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Thu, Apr 30th - 11:28AM

There's a New "What's New" Page
Perhaps the easiest way to stay up-to-date on the latest WebRing news and rings created is to visit the "What's New" page. You can find the link at the bottom of every page here on WebRing.

We recently revamped the page to include the newest ring contests!

Have you participated in any contests here on WebRing? Want to? Click here.

Comment (0)


Tue, Apr 28th - 4:34PM

Stay Updated with the New Feature FAQ Page
We've created a new page that makes it easy to learn about the latest features added to WebRing. You can find the Feature FAQ here.

In case you're feeling too lazy to check it out, here are some of the features we've added over the last year:

  • Webspace and Personal Storage
  • Widgets
  • Ring Contests
  • Vertical NavBars
  • Shoutbox Alerts
  • Block Senders
  • Upload Profile Images
  • Text Messaging
  • URL Images for Site Listings
  • AP for Site Traffic
  • Member-generated FAQ Page
  • Auction Central
  • Pending Submission Processing

That's a lot of new stuff that you can do with WebRing!

Comment (1)


Fri, Apr 24th - 5:56PM

GeoCities Has Given Notice.
by Internet Pastor William R. Mazzulla III (bill3rd)

This is very important information for those of us who use GeoCities! If you manage one or more Webrings with GeoCities sites, or even know somebody who has a GeoCities site, then please read all of this article.

When I first created my first free website, I used FreeServers because they were free and provided a template that you could fill in the blanks for differently arranged pages, starting with a homepage. The amount of text was unlimited, so it was not just a personal page with a few words about hobbies and interests. The page could be that or a whole lot more.

The online storage space for web pages on FreeServers was limited. As my internet ministry grew, I needed more space so I started using GeoCities for some of my web pages. By then, I knew just enough simple HTML code to make a halfway decent web page.

Anyway, on Thursday (4-23-09), I signed into GeoCities to add the SSNB code to one of my pages since one of the WebRings I adopted was perfect for that page.  I was disappointed to find out that sometime in the near future, probably this summer, GeoCities websites will be no more. When I signed into GeoCities to manage one of my sites I found a message there!

Here is exactly what GeoCities said:
Important Announcement
After careful consideration, Yahoo! has decided to close GeoCities later this year.
You can continue enjoying your GeoCities service until then — we just wanted you to let you know about the closure as soon as possible. We'll share more details this summer. For now, please visit the help center for more information.

This news makes Gen's blog post about using the new personal WebRing Webspace even more important.

GeoCities is closing down, and they never sent me an email.

An e-mail has NOT been sent out (I never got one), and the notice is only discovered if a person decides to update their website or work on their HTML code. This is why it is important for Ring Managers and members alike to spread this information within WebRing!

If you and your members rarely have a need to update your/their GeoCities website, you/they will probably not have learned about the closure. If I wasn't concerned enough to tell others, your site on GeoCities might have disappeared before you knew what was going on.

As WebRing's editor Kyle said about this GeoCities situation and Webring Space:
"It is certain to affect a great many of the sites found here on WebRing. Webspaces couldn't have come at a better time. We hope that the members find it a truly terrific solution to this matter."

I have two servers. One is GeoCities which is closing down soon. The other is FreeServers and, even with the minimum upgrade that I currently have, it is somewhat limited on space. Therefore, I plan on moving most of my important GeoCities sites to WebRing personal storage.

I will probably allow a few of the outdated pages to go extinct when GeoCities sites are no more.

Again, WebRing storage space can be used to create websites and web pages. I plan on doing that myself. It will be a different experience for me. Webspace on WebRing is now becoming invaluable - especially for us GeoCities users!

Webspace has its limitations. For that information, I refer you back to Genessa's WebRing blog post: "How WebRing Saved My Butt and My Website"

In the meantime, WebRing Managers need to spread this information to their members. You can even refer them to all these related WebRing blog posts.

Website owners who are using GeoCities need to start saving your websites' files and pictures/photos/artwork on to your hard drive, starting with your most important webpages.

From what was explained to me that is the first step in saving your website and recreating it somewhere else on whichever server you use.

WebRings Webspace is FREE with no annoying ads!

To learn more about your free webspace, click here.

Thanks to WebRing member bill3rd for submitting this article! For his contribution, he earned 300 AP. Do you have a success story you would like to share? Contact our editor, Kyle, at kyle ((at)) webring ((dot)) com.

Comment (12)


Thu, Apr 23rd - 6:14PM

Widgets for Your Site
We've launched so many new features that we understand if you've missed a few. Did you notice that we now offer widgets for your site(s)?

