Importance of advertising a webcomic.
I apologize if I cant write back to everyone that comments or sends me an email. Please understand that I get 20-50 emails or comments every day, and if I stop to answer everyone I will fall behind on the comic and then you wont care whether I answered or not, because pages would not be consistently released. I want to thank everyone that has been contributing to the site with your comments and feedback. Making this comic and seeing how well its being received is really… well its been making me very happy. Your comments improve the book, and without them, Id just be talking to myself. Every comment matters.
Currently the site pulls an average of about 450-550 unique viewers a day. Thats a huge improvement from where it was last month when it was rare to get over 100. Word is getting around! The site is presently ranked #258 on Topwebcomics. It is through many resources that it has come even this far, and there is still a MOUNTAIN ahead of me. But Id like to talk for a little bit about how Ive reached this milestone.
Firstly, I put everything Ive got into the content. These pages are not just sketched and kicked out, they are CRAFTED, meticulously. I post regularly, EVERY Monday, and I enjoy reader feedback. Id like to believe thats all it takes… but its not.
The second most important thing is the support that Ive gotten from other webcomic developers. Jason Brubaker at www.remindblog.com did a nifty writeup for me the other day, and I went from 400 up to 600 unique viewers that day. Travis at www.beanleafpress.com posted a sweet article that gave me a boost in viewers a few weeks back. Other creators plugging the website have helped out a lot. I would never ASK for something like this, but it helps tremendously.
The 3rd most important thing that happened is advertising. I spend 100 dollars a month on www.projectwonderful.com with an advertising campaign that brings in about 400-500 unique viewers a month. Ive been informed that this is not very good. So I did some research and found that its much better to hand select the sites that you advertise on. I had been running an auto campaign, and assumed that it would be advertising in relevant locations on its own Ill be posting an update that will go into details on how to tune your advert campaign after I figure it out myself. Presently Ive set my campaign to bid up to 1.10 dollars with a daily spending target of 3.30 a day. I hadn’t selected any specific sites at all. From my initial research, that seems to be the problem. You may learn from my mistake.
The single best place Ive advertised is Topwebcomics, where Ive spent 45 dollars for a banner there, Ive gained about 250-300 new viewers EVERY DAY that the ad runs. I tried advertising on facebook, but it was insane. 35 cents per click is far too expensive for a free webcomic.
As for making money from the website, to cover costs, I have not yet. My goals right now are to provide excellent content without a lot of nonsense. Im trying to keep it straight to the point, and focused on the content. That means that Ive anticipated taking a loss every month for a while to get the word out. Ive improved the ebay store in the left sidebar to showcase my own ebay store using ebaytogo. And Ive been selling about 4 CreeD sets per week and a few Nova Colony books, but its not very much money. Still, I prefer to offer my own books that Ive had published in the sidebar instead of running ads.
After I read an article about the 80/20 principal as applied to web design, I realized that its going to be difficult to have the depth that I want the site to have, and still keep it simple, with less buttons and options and distractions. The 80/20 principal suggests that we spend 80 percent of our time trying to get 20 percent of the results we want. So by focusing on the content that matters most (the results in that 20 percent), we can waste less time on the unnecessary stuff that just distracts users anyway. But then before you know it, I want to add a fan art section and a world map and more behind the scenes stuff. All of these things will be there eventually, but I have to integrate it in a way that does not distract from the focus which is of course… the comic pages.
Ive tried many things, but these are the ones that have worked up to this point. I intend to keep experimenting and will report the results in future blog posts. I also would have liked to go into the details of how to craft story, and plan a release schedule, with tips and tricks on the actual content development, but that feels like a post for another day.