When I first became interested in the internet it was awhile before I heard about web-rings. It's sort of like a specialized surfing club. People who share a like interest will group together and form a ring. You place the code on your site and other members of the ring will visit you. Likewise, people who are interested in the subject matter can end up at any one of the member sites in the ring via a search engine and then start surfing the ring.
I believe the web-rings started as a way to sort of organize content on the web. There was a time when there either weren't any search engines or the ones available did not return real good information. Because of this like sites came together in an attempt to pool their resources and get folks to visit them.
If you find a particular ring that interests you, take the time to visit several of the sites to see if your site would compliment the ring. If you want to join you apply for membership and the ring-master will have a look at your site to see if you meet the qualifications for the ring. If your site is deemed suitable the ring-master will e-mail you with the code you need to place on your page that will make you part of the ring.
Typically, you can either skip from one ring to another in an ordered fashion or you can click on the random button to get any one in the group. I think it's a wonderful way to meet other folks who have interests the same as you do.
The rings concerned with this site deal, for the most part, with matters spiritual, new age, or psychic. I have branched out slightly and with my Spirited Recipes page placed a web-ring of folks interested in recipes.
Currently I belong to 21 different rings in the WebRings System. Clicking on the above word "here" will open up a new window and take you to a gazillion more webrings on this page...they only show one at a time...nice and neat!
A cab driver reaches the Pearly Gates and announces his
presence to St. Peter, who looks him up in his Big Book.
Upon reading the entry for the cabby, St. Peter invites him to
grab a silk robe and a golden staff and to proceed into Heaven.
A preacher is next in line behind the cabby and has been
watching these proceedings with interest. He announces
himself to St. Peter. Upon scanning the preacher's entry in
the Big Book, St. Peter furrows his brow and says, "Okay, we'll
let you in, but take that cloth robe and wooden staff."
The preacher is astonished and replies, "But I am a man of
the cloth. You gave that cab driver a gold staff and a silk robe.
Surely I rate higher than a cabby."
St. Peter responded matter-of-factly: "Here we are interested
in results. When you preached, people slept. When the cabby
drove his taxi, people prayed."