That's right! You can know designate feeds to RSS readers, create polls, and even add your personal WebRing Shoutbox directly onto your site(s).

RSS Feeds

Most sites these days contain an RSS feed. RSS stands for "Real Simple Syndication." You can think of a feed like a magazine subscription; anytime a site is updated, you see that update reflected in your RSS reader.

By default, you already have three WebRing RSS feeds: new submissions to any ring, new emails you've received, and any pending submissions you might have in your own rings.

You can easily add other non-WebRing feeds, too. To do so, grab the RSS feed URL from a site or blog, then follow these instructions:
  1. Paste the URL into the "Feed url" field found at the bottom of your RSS Feeds page.
  2. Create an ID for the feed that is meaningful to you.
  3. Click the "change" button at the bottom of the page.
Once the screen refreshes, you'll see the new feed listed. You're then ready to copy the code and paste it onto your site or blog.

Shoutbox

There's not too much to adding your personal WebRing Shoutbox to your site. Simply copy the code and paste it into your site's code. This will enable you to remotely share files with and collaborate on projects with friends, as well as provide a way for you to add one more level of visitor engagement.

Polls

For right now, we're keeping things simple. You can create single-question polls with single-option answers that you can then post on the sites of your choice. We have more sophisticated polling tools on the way.

If you have a nice piece of polling script, or any other fun/helpful widget script you'd like to share, please contact us at feedback@webring.com or contact your 2.0 rep.

How to Post Widgets to Your Site

If you can access your site's code, you can add these widgets. Simply copy the code from its respective text field, then paste it into your site's code. It's that simple.

Need somewhere to display your widgets? Use your free WebRing webspace. To learn more, click here.


Comment (2)


Wed, Apr 22nd - 10:10AM

How WebRing Saved My Butt and My Website
by Gail M Feldman (genessa)

When I joined AOL in March 1994, the organization didn't offer its members any webspace; it wasn't something any of us were imagining. Whatever would we use it for?  

When AOL did begin to offer us the opportunity to make our own homepages, it was through a template which asked us such burning questions as our age, our hobbies, our favorite colors... just what everyone wants and needs on a website, right?

So I began to teach myself HTML in self-defense, really, and fortunately AOL did offer a rather difficult-to-find but easy-to-use FTP service. It was all free, AOL didn't clutter up my precious pages with ads, and for fourteen and a half years I built my site.

Oh, at first it was a magazine; then it was a tarot service. Then, in 1997, just after my mother died, I decided to make a commercial site to sell watches and jewelry, mostly because I had inherited her contact lists (she and Dad, and then she alone after his death, had sold such things, rather successfully, too, at a large flea market). That site expanded and contracted and went through changes, but all the while, it sat in AOL's webspace for 11 years.

Then without warning, it ended. AOL swears it sent email to members; some members claim to have received emails. I received nothing. On October 30, 2008, my site existed. On October 31, it didn't. AOL had shut down what had become its Hometown, permanently.

I went into shock. I was mentally paralyzed for three weeks! Then a friend directed me to a forum in which some kind soul had posted directions for rescuing stuff from AOL's now ghostly webspace. I followed them and rescued all but one bit of music, now lost forever, because I misspelled one of my defunct screen names. (I won't give those instructions here because they will no longer work; the ghosts have all passed on to the other side.)

Bolstered by this good luck, I began searching for other free webspace and found what I wanted at Free Homepages. Free Homepages offered a selection of domains, none of which thrilled me, but the least offensive was usapages, so I chose that and began to upload. Boy, did I upload!

Since the webspace offered was large but not unlimited, I decided to put all the graphics into Photobucket and only upload pages and what little music I had into usapages. This worked well but took a long time because, of course, my index by this time was immense. And being a considerate webmistress, I have the index on every page.

This means I had to change all the index links, not to mention any random internal links in the text, to reflect my site's new home. Six months later, I was still working on it but had it largely under control, when suddenly my site once more failed to exist!

I waited three days for usapages to come back up. It never did. I eventually found out that the company, to whom I wrote and from whom I never received even the tiniest response, was based in Costa Rica, which I hadn't known. They had let their domain registrations lapse - without bothering to inform its members. Sound familiar?

Now let's backtrack six months. When AOL dumped everyone, everyone affected began to get suspension notices from WebRing if they happened to be members. I was, and did. Boy, did I! I must've gotten 70 or so suspension notices.

I had joined WebRing pretty darned close to its inception, probably in 1997, and had even created a ring (which still exists, with the description I wrote for it intact, although it's now managed by someone else). I had not really understood what management entailed, and been distracted by, um, let's call it life. Now my mailbox was being flooded with suspension notices!

