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A few miscellaneous techniques.

Go to: Asking For Links | Business Stationery | E-zines | Usenet | Make Them Click


Asking For Links

Having free and useful information makes this process a piece of cake. People like to link other sites that are going to make theirs look good.

How to ask

Try to find the name of the webmaster and use it when you contact him/her.

Open with some flattery, but be specific. How often have you received spam that says "I've visited your site..." when they quite blatantly haven't? That's a big turn-off. If you can make an intelligent, complimentary comment about a point buried deep within their site, you'll grab their attention and make them warm to you immediately. You can take my word on this because I'm permanently buried up to my ears in email, but I always take notice of thank-you notes and I always reply to interesting comments from people who have obviously spent some time on my site - before you get any ideas, please note the lack of external links on this site ;-)

Next, tell them that you've already given them a link on your site, and give them the URL of the page. They will take a look, so if you've given them a prominent link, maybe with a glowing review, you'll get more brownie points.

Finally, tell them what your site has to offer. You've researched their site and you know what their visitors' interests are, and the reason you want to be linked from this site is because yours deals with exactly the same, or very similar, topic (if not you shouldn't be bothering). Therefore, you say something like "I have an article on my site (give URL) that your visitors might find useful after they've read your (whatever) section". You see, it doesn't necessarily have to be your home page that gets the link, a link to one of your sub pages will do just fine, the user will find their way straight to your home page using your excellent site navigation, right?

Points to note: you don't even have to ask for the link directly, but you could add "...maybe you'd like to link it?" to the end of the last bit. Give them a reason to link you, don't just ask. All the above points can, and should, be accomplished in three sentences. Keep it short and sweet.

Now, put yourself in the webmaster's shoes. If you received a "request" like this, would you give a link to that person? Of course you would!

How not to ask

"Please visit my Web site at http://yoursite.com If you link me I'll give you a link back."

They probably won't even visit.

Who to ask

If you want to get traffic to your site, you need links from busy sites with plenty of traffic to send you. A good way of finding them is to go to a search engine and type in one of your keywords and then go to the top of the list. These sites are a good place to start asking. You've probably had a good look around and know about the best sites with topics similar to yours. You shouldn't see these as "competitors" but opportunities for links.

The best sites with the most traffic have got to that position because they're offering something valuable, which means they're very choosy about the pages they give links to, in fact most of them only link useful pages they've found by themselves, a sort of "don't call us, we'll call you" attitude. So don't even bother asking unless you have plenty of free and useful information. Am I boring you with this yet?

Who not to ask

Timmy's Bookmarks Home Page


Your Links Page

On the other side of the coin, if you're going to have a links page think "quality" not "quantity". If you link every site under the sun just to get reciprocal links then you're not doing your readers any favours. Links should enhance your site for the user. If you send them to low quality sites, that makes your site low quality and your visitors won't come back again or recommend your site to their friends.


Business Stationery

Giving out your URL should be as natural as giving your phone or fax number. It should appear on your headed notepaper, business card, fax header, adverts in the Press and you should even give it out to people who call you on the phone. Even if they haven't got a computer you can bet a friend or colleague of theirs has and they'll be curious to find out what this strange thing is you've given them.


E-zines

Feeling confident? If you think you have what it takes content-wise, send a nomination of your site to the E-zines. If they think you have something worthwhile they'll put an article about your site, with a link, in one issue. You'll get loads of hits for a short period, maybe a week, so it's important that you have something to sell to people over this short period.

Netsurfer Digest is the longest-running and most popular one. Don't forget to subscribe yourself, because they'll never tell you if they include your site, you have to find out for yourself.

Here's how to submit your site, in their words:

It's easier then you think. All you need to do is send us e-mail to pressroom@netsurf.com

As usual, do remember that brevity is the soul of wit. So keep it short, we get hundreds of submissions every week and the longer they are the less likely it is that we'll look at them. Standard press release length (a page or two) is fine, but don't go beyond that.


Usenet

The effort to results ratio of posting to newsgroups is pretty small. If you're going to try it you should be thick-skinned and have plenty of time on your hands.

Some tips:

  • Lurk first. Watch the group for about a week before you post anything.

  • Re-post periodically, say every week.

  • Choose the right newsgroups. Most are intolerant of blatant marketing. A good place to start is comp.infosystems.www.announce which gets a lot of subscribers (and a lot of postings), and then look around for groups related to your subject.

  • It's vital to keep a close watch for feedback and respond quickly. Post your reply and email the same message to the person, just in case.


Make Them Click

Placing a graphic next to the right scroll bar (in the lower right-hand corner of the first screen) generates a 228% higher click-through rate than ones at the top of the page. Graphics placed 1/3 of the way down the page, as opposed to the top, generate 77% higher click-through rates. Read all about it.

So, if you've got something to sell, put the link at the bottom right of the first screen.


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