on the social media sites, who submits the story, who else likes it, who hates it and so forth.
Lists can do very well, however. You can do a longer list with minimal detail, a shorter one with greater detail, or a long one with detail. Short lists without details rarely do so well, as they are rarely unique, funny enough or useful.
A good list can create some authority for your site. People may refer back to your list to get to more information on your topic. Include the number of items in your list. Numbers go over well.
It can help some to have a group of friends who will help one another get social media attention, whether it’s on Digg, del.icio.us or another website. However you do not want to be overusing your friends, sharing junk or anything like that. Make what you submit or ask friends to submit something really worthwhile. It will improve your overall results.
It also helps if you’re a regular enough user that you know what is likely to do well. Be prepared for the simple fact that social media traffic doesn’t tend to convert directly into sales.
Directories have been popular in the past, but many really have minimal effect, at least with Google these days. My own rule for directory submission, if I choose to do them, is to submit and forget about it. They go in or not.
Some directories require payment. I wouldn’t recommend paying for a spot in a directory unless you’ve researched it to find out if the links are any good.
A bad directory can do more than fail to send traffic. It can get you associated with penalized or banned sites. Do directory submission with caution whether you pay or not.
Post Questions and Answers on Other Sites
Yahoo! Answers, Google Groups and Squidoo can be decent sources for links. You do have to watch how you place your links, and avoid spamming these sites. People do catch on quickly.
Guest blogging has lately been a popular way to get links. Not only can you have the chance to get your writing up in front of a new audience, you get a link to your site. There’s some pretty good potential to that if you choose wisely and keep it relevant.
Hold a Contest
Holding a content can also bring in the links. People love to win, and some of them will tell all their online friends, through their own websites, all about it. There are also websites that specialize in announcing contests. The better the prize you can give, the more attention you may get for this.
Create a Free Tool
Creating a free tool for your audience also works well. It can be challenging finding something that hasn’t been done before, or adding functionality to those that have been done before, so that your tool stands out as superior. But if you have an idea and can hire a programmer to make it real, the links will probably come.
Link Out to Others
Give links to quality sites that are relevant but not too competitive with yours. You’ll have to decide how competitive is too competitive, and that depends on your niche. But linking to other sites is a great way to get their attention, and there’s a chance they’ll return the favor. If not, you have at least provided your audience with a quality resource, right?
Really, really funny. And not some old joke that’s been posted on dozens of other websites. You’re trying to stand out here.
Humor can sell. It won’t do the job every time, but it will often enough once you know what you’re doing with it.
Participate on Forums
Find forums that will allow you to have live links in your signature. The forums should be relevant to your topic.
Participate in these forums. Ask and answer questions. Do not, however, do nothing more than push your own site. That is rarely welcome behavior. People do click on signature links, especially if you have interesting things to say on the forum itself.
There are many more ways to get links, of course. The important thing is to make sure that the links you get are good quality. It is possible to hurt your site through careless link building practices.