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Pimping Your Webcomic

Okay, forgive me for trolling for ideas, but I'm wondering what methods seem to work best for folks when they're trying to promote their webcomic?

I realize that attempting to influence audience whim is iffy at best, but there must be some way of at least getting folks to glance at a comic that's well written, well drawn, and well plotted. I pimp Terinu at every opportunity, but despite the general excellence of Peta's work, it doesn't seem to get the attention it deserves (Part of the problem, I think, is that Terinu is an odd duck. It's done in a standard comic page layout when most online comics (or at least the ones I regularly read) are in a three to four panel gag-a-day format. OTOH that never stopped Digger or Inverloch).

So anyway, does anyone have any ideas on how to attract a potential audience's attention?

Re: Pimping Your Webcomic

InkTank's picture

Actually, as odd as it sounds, I am considering putting my site URL and perhaps the logo in vinyl on the back window of my vehicles (Honda CRV and Toyota truck). A simple www.inktank.com is short enough to remember for people when they get home (if they are so inclined). I live in the Bay Area, and traffic is a part of living here. If someone is trapped behind me in traffic, might as well sell to them. ;)

Besides, this is exactly the target audience, being in a tech heavy area.

Re: Pimping Your Webcomic

My name is Box Brown and I draw and love comics.  I've been studying and drawing for a few years now and developed a prominent web strip called Bellen!

Bellen! is a comic strip that focuses on love and life at it's most trying.  Ben and Ellen face life's challenges together and are boldly human.

Bellen!

so what's a good amount of hits?

marvelouspatric's picture

so here's the real question i think we all have... how many is a respectable number of readers? what is bad, what is average, what is good? what's the number for a daily? weekly? MWF? i figure if i'm frequently in WCN's top 25, i must be doing okay, but still, i'd like to know.

patric

This thread has been really

akimbocomics's picture

This thread has been really helpful. I wonder though, how did the big sites at the tops of the top-lists get big? Doesn't everyone start from zero? And how big are they; how many visitors do the top sites get?

www.akimbocomics.com

Try submitting it to KungFuGRIP.com

KungFuGRIP.com is a social aggregate site for creative web entertainment - webcomics, videos, machinima. The cool thing for webcomic creators is you can submit each new episode of your webcomic and see if it gets traffic.

RSS Syndication and searchable text

drakee's picture

Thanks everybody, I like the ideas presented in this thread. For my new webcomic, I am trying a couple techniques that require some extra work, but that I hope will make my comic both more accessible and more visible. First, I am providing updates via an RSS feed. A lot of people, including myself, subscribe to news feeds and read most of their web entertainment content from an RSS aggregator. I use www.bloglines.com. Another good online application is reader.google.com.

I think the future of webcomic reading is with RSS sydication - if you read a lot of comics, it's much easier to get them delivered to your news reader than to have to visit each site separately. comicalert.com is a good example of how an RSS aggregator site can make reading tons of comics more convenient. You can learn about how to create an RSS feed from sites such as http://www.techxtra.ac.uk/rss_primer/ and http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rss.

In addition to providing readers with an easy way to fetch comic updates, you gain visibility when you submit your comic for indexing on syndication sites such as syndic8.com and newsisfree.com.

The other thing I'm doing is creating text content to accompany my webcomic. On each comic page, you can click on "ComicsML View" which will give you a text representation of the speech, thoughts, narration, and action in each panel (I use the ComicsML XML format for storing the data. See: http://www.xml.com/pub/a/2001/04/18/comicsml.html).

This not only makes the content searchable if you decide to put a search form on your site, but it will also provide content that google and other search engines can index. So, instead of posting a page with an image and no searchable content, I have a page, i.e. http://theremonstrance.com/?comic=3&comicsml=true that someone may come across if they google "game theory", "orcs", or "nietzsche".

Of course, my strip is only about a month old, so who knows yet how these techniques will work for me!

-Drake [http://theremonstrance.com]

Had RSS requests...

RemusShepherd's picture

I've had multiple readers request an improved RSS feed for my site, so I know RSS is popular. Shame I can't get mine to work. The Comic Genesis RSS has a bug, so that it always updates one page behind (when I update this Friday, the RSS will finally reflect my update from Tuesday). And so far every attempt I've made to create my own RSS file is overwritten by the (old and static) automatically generated CG one.

External RSS creators like Comic Alert operate via voting, which is no help for small comics. After a few months on Comic Alert, I still have only 3 votes. (I should organize my readers to swarm Comic Alert, but I hate giving them orders like that.)

I don't know that RSS is useful for getting new traffic, but it might convince more people who visit your site to become regular readers.

...

 

 ...

