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Tapastic vs Webtoon vs Self-Hosting

#1
A lot has changed since I did my first webcomic years ago. Now there are very successful comics social networks like Tapastic or Webtoon that seem to be doing much better than SmackJeeves or DrunkDuck back in the day.

As I'm nearing the launch of my second webcomic, I'm trying to navigate the virtues of these sites. I do have my own website for the Sparrow, but would I really even need it with these other sites?

What are some of the pros and cons of both Tapastic and Webtoon vs. self-hosting?
 

Funari

4-Stripe White Belt
#2
I'm gonna follow this thread for advice to branch out. I've feared using these sites because of the vertical scrolling aspect a lot of the more popular artists there use. As an outsider to these sites, I honestly haven't a clue if that's the ONLY way they show up or if you can post regualar-looking old-school pages without it getting cropped or anything like that.

I picked Tumblr as my hosting site because I was already very familiar with its layout and how easy it was for me to create the pages, but I know it's not the best at all. For starters - dat domain. I'm saving up money to at least get my own domain so the ".tumblr.com" stigma is lifted and more people give my comic a chance (as I've heard people try to avoid Tumblr-hosted comics like the plague for some odd reason)
 

Shaneoid

Purple Belt
#3
I've not self hosted, but I've had experience on both Tapastic and Webtoon. Here's my 2p on those. I know you're doing a Superhero comic. Webtoons actually has a section for those, where as Tapastic hasn't. Having used Tapastic since May 2016, I've not seen many Superhero comics promoted on there at all, where as Webtoons do occasional promotions of their 'discover' pages.
Webtoons gets a high amount of traffic, and if you update, you're comic is displayed at the top of it's genre until someone else uploads to it. With Tapastic, you're stuck (on the website at least) at the bottom of the page and people would have to manually search for your chosen genre.

If you do get the traffic through on Tapastic, you can make some money, and they have a 'tipping' feature where readers can pay you with virtual coins which transfer in to real money. You have to be Webtoons exclusive and have an huge number of stats to make money there. Both allow you to link to your Patreon, however.

There are message boards on Tapastic, and a community to go with it, thought I've not engaged with it much. I've heard criticism about the lack of communication you have on Webtoons, but I think there's enough there, although it's tough to navigate.

Tapastic gives you a workable URL. The Webtoons URL is just crap. It's like half a novel long.

I personally have over 5 times as many subs on Webtoons for my main comic, and that's without it being my main host for HOTWAB. (It's my main host for Night Twink and that has over 10 times the subs).

The problem with both is... you can't add HTML to either. Comic Fury lets you mess around with HTML, which means you can add your comic to existing sites like Project Wonderful and Comic Rocket, which can help you advertise and circulate your comic. It gives you a very sexy URL for your comic and my page views are kind of level with Webtoon, after some seriously heavy promoting.

I'm gonna follow this thread for advice to branch out. I've feared using these sites because of the vertical scrolling aspect a lot of the more popular artists there use. As an outsider to these sites, I honestly haven't a clue if that's the ONLY way they show up or if you can post regualar-looking old-school pages without it getting cropped or anything like that.
I began doing the 'old school' style pages on Webtoon, however I was lucky as I wasn't as experimental with the panels and they were quite square and uniform for the most part, so once it all got lumped together it was alright, but tried the more 'mobile friendly' approach with a second comic and I can't deny the response was better. Personally I can read both fine on my mobile, so maybe it's a fad more than a practicality?

Anyway that's my experience! Let us know how you get on.
 
#4
@Shaneoid Whoa, thank you for the explanations! When you say you have to be Webtoons exclusive, does that mean no self-hosting either? I don't anticipate making that kind of money on the Sparrow for a long time, but it's something to know if I ever approach that range.
 
#5
I haven't gotten my comic out, but after running Legend of Zelda sites since 2007, I know how to code and stuff, so I self-hosted Naevorlis at http://naevorlis.com/ on a Digital Ocean VPS under my friend's website. There's a near 99% uptime (unless a new Fire Emblem game comes out, since we host FireEmblemWiki.org ).

Pros:

- Uptime
- Design how you want
- Make lots of pages and content, like "About This Webcomic", "Characters", "Lore", etc.

Cons:

- May have a harder time making your own community and getting fans compared to Tapastic and Webtoon?
 

