The over simplified explanation of Links and Exchanges:
Take are trip with me back in time- We are going back to when the internet first came about. I am talking before search engines were all the rage. People wanted to get others to visit their sites. Sometimes they would have friends post links (directions) to their site. This is how incoming links began. An incoming link brings visitors from another site to your site.
Posting links is a lot like posting signs for a yard sale. Think about it, the more places you post directions (or links) the more chance you have to bring people to your yard sale (or website). Okay so picture this: Your friend Bob is having a yard sale the same weekend you are. You want to post a sign at his yard sale (an incoming link) for your own yard sale that way when people are done with his sale they can swing by yours. He says he will let you post your sign at his sale if he can post his sign at yours. You get to advertise if he gets to. This is the idea of exchanges.
Links, Exchanges and Ethics-
Now that we understand the concept of links and exchanges we must determine what we think is ethical as far as link exchanges go. Imagine visiting a site that has nothing but blinking advertisements and links for other sites on it. What could that site possibly be good for other than advertising?? This is where link exchanges begin to do more harm than good. Too much of a good thing can be bad, sort of like eating 2 gallons of yummy ice cream in an hour.
* Sites that do nothing but link to other sites are not useful to the visitor.
* When a visitor feels as site is not useful they do not return.
If in doubt always try to see things from a visitors perspective. If you are going to link to other sites or participate in link exchanges make sure the sites you are referring others to are useful sites that would be of interest to your visitors.
Okay now you are ready to start exchanging some links!! Here are some places to visit:
– Webring.com where you can find and join rings (groups) that relate to your site.
– Yahoo groups where you can also search and join groups that relate to your site.
– QFLEA where you can sell or shop for items at the largest virtual flea market in the world.
** Special Note **
Most automated link programs are not as beneficial as the old-fashioned, doing it by hand method and they make you look like a link farm. Quality links are from content loaded, target audience relevant sites so stay away from those automated link programs!! This is taught in the SEO (search engine optimization) classes I take. If you are interested in getting your site optimized for the search engines you can get more info visit SEO Techniques.