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  #1  
Old 09-23-2005, 02:46 PM
topsites topsites is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Richmond Virginia
Posts: 21,677
Some traffic tips

Yes, most certainly trading links with OTHER Lawncare sites would be a definite plus. I might recommend you not trade links with another guy up the street due to the competition factor but certainly ANY Lco like in another state (or even in another country) has a Web site OR a local Lco who is NOT competition, what happens is:
- THEIR visitors may visit your site, and vice versa.
- Engines such as google will find your list of links helpful so long you stay targeted (meaning it's ALL lco sites), you are actually helping index the Web.
- Visitors in virginia search for 'lawncare' on google and some dude's site in California happens to pop up as a number 1 result and NOTHING else shows up is even remotely related so they click half-heartedly and Lo-and-behold the guy has a detailed categorized link list with Lco's from EVERY state and next thing you know, they're on their way to your site...
Before you get too excited, someone who HAS a number 1 result on google for 'lawncare' may be none too keen of indexing your site for free (no offense) so a humble approach would work best (dont act like they owe it to you but no, don't beg, asking nicely does the trick sometimes it works).

I can HIGHLY recommend building a link list, you can put them on your main page but it would be best to build a separate page (but wait) and link it from your main page with a simple text or image link labeled (you guessed it) 'Links'

Now before you build a separate page, it would be helpful to collect at LEAST 5 links (more is better) and this will take some time to find and index them, then asking for a link-trade (also called reciprocal linking, you link to their site so they do the same for you) but you will see within 1-2 weeks you start to get hits, sometimes you'll see things in 24 hours or less.

Benefits:
- Almost instant traffic, it's sure not millions but forget waiting 6-8 weeks for nothing.
- It's free, other than your time and effort, again forget wasting hundreds of dollars on professional url-submission promoters.
- It involves NO spam. Ok, other than the ONE email you send the other webmaster kindly asking for a link in return, nobody will ever say a word to you about spam, certainly the engines will never complain and you can not and will NOT be banned for it. Every once in a blue moon you'll run into a nutcase who calls your email spam but you can safely ignore this.

Ok so here's what you do:
1) Find links either through google or some directories like Yahoo or Galaxy and be prepared to do some SURFING.
2) If a link you visit is not what you're looking for, see if they have a link list and if anything there is related. If still nothing, back out, start over.
3) Persistence and patience is key, you may well find yourself deep-surfing far away from the search engines as this is likely where you'll find the little gems of the Lco sites because a LOT of sites NEVER worry about search engines, concentrating instead of purely trading links.
4) Once you find a site you like, make sure it is worth linking to in the first place. Doesn't have to be A+++, a bit of humility goes a long ways but don't link to a place if all you want is traffic, link to them because you think it's ok.
5) Whether or not they have their own link list is not 100% crucial but if they have one, that is a plus as folks with NO link list are less likely to link back to you.
6) Once you've linked their site and uploaded the changes to your site, contact them with a short polite email as such:
Hi,
I like your site and put up a link to yours on mine here:
http://www.yourexactdomaine.com/page...eirlinkis.html
And was wondering, maybe you'd be so kind, help me a bit
in return by linking back to my site?
Thanks for your time,
YourFirstName

That's it! You can expect somewhat mediocre response meaning some will do it, some will not... Again this is why persistence is key however in the end some WILL link to you and I promise you will gain more traffic via this method than anything else. THIS is the secret of the old-timers, we know we can not rely on the search engines to drive visitors to our little tiny spots, we know we're too insignificant (no offense) and we ALSO know that links are the foundation of the world wide web.
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  #2  
Old 09-23-2005, 03:05 PM
topsites topsites is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Richmond Virginia
Posts: 21,677
What to do when someone does NOT link back to you:

This is the reason why I say you should link to their site because you at least like it a little bit, that way if they don't link back it is really not that important and you can do nothing because having a detailed link list for YOUR visitors in and of itself is a nice plus.
From time to time THEY write to me and tell me my site is not worth linking to (for whatever reason). This happens to ALL of us sooner or later, you can do several things:
- Ignore it best you can, cry a little and lick the wound.
- REMOVE their own link and throw it in the recycle bin and feel a little better.
- Write BACK telling THEM how your site IS ALL THAT and they better chill out or YOU will be telling THEM how it is (this method is a bit drastic but sometimes it WORKS lol). Getting up on the high horse at this point you got nothing to lose, it may be worth a shot but don't be surprised if nothing comes of it.

