NEW!! Created just for those who have never held a WebRing membership:
This ring is designed just for those who may be new to the system and aren't sure what to do to join! Start by clicking the "join now" button!
The Newbie's Tutorial is meant to help those about to apply to their first ring. It's a sort of "WebRing for Dummies", if you will. This will guide you through all the information you need to experience years of webring bliss.
These are the basics which most RMs will require. Some rings may relax on some of the standards, some rings may have additional rules. But if you go with what you see here, you should be safe. I place this section first because, if you cannot abide by these requirements, you shouldn't be trying to join WebRings.
What Will Be Expected of You
You must submit the URL where you will also be placing the code. Don't submit the main URL of your site if you intend to place the code elsewhere. If you submit the main URL, place the code there. If you already have a page established for displaying rings, ensure that URL is submitted. Why? Primarily, it's the rule established by WR because of the "automated management" program. If it cannot find the code, your site will FAIL the checker test and may be suspended. It's an accepted fact among most ring managers that, by having the ring displayed right up front, visitors will return to it and continue visiting sites. This benefits all members.
Ensure your ring page links to the main URL. If you are placing the rings on the main URL, disregard this. But if you are using a separate rings page, ensure that it links to and is linked from your main URL. Why? By making sure your main URL is linked from the ring page, you ensure that visitors can find your site when entering via a ring. By linking back, it assures that they can find their way out when done. Don't think visitors can or will try to guess any URL within your site!
You must display the code. Submitting to a ring does not end your work. If you take the time to submit your site, the manager will be looking for you to post the code as quickly as possible. Why? The code is what keeps the ring together and allows visitors to navigate from one site to the next, eventually getting to yours. If you don't post the code, it may cause your site to be suspended or even deleted from the ring because you have broken the chain. (Don't be the weakest link!) The code must remain in place for the duration of your membership.
You must keep your membership information updated. If your site moves or the ring code is moved, you must edit the URL to reflect the new location of the code. Why? Mainly to comply with the information in #1. The code must remain on the submitted URL. However, If visitors have to go through too many redirects to get to your site, they may lose interest. Webrings are designed to facilitate searching.
Be sure to keep your title and description current, too. Keeping things updated makes your site that much more attractive to visitors.
Locating Rings to Join
You must first realize that just because a ring is on the WebRing system does not mean you can join it. Not all rings are accepting new members. Not all rings have an active manager.
Rings can have one of three statuses: Migrated, Unmigrated, Adoptable. Both unmigrated and adoptable rings are managed by the system. This means a very efficient ring, but you'll have to work a bit harder to gain membership, as the system runs a tight ship. Migrated rings, while having live management, can be frustrating if the manager is not active.
Some rings may be restricted to invitation-only. This may be a temporary or permanent status. You can try to write the RM for guidance or find an "open" ring.
How you determine what ring to join is up to you. My suggestion is not to choose a ring on size alone. Consider these factors:
Large rings may not be well-managed; the manager may permit members to remain: without codes, with non-existent URLs, or with off-topic content. This results in large membership, but little relevant content and difficult navigation. If navigation is difficult, the visitor will likely stop trying within a few clicks.
Small rings may be well-managed but not getting enough visibility to drive traffic to your site. However, by joining you've just increased its size and visibility by one! Watch the ring for signs of growth or stallout. Traffic statistics will help you make a final determination.
Check the date of creation. If a ring has existed for several months but still shows very little membership (say, under five), that manager likely has no drive to improve. The exception is a restrictive topic ring.
If you don't mind displaying several ring codes, join multiple rings which share the same theme! That will give you a good mix of high-traffic, popular rings and well-managed, growing rings. Then watch the stats for your site and decide what rings are beneficial and which are wasting space on your page.
Whenever you receive an invitation to join a ring, definitely check it out. Invitations are often a sign of a conscientious ring manager, when used correctly. It's a great way to get a ring launched.
Topic-specific rings are great if you want to attract only a particular audience. General-topic rings are great if you want a diverse audience.
About the Ring Codes
Each Code Is Unique When you see a code on your page, it looks pretty much like the other guy's page. But your code is unique; it contains all the information that identifies your site within each ring and dictates where someone will go when they click a link. When you submitted an application to this ring, you were assigned a unique ID# by that ring which is used to create the links in your coding.
You Must Display Your Designated Code Don't try copying someone else's code because it won't work properly for your site. Sure, it will work, but the commands are meant for another member's site and will cut off other sites when used by another member. If the manager sends you a code, make sure it is the right one for your site. After activation, click "next". Once at that site, click "previous". If you do not return to YOUR site, that code is incorrect. You can copy your own code easily (instructions are in the Quick Reference Steps at this Help Site). If the RM sends a wrong code, reply and send him to the Help Site. Not all RMs fully understand the complexity and uniqueness of the ring code.
How to Know It's Right. View your code after installation. You should see a brown bar with the ring's title, followed by "PENDING". This means your code is installed correctly and that you are awaiting management review. If the brown "PENDING" bar isn't there, you may need a new or additional code. Another way to find out if the code is correctly installed is to TEST your membership. That is explained in the Quick Reference Steps section of this site.