Last year I went merrily along dyeing wool, planning my new business and making some sales, too. Great, right? The problem is, though, that I have very big plans for my business, because we have three teens to put through college soon. Around Christmas (business was completely dead, and we were all home on vacation, with a little extra time on our hands) I decided to do some analysis on where I was in a Google search. The harsh reality was that for my three major search terms, 'hand dyed wool', 'penny rug wool', and 'rug hooking wool', I was on page six or LOWER! Only the most desperate rug hooker was going to find me there! So I made a firm decision to rectify that little situation ASAP. I concluded that it was no good dyeing all that wool and waiting for word of mouth to take hold. The kids will be graduated by then, for Pete's sake!
So the next morning I got up extra early, all psyched to 'ramp up my web presence'. I got an extra big cup of tea, and industriously sat down to take care of the problem. And . . . . . there I sat, scratching my head, wondering 'Where do I go? What do I do?" I really had no clue whatsoever. The community board at my site, eCrater, didn't help much, other than to give me a little terminology, and a few sellers had other sites where they would allow eCrater businesses to post a link back to their site. I knew that links were somehow important to the search engines, but, honestly, that was about all. So I started from scratch, finding a word here or there that seemed to be important, and googling it to learn what it meant. Then I would go from there, googling other terms that I learned along the way. Pretty soon I was finding some helpful information, albeit scattered all over the web. In the end I spent about six weeks on my virtual odyssey, and today I am pleased to say that I am on Page 1 for two of my search terms, and page 1 or 2 for another, and all are climbing. Not bad for a clueless wool dyer. So I will share with you, one website owner to another, what I have learned.
One important thing to know first is that the ease with which you will be able to get on Page One is determined in large part by how popular your items are, and how many other sites sell them. For instance, things like clothing, health products, games, electronics, and beauty items are highly competitive, and so it may take a longer term commitment to get towards the front of a search. My item is pretty specialized, so there were only about 20 other businesses to leapfrog over to get to page one. So you may need to prepare yourself for working on this consistently for a long time. That's OK--every business that you will own requires marketing effort on your part, and for the website owner, this is it. If you are faced with a lot of work to get to Page One, just commit to working on it for 1/2 hour each day, and eventually you will improve your ranking.
First, some terminology.
Keywords/Search Terms Step one is taking some time to evaluate your most important 'search terms', or 'keywords'. These are the important words that describe your goods or your topics and they are the terms that consumers will type in when searching the web for info or things to buy. The ones listed in the first paragraph are, for me, my most important keywords or search terms, particularly 'hand dyed wool'. So spend some time making a list of the top dozen or so terms you know are the most important to your site and focus on using those terms. You will use these a lot, and it can make your efforts pay off, or hamper you if you are not using the right terms. You might ask others what they would type in if they were looking for what you offer -- you may be surprised at the different terms they would use in a search.
Here is a great suggestion: If you don't already use it, go to the Google Analytics site, and sign up. It's a handy and free tool that is pretty easy to figure out. Once you sign your site up, the Google site will track all the traffic coming to your site, and spit out tons of information about it in report and graph format, right down to which search engine your visitors use, what city they live in, and whether they have dial-up or broadband, along with much more info. Included in this is a report on which keywords they have typed in when they found your site and visited -- this will help you to adjust your keywords properly over time.
Content is King. This means that there is no substitute for a good quality website, that has a lot of content, whether you are promoting your blog, or, if you are selling, many good products for sale that are of interest to consumers. For a commercial site, a big selection with keyword-rich descriptions, a blog on-site, FAQs, video feed from YouTube (which gives you more exposure), articles for customers to read (these can be found and used on your site for free at many sites like Ezinearticles) etc., all help. Use the search terms that you know customers will type in, and use them regularly on your site. But don't overdo this, because it is theorized that the search engines actually measure the amount of search terms in your text, and they know if you are stuffing your site with terms to increase your pagerank. They say that to have about 3% of your total text as keywords should be about right. This looks like regular, informative, on-topic conversation to the search engines, rather than keyword stuffing. If you are trying to improve the ranking of a blog, keep it interesting, with many keywords, and you may even want to import writing from others to keep it relevant and newsy. Use some of the widgets and other features and applications that the blog site offers to provide variety and lot of places to look around for info.