But sometimes we all catch an attitude and maybe I get 1,000 hits/month and they get NOTHING and it's like dude, you either link to me or I'm removing your link:
- Do NOT send an email threatening this... Ok, you can, it does work SOMETIMES but I find if their site gets no traffic and they're not linking back then why not remove their link and be done with it.
- Regardless of the previous decision, if I remove their link I do NOT inform them via email that I did it. I find this is rude and arrogant, just remove the link and keep the peace works best.

- You will have the best of luck with small and smaller operations, you might get a small-midsize say a company with 5 or 10 truck (so to speak) to link to you but I doubt Chemlawn wants much to do with it (no offense). Stay small and stay away from the guys in the clouds with the attitude.
- Check semi-related places as well such as equipment rentals, a local dealer, things like that.
- While you're surfing, you MIGHT have the good luck of discovering a niche directory or a tiny categorized link-list someone built with ONLY lawncare places OR a little search engine local to you: Definitely worth a shot, some places will list your site for free withOUT you even linking to them, you never know for sure.

- Signing a guestbook where you can neatly include the url to your site NEVER hurts: To keep it from looking like a spam entry, the entry should say something like: Hi, nice site, enjoyed the visit, keep up the good work.
Hell yeah, I've gotten some AWESOME traffic from guestbooks before

Oh and by the way: 1,000 hits/month sustained is a LOT of TRAFFIC for small sites, I was told THIS when *I* caught an attitude one day and removed a link from someone I thought wasn't all that and they wrote back to me and promptly informed ME how I best chill out... That was way back when I FIRST started 5 years ago, their link remains on my site to this day and I'm NOT about to remove it again
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  #3  
Old 09-23-2005, 03:10 PM
topsites topsites is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Richmond Virginia
Posts: 21,677
How-to part 3:

Keep the links at least alphabetical at first, then if it grows REALLY big you might want to categorize it in one of several ways (i.e.: A-D, E-J, etc, also by geographical area or by TYPE (grass-cutting, tree work, chems, etc) works good.

To index a link, I find the following format works best:
TITLE OF SITE - Description.

For an example of what I mean, see:
http://atopqualitysite.com/religion.htm
(caution: atopqualitysite.com is a RATED site, the religious page is safe but the site IS rated mature!)

Notice also, the TITLE is linked but the description is not. Then there is some minor but effective navigation such as the back button AND/OR a straight link back to the main page works swell.
...The 'cool' button on MY site is an indication of someone who linked back to me :-) As you can see, MOST did not but I keep the links because if I didn't, I would have almost NOTHING, however your luck will vary, it depends, there are pages where almost EVERYBODY linked back to me, such as:
http://atopqualitysite.com/searching.htm

Best of Luck!
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  #4  
Old 09-23-2005, 03:21 PM
topsites topsites is offline
LawnSite Fanatic
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Richmond Virginia
Posts: 21,677
I am not saying everybody SHOULD build the most categorized directory (but it wouldn't hurt either) but link-trading is how MOST small-time ops on the Web get their traffic (really, ANY traffic, at least 90% for real small ops, sometimes it's the only way).

Back in the days before the Web we had bulletin board systems (BBS) where folks would dial up each system via their computer hooked up to a modem (think AOL without a central server where instead of connecting to AOL when you want to chat with someone you call THEIR pc direct, sorta like that)...

To make a long story short, the ONLY way we knew how to get visitors was by posting other people's system phone numbers on OUR system and they would do the same for us, that is how we got traffic then and it is how we still get traffic today, except instead of a phone number we give our visitors a link.

The below is not important lol
Wow, what a long time it's been...
Back in those days we had NO search engines, all it was is a de-centralized network of comps connected via sporadic but persistent calls, messages would get relayed in packages once/day and so on, the network I was on was called WWivNet (stands for World War Four Network), there's a LOT of bs on this here: http://sysopscorner.thebbs.org/bbshist.html
1983 * March: WWIV BBS Software was released to the public.
1984 * June: Fidonet appears in a primitive form.
* December: Wayne Bell puts up the first WWIV BBS System, running version 1.0
1988 * The LORD (Legend of the Red Dragon) doorgame was released to the public.
* October 14: Chuck Forsberg releases his specification for ZMODEM
.....
1999 * The dialup BBS Scene declines and moves to the Internet. More and more telnetable BBS's start to emerge.
* January 6: Hayes Microcomputer shuts down operations.

sorry, had to...
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  #5  
Old 09-23-2005, 05:44 PM
topsites topsites is offline
LawnSite Fanatic
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Richmond Virginia
Posts: 21,677
There comes a time you get TIRED of getting little to no traffic and you're READY to PAY money because you DONT CARE no more! When you're at this stage, grab a credit card and think about the following:

You NEED a permanent url, I am not sure if he requires a dotcom but he might, a dotcom never changes and may be worth it because once listed...
You NEED Title and Description: Short, and to the point, a geographical reference someplace in there wouldn't hurt.

