Saturday, July 23, 2011

Page Layout and Humor

When I started posting comics on the web (for example, Lifehouse BVB), I used a traditional newspaper strip-style. These kinds of comics usually have 3 or 4 panels, and deliver some kind of punchline at the end.

I don't know why I used that format - I wasn't really thinking of it as a webcomic, I was thinking of it as a comic that I wanted people to see. But it fit with the little gags and allusions that I wanted to portray, and I don't like to use more panels than I need to to get the point across. I notice that a lot of humor-style webcomics still use that format, and full-page webcomics tend to be the more serious type.

I started Think Before You Think as a humor-style comic, and I wanted to use a 6-panel layout so I could do more with the humor than just deliver a punchline. I think in some cases, the first 3 or 4 panels of one of the pages could stand alone as a traditional old-school gag comic, and then I use the rest of the panels to either extend the joke, deal with the aftermath, or just something random and unexpected, and I think the result makes the characters seem more real, and presents different levels of humor.

It's the type of thing I see more in TV than in comics, because TV shows actually have the space and time to flesh things out.

One of my friends told me that one thing he likes about my comic is that he never knows which panel is going to be the funniest. And maybe it's just that my conclusions are lame sometimes, but I like to use the whole layout, and squeeze as much entertainment as possible into the 6 panels.

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Perks of Project Wonderful

I don't have much experience as an advertiser. I've used a couple of free trials with Facebook and Google, but I feel most comfortable advertising on Project Wonderful. Maybe it's partly because my website is a webcomic, and Project Wonderful focuses on webcomics. But I wish Project Wonderful would get a lot bigger, and lots of people would use it for all kinds of things, because there are a lot of things I love about it. Mostly as an advertiser, because for one thing, it's under-valued and I can get really good deals. But also as a publisher, because in both cases, I feel like I have a lot of control.

I always knew Project Wonderful was cool, but I didn't realize quite how cool it was until I started using AdWords and suddenly advertising seemed so complicated. Advertising with Project Wonderful is so easy. It takes a moment to sign up - you just have to upload your ads and you're ready to go. You don't even have to have money in your account before you start advertising - there are always several empty spots where you can start bidding for free on low-traffic sites. I have even occasionally found free spots on high traffic sites and gotten unexpected traffic boosts without paying a cent!

But if you are going to spend money, you can still get really good deals, partly because the website is under-valued, and partly because you have complete control over where you advertise. That's the main thing I love about Project Wonderful. Yes, it's always possible to get a bad deal on advertising, and you don't set your own cost per click, so you have to pay attention to where you're advertising and how well your ads are doing. But the wonderful thing about Project Wonderful is that that is really easy to do! You can choose your own ad spots, track their performance by the minute, and adjust or cancel your bid accordingly. I spent some time experimenting with only a few cents at a time, and found some really good advertising spots that way. If you want to advertise on a bigger and more automatic scale, you can use campaigns to set your bids for you, but you can still monitor all of your campaign bids and cancel or block the sites that aren't performing well.

The main drawback to advertising with Project Wonderful, especially if your website isn't a webcomic, is that not enough people use it so you can't reach a very big pool of people, and a lot of the sites that do publish their ads have very low traffic. But I still think it's a valuable resource for advertisers that not enough people take advantage of, and the more people who use it, the bigger the advertising pool will become. So if you have anything to advertise, just sign up and try out for free.