I'm an old hand, but I'm

bobweiner's picture

I'm an old hand, but I'm enjoying this discussion. For me, when I was starting, I quickly latched onto tech news sites as a way of getting the word out (I draw single panel nerd comics that appeal to techies and engineers). I have a core audience now - it's not HUGE or anything, but its respectable. The best ad money I spent was advertising on PvP in 2005. Lots of traffic and a decent retention rate after the ad ran its course.

I don't do top lists or anything like that, but for some people I hear they work well.

-Krishna

Krishna M. Sadasivam Cartoonist, "The PC Weenies" http://www.pcweenies.net

Someone told me these days

Eve Z.'s picture

Someone told me these days that a good promotion is making fanart for bigger comics which will put your website link to their page. It worked once for me. ;) I think I should keep it like this, till I grow up.

Synthetic Life

Banner

 I was pretty lucky with

David Simon's picture

 I was pretty lucky with mine. I put a poster in the background of one of my panels promoting Firefly with permission from the creator - who blogged it, and someone read his blog, looked at my webcomic and linked to it from Whedonesque.com. This led to a massive boost in readers, many of whom are not regular webcomic readers but like my art/characters.

 

So it helps to appeal to niche crowds, especially if your work can be thought of as a tribute to something.Â

----

[url=http://www.davidcsimon.com/crimsondark/]Crimson Dark[/url]

Clever!

Xaviar Xerexes's picture

That's a clever spin on the classic "fan-art" or "cameo" tactic that a lot of folks have used (me included...)

____

Xaviar Xerexes

Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Gnaw.

I run this place! Tip the piano player on the way out.

I've done advertising on

jfreedan's picture

I've done advertising on every online format I can think of (link exchanges,top lists, banner advertising, myspace, forums, wikis, and live journals) and the most effective have been message boards and OnlineComics.net

Least effective was paid advertising on other webcomic sites (thousands click to the front page then leave-- retention rate has been practically zero) and livejournal communities. Myspace hasn't been too effective either-- most of the people who send invites just want to sell me something like t-shirts, indie music and porn. I can't remember the last time someone visited from the Myspace account, or any Myspace forums for that matter.

Wikis are pretty good though, for some reason. But I still only get maybe 50-80 hits per day, and I really think most of them are bots...

Toplists....not very effective for me. Rotating banner link exchanges haven't been very effective either.

I recently added page searching on Oh No Robot, so I dunno how that will end up playing out though....

Don't get me wrong; we have a few loyal readers. But, I can count them on my hand, which is slightly depressing. Â

----

Henshin heroes, magical girls, giant robots bishonen vampires, and evil teletubbies-- Deathfist Ninja GKaiser will parody it all!

 

---

Deathfist Ninja GKaiser Anime Parody Webcomic

Non-Paying Angle

Advertising on forums have actually been the BULK of our traffic on our site for Krillon Kallane. Putting in your link i your signature, announcing your webcomic in forums and stuff. These are all the tactics that I used, EXTENSIVELY, to boost up traffic.

 But in the long run, as the others have said, to REALLY get some good traffic, you will have to release some cash.

Thank you Everyone

Sir Talen's picture

Wow, got a lot of good responses here. Terinu is already part of the Buzzcomics list (usually places in the mid-30's), so I guess that's one angle of attack that's been taken. I'll if I can't convince her to place an ad banner on Schlock Mercenary or somewhere similar.

 Thanks again everyone!

 

Read Peta Hewitt's "Terinu" www.terinu.net

Read Peta Hewitt's "Terinu" www.terinu.net

The best way that I pimped

DumokDuvalles's picture

The best way that I pimped my comic is Shameless Self-promotion. I uase what ever chance I can to Plug My cheap trashy comic when ever I can, whether by Word of Mouth or by Advertising on other forums, One method I employed was taking a bunch of index cards and wrote the address of My comic then handing them out at the Big Apple Comic Convetion this past month. Just have fun and find an avenue that works real well.

A Call to Destiny an Adult Sci-Fi webcomic.

My Online Store At LuLu
Check out My Comics!!!.

Another thing that people

Another thing that people forgot to mention is the best advertising source that we have right now. MySpace

Each of the characters from my comic have accounts on MySpace and the main character accepts (almost) everyone as a friend. I also go out and join a bunch of groups and make friends out there. I get about 5% of my uniques from MySpace. sure my total is only about 200 uniques a month, but I'm still very new and I haven't really advertised yet. I wanted to give them a few strips to read before I started all that.

Another good idea is to go around localy and post up fliers. I am going to do that at both of the Universities in my area and I'm almost positive that there will be a large increase in my hits.

