Sequential Underground #47 – Webcomics Hosts vs. Web Hosts

Sequential Underground

Dan Greenwald, Shawn Atkins, and Nick Marino weight the pros and cons of using a webcomics host to house your comics versus building your own website using a web host.

Webcomics hosts like Smack Jeeves, ComicFury, Comic Genesis, and Drunk Duck provide webcomics-focused layouts and built-in communities hungry for new content. But they also limit your options and put you at the mercy of somebody else’s web design and functionality.

Web hosts like Dreamhost and blogging services like Blogger and WordPress offer increased customization, fully-controlled content, and the ability to advertise freely on your webcomics site. But they also require more time, more maintenance, and more knowledge.

Listen to our debate to find out who wins!!! (Hint: nobody wins.)

Sequential Underground is a member of the Comic Related Podcasting Network!

7 Responses to “Sequential Underground #47 – Webcomics Hosts vs. Web Hosts”

  1. 1 Brian John Mitchell

    The problem with making Facebook your main thing is that Facebook will eventually die off. Remember MySpace? Or ComicSpace was awesome for 6 months a couple of years ago. Once a site fails you lose contact with those fans. I’m still trying to recover from the fall of MySpace as for me Facebook & Twitter work totally different as communities that I haven’t been able to really crack in the same way.

    Getting people to help on your site design is fine *if* you have a partial grasp of HTML. I go to other folks all the time for specific help on things like making a mailing list capture or a few other things beyond my expertise. It is worth noting that it’s pretty standard to just clone the site of someone if you like they’re design.

    Also RSS set-up can be super important for autogenerating posts on Twitter& such & in general that means using a blog platform of some sort instead of raw HTML.

    Another big plus for someone like WP is it generally still looks pretty good on phones while raw html can get pretty ugly on phones.

  2. 2 nick marino

    I agree about Facebook… but I also think that’s just a symptom of the web. I mean, there’s no guarantee a WP webcomics theme will continue to be updated and compatible with future WP updates. Hell, there’s no guarantee WP will survive the next five years. So while I see that vulnerability within Facebook’s network, I think don’t it makes FB more risky than any of the popular blogging platforms (take LiveJournal, for example… a blog social network that’s like a wasteland now).

    Good point about RSS, though I’d argue that auto-generating Tweets and FB posts is a bit overrated and overused by creative people.

  3. 3 Smars

    this was a yummy good episode.

    full of good discussion.

    haha yah, i use smackjeeves only as a portal to my site.
    i post a preview of the latest comic there with a link going back to my website and occasionally make some noise in the forums.
    but i don’t really have the time.
    smackjeeves doesn’t do as much traffic for me as deviant art does, i think because of the over saturation of comics there, but it’s hard to get people to leave dA and go to an external site. :/

    and the external site is made for all those people who are turned off by the massiveness of dA.

    I don’t believe in channeling ALL your traffic into one place. because like i stated before, not everyone likes a place like dA, and won’t follow the link because they think it’s a juvenile place filled with porn art and terrible anime fanart.
    but, i don’t believe a creator should have more than two hosting options for content. I’m okay with using places like smakejeeves, G+, faceebook etc. as portals that show previews of the comics and then take them back to one of the two host sites.
    am I repeating myself? i feel like I am. C:

    as far as adverting on smackjeeves… you can, but 1 of 2 ways. as a featured comic because you pay for advanced features and such. or through project wonderful ads that run above the featured comics and such. it’s pretty good as far as traffic. whenever i use PW to advert on SJ i get a pretty good group of traffic.

  4. AudioShocker Shoutouts!

    Dead Mondays webcomics

  5. 4 Brian John Mitchell

    That brings up an interesting point, that I don’t know who the qualified guests for an episode for it might be, but how much is advertising worth & where are some effective outlets? Google Adwords, Facebook Ads, Project Wonderful, Ad Trades, etc. Are they effective? When would it be worth $50 to spend on ads versus spending $50 to send out promos versus $50 for a show table versus $50 to just print up flyers.

  6. 5 Panic

    This episode really spoke to me, having within less than two years tried out two of these models. We (The Yamagato Webcomic) ran into a lot of trouble when we switched from our free webcomic hosting site, to The reasoning behind the move made a lot of sense at the time. It had a decent built in audience, it was the same site as the Yamagato podcast, and we could do whatever we wanted (within the restraints of the wordpress theme).
    What we discovered, was the comic didn’t resonate well with the site’s mostly gaming focused audience. We received roughly a quarter of the hits compared to the old site. And the freedom of building it ourselves just meant a ton of work, and a pain every time we had to upload it.
    I don’t regret the move even though we get less hits and comments, because people that do read the comic on know what Yamagato is, which means we can do more in-jokes and cater more to that audience.
    Still though, more hits would’ve be nice.

  7. 6 nick marino

    @Panic: SHIIIIIT!!! I didn’t know you lost hits like that. Fuck man, I say move it back to ComicFury. I think you can do as many fucking in-jokes as you want wherever the hell you put it, plus reading it at The Game Heroes is kinda hard, mostly because of all of the clicking involved.

    @Brian: Out of everyone I know, you’re probably one of the most qualified people to speak to that topic. You, maybe our buddy Barry (I dunno how much advertising he does, though), and uhhhhhh… that’s about it. Most other webcomics people I know don’t approach their csite from a marketing standpoint, at least not like a traditional web business. They’re either focused on content or merch for revenue rather than relying on advertising.

    @Smars: I like that policy — two content hosts and then everything else is a portal. For the most part, that’s how I work. Though sometimes I post photo albums of the Haters and my other webcomics on sites like Picasa and Flickr, etc. But with Goblyn you’re a bit more restricted with Flash, so it’s not like you could post it everywhere.

  8. AudioShocker Shoutouts!

    VACANT webcomics

  9. 7 Brian John Mitchell

    I think if we just go look at some of the folks using Project Wonderful, we could probably find two or three good suspects for guests for such an episode. Might bring in some unexpected new blood & interest to the show too. Of course I would always love to be a guest, schedule permitting.

  1. 1 The Comics Podcast Network » Sequential Underground #47
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