One of the more interesting ways to add some targeted traffic to your
site is to join webrings. A webring allows visitors to surf through sites
that are related in one way or another. They are free of charge to the
owners, members and visitors. Currently, more than 1.3 million websites
are connected, making them members in a collection of more than 80,000
Benefits of Joining Webrings
- They deliver targeted traffic day after day
Once they are set up they tend to stay set up with little further
webring is a continuous, yet expanding group of linked websites that have
common interests. They are arranged to form a circle by special software
that sits on 1 site (a hub). It is through this software that the hub
connects the pages together to trace a circular path.
Each site on a particular ring shares a common navigation that a visitor
uses to move around the webring. If you were to start on a particular
site and go through the entire index of sites on a webring, eventually
you'd end up back where you began. Users can elect to go forward or backward
through the ring, skip a group of sites at a time, visit other sites in
the ring randomly, or see an index of all the sites that belong to that
How It Works
Each webring is created and maintained by a person known as a ringmaster.
This person accepts site submissions, validates that the site meets the
topic of the webring and that the site has installed the webring code
properly. The ringmaster is the sole arbitrator of whether or not a site
belongs in a webring - after all, it is his/her webring.
Steps To Joining Webrings
Search for any rings that seem to fit your site. The best
way to do that is to visit Ringworld,
a comprehensive listing of every webring currently in use. Ringworld
is divided into general categories and then further subdivided into
more specific areas of interest. For example, a complete list of health-related
webrings is available at: www.webring.org/ringworld/health.html.
The site also has a search engine that lets you find webrings that
contain the exact type of information you're looking for. Generally,
apply to webrings that have more than a dozen members, but some with
less members may have more targeted visitors.
Apply for admission to the ring. Each webring has an online
application form that new users fill out to be added to the ring.
Among the information you'll need to provide: the site owner's name;
the title of your site; the web address where your ring will be displayed;
your e-mail address; keywords/description of your site and a password
(so that you can go back and make any changes to the ring as needed).
Code for the navigation bar will be emailed to you after applying.
Copy and paste this code to your web page and download the graphics.
Most application forms also give instructions on how to save an image
and upload it to your website. Once the code has been cut and pasted
onto your site, you may need to edit portions of the code to include
personal information, such as your name, e-mail address and an ID
number. Once you are finished and you are sure it's correct, upload
the new page to your server.
Let ringmaster know you have completed step 3. Generally
you can just reply to the email that you got when you signed up to
the ring. The ringmaster will examine your page and let you know of
any changes that need to be made to the code you inserted. He will
also judge your site as to whether it is suitable for the ring. Most
webrings have an automated response form that lets you know when you've
been added to that particular ring and provides you with instructions
on what sections of your ring's HTML code need editing. Usually, this
process takes a couple of days, depending on the size of the ring
and the number of users applying for admission. Once you've been admitted
to the ring, it's just a matter of plugging in the right information.
Receive email of acceptance from the ringmaster informing
you of your addition. Generally you should not expect to hear back
at all if your site doesn't meet the grade.
Occasionally check for broken links. It's usually wise to
occasionally make sure that the "next" and "prev"
still work (if they don't remember to email the ringmaster). Other
than that, it's a self-maintaining traffic machine.
Why Webrings Are So Popular
An alternative to search engines. Most webrings are very topic-specific.
If you had to choose between 10,000 or so Elizabeth Taylor websites
on the internet versus browsing only 50 sites on the Liz Taylor webring,
chances are you'd choose the webring.
No "dead" sites on a webring. Because search engines
continually receive new web addresses, it's virtually impossible to
keep up with the amount of net-related garbage that floats around
Most search engines don't update the information they're given. When
you submit a site to Infoseek, for example, that search engine sends
a program called a "spider" to verify that the address exists.
If the address is a match, the search engine keeps the address in
its database until it is notified otherwise. This means that if you
conducted a search for "Stephen King," for example, you'd
receive every reference about him - no matter how outdated or incorrect
that information might be.
Webrings, on the other hand, are small enough that they can be monitored
by a single person (or group of people) who repeatedly checks the
address of each site in the ring to make sure it's still a viable
website. If it isn't, that website is removed from the list, and the
webring no longer recognizes that site as part of the ring. This saves
users the frustration of ending up at a dead end by entering a site
that no longer exists.
Moreover, in a webring, every site is equal. There are no
favorites or hierarchies at work here. Meta tags and keywords mean
nothing when your site is part of a webring. Sites can be viewed at
random, and the possibility of happening upon a truly remarkable personal
website makes the experience that much more enjoyable, instead of
having to plod through a series of cookie-cutter educational or commercial
sites for the same information.
Please contact Sue Studios if you
would like any help in joining webrings.