Doing Business Online: Linking Up

You can maximize your organization's visibility on the Web by establishing links between your company's home page and other related business sites. Links serve as interactive pointers to your home page and your company's product and services and pull business to you.With the conduit of clickable links, users are dropped off conveniently at your electronic storefront at no charge. As a result, users visiting other Web locations can access your electronic address via a courtesy link from an online business partner or affiliate. Without the link, users may not have known about you or how to find you.

Linking Relationships

Connecting links to and from other business Web sites is strategic and necessary for building user traffic to your site. By exchanging links with other sites, you create more opportunities to be seen online. Given the unstructured nature of the Net, this is a tactical resource for developing traffic and bringing potential customers to your site. With the hypertext linking capabilities of the World Wide Web's HTML/HTTP, you can provide access to one another by creating interactive links to and from each other's home pages. Just add a convenient exchange link from other online businesses, and users are transported to your Web site in a matter of seconds.

Thus, your business is an easy point-and-click away from other linking partners once your organization's name, logo, or icon is interactively hyperlinked. It's simple. The more links to you, the more prospects stop by your site and browse its messages and services. Linking related business sites opens new doors and access to the marketplace, and everyone benefits by being in a network of businesses cooperatively linked to each other.

This allows you to drive prospects on the information highway to your electronic address instantly and bypass the costs of traditional direct mail and advertising.

Exchange, Functional, and Recognition Links

There are several types of links at your disposal online. Establishing a direct "exchange" link from an online partner creates a two-way transport to each other's sites and increases user accessibility via interactive connections between sites. "Functional" links to software tools and applications, such as Adobe's Acrobat or Macromedia's Shockwave, enhance your site's functionality by directing the user to free software that offers greater capability while surfing your site. Or "recognition" links can bring attention to your site from Internet groups that select, compile, and recommend lists of their favorite sites, such as Cool Site and 100 Hot Sites.

Strategic reciprocal links on the Web are vital to a site's success. By agreeing to create interactive hyperlinks with your partners, affiliates, associates, and vendors on the Web, you can cross-market your services and attract a much larger audience. Position your site with multiple linking relationships, and you optimize your opportunity to reach the World Wide Web's millions of users around the globe. Your linking partners provide a network of "good connections" that make it easier for you to extend your reach to new prospects, expand your market, and grow your business.