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We also have Affiliate Program and Automatic Links exchange -- mostly completely irrelevant/dull sites register there, so not worth efforts.
According to Yahoo, the site has about 25,000 inbound links, few of which I've ever heard of. We certainly don't link to them, unless they just happen to be sites that we link to anyway (or one of the few that we did recip links with long ago).
We do have a set of moldy links pages that haven't been updated in years. But most of the outbound links are either advertising or embedded in the content side of the site.
We haven't done anything much. At some point we'd like to do soemthing, but too many other projects keep getting higher priority. :)
Just an FYI- the site started as a content site about 3-4 years before we started changing the focus to e-commerce. So that puts us in a much better position to attract links than pure e-commerce players.
Our affiliate program is another area we haven't been promoting very much. Agai, a problem of too many projects and too few hours in the week.
[edited by: LifeinAsia at 8:59 pm (utc) on June 15, 2007]
we're selling things, exactly.
We don't have a separate page for outgoing partner links, but rather a box at the left column on our front page (very bottom, under the scroll). Every link opens in a new window (with target="_blank"), so visitors do not leave our site. The links are automatically ordered by number of visitors we received from them (yes, I invented and love this feature :-). Only N top links are shown on the front page, other (with lower visitors count to our site) are placed on products categories pages (as relevant as possible, so you can place a social networking site into category of products related to romance :-) Positions are recalculated once a month.
We receive most visitors from SE, and entry pages are mostly product pages, not front page. From the othe side, it helps when exchanging links with people: phrase "we place a link to you on our front page" sounds motivating :-)
Regarding affiliate program: I think it helps only if you pick up relevant sites yourself (exactly as with targeted links exchange) and offer to place a link to your site for an affiliate's percentage.
If you just open affiliate program and wait till people join (as we did), you end up with a collection of crappy, irrelevant, no-traffic, dummy, cheap, under-contruction-already-crowded-with-banners-pages as 99% of your affiliates. Nice collection. Hardly worth efforts.
Great, I wrote this, and it enlightens me--next time I offer not to swap links, but participate in our affiliate program :-)
However, we have an automated links-exchange-program (with pre-approval), and it seems that it works even better than affiliate program (not so crappy sites join) -- it seems novadays capable people value links more than affiliate income.
So link exchanges really work out for you it sounds like. Have you done any testing to see how well you convert with and without the outbound links on your pages? What percentage of your traffic comes from inbound links from the exchange?
Your idea about ordering the links according to traffic they bring is excellent by the way.
I'd say ratio between visitors from links exchange to visitors from SE is 1:600 at least.
But I am not sure if three were these 600 visitors without that one link.
We did not calculated conversion with and without outbound links -- we do not have outbound links on products pages, only on front page and products categories listing.