Use the most important words at the top of your homepage, which are the first words that the search engines see when they 'crawl' your site, or if there is a place for Title Tag and Meta Description on your site, put them there, in some logical arrangement. For me, my Title Tag is "Hand Dyed Wool, 1,100 colors for rug hooking, penny rugs, wool crafts" and my Meta Description is "Hand dyed wool fabric in every imaginable color -- primitive, country, modern, vibrant colors, for rug hooking, penny rugs, quilting, and other wool arts." See how I have strung together a lot of keywords, but in a logical, sentence or phase format, which is important. And I have used the most important words at the beginning of the phrases, (hand dyed wool) rather than in the middle, using a descriptive phrase to follow up those first words. These little things do matter, and most website owners don't pay attention to it, so you can capitalize on that, by paying attention to it yourself.
So when Google produces my site in a search, this is the information the consumer sees on the listing for my site, and more importantly, it is the information that Google sees when it responds to the consumer's search; it views me as relevant for a search for 'hand dyed wool' because of my initial phrase, and so it places me higher. And, very importantly, my description is phrased to make potential customers want to visit my site to see that many colors in one place, something I know they will not find anywhere else.
Try not to hype this information -- forget the exclamation points, for instance -- keep it professional, but with some kind of hook in your keywords to pull customers in. Once you have set up these phrases on your site, wait a week or two and do a search on your keywords and find your site in the result, to see what phrases the search engines use in your site description. Then adjust the words on your site until it looks good on a search. I adjusted my meta tag and meta description phrases until they didn't get cut off in the middle of a sentence on my search results. Sometimes the fine tuning takes a few weeks, because you have to wait until the search engines crawl your site again (every couple of weeks) to pick up the changes you've made.
Backlinks are links on other sites that send people to your site, and they are the criteria that search engines use to determine how important you are, and therefore where to list you in a search. Imagine if someone likes your site, and puts a link on their blog to let others know about it. This is like a 'vote' for your site to the search engines, and the more backlinks all over the web you have, the more the search engines will like you.
The equivalent in the 'real world' would be the business owner who is deeply involved in his industry. Perhaps he has several offices, he belongs to the relevant associations in his industry, and he advertises regionally on TV, radio and print. He speaks at conferences on the subject, holds seminars, writes articles in trade magazines, or maybe he has written a book. As a result, he is often referenced in articles as an expert, or quoted on radio, etc. His name is out there. Compare this to the business owner who hangs out a shingle in his little town and does nothing else. Who is going to do better in his business? No business owner can expect to do well by just opening up shop. It takes regular effort on your part to get things moving. But don't feel discouraged. Doing all this on the web is pretty easy, and can be done from your living room -- comfort yourself with the knowledge that at least you don't have to make a lot of cold calls, or pound the pavement looking for prospects. Certainly you may have to do some off-line marketing, as I do, but the online work is relatively straightforward once you understand it.
So on the web, putting many backlinks to your site, (and following the suggestions I make below) are the equivalent of that first businessman, both to customers and search engines. References to your site all over the web show that you are paying attention to your business. When you are backlinking using the methods below, you will look like that first businessman, in the 'virtual world'.
The bottom line is that you need backlinks to your site to get you higher in a search. To get backlinks, you have two options - let the backlinks occur naturally over time as people find you and tell others about you, (these are called 'organic links', and we are talking eons for that to happen) or you can produce the backlinks yourself in a shorter amount of time. Some people feel that this is a little dishonest, but from all my research, I know that it is absolutely ethical and certainly not illegal, so don't give it a second thought.
Backlinks from more important websites carry more weight than links from little sites. But don't worry about that. They all add up, whether they are counted for a little or a lot. And the websites that link to you don't need to be relevant to your goods, services or topics. For instance, I really tried at first to get my links on wool and craft sites, but there are not very many out there. Then I learned that it doesn't matter that much, ultimately. Just get all the links you can, anywhere!
