Take care of your incoming links

When you're using a WordPress blog, or any other type of website, you should pay attention to your incoming links. WordPress makes it really easy to do so with a nice module right on the dashboard. This is how it looks when you first install WordPress and until you get the first incoming link.

What is an incoming link?

An incoming link for the sake of this discussion is when somebody puts a link to your site, on their website, or another website.

What should I do about it?

Well the first thing to do, immediately after you find your link, is to go and nurture that link. Go to the site and thank the author for posting a link to your site, make sure your thank you is relevant. Perhaps you want to add a little bit of your insight into their article by adding a comment.

What else?

Each incoming link is a new road to your website. You should pay attention to each one and continue to nurture them for sometime. You want these links, trust me. After you've thanked the author, --hopefully leaving a comment with a link back to your site again-- you can do a number of things to get more out of that link.

  1. Find other commenters and follow their sites. Comment on their stuff and invite them to your site as well.
  2. Once you've gotten some links on the comments from the original site, and any others that you followed, you want to let them sit for a day or so ((Some people might disagree with this and suggest you do this right away. I prefer to wait a little while)). After you let some organic searches come through, maybe a few more commenters post new comments, then you submit those sites to Technorati and other similar sites. The idea being that when Technorati crawls them because you sent them there, they'll also crawl their links which will in turn send them to your site. Hopefully giving you some good link juice
  3. Add the article that linked to you to Digg, StumbleUpon, FaceBook, Twitter, Plurk, Reddit, or whatever other social network you use. Make sure the network you choose is appropriate for the content you are about to submit.

Some exceptions

You don't have to answer to a negative comment. In fact, don't. Negative discussions could drag you into a flamewar or other useless discussion that might put off readers... unless your site thrives in negative controversy and flamewars or discussions of this nature, avoid it.
If the link isn't a real link, or it comes from a bogus site I wouldn't do much about it either. I also would watch out for new websites that may just be setup to harvest links and make a quick buck.