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Fri, Jan 30th - 2:30PM

Introducing the Member Generated FAQ Page

Tired of wading through overly technical answers to your help questions? Announcing the FAQ Submission page, where you can help create the all-new WebRing FAQ page!

How to Submit Questions & Answers

The submission process is extremely simple. Just follow these instructions:
  1. Go to the FAQ Submission page.
  2. To submit a question only, fill in the Question field, leave the Answer field empty, then click the Submit Edits button.
  3. To submit a question and answer, fill in both the Question and Answer fields. Then click the Submit Edits button.

After you've submitted your question and/or answer, it will be listed in your sidebar as a "Pending Question" or "Pending Answer" (if you submitted both a question and answer).

How Pending Q&A's Are Processed

Our staff will review all submitted questions and answers to determine what action should be taken. Here's what happens if the question is legitimate and/or the answer is correct:

Approved Questions will move to the "Official Questions" section of the sidebar. Any member can then choose to answer those questions.

Approved Answers will automatically be moved to the official FAQ page, where they will be made available for all members to use.

We don't predict much abuse of the FAQ Submission page, but we will delete any questions deemed spam or that are otherwise unrelated to WebRing.

Tips for Successful Submission

To make sure your submission is approved, ask yourself these questions:
  • Does the question relate to WebRing?
  • Is the answer easy to follow, using bullet points and numbered lists when applicable?
  • Is the submission typo free? We will lightly edit, but submissions requiring extensive editing will be deleted.
  • Did you use correct terminology? (example: "NavBar" is correct, whereas "Banner" is not.)
  • Did you provide appropriate links to point the FAQ in the right direction?  

Rewards for Submitting Q&A's

If you're one of those who are frustrated with the overly technical language of our help pages, the greatest reward is obvious - a FAQ page that everyone can understand. And of course, you will receive Activity Points for submitting questions and answers. Our staff will award AP on a case-by-case basis.

We know you have questions, so what are you waiting for? Go submit some questions today. 

Think you have what it takes? We've already added a bunch of commonly asked questions that await an answer.


Comment (3)


Mon, Jan 26th - 3:49PM

Nominate Featured Rings for February Newsletter
February is a heart-filled month, so we have made the heart the theme of  February's newsletter.

We are calling for your help in finding 5 truly terrific rings, one for each of these 5 February observances:

Relationship Wellness Month
As the body requires proper nutrition and exercise, healthy relationships need respect, honesty and love. 

Worldwide Renaissance of the Heart Month
"Dedicated to thinking with both your heart and your head. During this month, you are asked to take a heartfelt look at the way you think. "

International Flirting Week (9-15)
Despite its usual innocence, flirting often sparks into something greater.

Celebration of Love Week (10-16)
In its many varied forms, we all celebrate love.

International Friendship Week (17-23)
The heart isn't the sole domain of lovers. Good friends are founts of platonic love that drives us through each passing day.

Here's Your Challenge:

Find good rings to feature in conjunction with each of these observances (1 ring per observance). Reply to this post to nominate your choices.

For your efforts, our editor will make sure that you receive 20 AP for each ring you nominate (as long as it makes sense). For each ring we choose to feature from your nominations, you will receive an additional 50 AP.

How to Submit

Leave your nominations below as a comment. You must include the following information:
  • ring id (not the title)
  • observance it matches (from list above)
  • your WebRing ID (so we can award your AP)


Deadline for nominations is Wednesday 28 Jan 2009 at midnight Pacific Standard Time.

Join the WebRing Newsletter Team to help create the monthly newsletter. Besides receiving AP and notoriety, it's just plain fun!


Comment (0)


Sat, Jan 24th - 2:47PM

Deny Pendings Based on Content Only
Do you like to process pending submissions, but aren't quite sure how to determine which sites to approve?

You should only approve or deny a pending submission based on its content, not on the presence or absence of the NavBar.

Follow these guidelines when determining what sites to approve:

  1. Read the ring description. This practice will ensure that you are only approving sites that match the ring's theme.
  2. Check out the sites already listed in the ring. This will give you a clear idea of what level of quality the RM expects out of site members. (Please Note: Just because the majority of sites in the ring are links or WebRing pages, it doesn't mean you should approve similar pendings.)
  3. Assess the site to ensure that it contains quality content. Don't know what we mean by "quality" content? Read our series of posts regarding the evaluation of a site's content.

Don't Approved Sites without NavBars Break a Ring?