Anchor Text If links are important, links using anchor text are even better. Anchor text is that little underlined phrase that you click on to get to the site it points to. So while I could put my 'URL' (the web address of my site -- http://raminthethicket.ecrater.com) as my link, it is better for me to put 'Hand Dyed Wool', so that when someone clicks on that phrase they will jump to my site. I don't understand why anchor text is important, but any SEO guru will tell you to use anchor text. I show you below how to format anchor text several ways. (Why can't sites all use one format?)
SEO This stands for Search Engine Optimization, and it simply means the process of getting your links and your name out there on the web to the point that when someone types in your major search terms, like 'Knitted Caps' you will come up early enough in the search to be found.
Reciprocal Links This is when two sites agree to link with each other, and apparently in the past this was abused. There were sites that were stuffed with links to other sites, which all had links back to the first site - with an obvious agreement between them to get links. All of this looks suspicious to the search engines, so too much of this is frowned upon. There seem to be mixed opinions about the value of reciprocal links, but I don't think a few will hurt, as long as the majority of your backlinks are 'one-way' - coming from another site to yours, without your site linking back to theirs.
Pagerank This is a measurement from 1 to 10 of how relevant, established, and quality your site is, based in large part on how well-linked it is. (By the way, Page does not stand for web 'page', but for Larry Page, who developed the algorithm.) For instance, sites like CNN and Facebook are rated 10. My site was a '0' when I started, and now I am a 2! Not bad. I would love to be a 4 or 5 eventually, if that is even possible with a small site.
The Google Sandbox About three weeks into my journey towards Page One, I suddenly found myself back on page four! I had read about this phenomenon, called the Google Sandbox. The theory is that this is a test to see if you will stick with the program, or just fade away and give up. I have heard that Google denies doing this, but I certainly did spend about three long weeks on page four for no apparent reason, before leaping back up two pages, to page two. I just kept at it, and eventually found my way to page one. So prepare yourself for this possibility.
So how do you get links all over the web? I have found a few effective ways to do this with relative ease. Before starting, though, I suggest that you set up an email account that just collects the emails from all the sites you will be visiting, and use that when you join sites. Then you can avoid having your business email clogged with spam and marketing. Use gmail or some other more reputable email platform. A few sites will only allow a proprietary email address, like one linked to your web business, or Outlook, etc. but most will take any email address, as long as you respond to the email they send you once you sign up, confirming your desire to join.
Next, set up some bookmark folders to keep track of the websites you will be joining or putting links on. For instance, I have folders for the social sites I belong to, like Facebook and MySpace, and for the forums and blogs I like to visit and participate in (often leaving a link), a folder for helpful information related to SEO, and one for possible link places in the future -- this is where I put bookmarks of sites that I find but don't have time to set up a link for right then, or online lists of directories or sites that I might work through when I have time. In my bookmark titles, I also include my login info, to remind me what I used -- for various reasons, you may use different login info for different sites. Sometimes a site will request your email address as your username, others will ask you to set up special name, for instance 'raminthethicket' is what I use in those cases. Some sites want a password that is at least eight characters, with at least one number and one capital letter. So I suggest creating a password at the very beginning that will meet this most stringent criteria, and just always use that one (maybe omit the capital letter -- most don't require this). I didn't know this at first, so I have several different passwords that I use now, only because I'm too lazy to go back and change everything. And some sites have a limit of 10 characters for a special username, which I didn't realize at first, so for those I use 'ramthicket'. Had I known of this limitation for some sites at the beginning of my odyssey, I would have just used that everywhere to begin with. So you see, it can get confusing, so deciding these things up front is helpful, and putting your login info as part of your bookmark title is helpful when your 'cookie' file accidently gets cleared.
OK, so you've set up a special email account to use for creating profiles, you've decided upon a password and username that will satisfy most sites, and you've set up some bookmark folders in your browser to keep things organized. Now you are set to get going. Go get a cup of coffee!
