Christian Comic Arts Society

A Network of Christian Fellowship for Comics Fans, Pros, and Amateurs

This is in response to Janae Grace Huber's request for advice for a webcomic newbie... and it's way too long for a status comment, so...

There's basically three "costs" in starting a website of any kind:

  • Loss of control of your content.
  • Your time and effort.
  • Money.

When you minimize one of these, but the others go up.

Sites like Wordpress and Blogger will set you up with a site for free and at low effort, but at a loss of control. (In that they can display ads on your site. Also their terms of service need to be read carefully. Sometimes services want to be able to use your content to promote their own service)

You can pay them to remove ads, but of course, that's more money for less loss of control.

You can pay to have your site hosted, which shouldn't cost more than $10/mo. for a small site plus about $10 a year for a domain. Some hosts offer a sitebuilder. Many have easy installations for wordpress or other content management systems (CMS).

There's a catch with those sometimes. Since they use pre-built templates, there's usually a link on the bottom of each page to the designer and/or the sitebuilder. In other words, ads. You can pay for a custom template (more money) or design your own (more effort).

You can also design your own site from scratch. The amount of effort that goes into this depends a lot on how interactive you want your site to be. It also depends on what you already know.

So, here's the bottom line. If you want to be in webcomics, I recommend learning some of the "web" part as well as the "comics" part. The extra effort will give you more options, and can save you money and help maintain control of what your readers see when they read your work.

Libraries will have books on making websites. Some libraries even offer online courses. Here's some tips for picking a book:

  • Pick more than one. It's a library, they're free, and different teaching styles work better for different people. (I'm usually fond of O'Reilly, Visual Quickstart and Missing Manual.)
  • Look for recent books. Something in the last few years if possible, the newer the better. The internet changes quick, and some things I learned fifteen years ago when I made my first site are would be terrible advice now.
  • Other than titles just saying "how to make a website", look for books about things like HTML5 and CSS, or Wordpress.

There's also plenty of websites that teach webdesign.

Ok... That was a lot of typing.

Any other webcartoonists have any other advice?

Views: 37

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Thank you for the advice! It was really helpful! I'll look around at my local library for some of those books, thanks!

No problem. Glad it helped.

I should probably clarify that while "Visual Quickstart" and "Missing Manual" are brands (like "for dummies") O'Reilly is a publisher. So an O'Reilly book might not mention the name in the title. (Their covers are very distinctive though, with a realistic engraving of a seemingly random animal on each one.) O'Reilly does publish other "brands" of books too, but the animal ones are the kind I was talking about.

But ultimately, you just have to find a style of learning that works for you.

Aaron, what do you think of webcomic portals like Webtoons?

Personally, I haven't seen one I'm a fan of, for a few reasons. Basically it all stems from the fact that it's not your playground. (and this can apply to a lot of sitebuilders, blog platforms, etc) It's true that you may get more readers on a portal. And it is (usually) simpler. But:

If they want to run ads, they can. If they want to promote other comics, they can. Either of those could range from innocuous to horrifically inappropriate. But you don't get to control what your work is used to promote. It's their playground.

If they want to change the rules, they can. People are discovering this about Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, etc. lately. If they don't like what you have to say (or who you are), they can kick you off, shadowban you, demonetize your videos. And they have the right to do it, because it's their playground.

Which leads to the next issue. (Which also applies to proprietary website builders.) Let's say they kick you off. Or shut down. Or get bought out and wind up going downhill. Is your content/site portable? If one of those things happened to my webhost, I could find another and upload a backup of my site. Then I could tell my domain name registrar that I have a new host, and I'm pretty much set. (Which, by the way, is why you should always register your domain with a company other than your webhost.)

Another thing to know about having a website is privacy regulations. Recently the GDPR went into effect. Even thought it's an EU regulation, it still effects most sites. California recently created a privacy regulation, but last I heard, it's not finished yet. There are regulations too, largely involving sites aimed at minors. It's something that you'll have to be aware of.

(as an aside, Shopify has a privacy policy generator I've found helpful.)


Welcome to the Christian Comic Arts Society (CCAS) Online Network!

Did you know that CCAS has monthly meetings in the Los Angeles area? Contact Eric Jansen for more info!


Also, members of CCAS have produced the APAzine ALPHA-OMEGA for over 25 years!  We have about five openings right now!  Contact Eric Jansen for more info!  (This is a 30-member active-participation-only photocopied magazine for Christian writers and artists who submit a "trib" every other month for fun, fellowship, and critiques by other members.  Between postage and your photocopying costs, you might pay anywhere from $5 to $25 per issue.)

© 2018   Created by CCAS Web Admin.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service