Yes and no. Yes, approved sites without a NavBar do "break" a ring's navigation. However, once a site has been approved, the system will check for the NavBar. When no NavBar is found, the site will automatically be suspended and the site owner will receive a notification to repair their site's navigation code.

What about Borderline Content?

If you have any doubts whatsoever, do nothing! Leave the decision to the RM or a ring member.

What to Do with Off-topic Submissions

While you should definitely deny the site membership in the ring, consider taking a pro-active approach with the applicant.

  1. Search for a ring that is a much better match for the site, topically speaking.
  2. Point the applicant to the ring you found in the "Application Denied" email.

Many times, new members don't look beyond the first ring they find. In most cases, the member will greatly appreciate your recommendation.

Want to process some pendings? Go to the home page, your ring hub pages, or the directory category pages to find an updating list of pending submissions.



Comment (0)


Wed, Jan 21st - 11:07AM

Absolutely No URLs in Ring Descriptions
Closing out our exploration of ring description no-no's, we take you to one last simple but critical rule:

Never include URLs in ring descriptions!

Options for RM URL Promotion

If a RM wishes to promote their own site, the ring description is not the place to do it. Here a couple available options:

  • Re-order the sites list to have the RM site appear at the top of the list. RMs should use care not to abuse this approach, as the other members deserve a shot at the top, too.
  • Link to the RM's site via the title bar. Open the ring's Global Settings, then scroll down until you find the fields that ask you to enter the Ring HomePage site or URL (if not included in the ring).

Options for non-member URL Promotion

Never, ever, include the URL to a site that isn’t even a member of the ring. As our abuse administrator put it, “If they can’t be bothered to join the ring, why promote them? Your members are much more deserving of promotion.”

This isn't to say RMs don't have  the opportunity to advertise non-ring members. From the ring management menu, click on the "Ring Promotion" link. We'll explore this feature in more detail at a later date, but we encourage all RMs to explore their advertising options.

This ends our discussion of how a properly written ring description can truly benefit a WebRing Community.
 
Comment (0)


Tue, Jan 20th - 2:51PM

No Need for History in Ring Descriptions

An especially troublesome trend is when RMs declare a ring’s history in the ring description. The two biggest violations include the following:

Date Ring Was Created or Adopted
There’s never a good reason to include the date the ring was created in the ring description, as it adds nothing of value. The hub page of every ring states how long the ring has been around in the Community Stats.

Manager of Ring
Once again, there’s no good reason to include the name of the Ring Manager in the description. Besides, any member can see who manages the ring if they look directly under the ring title.

Chronicle Ring History

For those Ring Managers who really want to state their ring’s history, the forums make for a good place to chronicle the ring. Simply “Submit a message” in the forum, then make it a permanent post and designate it to show on the forum and hub page.


Comment (6)


Mon, Jan 19th - 1:24PM

Avoid Keyword Stuffing in Ring Descriptions

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. Since you're a member of WebRing, you already know a little about SEO. Linking is one part of getting your site seen. Ring membership helps sites in this aspect, but search engines are also hungry for content.

It is for this reason that a ring description is one of the most important tools an RM has available.

What Are Keywords?

In short, keywords are the words that best describe what your site is about. In terms of rings, keywords describe the ring’s focus. When you sit down to write your ring description...

Think to yourself: "What words would I use to search for something on my topic?"

These words are referred to as "keywords." Now, work those keywords into the ring description.

What Is Keyword Stuffing?

If you merely list all possible keywords into your ring description, you are keyword stuffing. Do not, we repeat, do not ever write a ring description that looks like this:

Online Store, Electronics, Cellular Phone, Music Games and DVDs, Small Marine Supplies, Sports, Underwater Gear, Fishing Tackle, Water Sport Vehicles, Toys, Pet Supplies, And A Whole Lot More!

What’s Wrong with Keyword Stuffing?

When search engines index a ring with a description like this, they have a tendency to treat the ring as though it were spam.

In the past, many webmasters were able to successfully boost their sites to the top of search engine results by merely listing keywords on their sites. The end-effect was a lot of discouraged search engine users. To combat this sly form of SEO, the search engine giants now look for keyword stuffing and marks those sites as low-quality, or worse, as spam.

In other words, keyword stuffing will cause a ring to rank much lower than it would if it had provided a relevant description.

How to Supply Keywords

Ring descriptions should include keywords, but only when written as part of a well-constructed description. (See “Don’t Write One-line Ring Descriptions.”)

To simply list keywords, open the ring’s “Global Settings” where you will find a field for entering keywords. Always use that field to add an extensive list of keywords.