Obviously, start by asking your friends with blogs and websites to give you a link, especially without asking for one in return.
You should submit your site to Google, Yahoo, MSN/bing and a few other larger search engines -- this is critical. 'Submitting' is simply letting them know you exist, so that they will put you in their list of sites to scan when they do a search. They will probably find you eventually anyway, but speed things up by submitting. Type in 'submit google', 'submit yahoo', etc. go to those sites, and they will walk you through the steps to submit -- it's easy. There are hundreds of search engines, and lots of online submission services that will submit your site to many of them, but the general consensus is that the ones you really need are these three, and maybe a few more if you like, like AOL search, and Altavista. The rest are probably not worth your time. When I look at the search engines my customers use (on Google Analytics) these top three account for nearly all of my search engine traffic. Another thing to know is that it is probably only necessary to submit once -- there are those who say to submit regularly, but I have read in many places that this is not necessary.
Look for business directories that give free links. If the directory is relevant to your site, it's even better. Type in 'free directories' or 'directories __________' and fill in the blank with something related to your industry. These searches will also turn up other sites that offer links or listings in their directories, just follow the rabbit hole a bit, and you will find a few places to put your link right away. There are many directories that require payment to list you, and it will be up to you whether you want to do this. If the directory is important in your industry, you may want to consider paying to get on, at least for a while.
A great place to start finding some basic free directories to list your site in is:
Top 100 Free Directories
Join Facebook, MySpace, Linkedin, Friendster, Netlog, Propeller, and a few other big name sites, set up a basic profile for yourself, and put a link to your website where it allows you to add one. There are many other sites, but I have found these to be among the best and most user friendly. When I first started, I did a search on 'largest social networking sites', and I turned up this review list. I visited every site on the list, and set up a profile, but the ones listed above are the only ones I ever visit and add info to. Be sure in the 'settings' sections of these sites to enable searchability of your profile by search engines. You can always specify separately who can contact you, to avoid unwanted approaches by strangers, especially those pesky suitors from Dubai!
RSS 'RSS' stands for 'Real Simple Syndication'. Wikipedia has some good basic information about this. In a nutshell, there are several programs, like Google Reader and Bloglines, that you can use to gather all the information that you want from the web in one place for you to visit and see everything. For instance, if you enjoy looking at CNN, and follow several blogs, you can use Google Reader to 'feed' updates from these places all to one place. Then you just visit there to get all the info, rather than having to find and visit all the sites individually. I have heard it said that this is a great way to market your site, but I have yet to see a good explanation of it, and I have not felt the need to venture into that area, since my other efforts have gotten me where I want to be. If it interests you, here is a list of the best 'feed readers' in addition to the ones above.
'Social Bookmaking' sites are relatively new in popularity, and I don't have as much experience with them either, but, again, Wikipedia has some great history on the subject. Basically, these are sites that allow people to share bookmarks of web addresses where they have found interesting information, making these sites hubs for information from all over the web. Again, this is a venue to use judiciously and conscientiously -- participating in the community as you go, and placing links sparingly -- some of these sites resent overt marketing of commercial sites, and so these may be better places to promote a blog instead. I innocently blundered into Digg.com and put a link to my site, and was immediately blacklisted on that site. I couldn't even go in and put in my blog URL! They knew who I was and what I was up to! But if you were to only put in your blog, or an article you have written, that would be fine. Digg.com and Delicious.com are two of the bigger and more well-known sites, and here is a more complete list.
Now for some more suggestions.
1. easybacklinkbuilder.com I hate to pay for advertising, but I did subscribe to this link business, and I have been happy with it. With this company my site started to gain some momentum up the pagerank ladder. It is owned and run by Angela Edwards, and she is a small businesswoman, just like me, not some nameless internet corporate giant. For $5 a month, she sends you a list of 30 quality websites that have a 'membership' format, allowing you to set up a very basic profile and include a link to your site as part of the info that you provide about yourself. She gives screenshots that show you how to do it on each site, and she sends plenty of info about her program, so I won't go into it here. She selects sites that have a pagerank of 6 or higher. If you use this service, please don't abuse it by stuffing in a lot of links, or keywords. It hurts everyone. You can cancel this service anytime. I think she offers a great product for the money, although you should plan to spend 6-8 hours each month putting in your links.