I came to WebRing and was astonished at how it had changed. I quickly figured out how to change the registered URLs and as I restored each registered page to its usapages location, I fixed it with WebRing too, and started getting reactivation notices instead of suspension notices. Thus, I let WebRing determine which pages to restore first.

As I did all this, I became more and more involved in WebRing, began to manage rings, began to make friends, began to learn a lot, and here I am today, a 2.0 member, a Super-User and a WebRing addict.

But let's flash forward again. Early April 2009 found this addict suddenly siteless! And in rolled those suspension notices once more!

As I said, I waited three days to see if usapages was magically about to reappear, but I didn't wait idly; I started researching other free hosts, and I must say I was disheartened and even sometimes disgusted by what I found. Luckily, on the third day, thanks to my habit of voicing my feelings to my friends in the Shoutbox, I was informed that WebRing now offered free webspace. This was good timing indeed! However, I still had a big problem: how long (and how much energy) was it going to take to get all the internal links, including that now-even-more-immense index, revised on over 170 pages?

Back in the early days of AOL's offering FTP service, I had found a program called Hot Dog Pro, which I no longer have. After a short time I no longer needed the program, as through it and other means, I taught myself to write HTML in notepad. It did have one fabulous feature that I missed: batch find and replace. I now desperately needed such a feature. I searched the web until I found one, free of course, and it worked!  (It's called "Replace in Files," in case you need it.)  

In a single move, I changed www.usapages.com to sh1.webring.com/people/wg (naturally the http:// stayed the same, and both the directory -- /genessa -- and the individual file names were unchanged). Furthermore, WebRing's webspace allowed a batch upload.

I had my entire 170+ page (and counting!) website corrected, uploaded and functional in less than an afternoon! What took the longest was changing the registered URLs (again), and that really didn't take so very long; I completed that in the same afternoon.

Third time lucky, then? You bet! I am assured by people in the know that WebRing's webspace isn't going anywhere. I'm not, either. I'm in it for the long haul (it's already BEEN a long haul, but I expect it to get much longer).

WebRing saved my butt... and my website!

To learn more about your free webspace, click here.

Thanks to WebRing member genessa for submitting this article! For her contribution, she earned 500 AP. Do you have a success story you would like to share? Contact our editor, Kyle, at kyle ((at)) webring ((dot)) com.

Comment (15)


Tue, Apr 21st - 11:09AM

Updated Affiliate Program
We've made some revisions to the WebRing Affiliate Program. The page now contains much more information and provides more options for you to earn for promoting WebRing.

You can now learn how to earn cash for new member sign ups,  as well as how to earn AP for the traffic your site sends to WebRing. To visit the updated Affiliate Program page, click here.

Comment (0)


Mon, Apr 20th - 4:28PM

Need a Site? Use WebRing Webspaces!
Whether you need a site or want to create a new page, you're going to love the latest feature we've added - WebRing webspace!

What Is "Webspace"?

Your webspace is where you can create or upload webpages. Unlike your personal storage, your webspace is accessible to anyone using the internet — just like any other webpage. Build your homepage, create a photo gallery, add a storefront... your options are pretty wide open.

Who Gets a Webspace?

All WebRing members get their very own webspace, regardless of membership level.
  • Free members are allocated a total of 50MB of server space combined with the other files uploaded to your personal storage.
  • Premium members are allocated a total of 1GB of server space combined with the other files uploaded to your personal storage.
If you go over, we'll let you know so you can either upgrade your account or reduce your usage.

How to Use Your Webspace

You are already using a Webspace. Every member has a page similar to this one.  As you can see, we've provided you with a blank slate just begging for your creative touch.

To see your webspace, click the Webspace icon found on your Shoutbox.



To edit your webspace, you need to first access your Webspace folder:
  • Option 1: Open your My Account page and click the "Webspace & Storage" tab.  
  • Option 2: Click the "settings" link on your Shoutbox.
  • Option 3: Directly access your personal storage and webspace area here.
All three options will take you to the personal storage page of your Shoutbox. Once there, scroll down and "Switch to:" your "Webspace" folder. You should then find a file named "index.html."

You can either download file "index.html" or directly edit it.

To edit the file offsite...
  1. Click "index.html" to download it to your computer.
  2. Edit the file using the editor of your choice (notepad, AceHTML, Adobe GoLive...)
  3. Upload the file back to your "Webspace" folder once you've edited it to your liking. (Note: The file will override the original.)
  4. To view your changes, refresh your webspace page.
To edit the file using the content management system (CMS)...
  1. Click the "Manage files and folders in Webspace" icon to open the CMS.
  2. Click on the file you wish to edit, "index.html" in this case. The line will highlight and the box will be checked.
  3. Click the "edit" link at the top of the file list to open the text editor.
  4. Edit the code however you like then click the "Save" button, followed by the "Save Settings" button at the very bottom of the page.
  5. To view your changes, refresh your webspace page.

