But how do you get those already-successful sites to take you seriously? Internet marketing consultant David Sims lays out a simple set of rules for making deals with high-traffic sites:
"The fact is," Sims says, "that bigger sites want only three things from smaller sites. First of all, they want your money. If you're willing to put a lot of cash on the table -- and Yahoo! has been known to ask for a cool million for this kind of deal -- you can get the kind of links that will make a real difference in your traffic.
"Secondly, big sites would like you to send them traffic. But in most cases, unless you're running some kind of event that will give you a bump in traffic that equals or exceeds what the big guys see, you won't have enough traffic to be of real use to them.
"Finally, you can give them content. Many large sites, but by no means all, will give you a link if you can deliver unique, frequently-updated content that appeals directly to their site visitors. I've seen a company that compiles financial data on public companies make a deal like that that brings them tens of thousands of new visitors a week. And I'm working with a site now that owns the rights to a well-known children's cartoon. By sharing that content, they're going to have lots of big sites linking to them."
As a rule, Sims says, large sites won't offer long-term deals, or exclusives. You'll have to earn your links from them every day, but the longer a link stays in place, the more or their traffic can become your traffic. And if all goes well, soon smaller sites will be calling on you. And you know what you'll want then: their money, their traffic, or some truly excellent content.