A tough question I often hear from new publishers trying to build their website platform is simply, "How can I get good quality incoming links?" While it starts with generating quality content that has value in the eyes of your visitors, it also requires interpersonal, or at least, internet-inal skills. I can't tell you how many new publishers waste their ammunition and the patience of the website owners they target by launching an elaborate link building campaign before their website is ready for prime time. It's not about the template and the navigation, it's about the content. When you get me or somebody else to come look at your blog and it turns out you just went online last month, or last week, you aren't likely to see any links materialize. I made a video on the subject this evening, if you're a subscribed to my feed and it doesn't show up, just visit the self publishing blog to see it.
Many of the old fashioned methods for getting just a tidbit of link juice for a brand new website have gone by-the-by. For example, posting an intelligent comment to a moderated blog (or an unintelligent comment to an unmoderated blog) used to be a common way to get the ball rolling for a website, and while a good comment with a link may still generate some visitors, it won't raise your profile in the search engines if the blogging software automatically adds REL="NOFOLLOW" tags to links in comments. Free press releases and other simple announcement services have been so overused that they contribute very little to your page rank.
But what's really missing these days is a large number of potential sites that may be interested in linking you. The individually owned sites that provided most of the quality content on the Internet a decade ago have been largely replaced by corporate sites, collaborative sites (like Wikipedia) and personal pages on social networking sites. This last category has given a new generation of web users a way to have their own personal space online, but it leads to an endless dance of joining and participating in new communities if you want to get ahead. The truth is, I kind of loath social networking sites. That's why it's so ironic I've come up with an idea for one.
I set out to make my website personal ad as a joke. I was originally going to pass it off as a real personal ad until I got to the "10" part, but I didn't want to come across as a lonely middle age man, which isn't easy. But by the time I got a take I could use, I started thinking, "This really wouldn't be a bad way for people to try to build trust for their website." It comes down to the old desire to put a face with a name. Most of us in the publishing world have business relationships with people we've never met, I wrote five books for McGraw-Hill without ever meeting one of their employees face-to-face. But when it comes to extending the trust ranking of my website to another website, I pretty much stick with the sites of people I've been in correspondence with for a while, or have talked to on occasion.
But how is a new website publisher who isn't already in contact with established website owners supposed to ask them for a leg up? A website personal ad, an introductory video about you and your site might do the trick. You can't build trust with the track record of your website if you're new, so all you really have to go on is the quality of your content and your personality. All that's needed now is a social networking site for all of these website personal ads to get together and try to make a good impression. I'd suggest that hiring a spokesmodel would be underhanded, except it's hard to imagine a more enjoyable tax write-off.