More information on how to edit your Webspace can be found here .

How Many Pages Do Members Get?

Again, this depends on your membership level. Free members get up to 50MB of space for personal storage, and premium members get 1GB.  

So you can create one all-encompassing page or a complete multi-page site. The choice is yours. For multi-page sites, you need to add additional files and make sure they are accurately linked - just as you would with any other hosted website.

In the future, we plan to offer templates that will be available for a very reasonable fee. This should help out those who aren't savvy enough to create a page from scratch.

What Limitations Do Webspaces Have?

Other than the membership-level related space limitations, no server-side scripting is allowed. That includes php and cgi scripts. You can, however, add JavaScript to your pages.

We're not trying to be a complete hosting service, just offering a simple, inexpensive way for you to get online. If you decide you want more later on, talk to us. We'll help you get what you need at a fair price.

Have You Used Your Webspace?

We would like to hear from you, about how you've used your WebRing webspace. You can write us at marketing@webring.com, tell us below as a comment, or post to your own WebRing blog.

As always, we welcome your feedback and suggestions at feedback@webring.com.


Comment (8)


Tue, Apr 14th - 9:57AM

A Ring Contest Mini-FAQ
We're sure that you'll have more questions, but here are some of the most frequently asked questions to date:

How long should I run the contest?
It all depends on how aggressively you plan on promoting your event and what sort of a turnout you expect. Another factor to consider is how much effort is required from the contestant. Are you asking them to submit a well-edited story of 2500 words? Then you might want to set your contest to close in no less than 3 months. Are you requesting travel photos? Then one month should be more than enough time.

Who supplies the prizes?
You do! It's your contest after all.

What sort of prizes should I offer?
It all depends on what you're comfortable offering. Some Ring Managers are offering top ring placement. Others are offering accreditation for their contributions. Others are offering award banners.

Where do I promote my contest?
Anywhere and everywhere! You should invite contestants from the host ring, as they make for obvious participants. If you have a blog, promote your contest from there, too. Consider using the shoutbox to announce your contests, too. We will be adding further promotional tools soon, including a way to announce your contest to all of WebRing.

Should I include a custom header and footer to my contest pages?
Absolutely! Aside from the submission fields, the submission page and all entry pages can be customized to look as you wish. The custom header and footer can be an image, text, or both.

What do I get out of running a contest?
A ring filled with high-quality, highly relevant content. After the contest ends, it converts into a standard ring that you manage. No ring functions as greatly as one filled with content that visitors can truly use.

What do I do once the contest ends?
Manage the ring and start building it up. As with any ring, we recommend that you scour the Web for sites that match the ring's theme and to invite the owners to join your ring.

We're certain that there are more questions to add to this FAQ. Feel free to ask them below as a comment.

Want to run your own contest? Upgrade to WebRing 2.0 today!

Comment (0)


Mon, Apr 13th - 2:11PM

Run Your Very Own Contest
WebRing Announces
We've added a neat new feature to WebRing Communities — Ring Contests!

What Is a Ring Contest?

Since launching this newest feature, we've been quite surprised at how many members don't know what we mean by a "ring contest." We think it must be the word "ring" that's throwing folks off.

A ring contest is simply a contest. You conceptualize, create, and run the contest completely on your own. The contest you create becomes a specialized type of ring; therefore, we call them "ring contests."

How to Create a Ring Contest

Creating a ring contest is simple:
  1. Open a ring that you want to create a contest from and find the "Contest(s)" link in your management menu.
  2. Click the "Contest(s)" link to open your contest creation page.
  3. Set your contest parameters (like who can submit entries, when the contest starts and ends, and who can judge entries.)
Once your contest is created, you will be taken back to the "host" ring. You can now access your ring contest from the promotional block that should appear on your host ring's hub page. If you set the start date for a future date, you won't find the promotional block. Instead, click the "Contest(s)" link again and you should see a link to access your contest ring.
What your contest promo block should look like on your host ring's hub page.

You'll want to visit your contest ring right away to provide complete submission guidelines, add a logo, and customize the NavBar that will appear on every submitted entry, among other things.

