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"Help Answers" compiled from Ringmasters-l mail list

Web Ring Help


STARTING A NEW WEBRING

Some pointers if you are new to Webrings.

How do I get started on my webring? Where do I put it?

I would like to know the same thing... I tried to start one but it confused me so I erased it... I subscribed to this to see if maybe I would get a few ideas of how to get started and stuff, but so far it's not working too good...

The very best way to learn about Webrings is to join an existing ring (eg. Find a ring that you like , go to their Webring page, join it, and put the code for their ring on your Web site page).
By joining an existing ring, you can see how the whole system works, and what you will need to start your own ring.

For your own Webring, you will need:

A WEBRING HOME PAGE, which includes
  1. A description of what a Webring is

  2. Why you should join a Webring

  3. A Logo, or at least, a name for your Webring.

  4. The submission form for joining

  5. The HTML Frag(ment) for their Web page

  6. Describe what happens when you click on a webring button

You can also customize the e-mails generated by Webring.org to include the HTML code fragment. (see more below about e-mail customization)

Please re-read this portion of what Webring.org has to say on their first page about creating a *New* ring.

"Managing your own Webring is not easy. If you have your own web page and want to become involved with Webrings, the easiest way to do so is to join an existing ring. To find a Webring that might be appropriate for your page, take a look at Ring World, our online catalog of the Webrings."

If you're pretty sure you don't want to join an existing ring, there are a few things that you should keep in mind:

1.Getting a ring started can be time consuming. Finding sites
to join, e-mailling them, and convincing them to do so takes
time, and can be a bit frustrating.
2.Being a ringmaster/ringmistress can be a lot of work,
particularly when your ring starts to grow.
3.Creating a good Webring requires a pretty solid
understanding and ability to use HTML. If you're just starting
out on the web, creating a ring now is probably not the best
plan; it would probably be better to first join an existing ring
to gain an understanding of how the system works.
-- Morgan Smith

Regarding your HTML frag(ment), it is a good idea to join your own ring several times with bogus URL's just so you can check the E-mails sent by Webring.org and that everything else works fine. You can always delete the bogus sites later.
Instructions for formatting the E-mails can be found on our "Main Menu" pages. Click on "HTML basic code".
Additional detailed instructions on placing the "Frag(ment) in the Webring.com e-mails can be found here:
Web Ring Fragment Instructions (by Suzanne Bucciarelli)
and
Angelea Kelly's "Frag" Instructions
-- Morgan Smith

I new at being a Ringmaster, but I just jump in and I doing fine.
It's easy to make a webring. What you have to do first is join an existing webring, and see how it works, then hopefully you know what the HTML code is trying to do.
Then if there is something from one webring that you like and something from another one also, then just borrow those ideas and play around until up get what you want.
For instance I took two Jeff Gordon Webrings, I took one half from one, and the another half from the other one, and a little playing around till I got what I wanted and, bingo, I made my very first webring.
-- Dwayne Washington

Since there are a lot of new people asking general questions thought I should post this again. Here are my steps to creating a webring you can be proud of.

#1) The Idea. If you are going to form a ring, it should be about something. There should be a reason for people to want to look at all the different sites on the ring. Recognize the scope of your subject, if it is too general, it may not serve anyone's needs (the ring of webpages), if it is too specific you may have trouble getting very many sites to sign up, or visitors to your ring (The ring of Facial moles of 18th Century Dressmakers), so you should try to determine that there are a fair number of webpages on your subject. Also determine if your topic already has a ring devoted to it. Search the webring entries and look on prospective members pages to see if one already exists. If one does exist already, you may want to consider joining the existing ring, or changing the subject to make it more useful to surfers.

#2) Assuming that you have a great idea that nobody else is doing, and you know some sites that would be likely to join your ring... now you want to create it, its main page, and its ring fragment. My advice is simple, steal from the best, and then make it your own. Look through a lot of rings and their homepages, and take the one who's layout you like the most, and use their layout. Take the three best descriptions of what a webring is, and combine them to make your own description. Take the signup form that fits best with your page, and change the ringid to your own. When I created my ring fragment, I used a template from the FAQ, but pick the one you like best as your template, whether from the FAQ, or someone's site.

#3) Create some graphics. You can get someone to make them for you, or use a program to create some. Keep them relatively small, under 10K or preferably under 8K. Some of your ring members may be on slow servers and the smaller the graphic files size, the more likely it will load up before the surfer gets bored and goes elsewhere. Ways to keep it small... keep its dimensions down to a manageable size, if you can make it a GIF file with a small color palette, that is best, if you need a wide color range, make it a JPEG file. (in general Logo like graphics work well in GIF, Photo type graphics are best as JPEGS). I kept mine real simple, creating a simple black and white logo, and using a simple next button that I got from a CD of images (but you can find them for free on free graphic websites as well). Remember that most company logos are simple because simple color contrasts draw the eye more than fancy images (plus they save on printing costs).

#4) Setup your webring administration options. Try to understand what they mean, and use those --id-- things. When you think you've got them right, submit a test site, and check all the e-mails and pages that come up to see that they are what you want. Make sure the right id number is coming up, put it on a test page, and make sure that it works. You should test as many aspects of your ring as possible before you advertise to your first outside member. If they join your ring, and it has problems and doesn't work correctly, they will probably leave and never come back.

#5) After you have nice graphics, and the home page you want, and have tested your rings operations, start getting members. Remember that the first few members are going to be the hardest to get, because no one wants to join a club with no members. It's when the cool people join that everyone wants to get in, so go ahead and engage in long dialogues with those people who have the best sites in your subject area, if you can convince them to join you have eliminated a major roadblock to your ring's growth.

#6) Remind your ring members that it is in their best interest to encourage other people to join the ring, so that everyone can share in the traffic. Try not to advertise that they will get a lot of traffic, because they may not, emphasize the quality of traffic (fresh traffic coming from like minded sites) and the community that you are forming. Once your ring gets large enough, you won't even have to advertise to see it grow, since people will see your fragment on other people's sites and want to join just from knowing that they have.

Finally, the most important thing to running a webring in my opinion is to keep three things in mind, the needs of the surfer, the needs of the ring member and the needs of the ring as a whole. The surfer wants to be able to go through the ring until they find a site that they want to check out, and then get back on the ring after they have checked it out. They want sites with interesting and varied content that sticks with the subject matter. The ring member wants to get good traffic coming to their site, and ideally, have more people come to their site than leave it. (unless they are leaving by clicking on a paid banner, or have bookmarked the site first) They want to make sure that they are getting a fair deal in other words, but will sometimes try and make the deal more in their favor if you let them. The ring as a whole is served by a lack of dead sites, all its members being satisfied and having members, surfers and visitors feeling good about the ring and the benefits of joining it.

You can't please all of the people all of the time, but if you can satisfy as many as possible you will be a successful ringmaster.
All of the above is, of course, my humble opinion.
-- Eric Stokien

Also visit Virginia Blalock's MAKING A WEB PAGE for some good pointers

and if you want to learn HTML, go to KISS HTML on this website.

Other very helpful Web sites are by Laura Anne Seabrook. The first explains "WEB SITE DESIGN":
http://members.forfree.at/~seabrook/
and the second explains "HOW A WEBRING WORKS":
http://www.nettaxi.com/citizens/Seabrook/hwrw.htm

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