Comment (0)


Fri, Jan 16th - 11:45AM

Don't Write One-line Ring Descriptions

The current model of writing for the web dictates, "The shorter, the better." However, there comes a point when too little impacts a ring negatively.

Here’s an example of a ring description that is far too short:
 
“This ring is for sites about Shakespeare.”

This one-line description, although to-the-point, does very little to describe the types of Shakespearean sites in the ring.  It also does almost nothing to attract visitors from search engines results.

Describe Your Ring’s Topic

If your ring is focused on the works of Shakespeare, for instance, you could provide a snippet of information about The Bard's life.  Here’s a possible expansion of the example above:

“Born in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1564, William Shakespeare continues to inspire poets, writers, playwrights and those with a general love of literature. Scholars around the world have often said The Bard’s works encompass the whole of human experience.”

Describe Your Members’ Sites

Now that the ring’s topic has been described, let the visitor know what the sites in the ring have to offer. Let’s add to the description above:

“...Our members write passionately about not only Shakespeare’s works, but also about his life. Check out the sites listed below to find musings on how Shakespeare’s works translate to our modern life, explore controversies over The Bard’s true history, and read reviews of current productions of his plays.”

 Now, the description is crafted in a way that naturally infuses it with keywords, thereby optimizing it for search engines. Plus, any visitor can easily evaluate the ring’s focus and know what types of sites they will find in the ring.

Reward Active Bloggers

Have more than a few blogs in your ring? Consider ending the ring description with a member quote of the month. The quote should be short and 100 percent relevant to the ring's topic. You can then credit the member in a way that doesn't require a URL

Aside from the benefits of engaging your members, including a new quote on a monthly basis will help attract the attention of most search engines that are always on the hunt for fresh content.


Comment (0)


Thu, Jan 15th - 11:58AM

Don't Include Join Instructions in Ring Descriptions

This guideline is as straight forward as it comes – the ring description is not the place for join instructions.

Most RMs have the ability to create "Join Instructions,” a page where they can detail what the applicant must do to qualify for membership in the ring. Any instructions should be posted on the Join Instructions page only, not in the ring description.

Items that belong in the Join Instructions include:
  • Types of sites that are accepted (or not)
  • Restrictions on NavBars, like "No Pass_L or HTML"
  • Ring-specific criteria, like "No commercial sites," "Ethical breeders only," and of course, "No porn sites."*

*Remember that the internet tends to operate like the Law of Attraction. Use a word and you will attract the exact thing you are trying to avoid. For a more in-depth discussion, see Is Your Ring “Clean”?

The Difference between Restrictions and Descriptions

Although we advise RMs not to put join instructions in their descriptions, they can blend some qualifications into their ring description. In some cases, the qualifications and restrictions help in an SEO way.

A dog breeder ring, for example, might successfully blend in the “Ethical breeders only” restriction to attract visitors looking for ethical breeders.

The following is an acceptable way for an RM to blend in a membership restriction without violating the join instruction rule:

“… You will find only ethical breeders in this ring, all dedicated to responsible breeding practices…”

An unacceptable version would look like this:

“…This ring only accepts sites from ethical breeders…”

The first example describes the sites in the ring, the second states qualifications for joining the ring.

Use Your Join Instructions Page

If a prospective member is interested in joining a ring, they will click the “Add Your Web Site. Join Here!” link. Once they do, they will most likely open the Join Instructions page, and the RM will have the applicant’s undivided attention.

We allow up to 25,000 characters, so RMs have more than enough room to detail a ring’s guidelines and restrictions.

To activate and create a ring’s Join Instructions page, click the “Join Settings” link found in the ring management menu.


Comment (2)


Wed, Jan 14th - 4:17PM

The Value of a Proper Ring Description
Ring descriptions are a visitor's key to knowing what a ring is all about. On top of that, search engines look to ring descriptions to index what the ring is about. That's why it's so important to write a proper description.

With so many rings being cleaned and created, we thought it important to address some of the main mistakes RMs are making when writing their ring descriptions. These are the top guidelines that more than a few RMs violate when crafting a ring description:


Join us throughout the week as we discuss each of these violations. We realize that RMs have their reasons for violating these guidelines, so we’ll make sure to round each off with the preferred approaches.

Comment (0)


Mon, Jan 12th - 12:46PM

How to Block Senders
Tired of receiving unsolicited WR Messages from other members trying to hawk their wares? Perhaps you wish there was a way to stop receiving irritating messages from persistent members?  Introducing the Block sender function!