Other than that I just add my address to my signatures on my forums that I post on and chat with friends on games and mention the strip.

It just takes time I guess.Â

 

 

<a xhref="http://www.DantheRobot.com"><img xsrc="http://www.dantherobot.com/images/logo.png"></a>

I agree that advertising is

bookofbiff's picture

I agree that advertising is what will give you the biggest boost with the least amount of effort. I think the key is to advertise on other comics sites that are the most like yours. I have a one panel gag comic and the most traffic and the best retention I got was advertising at saturday morning breakfast cereal. I placed ads on other comics sites but none of them were as similar to mine as SMBC and it showed in the traffic. Find comics that already have an audience that would like your material and advertise there.

http://www.thebookofbiff.com/

Few Can Resist That

Sean C's picture

Yeah, they come expecting fan service, only to discover a comic that won't do that kind of thing. They stay for the substance, at least, that's what happened for us.

Don't hesitate to procrastinate. See my stuff at http://www.cuteninjagirls.com

Don't hesitate to procrastinate. My brand new comic: http://cain.bombsheltercomics.com

I got lucky. I plugged my

Sean C's picture

I got lucky. I plugged my comic early on the CAD forums, got some great feedback and reviews, and even made it to their fourm's recommended reading list; that brought in a fairly solid fan base, and we get something in the neighborhood of 800-900 hits a week. CAD's not responsible for all those hits, but it did produce quite a few of them. Sometimes, you just have to plug in the right place to get some serious results. Luck has a lot to do with it.

Don't hesitate to procrastinate. See my stuff at http://www.cuteninjagirls.com

Don't hesitate to procrastinate. My brand new comic: http://cain.bombsheltercomics.com

Importance of a good Title

Scarybug's picture

You also can't underestimate the lure of a catchy title in a link. Who could resist the lure of cute ninja girls? No one. That's who.

___ Nerdcore: The Core Wars

Free ways: always have the

Greg Carter's picture

Free ways: always have the link in your signature - in email, forums, wherever you can. Join toplists such as Buzzcomix, Top Web Comics, and Webbed Comics. Signup at webcomic listing sites including Onlinecomics.net, Comic Alert, the Web Comic List.

Cheap: make business cards with the comic name and web address and a graphic. You can print or copy these yourself in black and white on color cardstock pretty cheap. Print a sheet at a time and cut them out. Get a table at local cons if affordable and as appropriate. Give cards to everyone there and sell a mini collection for .50 to $1.

Still kinda cheap. See if your favorite comics sell advertising. The big traffic site will be expensive. I've had more luck with smaller comics that are somewhat similar to mine. I stick to story comics since that's what I have. Some of these sites are cheap, cheap, cheap for the return you get. Ads on BuzzComics and Onlinecomics.net are good for hitting a broad range of people.

The key to any promotion and/or advertising is to get the name out there. People are more likely to visit if they go "Oh, yeah. I've heard of that." even if it's by name only.

Then it's mostly patience and hanging in there for the long run. Deserving an audience and actually getting one aren't always related. As long as the audience is growing then be happy, but always shoot for more.

And an RSS feed for updates of the comic. Even if you always update on time some people still like to be reminded.

Greg Carter Abandon UpDown Studio

Greg Carter - Abandon: First Vampire - Online Graphic Novel

Top List sites

As a matter of interest, how much traffic do "top lists" actually generate for a new comic?

I've only started adding mine to one or two lists in the last few days and it's occurred to me that, since new comics don't already have an established fan base, they'll tend to sit near the bottom of the list where no-one will see them. This is going to be especially true for sites like BuzzComics and TopWeb Comics where the listings run into hundreds.Â

Don't get me wrong - I'd love for everyone to respond to this by posting the names of dozens of comics that have risen from nowhere to the top ten within the last 6 months but I can't help feeling that top lists are of most benefit to a comic which already has fans rather than a new one just starting out.

Broken Voice Comics
Because comics are not just for kids

Broken Voice Comics
Because comics are not just for kids

Back when I used Top Web

Scarybug's picture

Back when I used Top Web Comics, I found that one could count on about 50-100 more uniques a day if they made it up to the main page.

Unlike some other people on the site, I liked it when a ridiculously popular comic joined up. I went down 1 spot in the ranks, but the site got much more traffic, so there was a bigger chance someone would see my comic.

The point of the toplists isn't to win the internet, it's to catch some more eyeballs.Â

 On the other hand, the advent of the "voting incentive" image changed things. It increased the percentage of your readers who would vote for you, but it reduced the number of people across all the comics who would actually bother looking at the toplist site to see other comics. It also made the whole thing that much more stressful for the cartoonist.