Shaneoid

Purple Belt
#6
@Shaneoid Whoa, thank you for the explanations! When you say you have to be Webtoons exclusive, does that mean no self-hosting either? I don't anticipate making that kind of money on the Sparrow for a long time, but it's something to know if I ever approach that range.
My pleasure bud. I believe you have to publish exclusively on Webtoon to receive their financial help but I'd have to read up on that again, but it's linked to your Patreon, here's what they display for their rates.

 

Michelle

4-Stripe White Belt
#7
Here's my personal experiences with all of the above!

Tapastic


Pros: I really like Tapastic for its engaging community. The forums are pretty active, and both creators and readers are a very friendly bunch. I like that there's a system to notify you of new comments and subs, something that Webtoons is lacking. Print-format pages seem to do just as well as scrolling-format pages; though if you have a print-format comic, it's not a bad idea to turn it into a scrolling comic for their app. The new tipping system is pretty nice, so far the revenue I make from tips has way outpaced the revenue I make from Tapastic's regular ads. In all, I really like Tapastic for their friendly community and have met a lot of great people there.

Cons: It's a bit hard to get started if you don't have an existing following. Their Fresh section, which features the most recently updated comics, sits at the bottom of the front page behind an unintuitive link. Plus, the fresh section moves so quickly that few people are likely to see your comic before it gets swept away. There is also a heavy favouritism among readers for certain comics and genres, so it can be challenging to break through the lineup of popular comics that dominate the front page. Tapastic staff has a tendency to favour specific types of comics; usually slice of life/gag a day, or full-colour longforms with multiple pages per update. If your comic doesn't catch their eye at first, it's tough to get notice from them down the line. The Tapastic community is also oddly "sticky", in that it's very difficult to get readers to follow off-site links to your social media/patreon/kickstarters.

Webtoons

Pros: Admittedly I haven't spent as much time with Webtoons as opposed to Tapastic, so my experience with it isn't as informed. But I do like that there's more opportunity for new and undiscovered comics to be found by readers. If you post an update, your comic remains visible in the Discovery section of the website for a longer period of time. It also seems like there are a lot more pure readers on Webtoons as opposed to Tapastic, which is what most of us are aiming for. I also like that you can link your Patreon with your Webtoons account, so folks who want to support you have an easier way of doing so. Not entirely sure if Webtoon's community is less sticky than Tapastic's.

Cons: I really wish Webtoons has a notification system like Tapastic. The fact that I have to manually dig through my comic pages to see if I have any comments is tedious and seems like something most websites have figured out by now?? The lack of easy communication between creator and audience is a big drawback. Also, Webtoons works much better for scrolling comics. So, if you have a print-format comic, it's in your best interest to reformat it for mobile (which can be a bit of a pain).
Personally speaking, I feel like one of the few artists who hasn't experienced a huge leap in subscribers by moving to Webtoons. I actually do much better on Tapastic, while my readership on Webtoons is still crawling toward 300 despite posting since July. This isn't so much a con, just a curious observation since it seems most people report having no trouble reaching 1,000+ subs after making the move to Webtoons.

Self-Hosting
Pros: The great thing about self-hosting your comic is that you have control over nearly every aspect of presentation. You don't have to worry about hosting site policy changes or sites going under completely, and it frees you up to try mirroring to different sites while still maintaining a central hub for your comic. It also makes your site easier to find and looks a little more professional when you have a simple link like "______.com" as opposed to "tapastic.com/series/_____" or Webtoon's monstrously large and ugly url. You can customize the entire look of your site, and you can access more in-depth statistics about how people use your website. Basically it's your own big fun sandbox that you can point to and say "I DID THIS". While it's much more challenging to gain momentum on a personal site, it's really rewarding when you start to see your viewership increase and people start leaving comments and engaging with your comic.

Cons: At the same time... yeah, you're in charge of pretty much everything. There's a definite learning curve to getting your own domain and building a website, and I am not the most tech-savvy person around. Fortunately there are plug-ins like Comic Easel for Wordpress that make the process easier, but that still leaves it up to you to design your site. It can also be very frustrating when something breaks, because it's on you to fix it. It's a lot more difficult to direct new readers to your website, unlike Tapastic and Webtoons which have a built-in audience. Unless you have an existing following, it's going to be slow starting up. But if you're doing comics, that's kind of the nature of the whole game!
 
