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Sat, Jun 28th - 7:10PM

The Controversy over Link Farms
Link farms and WebRing pages — Do they add to or decrease the value of a WebRing Community? First, we should provide a definition for each:

Link Farms
A link farm is a web page with nothing more than a list of links to other sites. The links can appear as text or as linked images.

Why They Exist
Until recently, links were one of the most effective ways to increase a website's traffic. Search engines looked to links to establish a site's authority. Of course, with any system, the abuse took its toll.

Issues They Cause
With their reputation as the best search engine on the Web waning, Google changed their algorithm to prioritize sites based on content and updates. Now, sites that rely on linking to drive traffic to their sites are suffering. This doesn't mean that networking or establishing reciprocal links will result in low rankings, but static pages crammed full of links do. A WebRing Community filled with Link Farms is virtually ignored by search engines, and visitors have little to no use for them.

WebRing Pages
A WebRing page is a page filled with nothing but the WebRing NavBar. They can either contain one NavBar or an entire stack.

Why They Exist
Originally, WebRing pages were created as a way to provide a page for the WebRing NavBar. In order to join a WebRing Community, you need to have the NavBar on your page, as they are the key to creating "rings" of sites. Many had issues adding the NavBar to their sites due to restrictions with their web editing software or host. Others treated the NavBar like a blemish, and many still do. Yet in order to get approved for membership, the site owner had to add the NavBar. Hence, the creation of the WebRing page. Just provide a link on your main site to your WebRing page and you pass the checker.

Issues They Cause
Quite simply, they provide zero relevance and create complexity in navigation. Think of this as a visitor. You come to WebRing hoping to find information on a particular subject. You click on a site title and find... a NavBar stack. Assuming this is just one poor site in a sea of good ones, you click to preview the next site. Same results. You give it one more chance, and once again, another WebRing page. What do you do? You leave the WebRing Community and go back to Google up another site.

Another huge issue is the lack of content. Search engines want content, not links. To Google, Yahoo, MSN... WebRing pages are essentially link farms. If you have chosen to create a WebRing page, you are minimizing the effectiveness of joining WebRing in the first place.

Our Advice vs. Your Preference
Within the last year, we have encouraged Community Managers to clean their rings, to purge them of link farms and WebRing pages, to encourage their members to place the NavBars near content. The reaction has been mixed, to say the least. Many managers are coming around to this way of thinking, despite the negative reactions they have received from long-time WebRing members.

What Do You Think?
We would like to hear from all of you, members and managers. We want to hear about how you've dealt with this situation.
  • Do you think link farms and WebRing pages decrease the value of WebRing Communities?
  • As a manager, how do you deal with link farms and WebRing pages?
  • As a member, does it bother you that your Community Manager approves link farms and WebRing pages?
  • As a member who submits link farms and WebRing pages, are you offended when a manager denies your application to join the community?

Comment (5)


Thu, Jun 26th - 1:14AM

Choosing a Great WebRing Community
Not all WebRing Communities are created equal. If you've rooted through the thousands of the Communities, you've probably noticed that some are better than others.

Of course, "better" varies depending on your tastes. Some members adore a simple bare-bones site, while others prefer the flash of a Web 2.0 blog or a social network page. Whatever your tastes, the qualities of a great WebRing Community are consistent.

When choosing a WebRing Community to join, consider the following:

  • Are the sites listed "on topic"? Nothing stops a visitor from continuing to preview the sites in a Community quite as quickly as off-topic sites. If you're looking for articles on the US Presidential Elections, you don't want to have to wade through sites trying to sell you widgets.
  • Do the sites listed contain quality content? Use the WebRing site preview window to check out each site. Avoid Communities with sites that mostly contain WebRing or links pages. In terms of search engines, content is king.
  • Are the sites regularly maintained? Dead sites deter from the overall visitor satisfaction, which generally results in their leaving.
  • Are all the sites in the Community still active? The dreaded 404 Page Not Found message is equally as deadly to visitor satisfaction.
  • Is the manager active? In the title bar of each Community, you can click on the manager's WebRing ID to open their profile page. From there, you can see how long it has been since they last signed in. If it's been more than a few weeks, the Community is not managed as well as you might prefer.
  • Has the manager made the forum available and is it used by the members? Forums are one of the easiest ways to communicate with your fellow members. They also keep the Community updated with new content, another key strategy to attracting the attention of the search engines.

Comment (3)


Thu, Jun 19th - 1:43PM

Name The Bear Contest
We've been working hard here at WebRing to put together the Rewards Room. What's the Rewards Room? This is your place to redeem those activity points that you have accumulated over the past few months. In the Rewards Room, you will have the opportunity to exchange your points for some fun items.

Name this WebRing Teddy Bear!Among the offerings is the WebRing Teddy Bear. As we selected items to offer, this little fellow seemed like a no-brainer. He (or she, if you prefer) was just too cute not to include in the Rewards Room.

