in the book: Where we discuss the future of WDC

on: 2014-09-25 13:51:57

chevic: Also, can you move to something else than Tapioca? Since your site is entertaining, and entertainment means possible business, someone else can see it and want to finance it. Good luck, Tyler.
PonkaPoe: Bu-but tapioca is gluten-free D:
tyler: In theory, yes. Somehow website manage to make money through advertising. But one of my biggest problems with this site is I am not a business person, I am not a money person; I am a software engineer and a comic artist. Maybe what I should be doing is looking for someone who knows how to run a business or get money from startup investors. I just do not even know how to go about finding someone to do that, let alone someone who is trust worthy and not going to do some slime ball business guy kind of stuff.
juano: Well, the main alternatives so far seem to be 1. Patreon, or 2. Ads via non-crappy systems like Project Wonderful. Could be both! Although neither of them are likely to yield an enormous income from the get-go (then again, Patreon has fetish MSPaint comics with basically no web presence raking in over 1,000 a month, so WDC covering its hosting costs isn't by any stretch an unreachable goal), they require no prior investment and no particular business savvy to set them up, so it's worth a shot.
Xrott: Well... I like to think that I have at least a little bit of a business sense and that, if we stick our heads together, we'll surely figure something out.

The only thing you need to worry about right now, is to make your graph look like this:

The way websites make profit on the Internet, is like any other business on this planet. You must have something to offer that someone else is willing to spend money on. And that "something" are effective advertisement slots, or to be more precise, a lot of eyes that look at ads and potentially click on them.

What that means for you, is that you need to draw in a significant crowd of people, that generate a big enough ad revenue so that the income exceeds the hosting expenses. Or in other words: WDC needs visitors again; You need to have a big group of people that will gladly return to the site many times again and again, so they may look at ads, which will in turn translate to revenue.

I know, it might sound a bit sleazy to think about it that way, but that's just the way it is. You just have to occasionally remind yourself that making money from, and caring about a community don't have to be and shouldn't be exclusive to each other.

(By the way, any alternative, I can think of, for making money on the Internet, all require a big enough user base as well. There is really no way around that.)

Anyway, the first step after placing ads should be asking yourself the question: How do you get more visitors and how do I get them to stay? However, since WeDrawComics already had a bigger user base and is right now at a low point, maybe we should put that aside for a moment and look at this from another angle: Why did people stop coming to this site?

Of course I can't talk for everyone and have to speculate for the reason, but I think I have a good grasp of what happened:

There is no nice way of saying it, I'm sorry, but the lack of word and update from you gave the site a pretty abandoned and dead feeling. This got to the point where people even started books to ask about what's going to happen to WDC. As a result people started leaving, thinking the site is dying, making the site look even more deserted, making it a self-fulfilling prophecy.

What I really have to urge you to do about this, is making regular updates. I don't even mean in the sense of actual code but, for example, a news post every so often, just telling us what's been happening lately, even if it just ends up saying that you haven't got the time or motivation right now to work on the site.

Or just take the whole five minutes of time it takes to swap out the featured panels on the front page at least every couple of weeks or so.

Sorry, but there is really no excuse why you couldn't check in every now and then and do at least that.

It's all just to show that WeDrawComics is still on your mind and that you haven't abandoned the community.

The feeling of not being forgotten goes a very long way!

I apologize that I had to lash out a bit, but this is the one thing that made me a little angry.

Anyway, to get back to the question on how to get more visitors: There certainly are several ways, but I don't really want to go into this topic right now.

Right now you should just focus on creating unobtrusive spots for advertisement, and think about what kind of ads our community would be interested in, to make them as effective as possible.

If you're interested in my opinion, I already thought of some effective places where you could put ads.

Lastly, I want to quickly point out, that in a sense, you already have an investor:

I am still more than willing to invest a lot of my time and brain power; My offer from a while back is still open.

As a return of my investment, the only thing I expect from this, is some experience in web design/development, a few connections with cool people and, when you get in the position to actually hire someone for WDC, that I'm one of the first people you'll think of.

I'm not only speaking about writing code for the site, but also to help make some decisions with you, offer my opinions on how to push the site in a direction where it can thrive, and look after the community. To be a channel of communication between you and the community, and if it has to be like that, make these small updates I discussed above. All for the benefit of the site.

I just want you to really think about it and give me a clear answer this time. Please tell me why you'd think that this would or would not work out.