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What are the cheapest on topic links [ assuming reasonable quality ] and the most effective [ assuming ranking benefit ]?
Is it reciprocal exchanges , blogs , articles , press releases , or text link advertising, or maybe one that I've missed?
What would you expect to pay and what would you expect to return?
I think social bookmarking sites are a good resource. They can quickly increase the popularity of your site and also the visitors.
Buy a few links at a time eg: 4 - as 1 single link bought every month, just won't work for you fast enough. You'll find that even a link from say Mirago - is pretty naff, and you will want faster results anyway.
I'd suggest that you buy the odd sponsored link too, this gives you credibility and better traffic than the cheap links.
Problem is with anything free, is that by the time you get all these links everyone raves about so much, a competitor site has jumped in and paid their way into the top of the serps, and beaten you. I'm not saying free links aren't helpful, but you will need so many, it will take years to make even a tiny dent - but the real problem is staying there! Few sites wil maintain this, as large businesses control the first page on SE's - they have $50k to flash about each month - do you?
Free is usually bad, naff, not great, little roi etc, and it's like that so companies sell their upgraded services on the strength of their databases, and this is how they make their profit. I'm still shocked at why so many waste time and substantial effort for such low results, and I believe many are sucked in to bad ideas which are detrimental to their site's success.
Advertising to avoid:
Banner advertising isn't effective as links are preferred
Offline adverts are too expensive
Untargeted links are a waste of time
Low cost, targeted weblinks
Niche directories (for branding purposes)
and this is just off the top of my head, without me researching. I'm sure you guys can think of some more effective methods.
As with everything in life, you get what you pay for.
Develop trust, then numbers.
If you are at the point where trust is needed, that's start-up business territory. Sites need the traffic numbers first, so folks know they are about and serious - then when you've communicated with interested parties, then you can begin building trust and possible sales follow from that.
People don't visit a site and then buy straight away. It's insane to think this strategy will work, and many sites still hold on to this myth.
[edited by: Maxnpaddy at 11:48 am (utc) on Oct. 2, 2007]