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Company links traffic to Web site success

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The best Web site in the world won't make it if it doesn't get traffic. And owners have found they can generate a lot of traffic if they can get other Web sites to point to them, using "links." Trading links has gone on since the World Wide Web became a popular place.

Utah County-based Links4Trade tries to make it easier for companies to trade links. On Jan. 23, the company released its beta version and came out of beta less than a month later. Today, the company has close to 5,000 people registered for the service, with more than 2,000 active accounts.

The company works by remotely hosting just the links page of a Web site; the owner is responsible for the rest of the content. That has allowed Links4Trade to automate the link-trading process. An individual or company can go to the list of links sorted by category on Links4Trade and request a trade: You show a link to my page, I'll show one to yours. The request is processed, and the Web site owner can agree or not.

"Users are in control of who they link with," said Shawn Bandley, vice president of business development. "You never have to make a link with someone you don't want. We preach relevancy. And you can't request trades with every site."

The links are "spidered" to be sure they're active. Links4Trade takes care of the policing and maintaining of the links, so there are no "dead" links, he said.

The company offers a free model and a paid model. For free, someone can configure a links page, using a template or cutting and pasting his own HTML version. Up to 10 links are free.

The idea, though, is to convince customers to upgrade to the paid version and receive unlimited links. Cost is $7.95 a month for service, plus 10 cents for every links partner each month.

The company also is forming strategic alliances. For instance, Bandley said it's a tool Web-hosting companies can use, and some do.

"People don't know how to drive traffic to their sites. We do."

E-mail: lois@desnews.com