So, what’s the buzz on being a shameless NetShaker? Can you keep a secret? To sum it up in one word. . . “collaboration.” It is one of the most important keys to shameless self-promotion on the Internet. Some call it “connectivity;” others call it “networking.” Whatever you call it, having a community of support to assist you in your self-promotion efforts must be a top priority.
Collaboration (connectivity or networking)… is using your creative talents to help others achieve their goals as you cultivate a network of people strategically positioned to support you in your goals. . . expecting nothing in return!
It’s the “expecting nothing in return” that stops most people. I suggest that we are all in this to help others and ourselves. . . in that order. What you put out to the universe, always comes back to you.
Disappointment may follow if you expect a return from the person or Website to whom you have contributed. Collaboration is about building supportive personal and business relationships; it’s consistently connecting with new people and making new friends, sharing ideas and having lots of fun in the process.
Having a clear understanding of the definition of collaboration is a prerequisite for Internet success.
Never fear the competition. When you fear the competition, it’s like your feet are nailed to the floor. Everyone is moving and shaking the Internet except you. Fear is an energy drain. It thwarts your creative imagination. Your worry keeps you from moving forward.
Whatever you are doing to shameless promote yourself on the Internet is either moving you closer to your goals or further away. There is no middle ground.
Know this. There is no competition. . . only insecure people who fear losing something or someone to another website. AND they usually do.
Studies of the Internet have shown that the majority of people find other relevant sites by clicking on “links” to other interesting sites.
While search engines do bring hits to your site, keeping them updated can cost you time and money.
Getting “linked” or linking to other related Websites through your collaborative efforts is an opportunity for your site to be discovered and a much more reliable way to ensure steady traffic to your site.
It’s also a lesson in the economics of collaboration. It doesn’t cost you a cent. . . only the time and energy you are willing to put forth in making the right connections. This is something you can do. You will only need the services of your webmaster to post the links to your site unless you learn to make these simple changes on your own site like I did.
First-time hits to CelebrateLove.com more than quadrupled within two weeks of posting, not one, but several links pages and making those pages more visible on our Website.
To most of the major search engines, the more links coming “into” and going “out of” your site make your site appear more valuable when someone is searching for your product or service. Having links to your web site is essential to getting a good listing in most of the major search engines.
The innovative trend of trading links will multiply hits to your website. Reciprocal links with similar sites are free, and provide long-term traffic. The biggest problem with great information is that people aren’t willing to share it. NetShakers trade links! Trading links is about sharing information.
Our philosophy is that if a person comes to our site and chooses not to stay, we would rather share other quality relationship sites than have them drift off into cyberspace with no direction. We know that they appreciate this opportunity. The fact is that the more links we post to other relationship sites, the more hits we receive on our site.
We shamelessly and consistently contact other quality Website owners with an invitation to link to our site provided that have a reciprocal links page. If we really like the site we will add their link to our site first, then send a personal e-mail to the site owner telling them something we like about their site so they will know we have visited their site and are not just randomly sending the e-mail to everyone. Personalize this e-mail with the site owner’s name if you can. We then give them several benefits to linking to our site and ask them for a reciprocal link.
Include html code in your e-mail so all they have to do is cut and paste the link to one of their web pages or refer them to a special page on your site that explains your reciprocal links trade plan. (Note: we have two pages). This page should include text link examples, a photo image, small banners, “cut and paste” html code and detailed link instructions to make it as easy as possible for them to link to you.
Webmasters know the value of having the appropriate keywords written into the html code of each page on their Websites. In the “link invitation” e-mail we send, we also tell them that we will add their name and website into the keywords on the page on our site where their link appears.
There are two advantages to doing this:
This gives them additional exposure to the top ten search engines we submit to, and
it will often result in Web surfers finding our site while looking for them.
If there is no response and we feel the site is good, we will keep it linked anyway.
We also check the keywords of other similar sites that may fit on our links criteria for keywords that might help us move up in the search engine rankings.
Most sites will respond favorably provided you have a site that has content that their visitors may find interesting. So, there’s another “shameless clue.” Add content. Lots of it. This is another key ingredient to being a NetShaker and an Internet success.
Unfortunately, a lot of Websites that we might consider link candidates are only about their service or product and have little or no content. Content is king. No-one can beat a site that offers quality content. CelebrateLove.com has over 730 pages. CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com has over 430 pages. My five Websites now have more than 2,000 pages on the Internet and they are all linked to each other.
