Monday, January 12, 2009

Create Your Own or Join a Link Exchange Program

Like many bloggers and web site owners out there, I often get this weird reaction whenever I receive an e-mail asking to swap links. That is partly the reason why the DigitalFilipino.com Club was created. The least I want is be accused of being too selective and created the membership as an entry criteria to be linked.

Of course, there are usual ways where you can get linked by other blogs that includes:
  1. Submit your blog to directories.
  2. Organize or join contests or promotions.
  3. Post comments in blogs.
  4. Write a relevant post or comment and hope it will be re-blogged by another person.
  5. Write a guest post published in another blog.
  6. Join free banner ad programs like Entrecard.
However, if you have done the above and need more help, you can also explore joining or even create your own link exchange program.

Why should you join a link exchange program?

Once you have started accumulating a good number of blogs and web sites, managing the links can be quite complicated. Inter-linking within your blog network will only get you too far. It will still be helpful to get out of your usual family of websites and circle to reach new audiences.

There are paid and free link exchange networks out there that you can explore.

You can also get a freelancer who can do professional link building for a fee. This is usually pegged up to US$30 per hour. Subscribing to a tool or service is possible, the time needed to manage such also has its own cost that must be factored in.

Why create your own link exchange program?

Those who have a good number of websites in their network are in a best position to start their very own link exchange program. It has its advantages and challenges that includes:
  • Creating your own link exchange will give you flexibility to set the rules. This must be followed and updated regularly.
  • Build a relationship with network members as you monitor their sites regularly.
  • You may even earn a fee from it as some who will probably join may not have their own sites that can be used to host links.
I had past experiment with links trading such as creating my own webring, Internet directory, and outsourcing directory. The latest I have now is the DigitalFilipino link exchange network.

What if you got a lot of links to pass along?

I think this is not much of an issue at the moment as participants have their own blogs where they are also willing to post links. If it is a one-way pass-on, then that would a problem but in this case, it isn't.

Also, I use my family of sites and blogs as an initial fulfillment point (where the links are given back as soon as commitment is fulfilled). This gets removed as soon as link gets posted in the network.

Can I choose which blog will my link appear to?

As the whole service is free, there is not much flexibility at the moment. The link exchange network owner, which is me, gets to decide on this for now which is driven on a first-available spot basis.
Later on, when the service matures, and there is a software service built or acquired to support it, then there will be more control on where their links will appear.

Although there are some free link exchange networks that allows you to choose.

Why are links important anyway?

For blogs, the number 1 reason would be Technorati. A blog's authority is measured by the number of blogs linking to you. Although to prevent abuse, only the last 6 months is factored in.

Search engine ranking is also another reason as those who get linked by credible sites can attain better rankings. However, this can also be abused and that is why the duration of link exchanges in our system is only for 90 days.

So participating in a link exchange, even on a small scale, like 10 links, can still help but you should still consider doing the above 6 items I mentioned earlier. Link exchange is only one of the ways to get your blog promoted.

Now back to my Busby SEO Test entry.