#8
So much interesting things said!
I am totally new in this issue, and just opened my Tapastic account some weeks ago, so still have to experience and post a bit before having a former opinion of the site, yet I will say I like how the comics can be read. I mean, before that I just posted my comics on DeviantArt, page per page, or in Tumblr, which went lost among other posts because of traffic and never got noticed, while in Tapastic I have the impression it stays organised and easy to find, it is kept nice and easy.

As said I cannot talk about other websites, so I'll keep reading your opinions buddies!
 

Kyu

White Belt
#9
I personally like being self-hosted. It gives me a lot of control and flexibility, as well as a home of choice for my comic. It helps with branding and making the comic unique.

Now I realise that not everybody has the monetary resources or the interest in learning webdesign, but there are still alternatives to same-face webcomic hosts like Tapastic and Webtoons, like SmackJeeves. They offer a lot of freedom with your site design, you can basically everything about the looks of your site, which was what attracted me to them in the first place. For reasonably priced subscriptions your can even get the perks to make the site look self.hosted on the front end.

I will probably return to this thread as I have strong opinions on a few matters, but it's getting really late here. Just wanted to point out an option that is mostly left out of these kind of discussions.
 
#10
Perosnally, my main issue with hosting your webcomic anywhere other than your own site is that you can't control how it looks and you can't control ADS! I personally care very very much what ads are shown on my site. (We have no ads, btw.) It's the same reason LitV doesn't join a webcomic collective like Hiveworks or Spiderforest. I'm extremely picky about the comics I read and recommend to people and therefore, if I have ads on my site, I need complete and total choice. You definitely don't get that freedom on Tapa nor Webtoon. Luckily for me (artist) my husband (writer) is also a website coder/builder/designer, so we were able to make our website exactly the way we wanted. Of course, that was 4 YEARS AGO. lol And so our needs and general design sense has changed a lot and we're planning a complete rebuild of the website in the near future. Something a bit more stripped-down and easier to navigate. At the moment, our website is a bit of a runaround. Browsing Tapastic and LineWebtoon has made me appreciate ease of use a bit more over aesthetics, which used to be my main concern. So now I want a good balance of design AND ease of use, which you'll only get self-hosting.
 

Terminus

4-Stripe White Belt
#11
I've never used tapastic or webtoons to host my comics but I've read tapastic comics before and personally, I hate tapastic's endless scrolling as a format. I like long strip comics just fine but I greatly prefer a page system to a wall of pages that reloads as you reach the bottom.

I have my own website as a hub for all of my comics and, since I'm handy with css, I can do whatever I want with the layout. And it has pages, not an endless wall. >.>
 
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#12
So far, I've enjoyed my Tapastic experience. An easy interface, dedicated staff, and a host to a pretty nice community of readers and artists! Really, I don't know exactly were I'd be without it.

Webtoons has notoriety, except that it has all sorts of uploading restrictions that dims down versatility for desired comic formats. Also, the community has been much more competitive and excessively fanatical, which leaves me feeling uncomfortable about posting anything there...
 

DLF

Blue Belt
#13
I self host which works out great for me because one of my best friends is a professional IT person. He handles all technical issues and I just write, draw, and upload.

I am curious about other hosting sites for other projects because well, its kind of hard to get a community going when you self host.
 
#14
Here's my personal experiences with all of the above!

Tapastic


Pros: I really like Tapastic for its engaging community. The forums are pretty active, and both creators and readers are a very friendly bunch. I like that there's a system to notify you of new comments and subs, something that Webtoons is lacking. Print-format pages seem to do just as well as scrolling-format pages; though if you have a print-format comic, it's not a bad idea to turn it into a scrolling comic for their app. The new tipping system is pretty nice, so far the revenue I make from tips has way outpaced the revenue I make from Tapastic's regular ads. In all, I really like Tapastic for their friendly community and have met a lot of great people there.

Cons: It's a bit hard to get started if you don't have an existing following. Their Fresh section, which features the most recently updated comics, sits at the bottom of the front page behind an unintuitive link. Plus, the fresh section moves so quickly that few people are likely to see your comic before it gets swept away. There is also a heavy favouritism among readers for certain comics and genres, so it can be challenging to break through the lineup of popular comics that dominate the front page. Tapastic staff has a tendency to favour specific types of comics; usually slice of life/gag a day, or full-colour longforms with multiple pages per update. If your comic doesn't catch their eye at first, it's tough to get notice from them down the line. The Tapastic community is also oddly "sticky", in that it's very difficult to get readers to follow off-site links to your social media/patreon/kickstarters.

