While it is more or less easy to understand what to do before creating a website, getting links may present some difficulty, in a sense that link building is just that..getting links.
Your first link
One of the important things to do is to get your first links to the website. While it may be tempting to get any link you can get, you'd rather focus on getting a link from a relevant and established, trusted website.
Such a link will tell the search engines (Google) that you are a worthy website about your own topic and they'll index you easily. If you can get several relevant links from trusted websites, so much the better.
A good start will also inspire confidence in obtaining links naturally, through providing value to your customers, and will keep you in the right direction (thus saving you lots of efforts, time and trouble in the future).
Keep your link profile clean
Keeping your link profile clean - getting links only from relevant and trusted websites - is important to appear as trusted to the search engines. Of course, the benefit of this approach is that, most likely, you'll be getting targeted traffic from the link, too. But as we are not speaking about marketing a website, but about getting the first link, taking search engine behavior into account here is more important.
While it has long been assumed that internal links can not harm, there are cases when keeping your internal linking profile clean can save you a gray hair or two. Generally, you'll be indexed faster and crawled more frequently.
Some claim that sticking to a single topic, by getting only relevant incoming links and linking to relevant websites, helps Google to categorize your site and deliver targeted traffic. But this theory is only a theory (at least in my knowledge). That being said, it makes sense to stick to one topic or niche to only attract targeted traffic to your site. (If you have content for different target audiences, it'd make sense to split it to several websites.)
Getting the links
Some good ways to get your initial links include:
- a review on a related website (software review, service review)
- a published article on a established journal, magazine, etc
- a mention of a blogger (bloggers tend to have solid, natural linking profiles, so this link is worth a lot)
While the above list is by no means complete, the general criterion will be to find a place, where the news and information about your product/service may be useful for the visitors. Contact the site owner, offer a way to cooperate - provide a quality article on the topic, for example - and see how you can work out a deal to get your site/product reviewed and commented on.
Just make sure you do everything to provide value not only to the relevant site owner, but to the visitors of that site. No hype, self-promotion or deceiving tactics to lure visitors to your site. Excite them with your genuine offer, so the people would click to your site for themselves.
Social marketing (link baiting)
Another way to get links is to create something (an article, a tool, a video, a photo gallery, etc) so unique and useful for your target audience, that they'll refer you to their friends and online communities they are into. This approach is called social marketing and the content you create is called link bait.
Social marketing is done through social bookmarking websites, mainly, however a piece of content may be promoted through forums, blogs, email and other communication avenues. One important issue in social bookmarking is to aim at the value to the visitors.
Creating quality content seems to be the best way to get links and traffic, because you'll not only be getting traffic from the search engines, but also natural links and targeted traffic from the sites that link to you. Especially, if your article or tool or a video is highly popular and linked from hundreds, if not thousands, websites.
Another advantage of this approach is that you'll be gaining links passively, instead of hunting for places to get noticed (you'll need to do this anyway, though, of course).
You are probably thinking that getting links is a chore. It is, if you think just about the search engines. On the other hand, when you focus on your customers, you'll be able to find more ways to get noticed and get relevant links and targeted traffic.