Web Hosting

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Web Hosting

Postby Wheels » Sun Nov 04, 2007 4:33 pm

I am thinking about hosting Magical Misfits on my own site. I'm not totally sold on the idea however. Drunk Duck has been very good to me but of late I have noticed no increase in hits. I know that most of the heavy hitters in the Webcomics world work from their own website. Now I don't aspire to be the next PVP but I do think I can do better than I am. I would also like to get Tales from the Institute Touch and go Tommy and my gallery under the same roof. I am thinking on using the Comic Press interface on word press blgging script to set the whole thing up. It would be nice to try and sell some advertising and maybe a T-shirt or three in the future. At any rate I would love to hear what you my Peers and my betters think.
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Postby fesworks » Sun Nov 04, 2007 5:03 pm

Well, I can let you know when Xepher.net opens up hosting applications again. You'd have almost free reign to what you can do with your space and such. Other than that I can't give any other advice. I'm also looking to use that Comic Press (or whatever) stuff for Ardra I think if I redesign the site. Personally I like what I have seen of it, and seems like a great alternative for do-it-yourself sites.
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Postby Tinkerbell » Mon Nov 05, 2007 12:24 pm

A word of warning: You'll almost certainly notice a big drop-off in hits after you go independent. Your numbers should recover with time, if you advertise properly, but there will be a drop-off (I lost about three quarters of my readership, though some of that may have been to do with my inability to update over the summer >.>). It's also worth remembering that promoting an independent site - without access to the promotion structures of DD, Cgen etc - is a very different ball-game, and potentially quite expensive.

That said, good luck!

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Postby Wheels » Mon Nov 05, 2007 1:03 pm

I was very interested in what you had to say Tink. I was hopping you would reply. If you hadn't I was going to e-mail you. You letft the duck but you started on an independent site. In spite of it all you still stay with an independent web site. I really don't want to screw this up. On anouther board I had someone say don't switch until you have enough readers It was implied that 1000-2000 hits a day is marginal? He said don't move until you have more readers but I have not improved my readership in nearly a year. I hate to think it's the comic. That would make me cry. But Touch and go Tommy is showing me that I am quite capable of producing a bomb. Splash of cold water that realization was.
I want to move forward but many of the advice givers are wrongly assuming I'm looking for Money. I really just want more readers and maybe someday to be invited to a con. That's what I'm shooting for. If I cover expenses and can buy some art supplies well I wouldn't say no. The fact is I'm just not sure what to do. Prehaps being happy with my present readership is the best I can do.
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Postby Tinkerbell » Mon Nov 05, 2007 5:15 pm

Since I've pretty much given up on moving out of the margins of the comicsphere (even if I was convinced of my comic's mainstream viability - and to be honest I think it's just a little bit too odd - I don't have the time to put in to do enough work), I might not be the best person to ask, but I'll say this about going independent; there are two things you absolutely must have.

The first is time. Hosting communities like Cgen and DD are very forgiving, in that you can hold on to readers and replenish your readership even if you're away for a while, because of things like newsboxes and so on. The world of independent hosting is much harsher; if you take even as little as a fortnight off, readers will go away and won't necessarily ever be reminded to come back, so you can't afford content-free breaks like that.

The second - and I can't stress this one enough - is that you must have reliable access to technical support for your website; not just the hosting (though obviously, don't host with anyone who can't provide decent technical support) but for your actual website code. Almost all webcomic archiving programs (the things which automatically generate archive pages and make sure your website display's today's page rather than another) are pretty complex and the smallest errors in the code or in your use of it can send it up the 'chute, so you need someone very close to hand all the time to fix it. Obviously the best thing is to learn the programming to make a system yourself (with the bonus that by doing this you can tailor things to your needs), but failing that you need somebody who is all but literally within arm's reach all the time, because a problem with the website which prevents people reading the same comic is just the same as being unable to keep to your update schedule; you'll lose readers and they won't come back (probably not even after it's fixed).

If what you want is more readers, I'd stay with Drunk Duck and extend my advertising outside it; the reason you haven't had much growth in readers recently is probably because every DD regular who's going to read your comic already is. If you want more readers you'll have to go outside the community and buy some adverts somewhere (I'd suggest starting with Dominic Deegan: Oracle for Hire, because it's a hugely successful comic in roughly the same genre and everyone I've spoken to about advertising has had good things to say about their ad service).

My main reason for moving off comicgenesis (I was only on DD temporarily because I needed to keep a reliable service going while Cgen's server melted down) was because I didn't have enough control over how my website worked with CGen; their set-up didn't support the programming languages I needed to develop the Beerscooter system I now run, and they didn't have any other way to separate my comics into separate streams.

Moving off DD is certainly not the way to get rich or even, in any short- or middle-term sense, to increase readership. As for getting invited to a con? That only happens to a rarified few right at the top of the webcomicking game. If you want to go represent yourself at cons, get on to the people who organise them and bug them to give you a slot/seat on a panel/etc (probably also a great way to increase readership). Basically, though, it's only people like Fred Gallagher and Kris Straub who get invited (in the sense of not asking for it) to cons.

Sorry to get your hopes down, but it's a vicious world out there - as with every media business - and things are hard.

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Postby fesworks » Thu Dec 13, 2007 11:07 am

Xepher.net has now opened up hosting applications:

http://xepher.net/forum/index.php?board=3.0
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