10 Free and Effective Ways to Promote Your Webcomic

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10 Free and Effective Ways to Promote Your Webcomic

Postby LibertyCabbage on Thu Feb 07, 2013 2:32 pm

It seems like a lot of webcartoonists are confused about how they should go about promoting their webcomic, or they have the impression that it's too expensive or time-consuming to do so. However, getting the word out about your project doesn't have to be a difficult process. Here are some tips you can use to start improving your webcomic's readership numbers right away without spending any money on advertising.

#1. Twitter

Either embed a Twitter widget on your site, or post a link to your Twitter account. Follow other webcartoonists and interesting people, and follow people back when they follow you. Try to think of interesting, relevant, and friendly stuff to post, because if people find you interesting, they'll be more likely to be interested in your webcomic. Include "#webcomic" in your webcomic-related posts, and search for "#webcomic" or "webcomic" to see what other people are posting about webcomics. You'll have a better Twitter experience if you interact with people, such as commenting on their artwork or asking them a question, instead of just using your account to spam a link to your webcomic every five minutes.

#2. Tumblr

Post either full pages or individual panels, and add a link to your site with the hashtag "#webcomic." Feel free to add other hashtags that seem relevant. This is also a good place to post doodles or miscellaneous musings.

#3. Facebook

Readers who "Like" your webcomic's Facebook page will be notified when you make a post, such as announcing that you have a new page up or you received a new piece of fan art. This is an easy way for fans to keep up with a webcomic since a lot of people already have a Facebook account. You also have a built-in network of potential readers if you're comfortable sharing your webcomic with your friends and family members.

#4. DeviantArt

Post your pages on DeviantArt, and include a brief description of the page and a link to your webcomic. Look up webcomic groups on DeviantArt and join them. You can also link to your DeviantArt site so that your fans can "Watch" you.

#5. The Webcomic List and The Belfry

Once you have a decent amount of pages or strips in your webcomic's archive, you should consider adding your comic to The Webcomic List and The Belfry. It only takes a moment to sign up, and you can have your webcomic displayed on the front page of these two sites, which are each getting about 100,000 unique visitors a month.

#6. TopWebComics

You can add a 97x97 image of one of your comic's characters to be displayed along with a link to your comic. Your image comes up randomly whenever people vote, and TopWebComics gets a lot of traffic, so this is a quick and easy way to get some attention if your image is catchy. You can also add comic samples that show up on the front page in the section "Recently Updated Comics."

#7. Project Wonderful

Some sites don't have a minimum bid amount set, which means you can advertise on them for free for up to two days. Once you've made an account and uploaded your banners, do a search in the category "Comics: Webcomics," set "Current bid" and "Minimum bids" both to "0" and "0," and set the dropdown to "in each region." Then, keep bidding $0 for two days of advertising in each region until the site gives you an error message at 200 bids, which is the maximum amount of free bids you can have at one time. It can be difficult to get the American advertisement spots, but the other regions can still provide a noticeable amount of traffic. Finally, once your bids expire in two days, repeat the process. You can also play around with the settings if you like, such as advertising in categories other than Webcomics.

#8. Webcomics forums

Join the forums on a webcomics site, such as Smack Jeeves, ComicFury, or Comic Genesis, and add a banner to your signature that links to your webcomic. Talk with people, be interesting, and be a part of the community; every post you make, even if it isn't related to comics, is helping to promote your webcomic because of the link in your signature. It's also a great way to network with other creators, get a better understanding of making comics, and get feedback from your peers. Each of these forums also has a "self-promotion" section where creators can advertise their webcomics.

#9. Fan art

Every webcartoonist loves getting fan art, and they'll most likely be glad to post a link to the webcomic of the creator who drew it.

#10. Reviews

Find a webcomic reviewer and politely ask them to review your webcomic. Whether they think it's the best webcomic they've ever read or complete trash, it's free publicity, and they'll probably even spend time promoting the review on their website. You can also request a critique at one of the various webcomics forums.