How to Block Senders

It's really a simple process. Follow these steps to block senders:

1. Click the "Settings" link found on the main "View WR Mail" page. Remember to note the offending sender's WebRing ID before clicking on the "Settings" link.



2.  Scroll down the WR Mail Settings page to locate the "Blocked IDs" field, then enter the WR IDs of those members you wish to block.



3.  Scroll down and click the "I agree. Change my info." button found at the bottom of the WR Mail Settings Page to officially block the sender.

That's all there is to it. If you change your mind and want to unblock a sender, simply go back into your settings and delete the applicable WR ID.

Future Changes

Soon, we will add a link to the Main View WR Mail page so that you can block a sender with one click. The "Blocked IDs" field will remain in the WR Mail Settings page, though, as it will allow you to mass block and unblock senders.

Related Post:
Organize Your WR Mail Messages


Comment (3)


Fri, Jan 9th - 4:50PM

The Excellent Rings of 2008
Late in December, we asked members to nominate rings they considered excellent. Only 2 members participated, but our staff had a few to nominate as well.

After compiling the nominations, we selected some key staffers to choose the top five rings. One staffer in particular was asked to judge because of her in-depth knowledge of what makes a ring truly excellent. The following summarizes why she selected each ring as excellent:

Permaculture & Sustainable Agriculture
  • All sites in the ring have the preferred SSNB NavBar.
  • Even though there are no HTML or Pass_L sites, neither are prohibited.
  • The ring is free of links and WebRing pages thanks to clearly-stated rules on join page.
  • All sites are on-topic and filled with relevant content.

The Downside: There is no customization of the NavBar to make it unique.

Wide World of Gardening
  • The RM has created subrings.
  • Even though there are no Pass_L sites, they aren't prohibited.
  • The ring is free of links and WebRing pages thanks to clearly-stated rules on join page.
  • All sites are on-topic and filled with relevant content.

The Downside: The manager has a few too many of their own sites in the ring.


 Pomeranian Lovers
  • Allows Pass_L sites.
  • Sites with HTML allowed to stay in ring without updating NavBar to SSNB.
  • All sites are on-topic and filled with relevant content.
  • The NavBar has been customized into a very attractive NavBar.

The Downside: The inclusion of HTML NavBars is double-edged. They're good for members who can't add the SSNB version, but they require more maintenance by members and managers. There are a few links pages, but not enough to detract from the ring's excellence.

 ORIGINAL Transformers WebRing
  • This ring is a fine example of proper ring merging.
  • Allows Pass_L sites.
  • Only 3 of the 96 sites are links pages. For a ring of this size, that's excellent!
  • All sites are on-topic and filled with relevant content.

The Downside: The NavBar hasn't been customized, but more importantly, a ring of this size really should have subrings.

 Dog Breeders
  • The RM has created subrings, lots of them particularly well-suited for a ring of this type.
  • All sites are on-topic and filled with relevant content.
  • Although HTML or Pass_L sites are not prohibited, the ring contains very few such sites.
  • NavBar is highly customized with a snazzy image, and it is sized to meet the dimensions much more commonly used on sites and blogs these days.

The Downside: None!

Why Share This Info?

If you're managing a ring, this gives you some terrific insight into what you should be doing with the rings you manage. If you're a member trying to decide on which ring to join, this info gives some good things to look for when exploring.

The Future of Ring Nomination

Sometime this year, we will put something in place to streamline the process of nominating rings. We have some ideas in mind, like adding a button on every ring hub to nominate.

We would like to hear your ideas on how we can develop the process in a way that encourages you to participate. Share your suggestions as a comment below.


Comment (0)


Wed, Jan 7th - 12:38PM

Review of WebRing 2008

2008 was an exceptionally exciting and productive year for us here at WebRing. Join us as we review all the new utilities and functions that were added to WebRing over the last year.
January Introduced the WebRing Shoutbox
When we first introduced the Shoutbox, this communication tool was met with mixed reviews from the membership. A few members noticed it immediately, but many didn't. More than a few members didn't like the idea of a Shoutbox, but over the year we have revised the Shoutbox multiple times, and it is now a lively hub of member discussions.
 
February Activated Community Rings
This lesser known feature allows members of many WebRing Communities to help manage the rings they belong to.
 
March Reintroduced Video Tutorials
March was a quiet month for development, so we used the time to create a page filled with NavBar installation tutorials for a variety of webpage editing programs. We're always looking for more NavBar installation tutorials. If you have such a tutorial, let us know at feedback@webring.com (make the subject line "NavBar Tutorial").
 
