Working back is interesting. I don’t want these comments or questions to get lost.
What’s great about this forum Skylo is the variety of folks hanging out here, I’m sure you’re beginning to see that. So, there’s no way I can answer as to the “stance of the forum” but I can say themes are a very popular topic around here and the site search will bring up more than a few discussions on the topic. Besides the benefits I’ve personally seen with my own sites and in research, I see more benefits to developing a site with themes than not and for me it’s easier because it makes sense.
I’m just not sure what exactly you’re asking with the question though. Sometimes I can be so dense. I can go off into a discussion around what I think you mean. If you are actually asking, “When finding sites to exchange links with where does the line end?” I’m not sure you want it too, if reciprocal linking is the campaign you’re talking about. If I try to tie this in with the themes and categories I come up with this answer. Let me know if it works for you.
Opening up new ‘categories’, think of it as a new audience. How do I determine if the category will work is to ask myself if it makes sense. I ask myself how difficult would it be to get a site from that new category to link. I seed each new category with five good links, keeping the ultimate number to 20 (liking the 10-15 range better), highly targeted and themed. If you can get 5 good sites the rest will follow and you can be even pickier then about your policy, once your directory is popular and moving traffic through.
Again, I talked earlier about the core of your mission, your purpose, now apply that specifically to a directory development. Who as in what ‘theme’ of sites is your core? Once you determine that you can work out from there. With a retail operation it may be the manufactures, with a medical department the physicians, with a consultants site perhaps associations. You have to find your core linking audience. Put you mind in a different place than where you are in developing the part of your site that sells to your visitor. Your site strategy for development of a themed link directory is often entirely different than your strategy for the sites overall development. The magic happens when you can integrate these very different strategies into a whole site.
I probably didn’t answer your question but I have got to get back to work.
I did like our new friend, ArcticMan’s comment about coming in to this discussion from a reciprocal partners suggestion. What a good thing his partner did for him, inviting him here for whatever we’ve been able to offer through this discussion. Please, thank your partner for us ArcticMan. I might do that with some of my campaigns. It would be interesting to see how many new folks do show up and how many would respond back that they’d already read it. I’d like to keep the discussion going if we could. I think it does help for us to talk about reciprocal linking. What do you think? I’m back to work now, won’t be writing again until tomorrow but please keep talking everyone.