Where to publish a webcomic

Figuring out where to host your web comic can feel overwhelming at first. That’s why we’ll be comparing the different options available to budding cartoonists. There are various platforms designed purely for hosting comics, but there’s also alternative options available. The first alternative we’ll look at is hosting a webcomic on your own website.

OWN WEBSITE

If you’re wondering how to make a webcomic website, here’s the basic setup. You’ll first need to register a domain name and find a suitable hosting company which both cost money. If you’re new to hosting, you can usually find a good sign up deal for new websites. This website is hosted on SiteGround who have great reviews and good pricing. Once you’ve got that sorted, you need to build your website. WordPress is a popular choice for webcomics because of the completely free and easily customizeable ComicPress theme (info here). If you really want to make your website look unique, basic HTML and CSS coding are likely required unless you use a plugin like Elementor which allows you to visually edit your website. If this is the path you want to go down, I’ve written a more in depth guide to ComicPress, here.

+ Pros

  • Completely customisable
  • Complete control over your content and copyright

– Cons

  • Requires financial investment
  • Can require HTML/CSS knowledge
  • Time consuming
  • Hard to find an audience
  •  

TUMBLR

Tumblr is a place where users create their own blog and upload media. This makes it a good place to host a webcomic. However, the Tumblr userbase has declined recently due to the removal and censorship of adult oriented blogs. This may make it harder to find an audience on Tumblr for new cartoonists. You can create a blog and upload images pretty easily. I wrote a short guide to posting comics on Tumblr, here. You can use free themes provided by Tumblr, or you can use a custom theme that may cost money. Editing the look of your blog is relatively straight forward, but any heavy customisation will require some coding knowledge. Tumblr hosts your blog for free but you may want to pay for a custom domain URL.

+ Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Free if you don’t want a custom domain

– Cons

  • Can require some HTML/CSS knowledge

Comic Hosting Platform (Webtoon, Tapas etc)

 

+ Pros

  • Creative Freedom
  • Self Reliant

– Cons

  • Requires financial investment
  • Can require HTML/CSS knowledge
  • Time consuming
  • Hard to find an audience

SOCIAL MEDIA (Instagram, Facebook etc)

More and more web-cartoonists are looking to social media as their only platform. Hashtags on Instagram make finding an audience easier than driving traffic to your own website. However, it’s difficult to link outside of these platforms. For instance, Facebook can limit your audience reach if you include a link alongside your comic post. Unless you pay money to boost it of course! Personally, I think this is a shady business practice. I also see Instagram heading in a similar direction, especially with it being owned by Facebook. Instagram is already hard to add outside links. You may only include one URL in your profile. There is no other way to share any links with your audience unless you have the minimum amount of followers to add story links. (I believe it’s 10,000 followers).

+ Pros

  • Easy to find an audience
  • Self Reliant

– Cons

  • difficult to link outside of instagram
  • Stuck with your chosen platform

 

Conclusion

Although Instagram is the easiest place to build an audience, there is too much risk of things going south. Like I mentioned earlier, imagine you started a NSFW comic on Tumblr. After amassing lots of readers, they shut down your comic because it suddenly disobeys their new Terms and conditions. I’ve seen cartoonists complain about their posts being removed from Instagram for breaching their terms. (MAYBE I SHOULD WRITE A SEPERATE POST ABOUT THIS).

The same could also be said about Webtoon and Tapas. Who knows what changes they could make in the future. This is why I believe hosting your comic on your own website is still the best idea, while similtaneously posting to social media and webtoon/tapas to build an audience.