Continually strive to get links to your website.
A good website is never done. This can be upsetting to many people who had in mind a vision of their website being a project that would get finished soon, if not eventually. You simply must banish that vision if you expect your website to be a continually growing source of income.
Here is why:
Continually strive to improve the value of your website to your readers/ viewers.
Try to make a habit of noting articles and authorities who support your website's thesis. Link to those from a special page by first copying a paragraph or two and link to the rest from your site. You should have a special page for this and/or use them as supporting evidence from pertinent pages throughout your site. If you have such a link from your home page it is best to change it to something fresher from time to time. Don't settle for just a few words from the article. If you are going to give away a link then steal a good solid paragraph to increase your content. AND always make the link target a new or blank attribute, you don't viewers clicking the links and forgetting about you.
Remember your goal is make your website "the destination" to as many people as possible who are interested in your service or your product. That requires your focus over days and months to keep your eyes open to more and better information to support your thesis or to help or entertain your readers.
Articles, Blogs and Comments
Try to make a habit or even an appointment with yourself to write a new article regularly. Depending on your subject matter this could be daily or just a few times a year. But new pages on your site keeps readers and the S.E. bots coming back and keeps your site ranking well. S.E.O. is a yoga not a destination.
Blogging on your website is a great way to fulfill many of the more and new content requirement of good S.E.O. My suggestion is that if your are going to blog on the site then get someone to translate it into html otherwise it will not add as much as it could to your overall S.E. value. Leaving it as a W.P. page or .PHP invites getting ignored by the S.E. bots. If you are not going to translate into html the it is much better to blog online somewhere such as Linked In or Facebook. This method will generate followers better than a similar effort on your own website, and from there it is easy for those interested to get to your website for sales or more info.
Linking to supportive articles or authorities enhances your authority.
Think of a bibliography in a book, or footnotes at the bottom of the pages in a book. In your experience does that increase the authority of the words written and lead to more readers in the long run? I think it does. Such authoritative links does the same thing to your webpage. Yes there is some negative effect to linking off site, but that can be offset if the content of the linked to page supports the overall thesis of your page. If I could find a webpage that had google's Matt Cutts saying that this was true (tried but didn't) and I linked to it from here, then wouldn't that add authority to my thesis? Wouldn't that, at least eventually, help the value of my page by creating a situation wherein more readers would link to my page from their blog or website? Of course it would but I believe that google is smart enough to tweak their algorithms to take this into account as well. My first rule of thumb concerning Google and their search engine algorithms is that they are always at least as smart as I am. By linking to authority I not only help that site but I increase my own value also. SEOptimize says it very well and in detail.
Link trades are a waste of time.
Despite the popularity of requests you will receive to trade links with other websites, there is little real evidence that these trades will have a positive effect on your website's page rank or rank in the search engine results.
It may be worth the trouble of the exchange if the website your trading with is focused on the same thing as you are. If you have some reason to believe that they will have your link on their site 6 months from now (probably won't). If they are not in direct competition for your customers. If their content supports your focus. If you think many of your readers will benefit from taking a look at their site.
I know that is quite a few "ifs" but every once in awhile you encounter one and then make that trade, it probably won't hurt anything.
Popular directories are not.
All "directories" are not created equal. There are countless directories that are in fact link farms in all but name. Most of the time these directories are worthless places to have a link from, links from any site that Google has decided is a link farm will not have any value to you. On the other hand YP.com (Yellow Pages) is a directory that has great real value, not only in google's eyes but in the real world practicality because someone might actually find you by searching for you there. Use that criteria and look for directories that might list you or your service. If you could imagine yourself looking through that directory for a person or service then it is most likely beneficial to make sure you get yourself listed there as well.
I know many businesses that don't think of this and really miss out on an easy and free way to not only get quality links to their sites but also miss the opportunity that someone may actually use these directories to find them. It is worth an evening to search for and make sure you are listed in as many of these as you can. Just search "specialty" or "focus" and "directory" and see if anything is appropriate. Don't miss the easy ones like the phone books and yellow pages.