When I first started doing work online, the options for any sort of development were fairly limited. I taught myself HTML using an eight-page pamphlet, and I knew pretty much everything you needed to know at that time. (I already knew Photoshop.) This was, of course, a little over two decades ago and the web has changed a great deal since then. I tried keeping up—teaching myself JavaScript, PHP, MySQL, CSS—but things eventually got so complex that it was almost impossible for one person to become proficient enough in everything you needed to develop a good web site. Any more, a corporate web development team will split out functions across a number of roles: designers, developers, database experts… Even among those functions, they’ll often split them even further: UX designers versus graphic designers, for example.

So how is a lone cartoonist supposed to do a webcomic then? It’s not like they can hire out an agency to handle all this, right?

Well, fortunately, other people have stepped up to help in a variety of ways. A webcomiker might not be able to pull in experts to work on their project specifically, but a number of people have created guides, tutorials, and templates especially for people who just want to draw their webcomic. Philip Hofer, for example, developed a plugin called Comic Easel for the popular blogging software WordPress. This allows the creator to more easily customize WordPress to utilize many of the standard practices other webcomikers have already determined work well. Hofer had previously worked on a similar plugin called ComicPress, though this hasn’t been updated in several years.

Sometimes, a variety of folks will gather together and share their resources as a collective. The individual creators often are able to simply utilize the group’s content management system, with the only real requirement being that their comic remains a part of the collective as a whole. While webcomic collectives used to often require the comic remain as part of their site, many such as Hiveworks and SpiderForest allow creators to host their comics however/wherever they like.

Not to mention the seemingly infinite number of videos, podcasts, blogs, and such dedicated to the topic. These can run the gamut from focusing on marketing to technology to general tips-&-tricks. A YouTube search on “webcomic tutorial” turns up over 27,000 results!

The point is that there are a great number of resources out there which webcomikers can take advantage of in order to make their site a smoother and more professional-looking experience. I’ve read more than a few webcomics where, while the comic itself was good, the navigation and controls were so atrocious that it negatively impacted my reading experience, leaving me with an immediate distaste for what may have been a perfectly fine story. Don’t let your own inexperience hold your webcomic back!