I'm pretty sure Buzz would give you a bigger boost than TWC, but getting on its front page was too hard for me. Fuitad's WCL, when it was up, was at the opposite end. Easier to get a good rank, but it generated much less traffic.

___ Nerdcore: The Core Wars

Some comparative numbers.

RemusShepherd's picture

My comic is about a year and a half old, but I only got linked to the toplists about a month ago. I think you can count me as 'new'.

In my limited experience:

Posting on Forums with a good Sig image linking to your comic: ~1% of my hits. That ends as soon as you stop posting, of course.

Doing fanart: depends on the site for which you do the art. One fanart spike was about 10% of my hits for one month and then went down to one or two hits a month. But that one or two hits a month never goes away -- I'm still getting hits for fanart made a year ago.

Paid Advertisements: Huge spike. Tripled my hits (300% !) while the ads were showing. The ad hits went away when the ads ended, of course, but what's important is how many people stayed. (I seem to have good retention rate; with no ads going on, I'm now regularly getting about 80% of the spike hits)

Wiki entries: ~0.5%. The CG wiki drives more traffic to me than the Comixpedia wiki, but that might be CG people too lazy to actually bookmark me. ;)

Toplists: ~0.5%, comparable to wikis. That's for the big toplists, the smaller ones contribute less.

Other people spontaneously talking about my comic on Livejournal and their own forums: ~1-2% of my hits. But this kind of hits feels better than any other kind. :) It's not something you can arrange, though.

So I'd have to suggest that if you have the money, buy ads. If you don't, make a name for yourself on forums (hopefully but not necessarily comic-related forums), then look at toplists and wikis. Of course if you're already a big name, toplists might do more for you, as people visit the ones at the top more often. I'm just giving you the point of view of a newcomer.

 

 

 ...

Thanks Remus.Being skeptical

Thanks Remus.

Being skeptical about the benefits of top lists as I've already shown myself to be (!), I've been weighing up the benefits of paying for advertising and you've pretty much convinced me that - for a start-up at least -Â it's a necessity.

Do you remember if any of the places you advertised were particularly better or worse than others at generating traffic?

Broken Voice Comics
Because comics are not just for kids

Broken Voice Comics
Because comics are not just for kids

Seems pretty simple.

RemusShepherd's picture

 I've only advertised on three sites -- one small (<100 readers) webcomic, one large (>10,000 readers) webcomic, and one small comic review site. As expected, the large comic blew the others away. It looks pretty simple; the bigger the site on which you run your ads, the more traffic it generates.

I'll know more in a couple months, when I do my second, bigger ad campaign.

 

 

 ...

Thanks, Remus.Do report back

Thanks, Remus.

Do report back ... this has all been extremely helpful!

Smile

Broken Voice Comics
Because comics are not just for kids

Broken Voice Comics
Because comics are not just for kids

Top Lists

[quote=Scarybug]Back when I used Top Web Comics, I found that one could count on about 50-100 more uniques a day if they made it up to the main page.[/quote]

Sure. that's exactly the "Catch-22" I had in mind. If a comic already has a sufficiently large fanbase (and one which is prepared to vote) it can make it to the top page and that "free advertising" will generate new visitors.

For a new comic which is just starting now with a very small (or even zero) fanbase, however, I'm skeptical as to whether it can ever make the top page. If that's the case then, rather than including top lists as part of their marketing effort, new comics need to be seeking out ways to circumvent them.

In my case, as I said, I've only listed my comic in the last few days so, for now, I'm just being patient and watching with interest. In the meantime ... hey, it costs nothing so what have you got to lose!Â

Broken Voice Comics
Because comics are not just for kids

Broken Voice Comics
Because comics are not just for kids

Re: Top Lists

Wislander's picture

It is interesting to read the different approaches that people have employed to promote their web comics. Let me offer a suggestion that has worked outside of the web. I promote a kind of guerilla marketing approach. What has worked well for me has been to print up a few different sticker designs, make about 1000 stickers and hand them out, drop, them or stick them on things around town. I took a road trip that spanned several states and every bathroom or rest stop that I hit along the way ended up with one or more of them stuck on the side of the toilet paper dispenser or paper towel dispenser. There is nothing like direct advertising to a very captive audience. *laughter*

My girlfriend is also really supportive in this process, she never misses putting stickers up in unique locations. One day she went through and put a sticker in every clothes dryer in a Home Depot. You can actually see the spikes in readership when it happens.

The strange part is I have a fairly consistent readership level with occasional spikes, but almost no interactions in my forum area. So people are stopping by to read the strip, but not hanging around for anything else.

Kenn Wislander
The Angry Bunny
Embrace Your Inner Anger