Web Ring Tips

Some Web Ring Tips

I don't consider myself an expert on web rings, but I have worked with them a bit and have observed some things that may be helpful to others. This page is to share some of those tips that I've collected or developed.

[ Membership | Joining | Navigation code | Approval | Help ]

Note: These tips are based on experience with web rings managed by WebRing.com (which my web ring, Middle Eastern Dance, is) and may not apply to other web rings.

Including your web site in a web ring is basically a 2-step process:

  1. Become a member of WebRing.
  2. Join or create web rings.

Becoming a member of WebRing. I liken this to getting a library card before you can take books out of the library. In the case of WebRing, you need to be a member before you can join a ring, although you can browse rings as much as you want without it. It may seem like an extra step, but it's actually very helpful if you are in more than one ring, or have multiple sites to manage, or are a ring manager. You only need to do this step once, and it allows WebRing to keep track of all your sites and rings.

Becoming a member is free, and you end up with a userid and password for WebRing.

Joining a ring. Once you have a WebRing userid and password, you can proceed to submit your site into the WebRing. This involves following the "Join" link and providing the URL as well as a title and description for the site. Once you've submitted the request, it may take a while (depending on variables in how the ring is managed) before your site is added. Most rings require that you add navigation code before you will be approved for the ring. (My ring, Middle Eastern Dance, requires this.)

Navigation code. This is what allows the web ring to work: each site in the ring has links on it to allow you to navigate to other sites in the ring. There are two styles of navigation code: SSNB ("server side navigation bar") and HTML (web page language). SSNB is is a special kind of HTML code which is newer and has some advantages, mainly that (once you put the code on your page) the WebRing server handles everything for you, ensuring your navigation is always current and complete. You don't need to change the SSNB code on your page if you join other WebRings. If you have old-style HTML code on your page, you might want to update it to use SSNB instead.

To get the navigation code to put into your page, go to the WebRing site and follow the prompts.

Here are a couple of other tips you may find helpful:

Approval. Most rings require approval before you're officially part of the ring. Approval can be done manually, by the RingMaster, and/or automatically, by the WebRing software. For my own ring, Middle Eastern Dance, I use both. I'm not sure how often the automated approvals are done; it seems to be perhaps once a month. I confess my manual checks are irregular... if you're concerned, just let me know.

As a side note, I do not manually approve sites unless I can actually see the webring navigation bar on the page. I prefer Netscape (it seems less prone to virus attacks) and sometimes it presents things somewhat differently from the way Internet Explorer presents them. The most notable differences are caused by either real errors in the HTML, or use of non-standard HTML. If your site has this problem, the automated approval should eventually include you... but you might want to fix it anyway unless you don't care that a fair part of your audience might not be able to see parts of your web site.

Additional Help. I have a couple of possibly helpful tips relating to problems I've seen:

If you need more assistance, online help is available at the WebRing site.