April Relaxed & Played Catch Up Whether for the onset of Spring or tax season, April was a quiet month for development.
 
May Revised My Account Page
After years with the same look, we gave the My Account page a much-needed facelift. After contemporizing general appearance and resituating the available account information, we let members know that they know had their choice of 3 different My Account page styles — Break-It-Up, All-In-One, Classic (for those who preferred the original style).
 
June Held Popular Contest
With the approaching arrival of the WebRing Rewards Room, we needed a name for our cuddly little WebRing black bear. Instead of coming up with a name for the little fellow, we held a contest. Nearly 50members suggested names and a name was chosen — Webster the WebRing Bear. If you have a teddy bear/stuffed animal web page, consider joining Webster on his very own ring — Webster on the Web.
 
July Opened WebRing Rewards Room
After much hype, we opened up the WebRing Rewards Room as a way for members to redeem the Activity Points they had steadily accrued for doing nothing more than using WebRing.

Activated System Profile Pages
WebRing 2.0 members have always had a custom profile page available to them, but 1.0 members merely had a basic contact page. Keeping in mind our goal to expand the social aspect of WebRing, we now provide all members with a basic system profile page. You can use the system profile page to find any member's latest login, active memberships, rings they manage, and see what they do when they're on WebRing.

 
August Introduced the WebRing Super-user
Met with some expected criticism, we upgraded a select group of highly active and trustworthy members to Super-user status. Each Super-user was provided a certain level of access to various areas of WebRing, with the philosophy that by empowering these members they could go forth and help out those needing help on WebRing and to provide a greater level of user satisfaction.
 
September Created the WebRing Newsletter Team
Our editor created a ring, opened the forum and invited the entire membership to contribute to the monthly newsletter. Do you have any WebRing stories or Tech Tips to share? Join the WebRing Newsletter Team!
 
October With 4 new functions introduced, this mid-fall month proved to be a highly active development month for us here at WebRing.

Added Contact Menu to Shoutbox
Now showing in the Shoutbox, a simple hover of your mouse over a member's small icon will reveal a contact menu with four options — Talk Privately with member, Visit Profile, Text Message member, Email member.

Implemented Profile Images
We reset permissions to allow any member to upload their own full-size image to display on profile pages. Also, members can choose to upload a separate small icon for display when posting in the Shoutbox. WebRing 2.0 members also have the added perk of their small icon appearing beside their site title in rings. Want 2.0?

Introduced Pending Submissions List
Now available to select members, the Pending/New Submissions list allows members to help speed up the pending submission process. To find the most current list, check the homepage, the directory category pages or hub pages in the rings you belong to.

Launched SMS
We soft launched the cell phone text message service (SMS) to little fanfare. We still don't have many members using the service, but credits are accumulating. Consider registering your cell and using our service as an inexpensive alternative to texting friends, family and colleagues.

 
November Auction Central Launched
If there's one feature that we added that excited the membership, it was Auction Central — hands down! During this first phase of launch, we have used Auction Central to great success for auctioning off thousands of abandoned rings. Finally after many years, these rings are back in the hands of loving Ring Managers who are doing a grand job nurturing them back to vitality.
 
December Excellent Rings Nominated
Only a couple members joined in the nomination process, but still, 5 rings were selected as the Excellent Rings of 2008! Here they are:

Visit the Permaculture & Sustainable Agriculture WebRing Community   Visit the World Wide Gardens WebRing Community   Visit the Dog Breeders WebRing Community   Visit the Pomeranian Lovers WebRing Community   Visit The ORIGINAL Transformers WebRing Community
 
Coming in 2009
Last year was just the start. 2009 promises to bring bold new additions to WebRing. Among them is the long anticipated all-in-one collaborative tool we are temporarily calling the Comm Center, the opening up of Auction Central for any member to put items up for auction, and the WebRing Mentor Program.

Are there any changes or additions you would like to see us make? Let us know as a comment below.


Comment (0)


Fri, Jan 2nd - 2:45PM

The Final and First Winning Auctions of 2008 & 2009
Congratulations to the last auction winner of 2008 and the first of 2009!

For their wins, WebRing members brentparks and christianvfx are upgraded to our premium membership level for one month.

Member brentparks is now the proud manager of the Professional Photographers ring, and christianvfx is now managing the sizeable Comics ring.

This concludes our awarding of milestone auction wins, but we will continue to monitor how many rings have been won throughout the coming months.  Congratulations to all our Auction Central winners.

Have you visited Auction Central today?
Comment (1)


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