Web rings are collections of web sites organized around a similar theme. Each site agrees to incorporate the web ring’s code into their site. This code typically provides links to allow your visitors to go to the next site in the web ring, the previous site, to a random site, and to the web ring’s central site. The central site lists all of the sites on the web ring.

There are literally thousands upon thousands of such web rings. Because there are dozens of sites which organize web rings, there may be dozens of web rings for any given subject. Before considering whether you should join a web ring, you need to find as many of them as possible for the subject you’re interested in. If you’re really looking to dig deep into the available web rings, a search on Yahoo for “web rings” will make your head spin. The leading web ring site appears to be www.webring.org, with several other contenders nipping at their heels.

Web rings used to be much more popular than they are today. Since there are so many, the value of joining a web ring is seriously diluted. However, if your site is targeted to the right type of groups, a web ring may be an essential component of your marketing strategy. If you’re trying to reach hobbyists, collectors, or fans of a particular musical group or genre, web rings will be more attractive to you than they would be if you’re trying to sell dog food. The trick, of course, is to find and join the most popular web ring. This is not necessarily the web ring with the most sites ? what you really want is the web ring that will deliver the most traffic to your site.