Making Cash On The Web is a serious attempt to compile useful information about making money on the internet. It is a combination of things that I have learned myself, as well as information culled from other sources. It is NOT about get rich quick schemes, or wierd marketing programs. I am not going to sell you anything.
The importance of developing a network of other websites that link to yours cannot be underestimated.
First, all of the major search engines use the number of “inbound links” (links from other sites to yours) as an indicator of the “importance” of a site. The more inbound links you have, the higher your site will appear in any particular search.
Every time you write a post about something on you have found on another site— and create a link to that website—you are telling the search engines you think that site is important. If you have a website on glass mushrooms, and every other glass mushroom site has a link or two or three to yours, then you MUST be important.
The founders of Google arrived at this insight by studying professional academic journals. Their theory was that you could tell how important an article was by the number of other articles and books that included it in their citations and bibliographies.
Inbound links also will send web surfers from other sites to yours. If someone is visiting her favorite site, and sees a to yours, there is a good chance she will click on it. In this way, your site will be discovered serendipitously by hundreds, if not thousands of web surfers.
Finally, it is rumored that search engines also count the number of outbound links (links FROM your page TO others) in their page rankings. But because they keep their exact formulas a secret (just like Coca-Cola) , no one really knows. There is plenty of speculation, though.
Because of the importance of inbound and outbound links, most websites these days maintain a list of links to related websites. Some have these links on a separate page; others—especially blogs—maintain a list on the front page.
So how do you go about getting links to your site?
Easy. Just Ask.
Here’s another case where it’s a distinct advantage to have a website on something you know and love. Chances are, you already know of several dozen good websites that relate to your topic.
Go to those websites and find the author/webmaster’s email address. There usually is a link called “Contact.”
Email the site owner and propose a link exchange. First, tell her that you like her site—and that you have been reading it for a while (true, of course). Then, let her know that you have started your own site. Finally, ask if she would be interested in exchanging links—she puts a link to your site on hers, and you link to her site on yours.
If you’re using WordPress, you will find that creating a link is simplicity itself. Just go to the tab called links and enter the information. It will be processed automatically.
You could even hedge your bets, and put a link on your site first. Then, when you write, you would say: I have already linked to your site; would be interested in returning the favor?
I have found that this approach nearly always works. Many times, I have not even had to make a request. I put a link on my site, or in a post, and in a couple of days the owner of the site emails me with a note of thanks, saying that they have returned the favor.
That’s because serious webmasters pay attention to who is linking to them. If someone makes a link to your site, it’s a complement; it means that they think you are important.
Even more important: if people are linking to you, the search engines will notice.
Most website owners—and especially hobby website owners— are more than happy to add new sites to their links. There are some, however, who will refuse.
But if links are important, why would they do this?
For many webmasters, the internet is a lot like a high school cafeteria. The “popular” kids hang out with the “popular” kids; and the “nobodies” hang out with the “nobodies.” The only way for a nobody to rise above his station is to hang out with kids who are higher in the social order. But—and here’s the rub—if a popular kid chooses to hang with a “nobody”, his own popularity declines.
That’s because popular kids see popularity as a zero sum game. If everbody were popular, what would be the point?
When you start out with your site, you will be the low man on the social order. Your Google PageRank will be zero. You might not even show up in the search engines yet.
Some popular sites fear that their own PageRanks will suffer if they link to a lower-ranked site. I don’t think this is true. One of my hobby sites ranks #1 on Google, Yahoo, Altavista, MSN, Lykos and All The Web for my topic. I have literally thousands of links in articles to other websites—all of whom are lower ranked than I ; many of which are ranked 0 or lower. And not all of those link back. It doesn’t seem to have affected me any.
And lets be clear about this: No one really knows what formula the search engines use to determine ranking.
Others just fear the competition. If your site starts to attract visitors, some might come at their expense. And if they are making good money on their sites, that could cost them money.
So if you get a refusal or two or there, don’t worry about it. When your own ranking begins to rise, you will find that some of those people will come to you. Just like the unpopular kid whose family wins the lottery suddenly finds himself invited to the popular kids’ parties.
There are a few words of warning about links, though.
More links are better, though. Except in a few cases.
There is a type of web page out there called a “link farm.” These are simply pages with thousands of links and no content. Their sole purpose is to drive up page rankings.
The suspicion is that the search engine formulas are able to distinguish between links on link farms and links in legitimate sites. And, the theory goes, sites are penalized for participating in link farms.
But again, no one knows for sure. I DO know that they are not ethical. Link farms add nothing to the internet experience. They offer nothing of value to the reader.
Two, be careful about who you link to. Do not just exchange links with anyone. Make sure that your link exchanges add value to your readers. If they come to your site to find out about glass mushrooms, and find a bunch of links about poker, they are going to be disappointed, and may never return, feeling that you have tricked them.
Three, do not exchange links with any site that is legally or morally questionable. You risk offending your advertisers and being cut off from your ad bureau. No one link is worth it.
And finally, you should never, ever PAY for a link. There are unscrupulous sites out there that make money from paid links. You don’t need them.