Photo by: "ZeroOne@Flickr"
So you’ve found a good host for your comics site, designed a neat layout for your site, uploaded some awesome comics and e-mailed them to your friends and family members. Congratulations, you now have a solid readership of ten readers. If you want more people to enjoy your comics, you will eventually have to use some marketing techniques in order to promote your site and draw more visitors. Website promotion is an art, and there are hundreds of books dedicated to that subject. The basics, though, are quite simple. As we’ll see in a minute, there are 3 easy steps you can take which will help your site gain that initial exposure. They take less than 2 hours combined, so free up some time in your calendar and let’s get to it!
Step 1: Submit Your Site to Search Engines
Let’s start with the basics. You want readers to find out your site when they’re using search engines like Google or Bing. The fastest way to ensure that these search engine index your pages is by submitting your site to those search engines. Use the following links:
Time spent: 15 minutes
Step 2: Submit Your Site to Web Directories
Directories (sometimes called Lists or Indexes) are categorized repositories of web site. Directories help you promote your site in two ways. First, being listed in a directory helps people browsing through the directory to discover your site. Second, getting linked on directories increases the number of inbound links to your site, which in turn helps your site to appear on a higher position on search engines such as Google.
There are two types of directories you should consider: Webcomic directories and General directories. Webcomic directories such as TheWebcomicList or Belfry Comics focus only on webcomics, and I strongly suggest you start with those. Submission is easy (may require free registration), and usually you get listed immediately. General directories such as DMOZ or the Yahoo directory are larger and much more popular than webcomic or blog directories, but most chances it’ll take months before you’ll get listed there, if at all. You can of course pay them to speed things up, but their prices are pretty high. I’d suggest you start with the webcomic directories, but give the general ones a shot – who knows, you might get lucky. One word of advice though – before submitting, especially to the webcomic directories, make sure you have a fully functioning site containing at least twenty to thirty pages or strips. Getting listed in a webcomic directory may result in an immediate flow of new visitors to your site, and you want them to enjoy great content that will make them want to come back.
Use the links below to submit your site to some popular directories. There are many more directories out there, so make sure to use Google for more suggestions for Webcomic directories.
Time spent: 1 hour
Step 3: Publish Your Site in Blogging Communities
Blogging communities are social networks that center themselves around blog creators and blog readers. Blog creators publish their blogs on these sites, and can discuss and collaborate on various blogging related topics. Blog readers can find and rate interesting blogs, form a community around their blogs of interest, and communicate directly with the author.
We already mentioned in this blog how webcomics fully fit to the description of blogs – websites composed of entries which are displayed in reverse chronological order (in our case those entries are comic strips). As a cartoonist, the benefit you could gain by participating in a blogging community is threefold: First, it’s another place to publish your blog (most of these sites have their own blog directories), allowing you to build back-links to your site and even to individual posts (or comic strips, in our case). Second, most of these communities offer free widgets to install on your site, which could help you track traffic from members of that particular community, but also increases the sense of belonging of those readers to your site. And third, it’s a chance to collaborate with fellow bloggers: You can exchange links (further increasing you site’s rank in search engines); you can do guest comics (Got a gaming related webcomic? Find a gaming blog and offer to do a guest comic); you can find blogs that belong to cartoonists and follow them – there's no limit on how much you can learn from your peers.
A word of warning – blogging communities tend to attract spammers, owners of blogs that give no real value and whose only purpose is to make money by attracting traffic from search engines. Beware of those people, don’t associate with them, and certainly do not associate your webcomic site with theirs.
Use the links below to register to MyBlogLog and BlogCatalog, two of the most popular blog directories. At this point, it’s enough you register and submit your site (and as mentioned before, do it only if your site has enough interesting content on it). Over time, try to build a community around your site and interact with fans and fellow bloggers.
Time spent: 30 minutes
That’s it - basic site promotion in 3 simple steps! Search engine submission ensures your site is indexed by the leading search engines. Web directory submission increases your exposure and helps you by building inbound links. Blogging communities help you cooperate with other bloggers and gain further readership. The steps you’ve just taken are the corner stone for marketing your newly created site.