Webtoons

Pros: Admittedly I haven't spent as much time with Webtoons as opposed to Tapastic, so my experience with it isn't as informed. But I do like that there's more opportunity for new and undiscovered comics to be found by readers. If you post an update, your comic remains visible in the Discovery section of the website for a longer period of time. It also seems like there are a lot more pure readers on Webtoons as opposed to Tapastic, which is what most of us are aiming for. I also like that you can link your Patreon with your Webtoons account, so folks who want to support you have an easier way of doing so. Not entirely sure if Webtoon's community is less sticky than Tapastic's.

Cons: I really wish Webtoons has a notification system like Tapastic. The fact that I have to manually dig through my comic pages to see if I have any comments is tedious and seems like something most websites have figured out by now?? The lack of easy communication between creator and audience is a big drawback. Also, Webtoons works much better for scrolling comics. So, if you have a print-format comic, it's in your best interest to reformat it for mobile (which can be a bit of a pain).
Personally speaking, I feel like one of the few artists who hasn't experienced a huge leap in subscribers by moving to Webtoons. I actually do much better on Tapastic, while my readership on Webtoons is still crawling toward 300 despite posting since July. This isn't so much a con, just a curious observation since it seems most people report having no trouble reaching 1,000+ subs after making the move to Webtoons.

Self-Hosting
Pros: The great thing about self-hosting your comic is that you have control over nearly every aspect of presentation. You don't have to worry about hosting site policy changes or sites going under completely, and it frees you up to try mirroring to different sites while still maintaining a central hub for your comic. It also makes your site easier to find and looks a little more professional when you have a simple link like "______.com" as opposed to "tapastic.com/series/_____" or Webtoon's monstrously large and ugly url. You can customize the entire look of your site, and you can access more in-depth statistics about how people use your website. Basically it's your own big fun sandbox that you can point to and say "I DID THIS". While it's much more challenging to gain momentum on a personal site, it's really rewarding when you start to see your viewership increase and people start leaving comments and engaging with your comic.

Cons: At the same time... yeah, you're in charge of pretty much everything. There's a definite learning curve to getting your own domain and building a website, and I am not the most tech-savvy person around. Fortunately there are plug-ins like Comic Easel for Wordpress that make the process easier, but that still leaves it up to you to design your site. It can also be very frustrating when something breaks, because it's on you to fix it. It's a lot more difficult to direct new readers to your website, unlike Tapastic and Webtoons which have a built-in audience. Unless you have an existing following, it's going to be slow starting up. But if you're doing comics, that's kind of the nature of the whole game!
^^^this post, word for word pretty much sums it all up perfectly.

Nothing beats the self hosting option, as its the direct portal of your work for your readership. It just takes time (and marketing) for your readership to grow on your own site as opposed to Tapastic and Webtoons.

Make sure you guys become familiar with Google Analytics for your home sites if you're not, its an invaluable resource to not only get a good gauge of your traffic and data about your readership, but if you're marketing via ads or social media you can get a good idea of how much traffic you're generating through promotion.
 
#15
How many of you do both self-hosting AND at least one of the other options (Tapastic/Webtoon/etc.)? Has that driven any traffic to your self-hosted version?

One of the things I like about my self-hosted page is I can customize the site to give viewers more access to my work and ways to support me (Patreon, online stores, ko-fi links, and so on). Do Tapastic, Webtoon, etc., offer anything like this besides linking up to Patreon?
 
#16
I'm gonna throw my hat in on this one.

I've used Tapastic for two years now and webtoons last year there have their own flaws just like every other company out there So based on my experience here's the good and bad of both Tapastic and webtoons

Tapastic - the community is very engaging and nice but the way they handle things is not the most pleasant IMO. Since their intention is to drive more traffic on their site they will always promote the most popular ones so new creators will have difficulty to gain recognition there. Of course they're not actually obliged to promote you. It's always up to you how to handle your marketing. Also since they started a mobile app they gave less priority on their main desktop site. While tipping absolutely helps, it's not fair that not everyone can use it since not everyone has a smartphone that can actually use the app. (windows phone *crais*) I mean there must be a way they could integrate it to the desktop site. Also without tipping their ad revenue is just garbage rn.