- I am giving you direct text links to categories inside Galaxy, one of the oldest internet directories (older than Yahoo). The guy is pretty reasonable, will index your site for a one-time fee and the listing stays active so long your site is online (meaning forever).
- The fees vary and you will soon see why I say patience is key. There is some difference between the various prices, study them carefully and make your choice. I personally went with the 10-dollar listing and find it adequate thou yes, spending more would likely improve things.
- Galaxy does NOT send millions of hits, not even yahoo does. However, for 10 dollars I get my 5 or 20 or whatever clicks per month and I am happy, that's thousands of visitors over the years and well worth the original investment.
- Googlebot uses the galaxy directory to build its own database.

I picked SOME categories for you BUT you MUST decide for yourself which is the CLOSEST fit for your site (the closer the better, this is called targeting):
Here they are: (notice the submit-my-link-to-this-section link, that is where you go AFTER you review some of the sites IN said section to ensure it really is the best fit, this is your money after all):
- Galaxy > Business and Commerce > Consumer Products and Services > Home Furnishing and Decorating > Lawn and Garden > Landscaping
- Galaxy > Leisure and Recreation > Home and Garden > Lawn and Garden > Landscaping > Lawns
Yes to be properly targeted, on Galaxy you need the LAST in line, although it may seem a better choice to try a higher/upper level index, it will also throw off your targeting and in the end, galaxy's admin will likely list your site where it SHOULD've been in the first place so save the man some frustration

Well that's all I found, you can try it for yourself for practice, it is good to know roughly where your site fits:
http://www.galaxy.com/b/q?k=lawncare+lawn+care&src=dir
(see the directory matches, now you understand a little better how to find your spot on the web's larger directories)

Last edited by topsites; 09-23-2005 at 05:52 PM.
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  #6  
Old 09-24-2005, 04:35 AM
topsites topsites is offline
LawnSite Fanatic
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Richmond Virginia
Posts: 21,677
Someone in another thread brought up a really good point: Don't build link farms... To avoid this practice, I recommend you be a little bit picky but not overly so. One way to say it is ALL sites have a little bit of spam... I feel so long the amount of spam is minor and the site is in overall good shape then it is ok, but if the site is full of spam and hasn't got much real content then it isn't worth linking to, but that's just me. Again, it takes time... If you spend 20-30, maybe 45 minutes surfing and you find ONE link worth adding to your site and you do this once/day and add one link a day, then in a year you will have about 100-200 links (no it won't be 365 because somedays things don't work as planned) and that is a LOT of links so take it nice and slow.

Another point you might consider is join a Lawn & Garden / Home & Garden related Webring. A webring is a series of sites connected sequentially via code you implement on your site, gives surfers a chance to visit other, related sites.

Webrings are a unique breed of traffic, they require patience and time and do not send much traffic but the steadiness of the little traffic that results is unbeatable... Another way to say it is folks who USE webrings to visit your site are likely to be patient and stay a little longer, either way, webrings are a great addition to any site and webrings and link trades are the old-timer, bottom-of-the-web secret to gaining traffic without the hassle associated with attempting to gain ranking by fooling with the big boys, it's far away from the top and leaves us OUT of the war.

I found a niche ring you might check into at webring.com:
Under - (Home > Family & Home > Home and Garden > Gardening > Landscaping (2486 hits)):
Allans Best Landscaping Sites on The Internet
...
Alan is a NUT with his series of Best-of-sites, I am a member of one of his many rings, he has been doing his thing for many years and is likely to keep doing it. The traffic from his rings is certainly not millions of hits but it is steady as she goes and is sure better than nothing as can be seen here:
http://o.webring.com/rs?ring=allansbestlandsc

Also of note about Webrings is this tidbit: Annual "cost" of this Ring: $1.25
That's what I'm talking about: cheap, cost-effective hits. As far as I know, Alan pays the $1.13-$1.22 but it is possible webring.com will ask you for your support which is, of course, entirely your choice.

You might also seek out your own webring should Allan's not fit your style or you just want to look around a bit first:
Landscaping webrings

In the end, 1 or 2 webrings should do, maybe a few more but don't get carried away (don't build a webring farm), nice and slow, easy does it.
Best of luck

Last edited by topsites; 09-24-2005 at 04:42 AM.
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