"If you build it they will come" - an iconic line from an iconic movie alas sadly it doesn't hold true for your website. When you launch your site you need to get traffic to it..There are a myriad of ways of doing this but one way is backlinks. In this post I'll discuss a bit about backlinks, what they are and why you should be trying to get them.
What are they?
So, starting from the start, a backlink is basically a hyper text link from one site to your site. A hyper text link is written as follows in HTML
<[a href="http://www.fakesite.com/">Fake Site<]/a> (just ignore the [ brackets, they are there so the HTML can be displayed).
and the part that is clickable is "Fake Site". A link can have a few additional bits of information within the tags but stripped down to it's barest format the above is all you need.
Types of Backlinks
Do Follow - good for search engine results
No Follow - good if useful comment
Importance of Backlinks
Very important..the more dofollow links you receive the better rankings you will get in the search engine results (until Google tweak their algorithm which could happen at any stage)..Disregarding the search side of it backlinks from quality sources are still important as you may get lots of "ambient" traffic, people that happen to read your comment and get interested in in. Matt Cutts (the Google ninja) posted a video about it here which is really good stuff.
In fact, all of the google webmaster series videos are insanely useful. Take a few hours to watch them and you'll learn lots very quickly..