Friday, February 12, 2010

Explanation of a Top 100 Site

Confused about top 100 sites? Not sure what they really mean or what is the purpose of them? Keep reading – I’ll give you a “newbie” explanation of them.
What is a top-site?

Top sites are a collection of related sites that are grouped together within a script that allows a person to vote for that site. Voting for a site by clicking a banner within a top-site allows the site to rank higher within the top site. The more votes a banner gets within the top site the higher your banner will be shown. The higher your banner is shown on the page will equal more visits to your site. Most top sites count incoming links as well as outgoing links to their top site group to determine where you are ranked within the top site. Incoming links are gathered by you placing the top sites banner code on your site and visitors from your site clicking to visit the top site. Outgoing links are visitors who clicked on your site while they were browsing the top site.

Top sites are usually free to join. By joining you are agreeing to exchange your banner link with the top site’s banner. Top sites usually generate a lot of traffic, so if you are a new site, joining a few good top sites are important to help build up your creditability with the search engines. The more sites that search engines find your link on, the better. After browsing around a few top sites, you might notice that some have a bunch of dazzling banners at the very top of the site. Those are usually paid sponsors. Those websites paid the top site owner for an ad space at the top of the top site. There are many advantages of this. I’ll go over the top two most important ones.

First by purchasing an ad, you are purchasing your guaranteed spot at the top. No matter how many pages long the list grows – your site will always be in that same top spot on each page. You don’t have to do any daily clicking and voting to keep your site at the top. You paid for it to be there, so it will for the duration of your purchased plan. Some top sites offer forever or lifetime ads, which are exactly as they imply. Your banner ad remains there forever. Others top sites do monthly sponsored ads. You pay for a spot at the top in monthly blocks of time. Some top sites have a combination of both.
The second reason to purchase an ad on a top site is for one way linking or back links. By purchasing an ad, you do not have to exchange links with the top site. You are paying to not reciprocate. This is excellent for one way links. The more one way links that major search engines find your link on, the more credible they’ll rank your site. If they see a lot of sites linking to your site via a one way link, the better your chances of getting hits to your site become when someone is searching for a product or service that you provide on your site.

Think of top sites as a huge online shopping mall. All the banners are like dozens of storefronts within a mall and you are standing at the entrance of a huge mall. The window displays are what draw you into the store. On top sites the more eye catching your banner is – the more likely people will click on it. And as anyone in marketing will tell you: location, location, location is very important. The higher on the top site you are, the better chances you’ll get to more traffic. Just like stores within a shopping mall rent from the mall owners, the more rent you pay – the better your storefront’s location. The same idea applies to top sites.

Top sites usually have banner size requirements. Most banners are square shaped 125 x 125 or rectangle shaped at 468 x 60. You would have these uploaded on your site in your image directory if you have a website. Or you can host your banner to a free image sharing account. You can do a search on search engines for free photo sharing accounts. If you do not have a banner and would like one created, you can find many graphic designers online that will offer to create one for you that will fit your needs.

Once you have your banner, you are ready to sign up with a top site. You’ll create a user name, a password, a short description about your site and upload the url to your banner. Some top sites will approve your membership right away and others require approval first. Once you have received the top sites approval you’ll log in and look for top sites banners. You’ll place a specialty coded banner on your website which will count your incoming and outgoing links within the top site. It’s important that you do not change anything within the coding you received or your site votes may not register correctly. For best results you should place the top sites banner in a highly visible location on your site, like your homepage. Or in your links section. The more highly visible the banner is, the more likely your visitors on your site will vote for your site! If you are not sure where to place the top site code on your link, its best to contact your hosting account owner or your template graphic designer for help.

Don’t just join any and every top site you come across. Check to make sure the top site is well maintained and not abandoned. An easy way to do this is to take a look at the ads. Do you see lots of red x’s or spaces where banners should be? If so, that’s an indication that the top site has been abandoned or not maintained on a regular basis. The red x’s mean that either the sites that they lead to are no longer in business or that they have moved their image urls and haven’t updated their new links. Other reasons to avoid certain top sites if there are little or no paid ads at the top of the site in the sponsored section. Feel free to contact the top site owner for statistics of their site. If they do not provide you with a way to contact them, that is another reason to avoid them. Feel free to contact the other members in the paid sponsor section for references. Also look at the votes for the members; do they have a lot of hits in and out? Chances are if there are not many that’s because the top site is not generating much traffic.

Signs of good top sites are:
Lots of paid sponsors and non-paid members. The more members on a top site - the better. Top site has very few or no dead links or red x’s. Reasonable ad prices to purchase, if the top site’s ad prices are extremely high or very low - that might be a red flag. The paid ad businesses are relevant to your business. If you sell baby items you want to join sites that sell like minded items. Look at the members votes – do they have a lot of hits coming in and out of their site? Lastly, word of mouth and good recommendations from other website owners about the top site you are considering. If you see other sites that you know are good, quality sites and they are a member of the top site you are considering – it’s probably a good bet you should join too.

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