Yet, this black bear is missing something... a name!

We could have collaborated among ourselves to determine some snappy name. Instead, we thought it would be more fun to hold a contest.

"Name The Bear" Contest Rules

  • To submit your suggestion for the bear's name, leave a comment below on this blog post. Make sure to include your WebRing ID in the Name or Alias section of the comment form. If you don't and you happen to win, we would have no way to contact you for your prize otherwise.
  • You may only submit up to one name per day.
  • Only WebRing members are eligible to participate.
  • You have until July 15, 2008 at 12:00 PST to submit suggested names.

After the suggestion phase ends, we will narrow the suggestions down to five names. Afterward, we will post a poll where you can vote for your favorite name.

What Can You win?
As the winner of the "Name The Bear" contest, you will win one of the teddy bears AND one month of WebRing 2.0 Membership.

Regarding the Use of the Comments
We chose to use the comments section instead of a simple text field in order to encourage discussion. Part of our revised mission at WebRing is to create a greater sense of community, to bring people together. We strongly believe that discussions greatly contribute to a community. Even if you don't have any names to suggest for the WebRing Teddy Bear, you can always discuss or nominate some of the suggestions.

What would you name the WebRing Teddy Bear? Comment below!
And, don't forget to spread the word about the contest ;)

We also welcome any clever little backstory that you might wish to provide the bear.


Comment (61)


Fri, Jun 13th - 2:49PM

Friday Forums: Techno-Heroes in the Movies
After last week's post, we've monitored forum activity so that we could report on some of the hot discussions taking place on WebRing. During the process, we discovered a sad fact: WebRing forums are sorely underused.

No worries,though. We'll start some conversations on our own! With so many high-tech heroes hitting the silver screen this summer, we posted a couple topics for discussion.

Batman - The Dark Knight WebRing
What do you think of the new Batman movies?

Iron Man - RING OF IRON
Was Robert Downey Jr The Best Pick?








We would like to feature a hot forum every Friday. If you get a particularly interesting forum discussion started, let us know in the comments section of this blog.

What are you Batman and Iron Man fans waiting for? Click on one of the two links above to join in the conversation.




Comment (0)


Thu, Jun 12th - 3:41PM

Name Your Blog!
Here's a quick tip for all you WebRing bloggers: Naming your blog brings more traffic to your content.

The concept is simple. Every piece of text on your blog is fodder for the search bots. These little online programs crawl throughout the internet and index webpage after webpage. As they do so, they send back the information they receive to their main servers. When someone searches for a certain word, or series of words, the engines serve up results based on the info the bots crawled up for them.

With that said, how you name your blog is important. Make sure your blog's title reflects the nature of your content, product, brand or service. The current default for all WebRing blogs is to show your user ID.

Here's how to change your blog title:
  1. Look for "Blog Settings" in the right links of your main blog page and click the link to open the settings page.
  2. Enter the title of your blog in the second text field labeled "Blog Title."
  3. Scroll down and click the "Save" button.
That's it! While you're  there, consider categorizing your blog as well as writing an SEO-rich description and adding keywords.
Comment (0)


Wed, Jun 4th - 1:12PM

Talk Among Yourselves: Use Forums to Connect with Other Members
Our tagline best defines the purpose of WebRing: Creating Communities. Connecting People. On a technological level, our unique NavBar does just that, but it's not the only option we provide for connecting people.

If connection is what you seek, you don't necessarily need a Web site to participate on WebRing.

Connecting With Other WebRing Members

There are many ways you can start dialog with other members. There's the Shoutbox and the WebRing blogs, and of course, you can always contact members directly via their profiles. Then there's one of the most effective ways to engage in terrific discussions: Forums!

Every WebRing Community has the ability to have a forum. When you visit a community, look for the "Forum" tab. If it's present, it has a forum. Whether that forum is "active" or not will require you to take a peek. Many managers turn on their forums to provide the space for you to start a discussion, ask questions, or just share what you're doing in regards the topic of the forum. They're just not always used by the members.

Here are some effective and active forums you can find:
If you don't have a Web site and have been wondering how you can participate in WebRing, here's an outlet. Search for some WebRing Communities that focus on your interest and then check to see if they have enabled their forum. If they do, join the forum and start a new thread or reply to some that have already started.

Want to see a forum activated in a particular WebRing Community?
Contact the manager and detail the conversation you wish to have in the forum. Not all managers will grant your request, but you never know until you ask.

Here's a Tip for All You WebRing Community Managers
You can use forums to drive more traffic to your Community. Start some threads on your forum, then be proactive and notify your members that you've started the conversation. Remember that in terms of search-generated traffic these days, content is king. Forums rank high in search results, especially if they are active.

Share Your Favorite Forums
The conversations that take place on forums can get pretty interesting. We would like to start a weekly tribute called "Forum Friday." Have you monitored or partaken in a particularly intriguing forum discussion? Let us know by commenting below and we'll consider featuring it!

Comment (2)


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