Using one of these strategies -- or, better yet, combining several of them -- should result in an immediate increase in traffic. It may even end up leading to people talking about or even linking to your webcomic, which is, ultimately, the best form of advertisement. A high-quality webcomic can get relatively low traffic if people aren't noticing it, so there's no better time than now for creators to improve their web presence and let potential readers know what they have to offer.
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Re: 10 Free and Effective Ways to Promote Your Webcomic

Postby Humbug on Thu Feb 07, 2013 4:45 pm

I thought I'd post my thoughts on your list;

1: Haven't really been seeing too much traffic from twitter, then again I only use it as a newsbox and my numbers of followers haven't even reached 3 digits. Perhaps if you had thousands of followers you'd get better traffic, but is it a good way to get actual new readers? Or are most of them just your regular readers anyway?

2: I've never tried Tumblr so I have no idea how it works, I might experiment.

3: Like Twitter I don't even have a hundred friends, and half of them I don't even know who they are. I don't like friending people I don't know and I only keep the ones I have because Facebook games. I on't get much traffic from my own account, but Matt posts LTHB updates on FB groups so I do a fair bit of traffic from those. Sharing is great if people care enough to, that's your best bet on attracting readers I think.

4: I haven't fully delved into Deviantart, but it is a good way to get a slow trickle of readers. Whatever you post will appear on the front page for some time so some people are bound to notice it. Posting on groups also helps a larger number of people take notice. (Depending on the size of the group)

5: I have both and I don't really see any big hits, WCL maybe one or two hits every other week or so, absolutely nothing in Belfry. It really depends on how popular you are in either case.

6: I also have an account for this and while it wasn't hard to break into the top 100 I didn't see a significant amount of hits, it's certainly better that WCL and Belfry however.

7: No complaints here, PW is the best way for promotion, but sometimes it also requires you to have some money.

8: A good slow way to get traffic, provided you are patient. I'm been becoming more of an introvert lately so I can't really be bothered to join in on new forums anymore. People are more likely to visit your website if you are a regular poster and not just taking advantage of their pitching forum so you got to build yourself a good reputation first.

9: Fan art works too, it's just of good a banner exchange.

10: The negative review was the only review I received so far and I haven't had much hits from it, not to mention the website has been abandoned for years now.
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Re: 10 Free and Effective Ways to Promote Your Webcomic

Postby IVstudios on Fri Feb 08, 2013 8:25 am

Humbug wrote:2: I've never tried Tumblr so I have no idea how it works, I might experiment.


I highly recommend it. I was reluctant to get into it at first but it's been a great way to help promote my comics. And it gives you the option to automatically cross post your stuff on twitter and facebook so it makes a nice quick way to do a lot of social media-ing.

Plus it can incorporate the fan-art suggestion as well. Did a doodle or whatever of something you like (cartoon, comic, TV show, etc)? Throw it up on tumblr with the appropriate hashtags and it will show up for other people who are fans of that thing.
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Re: 10 Free and Effective Ways to Promote Your Webcomic

Postby LibertyCabbage on Fri Feb 08, 2013 8:28 am

Thanks for sharing your observations. I should probably clarify that most of these suggestions are here because they're very quick to do. You aren't gonna get the kind of dramatic response that paid advertisement brings, but when you look at it in the context of clicks vs. time spent, these methods become very reasonable.

Humbug wrote:1: Haven't really been seeing too much traffic from twitter, then again I only use it as a newsbox and my numbers of followers haven't even reached 3 digits. Perhaps if you had thousands of followers you'd get better traffic, but is it a good way to get actual new readers? Or are most of them just your regular readers anyway?
Twitter seems kinda like webcomics forums: You can just pop in once in a while to mention your latest page if you want, or you can put more time into it and make it a fun thing where you interact with people. This and webcomics forums are my favorite of the methods I listed. Also, if you embed it on your site, you can easily post updates to your readers from your smartphone's Twitter app, which is hella awesome.

Humbug wrote:5: I have both and I don't really see any big hits, WCL maybe one or two hits every other week or so, absolutely nothing in Belfry. It really depends on how popular you are in either case.
This is meant primarily as a one-time thing, as the goal's to temporarily get in the "Newly Added" list on the front page. That's why I suggest having a decent-sized archive before doing it.

IVstudios wrote:
Humbug wrote:2: I've never tried Tumblr so I have no idea how it works, I might experiment.


I highly recommend it. I was reluctant to get into it at first but it's been a great way to help promote my comics. And it gives you the option to automatically cross post your stuff on twitter and facebook so it makes a nice quick way to do a lot of social media-ing.

