Why I Made My Own Website
I spent a lot of time thinking about making a website. I finally decided to take the plunge when I was taking a break from my social media accounts. I wanted a way to share my work with my audience without the headache and mental strain that social media has caused me. No numbers, no drama, just a website. Yes.
It was a process to figure out exactly how to make a website as an artist and comic illustrator. Let me tell you a little about the process I went through while making an art website…
Making an Art Website
The most important part of purchasing my website (besides the name, of course), was choosing a host. There are so many hosting platforms out there, it can be incredibly confusing and overwhelming! There were aspects of hosting that I didn’t even know before I started looking and comparing plans. After reading a lot of articles/ watching videos/ etc, I was able to pick out the following considerations as the MOST important:
- Content permissions
- Storage Space
Have you ever clicked on a link and got tired of waiting when the page didn’t load? Yeah, all of us have. That’s the speed I was worried about.
Many articles and studies have shown that if a page takes more than three seconds to load in full, you begin to see a drop in engagement/ people staying on the page. I won’t lie, I’m too lazy to site the articles here, but you can do a quick google search about website loading speed and find the stats yourself.
So, any hosting site with known issues with speed was immediately disqualified.
A big factor for making a website was self hosting my own comics (see below). I wanted to self host in order to be able to post fully uncensored adult content (mostly gore) without the children’s protection squad on sites such as TAPAS and WEBTOONS chasing me around all day.
But did you know, hosting sites can forbid adult content as well? Yeah, I know, I was surprised too. A quick google search of the host site and “adult content” got me to the terms and conditions pages where I could find the stance of the host site on adult content.
So, any hosting site that does not allow adult content was disqualified.
As an artist and comic illustrator, having a lot of storage space was incredibly important! I didn’t want to get to episode XYZ and then get a “oops, you don’t have any more space LUL” error. Most of the hosting sites I was considering had a tier that includes unlimited storage, which is exactly what I was looking for!
So, hosting plans with unlimited storage was a must!
Of course cost is a consideration when picking a hosting site! There are tons of specials and promos out there that can bring down the cost of hosting a website to less than $5 a month! BUT it is important to remember that after the initial purchase is made (one year hosting, three years, whatever), the cost of hosting will go to full price. However, there is a way to get around this…kind of. You can change the hosting site of your website when your hosting deal expires, and transfer your whole website to a new hosting site with another promotional deal (as a cheapskate, this is my plan ;^) )
A free domain for a year is another cost savings option on many hosting sites ( but not all), so make sure to read what is included.
After comparing plans with all of this in mind, I settled on: DREAMHOST
The other half of the website experience is…the actual builder. If you are more skilled than I am, you may know some programming languages and are able to build your own website through coding.
That ain’t me, friends.
Due to my past experience with WORDPRESS, I wanted to stick with a hosting platform that had a built in wordpress editor. There are multiple reasons wordpress was a good fit for me:
- Plug Ins
- I’m used to it
Broooo- plug ins. The biggest draw to wordpress, across the board, are the plug ins! When you use wordpress website editor on a hosted website, you are able to access all the premium plug-ins that you didn’t have access to when using wordpress.com to host your free site.
Plug-ins offer added benefits and boosts to your site. For example: uploading custom fonts (outside of google fonts too), optimization tools, caching tools, social networking linking/gallery shares, archiving tools, web comic hosting tools, etc. Instead of fighting with different aspects of my website manually- I can use plug-ins to make it easier on me, and do the work in the background!
Earlier in this post I touched on the idea of migrating your website to different hosting sites in order to capitalize on promotional prices. With wordpress site builders, you can easily export your website as a whole, and import it into the new hosting platform seamlessly. This is very important for me, since I use special plug ins and themes to make sure my website runs smoothly.
I’m used to it
I have used wordpress free hosting for years for other projects I have done, so the dashboard is really familiar to me. However, I had no idea how much EASIER the premium features make it. When you use the website editor on a hosting site, you are able to use drag-and-drop features that other website builders boast as unique.
Picking a website builder I have some familiarity with made the learning curve way lower- allowing me to build my site in a few days rather than taking weeks of reading “how to” tutorials, etc.
Self- Hosting Web Comics
My goal of self-hosting my web comic was a big motivator and driver behind how/when/why I got a website.
Earlier in this post I mentioned that being able to host my own comic without fear of blocking/ banning due to adult content was a huge part of my decision to purchase a website. I started my web comic adventure on Webtoons, which I still intend to use. A big downfall to self hosting is that you don’t have a built in audience on your own platform. It can be very hard for people to find your work.
But that’s ok, I want the freedom to post how I want to.
Since I started on Webtoons, I’ve been drawing my comics in a vertical scroll format. There are lots of pros and cons to this- and I really like it, so I needed to find a way to host a vertical scroll comic.
Toocheke is a theme and plug in available on wordpress that provides a “webtoon-esque” vertical scroll comic experience. There are, again, a lot of pros and cons to using this theme.
One super annoying thing is that it isn’t very customizable. For this reason, I don’t think my web comic website is very pretty…but, that’s ok. My main goal and concern was the actual web-comic part, not the landing page, so I could live that.
There are other web comic themes/hosting options, but this one works the best for me as a Webtoons user. I’m very happy with the seamless vertical scroll appearance with no gaps between the images, and how it is mobile friendly as well.
I hope that this was helpful!
Good luck on your website journey! Feel free to drop a link to your own website below.