There are many other link services out there, and many which will do more of the work for you, although those will, of course, cost more. So you should weigh your money vs. your time. There is another software program offered through Angela's service that promises to cut your time spent linking dramatically. I have not tried this, because I am too cheap, but it's not too expensive and may be a happy medium for you. One thing I like about putting in my own links is that I can see the content of the site, giving me some control over where I put my link, and it allows me to see some sites that I actually like. I have kept up with a few of the sites I have joined -- they were worth visiting again!
2. freetrafficsystem.com is a free service that I have been overall happy with, although it is a little harder to learn and you have to be willing to write short articles. This is owned by a man named Dim (short for Dimitri?) and while it has its glitches and I had some complaints in the beginning, I did move further up in the ranks after using it. Here is how that works. There are lot of members, and many of those who join set up an article site for the sole reason of accepting articles by other FTS members. (You don't have to create an article site, but they offer greater benefits if you do.) So you write a short article on any subject and within the article you can place up to two links to your site, and more if you set up an article site. Then you look through their large list of article sites owned by other members, and submit your article to any relevant site, up to 30 sites, which would give you 60 backlinks. Personally, I can say that my articles only made it onto about 18 sites each, but I still got over 100 links from this. They may reject an article if you don't take care in finding relevant sites from their list, and communications once this happens is nil, so be aware of this, if you decide to join. I can't vouch for how they might treat you, but it is worth trying -- I have written three articles with good results.
The hard part with this is learning how to 'spin' your article. Spinning is formatting your article so that the words are changed a little each time it is submitted to one of the sites. This prevents it from looking like a spammy duplicate article that you are just writing to get links. With a little time and patience, it is relatively easy to learn, and there are video tutorials to help you. This method is looked down upon by sites like Wordpress, Blogger (sorry, Blogger) and Ezinearticles, who prefer 'original content', and some consider this "blackhat" or shady backlinking. But even the articles I write for FTS are informative and quality, so if I arrange to have the words changed slightly, I see nothing wrong with that. You will have to assess for yourself if you feel comfortable using this service.
If you do use it, don't write complete garbage -- participate in the web community. You can keep your articles short, but I suggest you try to make an honest contribution. Yes, you are writing so that ultimately the search engines will see your links, but don't forget that human eyeballs will also come across these, and your reputation should remain intact after they are done reading! I spent about three days total, a few hours here and there at a time, to give you an idea of the time commitment, although as you can see, my articles tend to get long. It's free, so I think I got a lot out of it, considering. If you don't write, have one of your teens write something, or a friend. Even three or four articles will help.
3. Try blogging if you don't already. The best blog platforms that are free are this one, (Blogger.com) and Wordpress.com. As mentioned above, I maintain several blogs here at Blogger. I blog on topics that are important to me, and that I feel I have a lot to say about, and that makes it easy and fun. I sometimes include a backlink to my site, using anchor text, which I vary to hit the three major search terms for me. I place backlinks judiciously, so that it doesn't look like I am just using the blog to advertise, because I'm not. It's a good idea to also include links to other sites, as well, so things stay balanced. Writing on topic is good, because it will provide keywords in your blog that match up to your backlinks that lead back to your site with the same keywords. But you can write about anything, really, if you have a more general info blog. You can do more blogs, but it might become harder to maintain, and regular entries are optimal. Blogging has become its own industry, and some people actually make a living at it! I won't go into much detail about that, but if you are interested in making some extra money blogging, check out christianpf.com. This guy has an outstanding article that talks in simple terms about SEO and blogging in particular, and how to make some money at it. And if you prefer to have your own blog website, rather than using one of the free ones like Blogger, he explains to you in simple terms how to get a domain name, establish your site, and load the blogging software on it.
