Link building II – Creating relationships

by Martin Reed on 24 May 2007 in Articles

This article is a continuation of the article series that started on 22 May 2007, with ‘Link building I – Gaining direct traffic‘.

In this article I will write about how the link building process can help create and nurture relationships with other web developers and the benefits these relationship can bring.

Link building is not used solely to gain direct traffic

When you are pro-actively approaching sites to get your link displayed, you are doing far more than simply gaining additional potential direct traffic.

You are selling yourself and your site to a stranger. You are creating a relationship with the person you are contacting. If this relationship is nurtured, it can be worth many times more than any link advertising your site.

The benefits of relationships

When I started out with Just Chat back in 2000, I approached the owner of a similar site for a link exchange. The link exchange worked out and was hugely important in getting Just Chat off the ground as a new community.

The relationship that developed between myself and my new link exchange partner however, was far more valuable.

We shared and discussed ideas we had for our sites’ future development. Some people may think this is a bad idea; why should you share your ideas with your competition? I disagree.

By discussing our aims and objectives with each other, we created new ideas that I doubt we would ever have come up with as individuals. We also discussed issues such as software options and even tax obligations!

How to create and nurture new relationships

If you follow my advice from the previous article in this series, you have already taken the first step towards creating new relationships with people in similar fields. Sure, not everyone will take the time to reply – apart from another follow-up email a couple of weeks later, there is little you can do about that.

If you do receive a reply though, you should build on this. Keep things professional, but try to encourage dialogue and interaction. Web developers are busy people, so keep it short and simple and be clear on what your aims from creating a relationship with this person are.

If the person you are contacting is someone you look up to as a successful creator of online communities, then mention this in your email. If you are looking for specific advice, then mention it.

Example email for building new relationships

An example email may be as follows:

Hi James

Thanks for your reply – I appreciate that you are a busy person and have taken time out of your schedule to respond to my email.

I understand the reasons behind your decision not to exchange link with my site at this time. Would it be OK for me to contact you a few months down the line to see if you would be willing to reconsider?

Before I close, may I just ask you what you think is the best way of attracting new members to an online community? I think that what you have acheived on your site is fantastic and would love to go some way towards emulating your success.

Thanks again for your time. I look forward to hearing from you.


Martin Reed

The benefits of this email template

Once again, this email is professional and personal. It also encourages a response through the use of specific questions and also keeps the opportunity of a future link exchange on the table.

Link building to create and nurture relationships

In summary, if you want to create new relationships with people in your industry through link building then follow these steps:

  • Keep the conversation going – regardless of whether your link request is accepted or rejected, reply with a couple of questions to encourage continued interaction.
  • Identify common ground – both from the same town? Draw attention to this fact.
  • Keep the initial emails personal, professional and precise.
  • Don’t overwhelm your contact – you don’t want to end up with a restraining order! I would recommend no more than one email per week until you have built up a strong relationship with your contact. When this happens, you can play things by ear.

The relationships you form with those involved in your industry can play a large role in your success. Sure, you can be successful without these relationships but the benefits they bring are truly priceless.

The next article in this series will talk about link building as a way of improving search engine rankings.

If you would like to see specific issues addressed in this link building series, let me know by leaving a comment.

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Chicago 2016 May 24, 2007 at 10:07 pm

Can’t wait for the next article in this series, Martin!

Martin Reed May 24, 2007 at 10:28 pm

Thanks Daniel. I am glad you are enjoying the articles :)

David Culpepper May 25, 2007 at 5:14 am

Excellent series… very informative. Actually this is the first time I’ve visited your blog. I should have come sooner.

Great job Martin… keep up the good work.

Martin Reed May 25, 2007 at 10:56 am

Thanks for your comment David, and welcome to the blog. I hope you become a regular reader and I look forward to reading more of your comments in the future.

mtOlive May 26, 2007 at 3:50 am

Nice, great suggestions.

Martin Reed May 26, 2007 at 9:04 am

Glad you are enjoying the series! I hope you will enjoy the upcoming articles, too.

Robin August 23, 2007 at 7:23 am

Hi Martin Reed,your posts about link building are excellent article,i agree “The benefits of relationships”.In fact,when we exchange a link with other bloggers will not only get a link from his blog,but also you get a new friend from blog community.I found that if you got more friends from blog community,you will more possible to success.Just only my personal opinion.

Martin Reed - Blog Author August 24, 2007 at 12:08 pm

Robin – Thanks for your kind comment. Many people overlook the value of relationship building – I think it is a huge factor in influencing your success, and is something that everyone should get involved in.

Mr Woc April 16, 2008 at 6:35 pm

Hi there

There is a definate different here, between relationship building and link building.

Relationship building can be very imporatant indeed, if you can join up with a few in the know webmasters you can move your website forward very quickly, join up with the wrong kind of webmasters and you will see your site disapear overnight !

Link building is a different animal altogether it depends if you mean 1 way links or recipricol links but this is also very imporatant to get your site moving forward.


Martin Reed - Blog Author April 21, 2008 at 2:29 pm

Mr Woc – In this article, I was trying to get across the fact that link building isn’t solely about generating backlinks and traffic; it also brings a number of other benefits such as relationship building. You are right that link building and relationship building come with their own issues – I was merely trying to convey the fact that building links also allows you the opportunity to build relationships.

Cristian December 8, 2009 at 5:05 pm

Great series, Martin!
Sad, though, I didn’t discover it earlier… :)

Relationships should stand at the base of any solid backlink portfolio. A website’s authority is a reflection of the value its webmaster provides for his community.

Here are some of my own consideration related to building powerful linking partnerships:

- never use generic link request emails;
- if 2 weeks pass and no response comes from the emails sent, pick up the phone;
- always refer the benefits your counterpart will enjoy if your proposal is meet with a positive response from his part;
- make sure you know your way throughout his website and even point out some flaws you’ve spotted like broken links or images, dead end pages.

These are some interpersonal guidelines that I personaly use in my web interactions. On my blog, I’ve tried to give some technical, more pragmatic answers to the process of building backlinks partnerships.

For those interested, here’s the link to that post:

Hope it helps your off page campaign!