Webcomic Pet Peeve: Get a proper host!

I currently have another webcomic recommendation planned really soon, but I have a bit of a writer’s block at the moment, so it’ll have to wait (sorry). After missing out on so long, in place of a review, I feel like I have to vent on a trend among webcomic authors who are likely uploading their work for the first time.

Get a host, dammit!

If you’re not sure what I mean, allow me to demonstrate. As far as I’m concerned, every webcomic should have a single important element in its webpage design.

The four magic buttons that make browsing simple. If you’re a new reader, rewind to the beginning. Missed a few days? Just move backward a page or two and get caught up. And of course, you can just zoom to the most recent update. Other added buttons are optional, although they can be extremely helpful–Archive can take you to any individual page or chapter, and some other comics (usually gag-a-day) have a Random button, although I’m not sure why anyone would use that. The point is, they’re the greatest tool for any webcomic reader.

And this is why it bothers me when some comics are hosted on deviantArt, of all places.

(Click image for full size.)

Well, isn’t this convenient! I have to go all the way to the final page and open up every single strip in a separate tab just to read it! Or if I don’t open a tab (either by accident or because I’m not tech-savvy enough to know how to do that), I’ll have to click my browser’s Back arrow and read every page individually, one at a time. Navigating this would be a pain, and it puts extra stress on the author, because they’ll have to manually place links in the comments to save us the extra trouble.

This doesn’t look so fun, does it? I can understand why dA is an important site on the Internet–there’s some truly amazing art on there and it can give people a place to upload their portfolio and build a sizable fanbase–but please, don’t upload your comic there! Just don’t.

There are plenty of hosts that can give your webcomic a professional look. It can save readers the stress of having to click everywhere and scavenge for every page in sequential order, and it can save authors the tedious task of linking each page in the archive (the hosting sites can do that automatically).

Keenspot/Comic Genesis

These two webcomic hosts have the same parent company. Comic Genesis is an “open gate” for anyone who’s new to the scene and wants to get their foot in the door, while KeenSpot is more of an elite club for more seasoned/experienced authors. (You don’t necessarily have to be previously hosted by CG in order to be invited into KS.)

The Duck/Smack Jeeves

Two webcomic hosts with no approval process! Just sign up and you’re ready to go! (Note: Smack Jeeves, while free, has limitations unless you upgrade to premium.)

Tumblr (with conditions)

I was originally going to discourage use of this site since it’s so popular for uploading blogs and art (and yes, a few webcomics are hosted here, too), but then I learned of the Simple Webcomic Theme, which gives any Tumblr blog the look and functionality of a proper webcomic site. Alice Grove is a fine example that utilizes this theme well. If you’re just going to showcase random art… Eh, whatever. If you’re going to post a webcomic here, though, please use that theme! You’ll do yourself and your readers a huge favor.

This felt good to get off my chest. See you next time with a proper review!

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