A Ring Contest Is a Specialty Ring

As soon as you visit the contest you create, you'll notice some major differences between it and a standard ring.
  • New Join Link - The flashing join link found in the title bar will encourage your visitors to "Submit Your Contest Entry Here!"
  • Different Management Menu - As a ring contest has different needs in terms of management, your menu will offer different (yet similar) functions.
  • No Tabs - You won't find separate tabs to take your visitors to the hub, sites, forum, or stats pages of your contest ring.
Once the contest officially ends, it will convert into a standard ring that you will then manage as usual.

How to Manage Your Contest Entries

Unlike a standard ring, you won't receive any notifications whenever you receive a new submission. You'll need to visit the contest ring and click the "Review Entries" link in your management menu. Once the submission page opens, click on contest entries and either approve or deny them. All approved entries should appear on your contest ring's hub page.

Where to Find Current Contests

We have some centralized pages in the works where you'll be able to find all the contests on WebRing. In the meantime, here are some of the current contests:
Didn't see your contest on the list? Provide us with the URL below as a comment and we'll be sure to promote your contest here.

Who Can Create a Ring Contest?

At the time of this post, only premium members have the ability to create ring contests.
Want to hold your own contest? Go WebRing 2.0!

Coming next...
A Ring Contest Mini-FAQ


Comment (2)


Fri, Apr 10th - 10:25AM

Did You Notice? Site Traffic Now Earns AP.
With all the new features we're enabling, it's easy to overlook some. Did you notice this one?

Late last week, we soft-launched a new rewards program for the traffic your site(s) sends to WebRing. If visitors come to WebRing via your NavBar, you will gain some Activity Points. Awards are incremental and vary depending on the amount of traffic you send this way.

How to track your traffic-related AP

We don't yet have any detailed stats page in place for the AP you earn for traffic sent to WebRing from your sites. You can, however, find a simple summary on the "Your Stats" block of your My Account page.



How to earn greater AP from your site's traffic

The best way to earn more AP is to place your NavBar in a prominent spot on your registered URL. If it's buried with a bunch of banner ads or lost at the bottom of your page, your visitors won't notice it and you won't earn any AP for traffic. Plus, you're not doing your WebRing memberships any good by hiding the NavBar either.

We've also launched a vertical NavBar, so you can now place it in your blog or site's sidebar. For more details, click here.

For complete details as to how AP is awarded for the traffic your site sends to WebRing, check out the newly revised Affiliate Program page.

Comment (4)


Thu, Apr 9th - 4:55PM

Vertical NavBar Now Available
Are you a member with a blog? Perhaps, you're a manager who has had little success inviting new members to your ring because the NavBar is so wide.

If so, you're going to love our latest addition to the system - a vertical NavBar!

The Horizontal NavBar Is the Default

Many of our members have already spent much time tweaking their site's design to accommodate the width of the horizontal NavBar. So as not to cause too much distress over the change, the horizontal NavBar will remain the default. This means you will need to choose to use the vertical version.

How to Choose the Vertical NavBar

If you have the SSNB version of the NavBar already installed, you don't need to reinstall the navigation code on your page. Here's what you need to do instead:
  1. Go to the URLs tab of your My Account page.
  2. Locate the URL on which you wish to use the vertical NavBar.
  3. Click the "edit settings" link below the URL.
  4. Scroll down and check the box next to this sentence: "Check here if you would like to use the vertical version of the navbar, if it's available."
  5. Scroll down and click the "change" button.
Now, all you need to do is move the NavBar to the sidebar on your blog or site. You don't need any new code, as long as you're using the SSNB version.

Note: Changes might not be reflected on your site until you refresh your browser or use the code checker.

Some RM's Can Choose Not to Offer a Vertical NavBar

Premium Ring Managers (WebRing 2.0) can opt to only offer either the horizontal or the vertical NavBar.

To do so, simply visit your navigation code customization page from your ring's management menu. Below your color options, you'll find checkboxes for "No vertical navbar -OR- No horizontal navbar." Check only one. If you've directly edited your NavBar, you'll need to revert the NavBar before you see these options.

Free members (WebRing 1.0) with grandfathered rings should also see this option. A grandfathered ring is one that was in existence before we launched the premium membership program. As soon as a ring transfers to a different manager, it loses grandfather rights.

Move those NavBars & Start Inviting

If you're a blogger, you can greatly increase your NavBar's effectiveness by moving the NavBar high up on your sidebar. Most of your regular blog readers never have a reason to scroll past the most recent posts. They rarely even notice your NavBar sitting all alone at the bottom of the page. Now they'll see it!

Have you sent countless invitations to bloggers to join WebRing only to have them deny you because the NavBar won't fit in their blog's sidebar? Now that they have the option to use the sleek vertical NavBar, you should consider re-inviting them.

Want to offer only one version of the NavBar? Upgrade to WebRing 2.0 today!


Comment (3)


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