Webtoons - first off, they don't have a very engaging community here heck, they don't even notify creators if somebody commented on your update you have to check every single upload you have to see if you have new comments which let's be honest here, don't have time to do it. Seroiously tho I don't know what kind of sorcery webtoons are pulling for my webcomic to have 1.6k subs in less than a year while tapastic on the other hand has only 400 subs in the two years I've been there. Also, webtoon readers seem to have an issue on short updates probably because they are used to the vertical long form format and tend to get aggressive in the comments.

I've also tried self-hosting for one year but I became too poor to pay for it so I switched to tumblr and just pay for the domain name. What's good about self-hosting is that you can customize the heck out of it but the thing is, you're on your own in terms of marketing. Since Tap and webtoons have tons of accounts on their site, there's a higher chance that people will stumble upon your comic but in self-hosting, you really have to grind harder in terms of promotion and for someone like me who is too poor to pay for ads it's really really difficult. (srsly I could use some marketing advice)
 
#17
I self-host and use Tapastic, and am considering expanding to mirroring on Webtoons as well, and my advice would be to do as many of them as you feel you can manage.

Self-hosting - means having more or less full control over you site. You decide what goes on your site, how it's laid out and displayed, what extra content to include, what rating the content has, etc., etc. There are no community rules to follow, and no one to tell you you're wrong about something. You can have cast-pages and extra-content pages and all sorts of things.
Cons: You have to set it all up yourself, pay for hosting, there's no established community of readers to reach out to. You have to do all the promotion entirely on your own.


Tapastic - the community is already there, the general air of said community is friendly, uploading is easy, there are active forums, etc., etc. Overall, my experience with Tapastic has been very positive, though posting there, too, obviously includes some heavy lifting, self-promotion-wise. The people are there, but you gotta shout to make them hear you. There are also ways for you to earn money built into the site; though they aren't perfect, a few pennies is better than NO pennies.
Cons: some technical issues on a semi-regular basis (uploading episodes has its hiccups, posting images to the forum requires a work-around, etc.), the app is being prioritised over the desktop version of the site in terms of new features - and as a creator, you will mainly be using the desktop site - and its layout is mainly geared towards vertically scrolling strip comics (though standard page-format story-based comics CAN do well), its marketing focuses on slice-of-life and comedy comic strips, there's an e-book section to the app which means comics are competing for attention there, etc.

Tapastic has its issues, but overall I've had a positive experience. As with any community site, you've got rules to follow and constraints (no ability to set up a cast-page, for example; you only have the comic itself), but the visibility and the relative ease of finding new readers are heavy pro's to those cons.

you really have to grind harder in terms of promotion and for someone like me who is too poor to pay for ads it's really really difficult. (srsly I could use some marketing advice)
I haven't paid for a single ad in the 2 years I've had my webcomic, and I've been doing okay. I realise some of that is due to luck and having a good handful of tumblr-followers and stuff before I started posting, but what I've done is basically the following:

* shout about it on Twitter a lot. Every time I update, I announce it on Twitter, and then I bump that announcement-tweet up a couple of times during the following 24 hours. Same goes for when I post stuff on Patreon: announce that. Also, cross-post the announcement to Tumblr. Include links to everything relevant - website, Patreon, Tapastic, storefronts where people can buy stuff, etc.

* Do guest-pages and fanart for other creators. I've only done this one occasionally, but it has meant getting my art in front of people who don't already read my comic, but who do read some comics. Note: I only draw guest-pages/fanart for stuff I genuinely enjoy. Doing it insincerely, just as a marketing tool, is something people pick up on even if you don't say it.

* Make friends in the community. Not only is having friends a good thing for you, because it's fun and comforting and helpful and all those good things, it also means having a group of people who are happy to pass word along about your comic. Note: I call this "make friends" instead of "networking", because I believe in making genuine connections with other creative people and forming friendships is good and healthy, and should be prioritised over approaching people with the mindset of "how can this person be useful to me and my comic?"

* Participate in community-events and projects. My readership-growth, even on Tapastic with its established community, was a slow and steady trickle, until I participated in the Tapastic Winter Fest in 2015. I gained something like a thousand new readers literally overnight. There are strangers all over the world currently reading a comic by me for the very first time because they backed the Kickstarter for Enough Space For Everyone Else, the scifi anthology I contributed to last year. Every week, after #ComicBookHour on Twitter, I gain some new followers.

Yes, it's hard work, and yes, you have to grind, and yes, if you do something other than comedy or slice of life strips, you'll find you have to work harder for your stuff to be seen and shared, but it's not impossible, and it doesn't have to mean paying for ads.
 

hades

4-Stripe White Belt
#18
*cracks knuckles* Alright.