Plus it can incorporate the fan-art suggestion as well. Did a doodle or whatever of something you like (cartoon, comic, TV show, etc)? Throw it up on tumblr with the appropriate hashtags and it will show up for other people who are fans of that thing.
Right. And I've been seeing a lot of people post one panel of their page as a teaser to get people to go to their real site, and I think that's a smart strategy. It's not gonna get you a ton of clicks, but how long does it really take to crop an image and upload it? Tumblr also has a neat feature that lets you schedule posts for a specific time and date, which, as I understand it, DeviantArt doesn't let you do.
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Re: 10 Free and Effective Ways to Promote Your Webcomic

Postby IVstudios on Fri Feb 08, 2013 8:58 am

LibertyCabbage wrote:Tumblr also has a neat feature that lets you schedule posts for a specific time and date, which, as I understand it, DeviantArt doesn't let you do.


Yes, also very useful. I can set my post to update with my comic buffer.
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Re: 10 Free and Effective Ways to Promote Your Webcomic

Postby VeryCuddlyCornpone on Fri Feb 08, 2013 2:20 pm

I forget if someone'd mentioned it round these parts before, but justthefirstframe.com is pretty cool. The dude checks your RSS and posts the first panel of your comic among a whole mess of othe rpeople's first panels, so people scrolling can see if they kind of like the cut of your jib and can click the panel and are then automatically taken to your comic site so they can read the rest of the page.

It's not perfect, though, as I'm not sure what time exactly he updates it, and depending on where in his RSS feed you areI guess will determine how far down the page a person would have to scroll before they get to your panel, but I signed up for it a week or two ago and my first panel I'd had posted there got me ten visitors (which maybe isn't much to some people, but to me it's a pretty considerable boost for the day)
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Re: 10 Free and Effective Ways to Promote Your Webcomic

Postby LibertyCabbage on Fri Feb 08, 2013 2:47 pm

VeryCuddlyCornpone wrote:I forget if someone'd mentioned it round these parts before, but justthefirstframe.com is pretty cool.
This is pretty awesome. I hadn't heard of it before. I just sent the dude who runs it an e-mail. Thanks for pointing it out!
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Re: 10 Free and Effective Ways to Promote Your Webcomic

Postby Montyandwoolley on Fri Feb 08, 2013 3:11 pm

There's some great tips here, think ill have a go with some tomorrow. Been meaning to set up a twitter..
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Re: 10 Free and Effective Ways to Promote Your Webcomic

Postby Humbug on Fri Feb 08, 2013 3:38 pm

IVstudios wrote:I highly recommend it.


Cool, woun't hurt to give it a go, I could do for Tumblr what I'm planning for Deviantart, just post a raw version of the page (meaning with the speech bubbles all cut out) and a link back to the actual comic. :)
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Re: 10 Free and Effective Ways to Promote Your Webcomic

Postby VeryCuddlyCornpone on Mon Feb 11, 2013 5:10 pm

LibertyCabbage wrote:#7. Project Wonderful

Some sites don't have a minimum bid amount set, which means you can advertise on them for free for up to two days. Once you've made an account and uploaded your banners, do a search in the category "Comics: Webcomics," set "Current bid" and "Minimum bids" both to "0" and "0," and set the dropdown to "in each region." Then, keep bidding $0 for two days of advertising in each region until the site gives you an error message at 200 bids, which is the maximum amount of free bids you can have at one time. It can be difficult to get the American advertisement spots, but the other regions can still provide a noticeable amount of traffic. Finally, once your bids expire in two days, repeat the process. You can also play around with the settings if you like, such as advertising in categories other than Webcomics.


