Building a successful web site is a process that works best when done in a deliberate, logical step-by-step manner. The first step is to build a top quality web site that is packed with interesting and useful content.
Next, you need to submit your site to the major directories and begin a well thought out advertising campaign.
But the single most important step is getting a top ranking in the major search engines, most notably Google and MSN.
When ranking the sites in their index, Google places a very high importance on "link popularity", that is the sites that have the most high-quality incoming links generally rank higher in Google. Getting links to your site from other sites is an absolute must for a top ranking in Google and the other top search engines (top 10 at a minimum).
The question that you may be asking is "How do I get these links?". There are many ways to attain links to your web site, but it can be very difficult for new sites to get other sites to link to them.
There's a simple way to jump-start the process however. It's called "reciprocal linking". This is how it works: You search for sites that are in the same general topic area as yours (but not sites that compete directly). After you find a list of suitable link exchange partners, you place a link to their site on your site. Then you email the webmasters of the other sites and ask for a link exchange.
Do not send generic copies of the same email to each webmaster however. Rather, take a few minutes to browse each site. Then write a personalized email to the webmaster explaining what you liked about the site (be specific) and why you think a link exchange would benefit both parties.
Be sure to address the webmaster by name if at all possible. Also, be sure to give him your link exchange information. This should include the title of your site, a short description, and the URL that you want his site to link to (this doesn't have to be the home page). And be sure to include the URL of the page that already has his reciprocal link on it.
After you have sent the emails, expect a few rejections for various reasons. This is normal and expected so don't be at all discouraged. You will also quickly get a few emails from webmasters accepting your offer. Verify that your reciprocal link is in fact on their sites and then send a "thank you" email.
A great way to find potential link partners is to do a Google search on one of your main keywords or phrases. You will most likely have many pages of sites listed in the search results.
Here is a simple way to find out which of these sites actively exchange links: Go to the bottom of the Google search results page. Click on "Search within results". In the text box type in "Add URL". This will return only the sites in your original search results listings that have an "Add URL" link on their web site. You can also do a search for "link exchange".
If you aggressively pursue link exchanges on a regular basis, within a few short months you'll have built up good rankings in the search engines with a steady flow of targeted traffic to your web site!
Rick Rouse is the owner of RLROUSE Webmaster Resources and the author of "Super Webmaster SEO Toolkit" which gives step by-step instructions for getting a top 10 listing in Google & Yahoo. Visit his web site: http://www.rlrouse.com/SEO.html