Tapastic: I've been here the longest. For four years to count and am a veteran of their early days. I've seen it's ups and downs and for some reason stuck around.

Pros:
The community is eerily kind and sugarsweet most of the time. This isn't a bad thing! They are also the most talkative bunch I've seen. The forums are rather active and I've made some very good friends thanks to tapastic. The upload system is decent and the staff have actively tried to better themselves when given feedback....well for the most part. You receive notifications for comments and likes, as well you are able to send notifications via wall posts to your subscribers. Their tipping program is a new feature and is going over well for most users!

Cons:
You wont have an easy time getting readers to get offsite to your patreon or whathaveyou. The infinity scroll feature for your series tends to glitch with larger archives and there seems to be a small learning curve that offputs some potential readers. They push their app but neglect the main site. Long-form comics WILL have a harder time gaining traction due to the gag-a-day and "snippet" episodes atmosphere. Only recently [but mostly on the app] has tapastic been featuring more long-form stories. Glitches, glitches, glitches. [I still can't change my avatar in the forum] Tapastic does not advertise their platform. [Unless this has changed recently. I was told in a Q&A stream that they do not]

Webtoons: I've been on here for under a year. However, I've gained traction there and have experienced a lot in my short span of time.

Pros: The readerbase is MASSIVE and they actively advertise their platform to gain more users. I have gained a large amount of readership in the span of under a year and currently hit 5.5k and am still climbing. You are also more likely to get featured on their discovery page and section on the front page. The website is pretty easy to navigate and both the app and desktop versions of your series are able to be read pretty simply without much of a learning curve. Comments are pretty frequent. They have an integration option with Patreon and active push for users to at least LOOK at your patreon. Not as much competition for the "recently updated" sections. You'll be on the page for awhile compared to tapastic. Personally haven't encountered many glitches yet and I'm the glitch king. They also have a gig running that if you meet certain criteria they will pledge a rather generous amount to your patreon for the month or however longer you are qualified. Mobile app is actually pretty nice and functions well.

Cons: Ho boy. That community. You are more likely to receive entitled or negatively geared comments. I have received some rather nasty comments myself that set my friends on edge and wanting to pick a fight. You will also always be "too short" update wise and it's more of a rite of passage at this point. Due to being a Korean Webtoon based platform kinda like Naver there is a dissonance between the readers and the creators. You wont make friends with your readers easily. Nor will you be notified of their presence and comments. Stats can be hard to find at first. They DO have a rating system that gets abused regularly. Vertical format will get you noticed more then traditional. [This can be either a pro or a con depending on the person] And the more likely you are to format to vertical, the more attention you will get. You can circumnavigate this by "stacking" pages per episode. But it will still be too short. Trust me. It always is. The URL for your series is ugly and long. No profiles or personal touches to the creator outside of their basic series. So no avatars. No forum. [They tend to leek over to the tapastic forum instead sometimes] Bad reputation in the comic creator community due to underpaying featured artists for the amount and time of their content, as well as, due to negative readerbase. Just like on tapas, some will refuse to read your comic due to being on webtoons.

As self-hosting....I know very little about that and barely do it.

I hope this was helpful.
 

Batichi

4-Stripe White Belt
#19
I have a couple of mirrors so I'm just gonna toss this out here from the perspective of a web developer:

Self Hosting
This is my favourite option, mainly because I can control everything. Hosting can get expensive but you can get really cheap places if you take the time to look (I pay $3 a month for unlimited storage space). I also recommend taking a crash course on html/css either at code academy or look for free options at universities/colleges/libraries as having a general knowledge of how the web works can give you an advantage. Most hosting sites also have 24/7 support and will tell you exactly how to get through the process, and Wordpress has a massive userbase that solves a lot of issues in their forums. Frumph.net is also the go -to site for Comicpress/Easel knowledge and it's pretty great. It sounds like a lot more upfront work than it is, but the plus sides are worth their weight in gold.

Tapastic
I have a mirror there, but it doesn't gain much of a following. I actually really loathe the interface and find that the damn thing's navigation breaks all the time. However, it can still be a way to gain more followers. If you're big in getting into the community it can help support your following that way, but I don't really have the time to navigate their forums there, so I'm pretty quiet and my comic loses out. They have a much better way to keep track of stats than Webtoons, but I hate how they don't advertise features like tipping or patreon very well. You gotta make a tipping comic to announce it. Which means more work and I've already got enough of that.