Just went through and gave this a shot. Fingers crossed!
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Re: 10 Free and Effective Ways to Promote Your Webcomic

Postby LibertyCabbage on Tue Feb 12, 2013 6:45 am

VeryCuddlyCornpone wrote:Just went through and gave this a shot. Fingers crossed!
I'd be interested to hear your results when the bids are up. I'm also still trying to figure out what strategies are the most effective.
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Re: 10 Free and Effective Ways to Promote Your Webcomic

Postby VeryCuddlyCornpone on Tue Feb 12, 2013 3:21 pm

So far I've had 2 clicks, lol. Considering I was somewhat limited in that I was looking at only the free bids and also didn't put bids on comics that seemed too "different" from my own, if that makes any sense. Got a pretty nice amount of ad views though, so at least the name is out there for some people.
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Re: 10 Free and Effective Ways to Promote Your Webcomic

Postby Humbug on Wed Feb 13, 2013 2:05 am

Well, for an ad to be perpetually at zero cents that means that the number of unique visitors viewing the ad is very low, or the ad is placed at a very bad location. So yea, any clicks from those is a good achievement. :P
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Re: 10 Free and Effective Ways to Promote Your Webcomic

Postby VeryCuddlyCornpone on Wed Feb 13, 2013 6:00 pm

Humbug wrote:Well, for an ad to be perpetually at zero cents that means that the number of unique visitors viewing the ad is very low, or the ad is placed at a very bad location. So yea, any clicks from those is a good achievement. :P

You'd be surprised, quite a few of them are in immediately visible or accidentally clickable locations, like near navigation buttons and so forth. I could do a lot worse :p
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Re: 10 Free and Effective Ways to Promote Your Webcomic

Postby djracodex on Thu Feb 14, 2013 5:04 am

I have found several webcomics through tumblr. It's cool because aside from comic pages, I enjoy seeing artists' doodles, non-comic-related work and other interests.
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Re: 10 Free and Effective Ways to Promote Your Webcomic

Postby VeryCuddlyCornpone on Fri Feb 15, 2013 3:37 pm

Up to 9 clicks now! Really not bad at all for free advertising. That's 9 more people looking at my page, and possibly exploring more, than would have done so otherwise.
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Re: 10 Free and Effective Ways to Promote Your Webcomic

Postby djracodex on Sat Feb 16, 2013 10:54 am

VeryCuddlyCornpone wrote:Up to 9 clicks now! Really not bad at all for free advertising. That's 9 more people looking at my page, and possibly exploring more, than would have done so otherwise.


That's pretty freakin' good for it being free, I'd say!

LibertyCabbage wrote:#4. DeviantArt

Post your pages on DeviantArt, and include a brief description of the page and a link to your webcomic. Look up webcomic groups on DeviantArt and join them. You can also link to your DeviantArt site so that your fans can "Watch" you.


I have noticed a lot of new webcomics getting ads on DA, like in that past week or so. It's kind of nice to see. I'd much rather have ads promoting someone's comic than the stupid 'play now!' game ads, or art school bs. Granted, this is not free by any means, I don't know how much an ad there costs, but if you're serious about your comic, it sounds like a good idea!
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Re: 10 Free and Effective Ways to Promote Your Webcomic

Postby VeryCuddlyCornpone on Sat Feb 16, 2013 6:25 pm

djracodex wrote:
VeryCuddlyCornpone wrote:Up to 9 clicks now! Really not bad at all for free advertising. That's 9 more people looking at my page, and possibly exploring more, than would have done so otherwise.


That's pretty freakin' good for it being free, I'd say!


13 now!! Damn!
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Re: 10 Free and Effective Ways to Promote Your Webcomic

Postby Humbug on Sun Feb 17, 2013 4:55 am

I got a question about Tumblr, how is it that people are able to find you? Is it because of the tagging system? Or the is it fact that if you socialize you will get visits? I'm not particularly sociable these days so I might just end up having an account with zero traffic.
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Re: 10 Free and Effective Ways to Promote Your Webcomic

Postby IVstudios on Sun Feb 17, 2013 8:43 am

Mostly through tags and people re-blogging your stuff. Tumblr isn't especially social, you can't really chat with people or have "friends." It's basically just a blog; you post stuff, people follow you, you follow other people, if you see something cool you reblog it.

It works well for self promotion because people are constantly sharing and reposting other people's stuff, but it all leads back to the original poster (as long as the person re-blogging isn't a dick who removes the history of posts. Which does happen but Tumblr makes it so much easier not to do that it's usually not an issue.)

I guess the best way to describe it would be that each user is in their own little bubble. No one else can come in, but they can all see in and if you do something cool someone can point to your bubble and say "Hey look, that guy is doing something awesome!" and a bunch of other people will turn and look at your bubble.
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