Every wise webmaster knows more links you have to your site, more traffic you'll get - so increasing number of links to his site, really is a webmaster's number one promotional priority. However a lot of webmasters get so enmeshed in building up number of links to their sites, that they forget all links are not created equal - some links are far more valuable than others.
It is absolutely essential to your success that you not only build up number of links to your site, but also be fully aware of how to evaluate worth of each link. This lets you can concentrate your efforts on getting most effective links to your site, and guarantees that you are getting a fair deal in any reciprocal linking arrangements.
Here's a list of factors you should consider when assessing value of a particular link:
* Permanent. A permanent link to your site is far more valuable than one that is removed after a few days (or even hours, in case of some automated Free-For-All links pages).
* Placement. A link to your site from front page (or even one of internal pages) from a high traffic site, especially one of top few thousand web sites, is far more valuable than a zillion links from people's personal home pages.
* Relevance. Ideally link to you should be on a page (or better yet a whole site) devoted to same or a closely related topic to your own. For example, all things being equal, a link to your golfing store from a golf tips site is much more likely to produce results than from an auto, finance or games site.
* Descriptive. A link that explains your site and entices a person to click, will get far more traffic (and better quality, more interested visitors) than a non-descriptive link. Compare for example: "Joe's Golf Store" versus "Joe's Golf Store - Tour quality golf clubs at discount prices, complete guide to every golf course in USA and Canada, and free pro golfing tips"
* Low Competition. A link that is buried among 500 others on same page will not get many clicks. A listing on a page which also lists 10 or 20 direct competitors (example: other golf stores selling to same market), is less valuable than being "exclusive" in your particular category (example: being only golf store on a list of resources for golfers).
* Context. Links usually work better if place in some kind of related context like an article for example. Be prepared to help out people placing your links in a context that works by providing free articles, which explain your topic (not same as blatant self-promotional!) or simply being prepared to answer questions.