Webtoons

Place is great, until you get trolled an they tank your rating. Now even with regular updates I seem to have a hard time getting followers, so you might wanna be careful with that. They also have a weird image preview system that doesn't accept .pngs and can't resize or crop on their own site, so you have to manually adjust it yourself. It also doesn't tell you when people like/comment so you gotta track it every once in a while. They're navigation is pretty solid. You also can't delete bad comments, you have to down vote them. Which isn't great, and some people seem to take it personally when you can only update one page once a week.

Becomics
This one is still in it's early stages, they have a neat little visual set up that turns your comic into a little movie, but it's still very much in Beta and can be hard to grow (not to mention a few security issues I've run into regarding accounts). I haven't explored their community either.

Facebook
This option is also available. Tho you have like, zero control over everything and are severely limited by FB algorithm. But some people find it easier/safer to connect to their audience this way.

The reason I actually prefer self-hosting to every other method available is simply because it offers the most options for accessibility. Accessibility seems to be one of the most overlooked ways to grow an audience. If someone is reading the web with a screen reader, having a site that has those options available - Google will toss your site up to the top of the list. It's also important to remember that someone can be legally blind but still see - they just have limited options (like reading fine details like text.) Having the ability to increase text size, or have a transcript available for screen-readers allows people to find out stuff they would miss. Having text on it's own layer using WP is actually quite easy, and it also allows Google to translate, rather than relying on tonnes of images with baked in translations. It can save headaches in the long run, especially when updating archives. None of the other hosting sites really offer decent accessibility, I've tried using a screen reader with Tapastic and it couldn't find what I was looking for no matter what I did. I also have the option of making twin pages that contain vertical scroll for chapters (which I'm working on at the moment) because it can be easier to scroll for some than keep clicking. So more options to keep everybody happy!
Comic Fury and Smack Jeeves can be found with screen readers, but there's still not as much control. Also be wary of sites you don't pay to host, because if they go under/die, they don't really have any obligation to store your stuff. :/

(If anyone would like help working with WP please don't hesitate to pm me.)
 
#20
I self host which works out great for me because one of my best friends is a professional IT person. He handles all technical issues and I just write, draw, and upload.

I am curious about other hosting sites for other projects because well, its kind of hard to get a community going when you self host.
How many of you do both self-hosting AND at least one of the other options (Tapastic/Webtoon/etc.)? Has that driven any traffic to your self-hosted version?
No one seems to be talking about Comic Fury....

I find Comic Fury the next best thing to the self hosting option. To me, I think it's practically identical. You can take one of their templates and go for it, or you can build it from the ground up in HTML. You get page stat analysis (and you can add Google's analysis too), and can link in with Comic Rocket, Project Wonderful, The Webcomic List, and we even have a support group for Topwebcomics (I've been in the top 50 there for 2 months now). Plus any URL you purchase can be linked to it. You can create additional pages, I'm guessing just as you would on Wordpress. There's a very active community already running in the forums, which I prefer to Tapastic. You're completely in the driving seat for your own promotion, with the added bonus of a community behind you in the forums, plus being able to link to other support sites for more advertising.

The cons. Although you can sub through the site, people generally don't sign up to Comic Fury to subscribe to your comic, they're more likely to save the URL to their faves (as they would Wordpress, I presume). Therefore you'll never know how many subscribers you have.

It's not mobile friendly. It isn't as massive as Tapastic or Webtoons, with barely no advertising going on. There's no app for it. The community is small, but a pro in that is it's very close and I find it more helpful.

If you want an example, everything on my site was designed by me, except the main panel which shows the actual comic page. As you can see, you'll need the HTML shell to link to Comic Rocket (at the bottom of the page) and you can also add the Paypal Tip Jar as HTML (my Project Wonderful ads don't seem to be working right now, but you can add them too). What may be appealing to Michadraws is the Collective of Heroes link (which again, needs a site where you can manipulate the HTML) which you may be able to join after you've posted a few issues. It's a Superhero comic collective which grants a good bit of traffic to your site, especially when you're the featured artist. We also do promo work between each other on occasion.

Also, Smackjeeves has just had an update with a new look, so they may be one to look out for, but I've never really went for that site as I'm happy with Comic Fury.
 
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