I have started a website about “Work from Home” and have been advised to contact webmasters and request to exchange reciprocal links but have not done so because I don’t feel comfortable asking. What are your thoughts?

This is the second part of the question I was asked yesterday.Reciprocal links are a gray area. I don’t care for
reciprocal links. I don’t like to be asked and I don’t like to do it. I
feel like anything I link to (that’s not a paid advertisement) should
be something I *want* to link to of my own volition.

However, there are
many people who don’t feel that way and are perfectly happy to do a
reciprocal link. It’s win-win for both of you.

If you’re not
comfortable doing it, then don’t. If you think it might be worth a shot
and don’t mind a few “no thank yous” then go for it. The most they can
do is say no, right?

I’d really love to hear your thoughts on this, readers.

  • What do you think of reciprocal links?
  • Have you ever asked for a reciprocal link?
  • If so, have you had more positive or negative responses?
  • What are the pros and cons, as you see them, of reciprocal links?

10 Responses

  1. Bobbelur May 7, 2008 / 8:58 am

    Yes! This is something I’ve wondered about myself. I have always asked permission before I link to someones blog, but never asked for them to link to mine. To me, that’d seem a bit… pushy.
    But what is the correct thing to do regarding linking? Is it to ask permission to link to a blog I find interesting, or is it to justlink to it without ‘bothering’ the blogowner?

    I think I’d might ask for a reciprocal link if I’d been commenting a lot in a blog that is very similar to mine, and I’d accept one if I enjoy the other blog/feel that I can “promote” it to friends and online readers.
    I do not link to some blog I don’t enjoy reading, and I don’t link to blogs that’d make me embarrassed if my mother read it.

  2. Kilikina May 7, 2008 / 9:54 am

    I need to know the answer to “Bobbelur’s” question too. Do you bother the blog owner? I do not ask permission to link to a blog typically (should I?) because I show my bloglines as my links on my blog.

    However, if I am linking to someones specific post then I do ask permission.

  3. Ray Fowler May 7, 2008 / 9:59 am

    The problem with many requests for reciprocal links is the imbalance in the relationship (e.g. a blogger with less readers asks a blogger with more readers for the reciprocal link). I don’t think you should request a reciprocal link unles you can offer something of equal value.

  4. Dana May 7, 2008 / 10:53 am

    Ray, isn’t that kind of like people on eBay who won’t accept bids from folks with zero feedback? Everybody has to start somewhere. I think that if I had a huge blog with lots of readers and a new blogger asked me to swap links, I wouldn’t go by how new they are or the size of their audience–up to a point. I mean, if they asked me to link to a blog with three entries, I’d have to hold off for a while. But I think I would base my decision on what the blog had to offer–that would be most important to me.

    Meanwhile, I haven’t gotten up the guts to ask for a link swap (as I do *not* have a big, fancy blog with lots of fans), but I find including my URL in my comments on other people’s blogs brings me readers anyway. :)

  5. Christine @ Serenity How? May 7, 2008 / 1:35 pm

    I don’t agree that your link has to be of equal “value” – I honestly don’t see links that way. I do agree with Melanie though and don’t like reciprocal linking.

    Either way, your site is your site and you want to be in control of its content. That includes outgoing links. I try to be careful who I link to, because by linking I feel I’m giving it my “seal of approval.”

    Some bloggers get around that by issuing a disclaimer. If that works for them that’s great.

  6. lizriz May 7, 2008 / 4:40 pm

    I can’t imagine why you’d ask permission to link to someone – This isn’t the first time I’ve heard that but I just don’t get it at all. Do you ask the NY Times if it’s OK to discuss an article on their website?

    As for link exchange, I fall on the side of lame, lame, lame. If a blogger isn’t linking organically to things they want to link to, then the value of all their links goes down.

    That said, I don’t mind blogs or vlogs being brought to my attention – But a request for a link exchange from someone I have no relationship with? Deleted!

  7. Ray Fowler May 8, 2008 / 6:46 am

    Dana – Well, I do find that annoying on eBay, so you have a good point there. I wonder if I am understanding “reciprocal link” correctly. I don’t mind sending a link of value to a bigger blogger and then if they want to link to it, that’s fine. But I think it would be kind of nuts to email Instapundit and say, “I’ll link to you if you’ll link to me.”

  8. andrew May 8, 2008 / 11:35 pm

    Most of the link directory websites also ask for reciprocal links, but the problem is even though we place their links in our sites, some times they reject our submissions…

  9. Diane May 14, 2008 / 3:54 pm

    I have found that with my website that the reciprocal links is something that I just about have to use. But I want to find out how to change some of that. Any ideas please let me know. . . . . Di

  10. Audrey May 26, 2008 / 8:58 pm

    I’m not crazy about getting emails that ask me for a link to their site. More often than not it’s a copy and paste email where the person has no clue who I am or what my site it.

    Occasionally I’ll get an email asking for a link where they really do use my name and they even seem to know the general theme of my site.

    I’ll always write back. I almost never hear back. This alone has me not wishing to offer a link. If they’re not answering my emails, chances are they won’t offer the emails of those who find me through a link I provide. I prefer instead to offer links when I believe they’ll be of use to my visitors. I do let the person know I’ve linked to them with no expectations. Sometimes I get a thanks, sometimes I don’t. It’s ok. I’ve helped my visitors.

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