Ring Around The Web
Say you have a site on midget bondage or something similarly unusual; you may have a hard time finding traffic. Your best option would be to find someone with the same sort of site and do a link trade. WebRings are traffic tools that basically do just that!
What Is A WebRing?
A WebRing is an organized bunch of similarly themed linked sites that trade their traffic with each other in one big circle-jerk of happiness. Sound cool? Heck, you probably discovered WebRings as a surfer, while hanging out on an Elvis memorabilia site or something and you found the little graphic link that popped you over to a bunch of other Elvis sites; one right after the other, after the other, after the other… “Wow! Look at this whole Bunch of Elvis memorabilia sites!” I'm sure you thought you found the greatest thing since Yahoo!
Way back when, when you built your very first “Hey look at Me!” site, I’ll bet you remembered traveling along those WebRings, and ran around signing up to everything you could find - like all the other first time webmasters. Good for you!
An Original Source Of Traffic
If you have never used WebRings then you need to keep reading, as you’re about to learn a thing or two about this nifty source of traffic.
WebRings have been around for a very long time – they’re one of the oldest sources of traffic on the ‘Net – and it is probably the most common place for new webmasters to get start-up traffic. You go to one central site ( http://ringsurf.com/ ) and do a topic search through the rings for something that meets your needs. Once you find something, you fill out a simple form and grab some code to put on your site. This code will make it possible for someone in the same ring to click NEXT and land feet-first in your site. Once the RingMaster activates your code, you’ll be included in the next – “Surf ‘Round the WebRing…”
WebRings: A Good Place For Newbies!
WebRings are handy when you first start out, as getting links from other people’s sites can be very difficult when you start and getting traffic from search engines is a challenge that most new people just can't cope with. More often than not, your traffic problems are all centered around the fact that your site is ugly (and amateur) and nobody (with the exception of the WebRings) would ever deal with you. Not an attack on you – you’re just new and we all have to start someplace.
Cuddling Up And Camping Out
If you’re small and playing with websites for fun and attention, as opposed to profit, then you can cuddle up and camp out on the WebRings. No need to look any further boys and girls because the WebRings can provide you a steady source of eyes. It doesn't take any time to get this little bit of traffic and you can feel warm and fuzzy about building your site. WebRings are an excellent source of small volume, targeted traffic – surfers find you, because you are offering exactly what they’re looking for. If you’re looking to make money off of your site, then this is not a permanent solution to your traffic woes. While WebRings will get you traffic, it will never get you a ton of traffic. Most webmasters learn to set up an entry page strictly for their WebRing surfers, so the rest of the surfers never even see them.
Wanna Go Big Time?
WebRings can be a clever a tool to get a little bit of traffic today in order to generate a ton of traffic later. You can actually get a fair little chunk of traffic from the WebRings but you have to know how to play it. You don't want to have 10-20 WebRings all going to the same site because you have to post the link for each ring. It doesn’t take much to junk up your site something fierce with a ton of WebRing graphics.
This is how you do it: Build lots and lots of carbon-copy sites and make the signup form at the WebRing your new hobby. Fill out a ton of forms all at once. Sign up for every “on topic” ring out there, but only assign 2-3 “on topic” WebRings per copy-site. This way your site is on every “on topic” ring and you’re pulling traffic from all over the place for years to come.
Sure you have to update a bunch of sites but you didn't have to work hard to get the traffic. It’s not a lot of traffic by most people’s standards, but it’s a nice steady and targeted volume forever and ever more. Nifty huh?
When To Just Say NO!
So, you’ve been running your little website for six months to a year, and you have noticed that the little counter on your site is really humming along. Your tracker says you’re getting traffic from directories and maybe from people’s web-logs (blogs). On top of this, you’re well ranked in the search engines – in fact you’re now getting more traffic from the search engines and other sources than from your WebRings.
Your WebRings are now doing more harm than good. Once your traffic from other sources exceeds the traffic from your WebRings – It is time to remove them. When you first start out, WebRings are a nifty source of traffic, but they are also a traffic leak.
Any link that leaves your site and doesn't go to a sponsor or affiliate, that makes you money is a traffic leak. Don't feel bad about pulling them down it is the natural evolution of things. You’re growing! Congratulations!
How To Stop The WebRing Train
You have come to the conclusion that you have finally outgrown the use of WebRings. What to do, what to do? Well, take the little buggers down and close up that traffic leak! It is only polite to contact the WebRing administrators and let them know you’re removing your link. If you fail to do this then you are going to be stealing traffic from the ring until they notice that your link has been removed and close the hole from their end. Let the admin know. It's the right thing to do to. They have been a solid source of traffic for your site for a while. It’s the least you can do for all that steady service.
Begin Again Finnegan?
Now it’s time to consider doing it all over again. Are you making money off your site? If the answer is “yes” then you can see how that WebRing gig wasn't a bad deal huh? Consider this: Your site is all grown up and standing on it own – supporting itself! You used the WebRings for what they were designed for; generating traffic: and you profited from the exposure you received.
If you’re still not making any money off the site but you’re enjoying yourself and your visitors, then leave the rings up and keep on keeping on. More power to you!
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