We have also had success by putting up special pages that dedicate space to causes we like. I have had asthma and allergies most of my life, my sister is a breast cancer survivor and my mother died of Alzheimer’s Disease. May is “National Allergy & Asthma Awareness Month,” October is “National Breast Cancer Awareness Month” and November is “National Alzheimer’s Disease Month” and “National Family Caregivers Month.”
For each of these months we post an “attention grabber” on our home page with a link that leads to several pages of info about each topic. We then submit these pages to the top ten search engines with appropriate keywords.
Holidays are also an attention grabber. People are always looking for sites that have information about their favorite holiday. Even though a holiday link may have little to do with our relationship site – with the exception of Valentine’s Day – our holiday links bring us lots of visitors who venture on to other parts of our site.
Always look for tie-ins. Example: November (Thanksgiving) and December (Christmas) are months that typically bring to mind family and friends. It is often a difficult time for people who have lost a loved one through death, divorce or separation. Each of these holiday sections are linked to relationship books and several articles: “Rx for the Holiday Blues” and “A Sure Cure for a Hangover.” We list 14 holiday links on one of my sites, each with lots of information about that holiday and links to other holiday sites. The next step is to offer to trade links with other similar holiday sites.
If a Website has content we will gladly grant permission to reprint any of our many relationship articles (with no editing) provided they will add a copyright notice, brief bio, e-mail and a link back to our site. In addition, since I have written three relationship books, I include the URL to each book on Amazon.com and suggest that they apply for an affiliate program and offer my books for sale on their site. Shameless, eh?
May I share a pet Internet peeve? There is nothing worse than finding a site you would like to link with and then have to spend your valuable time looking for a contact e-mail, address or phone number.
Tip: Put your contact information on “every” page on your site!
Other keys to our shameless Internet promotion is to join affiliate programs. By way of example, if you have a book for sale on your site, Amazon.com might be a good choice. When your visitors click on a book title or cover and buy it from Amazon.com, Amazon will pay you a small commission.
We offer a book store that lists hundreds of books on various topics, videos and CDs. All are linked to Amazon.com. Many are linked to related articles pages and special interest sections on our site.
Affiliate programs are an effective Web marketing tool and a natural fit with the nature of the Web since they make value flow along with the links. A delicately placed affiliate text link or small banner on the right page can help greatly to support your site financially. The most profitable affiliate programs are those that are closely related to the genre of your site and are personally recommended by you. Generally speaking, a text link recommendation works best.
One more thing: make sure your site is easy to navigate. When it comes to navigation, it’s okay to be repetitious with your internal links. You must also make sure that every linked page on your site starts with an element that confirms where the visitor has arrived.
Provide lots of links – in prominent places – on each page to encourage your visitors to move between the related areas without getting lost. If you achieve this, your visitors will have the maximum opportunity to eventually gather the information that came to see.
Use these internal links to cross sell. If you have posted an information page about dogs, be sure to include several links to the best selling dog books in your affiliate program.
Broken links and malfunctioning site features cost you page impressions, customers and respect. Broken links are bad for your business. They drive customers away. Net users rate broken links as the second-biggest problem online, right behind slow-loading pages (Source: a Web usability study by the Georgia Institute of Technology).
Maintaining the integrity of your site is critical to building a captive audience of repeat visitors. If your site does not function correctly, you are likely to lose the visitors you have worked so hard to attract.
No matter what you do, errors will creep in your web pages when you develop them. Finding broken links is a time-consuming, tedious task. Be your own “link police” or at least wise enough to hire an outside Internet company to automatically give you a weekly report of “link rot,” or broken links.
I cannot stress the importance of collaboration and the use of effective reciprocal linking strategies with similar sites enough. They are the hidden power of the Internet. It’s the first rule of building your Website presence.
There are two benefits to exchanging links.
The immediate increase in traffic to your website from referral partners, and the ongoing funnel of new, prequalified prospects it brings to your door step. Give some serious thought to the economics of collaboration. When we work together to support each other, everyone benefits.
Link long and prosper! 😉
Copyright © 2009 – Larry James. Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Coach. He presents networking seminars nationally and “Networking” coaching by telephone or one-on-one. His latest book is, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Visit ” Networking HQ!”
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