A web ring, or webring, is a group of websites revolving around a central topic and connected in circular fashion by a navigation menu embedded on each member website.
Let's say that you have a blog about eateries in Atlanta, Georgia. You happen to know a guy who runs a website that advertises upcoming concerts around Atlanta. In addition, you know a gal who runs a classified ads website in the Atlanta area. The three of you get together and realize that you're catering to a lot of the same customers, and you'd like to pool your audiences, so you build a navigation menu that will sit in the footer of each of your websites with links pointing towards each others websites.
You've just created a webring.
Web rings were popular in the 1990s and early 2000s, especially among amateur niche websites. Several services, such as WebRing, were launched and made it easier for webmasters create web rings.
At this point web rings have fallen out of style and are nearly completely unused. Those web rings that are still functional often include dead websites that haven't been updated in years. In addition, most internet users aren't familiar with webrings and are unlikely to use a webring navigation menu.
Frequently Asked Questions
I'd like to see a web ring in action. Where can I find web rings to browse?
WebRing still offers active web rings. You may find that some of the websites listed in the rings are no longer available, and many that are available haven't been updated in a very long time. Overall, this website serves as a pretty good indication of the overall condition of web rings on the web.
Are web rings a good way to increase website traffic?
Years ago web rings were marginally useful in increasing website traffic. However, at this point it is not advisable to join a web ring. Doing so would mark your website as outdated, and they are so seldom used by today's website visitors that they are unlikely to produce a notable boost in traffic.
If web rings are no longer a good option, how can I build connections with similar websites?
Most websites today include a blog. One effective way to build connections with related websites is to get in touch with them and work out an agreement based on blog content.
Guests posts are one popular way for blogs to make connections. A well-written guest post that includes a link back to your own website in the About the Author section at the bottom of the article provides genuine value to the blog's regular readers and will give interested readers the opportunity to find your website. Another idea would be to ask a website you want to network with to review a product or service you offer, and to post the review and a link back to your site on their blog.
Whatever the agreement you reach, the website you wish to network with may be more receptive to the idea if you agree to extend the same privilege to them on your own site so that the arrangement is beneficial for both of you.