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Why You Need an Add URL Page

By James D. Brausch
Posted Friday, October 15, 2004

Exchanging links with sites of a similar topic is the most effective free form of advertising I have ever found. It really is the most direct way to improve your web presence. This is the nature of the Internet... The more paths you have to your site, the more traffic you will have. If you don't have a link exchange program, start one today.

What? You don't want links to other sites on your corporate or e-commerce site? No problem. I addressed that in another article called "A Tale of Two Sites". You can find it here:

Now that you have an active link exchange program, I can get on with the real topic of this article. I want to talk about the importance of having an "Add URL" page and the important elements of your own Add URL page.

What is an "Add URL" page? It is a page where you describe how you would like others to link to your site and invite them to submit a link to be listed on your site. Here is an example which illustrates most of the points I'll make in this article: (

It is a lot of work to get your first 200-300 inbound links to your site by finding and soliciting link exchanges from other sites. Once you do that work, you deserve a reward. Having an "Add URL" page like this one is part of your reward. After doing all that work, you will have enough traffic that you will start receiving link requests from your own "Add URL" page with no work to go find these sites. Pretty cool; huh?

Let's talk about the important elements of your "Add URL" page that will maximize its effectiveness:

1. Place a link to your Add URL page on the navigation bar that you use on every page of your site. This page is important enough to warrant it's own place on your navigation bar.

2. Make your link say "Add URL", not "Submit Site" or "Add Link" or anything else. Trust me on this. I have already performed all of the click-thru analysis on every combination of words imaginable. You will receive your best response if the links to your Add URL page use the words "Add URL".

3. At the top of your "Add URL" page, use your major keyword in a large heading. The major keyword for the example page is "Marketing". You'll notice that it says "Marketing Index - Add URL" in large type at the top of the page. This will help the search engines know what your page is about. After some time, you'll start getting traffic directly to your "Add URL" page from the search engines for phrases like " add url".

4. Next encourage your visitor to link to your site before requesting a link. You'll notice that the example page starts right out with "First link to my site". Don't be tempted to start making your visitor jump through hoops to prove that they have already linked before going on. You want them to submit their link even if they don't immediately link to you. If everyone refused to provide a link before the other site linked to them... well... no-one would ever link up; would they?

5. Guide them in how to link to your site, but leave it up to them to create a link of their own if they want. There are as many different kinds of webmasters as there are different kinds of people. You need to recognize that some are lazy and are only willing to copy/paste some code you provide... while others have a very specific format for links on their site and want to do everything for themselves.

6. For those who want to just copy/paste, provide them options... but not too many options. You will want about three text based links of varying lengths. You will then want at least two standard banner sizes. The two most common are: 468X60 pixels and 125X125 pixels. You may also want to create 120X60 and 88X31 smaller banners. Stick to these IAB standard sizes because many sites are laid out to require exactly these sizes. If you don't provide exactly these sizes, the webmaster may pass you over for exchanging links.

7. Provide an easy way for the webmaster to copy/paste the code along with a sample of what the link will look like on their page.

8. In each text link, make sure your major keyword is in the click-able part of the link text. Many search engines use the click-able part of the link text for links on other sites to determine the appropriate keywords for your site.

9. For the banner links, make sure the "Alt" tag contains your keyword. This is what will be displayed for surfers who are surfing without graphics capability (or who have turned off their graphics capability). It is also what the visually impaired will hear when they "read" the page with their equipment. It is also what some search engines will use to determine the topic of your site.

10. Also include a text link below each banner with your major keyword. Many webmasters will delete this part, but some will keep it. Text links receive a much higher click-thru rate than banners. You want to give every opportunity for the webmaster to give you a text link... without forcing the issue. You don't want to give up a banner link if that's all the webmaster is willing to offer.

11. Have a simple form to request a link on your site. Ask the minimum amount of information you need to provide a link. The example asks for URL, Title, Description, and Category. If you don't need any other information, don't ask for it. Some webmasters will turn away if they are faced with a daunting form asking for a bunch of nonsense information.

12. EXCEPT: Ask for their email address. This is important. You want the ability to contact them if your link disappears from their site. You also want the ability to send them a reminder to link back to you if they haven't already.

13. Add the link right away when you receive a link request from your form. Send a confirmation email letting them know that you added their link and where they can find it on your links pages. Some webmasters have dozens of sites. They will submit your form for just one site. When they see how fast you add their link, they will be back to exchange links with perhaps dozens of other sites.

14. Check the links you receive in this way periodically to ensure that they are still linking back to you. If not, send them a friendly reminder. Often dropping your link will be a simple oversight during a site redesign. Don't assume otherwise.

15. Never use their email address for anything else. Trying to sell your product to your link partners is NOT very effective and will likely annoy them. You may lose your link on their site or worse. Be responsible with their email address and only use it to communicate about your link exchange.

That's it. If you follow all of these steps, you can start receiving inbound links without doing any of the work to go find sites to exchange links. Of course, you will have to do that work in the beginning to get enough traffic to your "Add URL" form, but then you can rest a little and reap the rewards of your hard work.

About the Author
James D. Brausch, is the Vice President of Marketing for Target Blaster, Inc., an Internet Marketing firm specializing in targeted traffic. (


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