Webcomics are some of the best sites on the internet. Perhaps you’re ready to add your own to the glory of webcomics like xkcd and Loading Artist. But there’s one problem: how do you make a webcomic site?
If you’re stuck on how to make a site to launch your amazing webcomic, welcome to our webcomic site guide!
We’ll go through all the steps to get your webcomic site up and running, so you can dazzle the internet in no time.
What You Need to Make a Webcomic Site
Creating a webcomic site isn’t as difficult as you may think. Basically, it requires three key elements:
- Domain name: This is your website’s URL, which you have to purchase to use and own. You’ll have to go to a domain registrar such as BlueHost or GoDaddy to look up and buy your domain name.
- Hosting: To put your website online, you’ll need a web hosting service. Hosting means that you’re renting space on a web server to keep your site up. You have a wide range of options. The major domain name providers also provide hosting services.
- CMS or website platform: You’ll need a CMS or a website platform to help you put together your site without technical know-how. A CMS (Content Management System) uses a pre-built website framework to help you manage your site. Sometimes this is also called a website platform, which is usually supported by an all-in-one site (such as Wix or Weebly). With a CMS (or a website platform), you’ll be able to set up and design your site without coding knowledge.
With these three elements, you’ll have a great start to your webcomic site! Don’t fear – we’ll go through each of these parts in depth.
How to Choose Your Domain and Hosting Providers
You’ll need to choose your providers carefully for your domain name, hosting and CMS.
Here are some recommendations for each:
To be honest, there’s not much difference between domain registrars. You’ll want to look out for sites with bad customer service rates and hidden fees. GoDaddy is one of the most popular, but other tried-and-true services include BlueHost, HostGator, Namecheap and DreamHost.
For hosting, beware of super cheap providers. It’s really important to get hosting right, as poor server security could mean unbearably slow speed and your site gets hacked.
Bottom line: cheap is not better in this case.
Some popular options include Siteground, Kinsta, WPEngine, BlueHost, DreamHost, HostGator, Hostinger, Hostwinds, GreenGeeks, etc.
How to Choose Your CMS
Deciding what CMS (or website platform) to use is essential. It’s a key decision because it could influence what you’re able to create on your site. You’ll want to choose the CMS that enhances, instead of limits your site.
Webcomic artists often choose Tumblr, Blogger or Tapas to make their site. While these platforms are easy to use and quick to make, we highly recommend using WordPress.
The reason is that websites like Tumblr are hosted by the platform itself. That means you won’t be in full control of the branding and customization. Self-hosting is ideal because you’ll have greater customization options. Often, it lets you set up custom user analytics and receive any payments/donations with the method of your choice (instead of the platform’s pre-built system).
Overall, WordPress lets you self-host and customize to your heart’s desire. We think it’s generally a more professional look as well. WordPress is user-friendly and you’ll be able to boost your webcomic using its large plugin library.
How to Make a Webcomic Site on WordPress
Now that you’ve chosen your providers for the domain name, hosting and CMS, let’s get started!
As an example, we’ll walk you through how to make a webcomic site on WordPress – our top choice.
You can choose any hosting you want, though WordPress recommends BlueHost.
BlueHost is super easy to set up and even includes one year of a domain name, so we’ll use that deal to set up the domain name and hosting.
Step 1: Buy your domain name and hosting on BlueHost
First up, you’ll need to buy your domain name and hosting to get WordPress set up.
Simply head to BlueHost and select the Basic hosting plan.
On the next page, you can type in the domain name you want. (The domain name is included for the first year!)
Once you’ve added your domain name, click “Next.”
Here you’ll need to fill in your account information. You probably don’t need any of the “package extras,” but it’s up to you.
Once you’re ready, click “Submit.”
Pro tip: You may want to add the “Domain Privacy Protection” under package extras. Otherwise, anybody can see your name and address listed under the domain.
Step 2: Install WordPress via BlueHost
Now you’ll want to install WordPress. Simply log into your BlueHost account. Once in, you’ll be prompted to pick a theme. You can choose one, or skip it – whatever you want.
Next, simply click on “Start Building” and you’ll be brought to the dashboard. Yup, it’s really that easy.
Step 3: Adjust key WordPress settings
Now it’s time to adjust some key settings in WordPress to get started.
Log into your WordPress site, either through BlueHost or by going to your site and adding /admin in most cases (for example, webcomics.site/admin).
Once you’re in WordPress, you’ll want to update a few key settings, including:
Adding your site’s name and tagline
Go to “Settings” on the left-hand sidebar, then click “General.”
In this area, you can add the name and tagline for your website. This is what will appear in Google when somebody finds your site.
Choosing a WordPress theme
Click on “Appearance” and then “Themes.”
Here you’ll see a bunch of themes to choose from.
You can even search for the theme you want in the search bar. Once you find the one, simply click “Install.”
Choosing URL format for your posts
Go to “Settings” on the left-hand sidebar, then click “Permalinks.” Here you can choose the settings for how your URLs will appear. We recommend staying away from “Plain,” because the random numbers won’t help your SEO. Other options, especially those that include the post name, will boost your SEO in the long run.
Updating user comment settings
Go to “Settings” on the left-hand sidebar, then click “Discussion.” If you don’t want comments to be allowed on your blog, you’ll want to uncheck the third box “Allow people to post comments on new articles.”
Click on “Pages” and you’ll be brought to the manager for creating your website pages.
These should be the pages that are more or less permanent for your site. By clicking “Add New,” you can start creating a page for your site.
Click on “Posts” and you’ll be brought to the manager for creating your webcomic posts. By clicking “Add New,” you can start creating a post with your latest comic!
Step 4: Install key WordPress plugins
You’ll also want certain plugins for your WordPress site.
Click on “Plugins” and “Add New” to install new ones.
Like themes, you can search in the bar or check out featured plugins by clicking on the category tabs.
Once you’ve found the plugin you want, click “Install Now.”
First, you’ll want a great webcomic plugin to publish your media art. Here are some top options for easily publishing comics:
In addition to webcomic-specific plugins, you’ll want some other must-haves.
In particular, here are our favorite WordPress plugins for any type of site:
- Yoast SEO – Helps boost your SEO for every page and post.
- Akismet – Keeps out spam from your comments section.
- Contact Form 7 – Sets up an easy contact form on your site.
Consider clicking “Install” on these WordPress plugins as well for a suite of features to get started.
Step 5: Use the Editor to upload your first comic
You’ve done a great job so far!
Now, if you’re looking to publish your first comic, it’s time to head to the Editor.
You can find this under “Posts.” Or if you installed a webcomic plugin, you’ll have to go straight to the plugin.
For example, if you’re using the Webcomic plugin, click directly on it in the left-hand sidebar.
Either way, once you click on “Add New,” you’ll find yourself in the Editor. Here’s where you can add a title, text and media files. Don’t forget to fill in other key areas, such as categories and SEO.
Luckily the Editor for both Posts and plugins is really intuitive, so by clicking around you’ll get the hang of it.
Once you’ve uploaded your media file with your comic and filled in all the relevant areas, click “Publish.” Ta-da!
Final Takeaway for Webcomic Sites
Making a webcomic site isn’t as hard as you thought!
We hope this guide gets you started for creating your site. With some practice, you’ll become a WordPress master and publish new comics without the instructions. Good luck!