Blogging has limited value in adding backlinks, because it is always preferable to have backlinks in many different places rather than all on one site. It will, however, give you some credibility in your own community in a way that backlinks won't, whether it be the world of sports gear, or theater, or whatever your topic, services or goods are. If you are blogging to help promote your commercial site, you may also want to do SEO for your blog, as well, which will help people find it more readily, and read more about your commercial site there. If you are using a backlink service like Angela's, you could also add a link for your blog to your profile, where appropriate, while you are at it. So if you decide to establish a blog, do that first, then you can put links for that as well, as you go around the web backlinking for your commercial site.
The web is ever-changing, and linking your information among sites is a revolution that is going on right now. Honestly, I am very new at it, and I find it a little confusing and overwhelming, but you will find a few basic ways to do this, and it can be a valuable tool. For instance, on my commercial site, I suggest that my customers visit my blog, and I send them to a link that shows all three of my blogs, just to get some traffic at the others that also contain links back to my commercial site. In the articles that I write, of course I mention my commercial site, but I also mention my blog. I find ways on my blog to point readers to my website, like suggesting that they might like to see all the colors I produce in wool, etc. In one forum I frequent, they allow you to put a listing in for your blog, which I have done, and I suggest on my site that readers visit that forum. I get a lot of readers for my blog from that forum now, and I have several followers. Over time, this will seed word-of-mouth, which will bring me more customers.
You can also promote your site on your profile page at the social networking sites, using the different applications they provide. For instance, I created a profile for myself, and one for my wool site on Facebook, and then I added the 'Networked Blogs' application to both profiles, and linked it to this blog. After a few weeks, I looked at my wool site profile and I had some fans -- people that I didn't know that just FOUND me. And now when I add an entry to my blog (for instance, this very article) a link for it will appear on my Facebook profile automatically! I also added the 'links' application on Facebook and put my link as one of my favorites, on my personal profile page. You can also ask your 'friends' on Facebook to add your link to their pages too. I get traffic regularly from Facebook.
Blogging also makes you more personal to your customers, in a virtual world that contains no voices or faces. I know my customers really enjoy reading about what I'm doing, seeing pictures, and reading about other customers that I ask to share information on my blog. It makes us into sort of a community, rather than my being an invisible merchant that they buy wool from. And I know I enjoy it very much!
4. Article Sites If you don't mind writing, consider writing articles for the best article sites. Here is a good list of the best articles sites to consider. Choose 2-3 that interest you. The ones I have settled on are: Ezinearticles, Searchwarp, and GoArticles. There is more information on these at this site. There are a few others highly regarded as well, such as ArticleCity, and ArticleDashboard, but I never did hear back from them on two articles, and I can't find my articles anywhere, so I have stuck with these three.
Submit to Ezinearticles first, because they don't like receiving articles that they can see have been submitted elsewhere. Each site has its own rules of engagement, so to speak, so adhere to those, or you risk having your article rejected. Some sites allow you one link in the body of your article, others want you to put your link into the 'resource box' that you will set up and which will appear at the end of each article that you write. That's the little box that says, "Susan Sylvia lives in New Hampshire with her family, selling wool at her website. Please visit! http://raminthethicket.ecrater.com, etc., etc." This info, once you set it up, will appear at the end of all your articles automatically, including your link. The article sites will give you some limited reports for free about who clicks on your links, and Google Analytics will also pick up when someone clicks on the link and visits your site.
The article sites allow anyone to come and take your article to use as they like, so understand that you have no recourse about how the article is used, and I have seen my articles used elsewhere with the links removed. Bummer. (That's what's good about Free Traffic System--this doesn't happen.) But regardless, you will get some additional links if the article is used elsewhere intact, and you get your name out there, as well. It all helps to increase your presence on the web, and it gives you some credibility.
There is a school of thought that says not to submit to too many article sites -- it's time-consuming, and theoretically, your articles will be distributed over time to other article sites without your help, because the articles that you write for article sites can be taken and used by anybody. Personally, I just don't have time to submit to more than two or three. They all have their own formatting rules, which means reformatting your article each time you submit to a site, and this is a real time drainer.
