5 Tips for Improving your Web site
As webcartoonists, we all share a set of common goals. We want our comic to be presented in its best possible light. And we want our Web sites to facilitate this process, hopefully engaging readers along the way. Here are ten painless ways you can improve your Web site today.
1. Navigation buttons
If your navigation buttons are visually separated from the comic, you’re presenting a barrier between your readers and your archives. Your business model relies on advertising, which is generated by pageviews. Anything that gets between the reader and the archives is bad for the reader’s reading expeience, makes it hard for you to hook a new reader, and lowers the money you’re making on your site.
If your navigation buttons are down by your blog — and, worse yet, separated from the comic by a horizontal rule — you must fix this immediately.
2. First screen
Your readers should be able to see all of the most important elements of your site without scrolling. Here’s an excellent tool for gauging your site’s effectiveness in this regard. Most of your readers are jumping in for the comic and jumping out. You don’t have a heck of a lot of time to catch their attention with a blog post or an announcement. If you have to scroll down to see these elements, you have almost no chance.
3. No-scroll comic
I know it sounds stupid, but readers really down’t want to scoll to read the comic. For some of us, it’s impossible to prevent. But if you can, you should try to set up your site so that the majority of your readers (depending on their screen resolutions) won’t have to scroll.
After the archives, my most popular page is the About page. New readers want a quick way to figure out what’s going on with this comic they just discovered, and the About page offers exactly that. It should be a prominent link, close to the comic.
5. Social media
Social media (most notably Twitter and Facebook) allows your readers to promote your comic among their friends. There’s no advertising in the world as powerful as a recommendation among friends. And it’s free. This is a huge resource for your site. The social-media buttons should be prominent and as close to the comic as possible.