Traffic is one thing, but targeted traffic is everything.
You have no doubt seen dozens of offers similar to "10,000 hits per hour driven to your website!". This type of website traffic is completely untargeted and will undoubtedly result in a very low conversion ratio. It's basically "throw it up against the wall and hope something sticks". The big incoming numbers give the illusion of progress, but you will achieve better results with a lower volume of highly targeted traffic.
I speak from experience because in the early days of developing my home business, I went for the big numbers instead of focusing on targeting prospects. It took me a while to appreciate the importance of targeting (quality) instead of just going for the big numbers, but it was a lesson well learned.
Exchanging links has been an important part of generating website traffic for quite some time, but the vast majority of people looking to trade links don't understand that just wildly swapping links with any willing webmaster is not the way to go.
For the last few years, most webmasters have been in a "pleasing Google" mode since Google had such a dominant position. Now that challengers are emerging, most notably Yahoo, MSN, and Ask Jeeves, the search engine ranking landscape is becoming much more complicated than just marching to the tune Google played.
Many website owners seem to be of the opinion that the sole purpose of exchanging links is to try to improve the search engine ranking position of their website. While it is true that links pointing to your website can help your search engine ranking, the reason for obtaining inbound links goes far deeper than that.
In my opinion, the targeted traffic that relevant links pointing to your site will bring can be as important as the traffic that comes to your website from people using search engines. This is where linking philosophy comes in. If you limit yourself to exchanging links only with websites that have a theme highly relevant to your own, the traffic you receive from those links will be far more targeted (valuable) than traffic you might receive from links with websites that have nothing to do with your theme.
Not only do highly relevant links bring you more highly targeted traffic, but they also play a "customer satisfaction" role for visitors to your website who arrived there as a result of a search engine query. If someone arrives at your website after performing a search for, lets say "work at home" and then finds your website full of links to a bunch of off topic sites (Viagra, online casinos, hotel reservations, sports betting, etc, etc) the impression is often not favorable and may actually drive your visitor away before they consider whatever it is that your website itself is offering.
Keep your eye on the bullseye and develop highly targeted traffic by having good content on your website and exchanging links with highly relevant sites that also offer good content. Remember, traffic is one thing, but targeted traffic is everything.
Kirk Bannerman operates a successful home based business and resides in California. For more details, visit his website at http://business-at-home.us