You can keep your articles short, but keep it informative and good quality, and consider your links as payment. If you don't write well, have someone help you, or ask them to edit your work. There are minimum requirements for quality by the article sites that you will have to meet.
5. Commenting Many of us love to tool around the web, looking for others who are like-minded. If you enjoy this, be sure to include a link to your website when you comment. It's not good to get into the habit of just leaving a tiny comment and then putting your link in. Make a genuine contribution to the conversation. If you decide to make a more organized effort in doing this, Google has a great tool to help you. This tool allows you to generate a list of blogs on any topic that you type in, which you can then visit and comment, if appropriate. You will notice that this tool generates a list of 'dofollow' links. This is a desirable type of link, vs. many sites that turn your links into 'nofollow' links that are of little use when backlinking. Look especially for those blogs that have a format that allows you to include a website URL as part of your comment. These have been invaluable to me in my backlinking efforts.
There are about a million open forums and message boards out there. One approach is to seek out forums using Google to search on various forum topics, find one or two each day that may be on-topic for you, or that simply interest you, and visit them, making thoughtful comments. For my own purposes, I will search for 'needlework forum' or 'quilting forum' or 'craft forum'. Most forums today are moderated, and if you don't contribute something meaningful, your comments may be removed by moderators. Many of the more organized forums that require membership allow you to set up a 'signature' to include in your posts, and/or a profile for yourself, both of which can include a link. A signature (including any link you include) will appear with any comment you make. Or you may be able to simply place a backlink at the very bottom of your comments. Personally, I have found several forums that I just like to participate in, and I visit regularly, putting backlinks here and there as I go, but not always. I want to be a participant, not a visitor there to place backlinks. Think of it that way.
Now for some help in formatting your backlinks and anchor text. It took me HOURS to ferret this information out when I was learning all this, so I give it to you to save the headaches that I had! Much later I saw it in one of Angela's packets, but here it is, easy to find. I suggest that you copy and paste the formats below into a document that you keep on your desktop. Replace my URL and keywords with your own, then anytime you need to use them, you can just paste them in to the box you are filling in, without having to remember the formatting.
The most used format out there is html, which you surely have seen before, and it is the traditional language that programmers have used to, well, program! To use html to put a link to your site, with anchor text, it will look like this:
[a href="http://raminthethicket.ecrater.com"]Hand Dyed Wool[/a]
(You will need to use the 'greater than' and 'less than' characters in place of the brackets above, though. These are the characters at the top of the 'comma' and 'period' keys. Blogger formats backlinks with html, and I couldn't figure out how to display the formatting above as plain ole text, rather than generating a backlink like the one below! As you can see, my html skills are, shall we say, very specialized!)
The result will look like this:
Hand Dyed Wool
Plug in your URL (web address) where mine is, after the two slashes. The anchor text part is the 'hand dyed wool' phrase, and this is what the reader will see and click on to go to your site. The URL part will operate in the background and will only be seen in the search bar at the top of your browser. Be careful to copy this exactly -- don't forget the little 'a' at the beginning, and don't accidently erase the quotes -- any change will screw it up.
Some sites have to be different and they use 'BB Code'. I have no clue what that is, but here is how you format your link that way, and this time you can keep the formatting as-is, just plugging in your web address and anchor text:
[url=http://raminthethicket.ecrater.com]Hand Dyed Wool[/url]
You'll get the same result as the html example above.
As if that weren't enough, occasionally a site will use Textile, whatever that is.
Textile Set Up:
"Hand Dyed Wool":http://www.raminthethicket.ecrater.com
Again, you can keep the formatting exactly as you see it here, with the quotes and colon.
I have spent hours upon hours (probably several hundred) researching all this, and those who know me will tell you that I am a rabid web researcher. So trust me when I say that the suggestions and sites I have mentioned are among the best of those that will cost little to no money. So I have done most of the homework for you, and if you follow these few ideas, you will gain some pagerank. Remember to keep at it regularly, and consider it an investment in your business.
Rug Hooking Wool