Friday, November 23, 2007

5 Reasons you need to Leave Free Webcomic Hosting.

We know the sites thatget thrown in our faces week after week: ComicGenesis, SmackJeeves, DrunkDuck, WebcomicsNation... and yes, they have a place in the webcomics world, to encourage new people to post comics.

But if you're here, you're probably doing this seriously to begin with. That means it's time to ditch the womb.
  1. It looks lame. Webcomics get knocked enough as is. If you want to be given any respect, you need your comic not to scream "Geocities Hosting". Sure, it's possible for your stuff to still look classy on free hosting, but not on those sites. Every tweenager is using those sites to impress the girl they're trying to get to second base with, and if you're not a tweenager, you don't need to be there. (And even if you are a tweenager, have a little class, okay?)
  2. The URLs are ugly. A domain name is 'only' $10 a year. If you have any talent or desire to make your comic awesome, you should get one for the ego boost. And even if it's just a hobby, $10 a year isn't that much to spend; if you're like me, you'll waste far more on "How to draw better" books. I speak from experience on this; you can't expect people to take "lastresort.xepher.net" as seriously as they do "lastres0rt.com". They've already been conditioned into .com worship, so take advantage of that.
  3. You should be doing this seriously. If you're not, just leave now. There's no reason to try and make your "I just draw on the weekends and post whatever looks good up" comic sound like it deserves the same respect Penny Arcade does. You want the respect, you put in the effort that deserves it, and that means finding hosting that doesn't suck. Deal?
  4. Real business requires risk. No pain, no gain, as they say. Besides, spending money forces you to work harder at it in order to justify the money spent — it's called "World of Warcraft Syndrome". For something you're supposed to be working on like your webcomic, it's not a bad idea.
  5. Don't, and you can kiss your Wikipedia notability goodbye. Comic conglomerates aren't powerful, let alone notable, and pretending that your comic will somehow 'elevate' the entire hosting system is ridiculous. I've seen it happen time and again where because the entire webcomic hosting site is only #X in the Alexa rankings, that your comic is also worse than #X (and thus worth deleting from Wikipedia), and quite frankly that's not going to get you respectability anytime soon.
Business has always required some type of expense involved in order to make profit; that's how business works. That your medium is the internet doesn't mean you can get away with 'no' expense; just significantly reduced expense. It's one thing to start on free hosting while you're just starting, but after a year (if not sooner), it's time to cut the cord.

Take some responsibility for your work, and it'll pay off later. Big time.

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