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Getting made a website for webcomic
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Pumpkin Pie
Consistant Poster

Joined: 01 Jan 2005
Posts: 105
Location: Madison, Wisconsin, USA

PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2005 3:09 pm    Post subject: Getting made a website for webcomic Reply with quote

I'm thinking of hiring a web designer to create a website for my webcomic. Hmmm. I should probably think of another way I could put "web" into that last sentence. Anyway...

I'm thinking of posting the following to RentACoder.com, guru.com, and other service auction sites. Thoughts and constructive criticism appreciated.


I?m in the process of launching a webcomic and would like to hire someone to create a website for it. In addition to needing someone that is proficient in server side scripting (i.e., php, asp, jsp, etc.), I need someone that can create the following for the website:

+ A cover webpage (splash?) that gives an "Adult Content" warning (there's nudity, but no sex in the webcomic) and presents an ?if-nudity-isn?t-legal-where-you-are-viewing-this? obstacle for visitors to overcome. Once answered satisfactorily, the reader would zoom in on the cover page?s image down to the atom level. A sort of voyage of ever-increasing magnification with magnification levels noted as they?re approached and passed. The webcomic is science fiction where nanites are reality. The rest of the website is to have a cool at-the-atom-level look to it.

+ When clicking on an episode from the archive's index page, the webcomic takes over the entire computer screen. It essentially hits "F12" and auto-hides the taskbar. I want this to reduce clutter on the screen, make the computer monitor's frame like a picture frame for the webcomic's panels, and to have the art enlarged for easier appreciation. Navigation done by keyboard arrow keys. The right-arrow button moves the panels forward and the left-arrow button moves the panels backwards. When exiting an episode (hitting the ?Escape? key), closing the window, or returning to the index page (by either clicking through all that episode?s panels; hitting the up or down arrow keys for non-paid-subscriber readers; or just up-arrow key for paid subscribers), it returns the reader's computer screen to what it was before. Each webcomic panel is on a separate webpage and a series of them is sequenced together to make up an episode (normally fourteen panels per episode). Clicking on an episode listing takes the reader to its first panel, shows it, and then quickly works to load the rest of that episode's webpages while the reader reads through the panels. Pace is important so I need all webpages of a episode loaded as quickly as possible and not when the viewer hits a key to go to the next panel. This viewing system being able to be done with all web browsers.

+ An easy way for fans to purchase subscriptions to the webcomic. Subscriptions only give these fans access to the storyboards used by the artist to create the finished panels of the webcomic, access to paid-subscriber-only forums, and the ability to give banner advertising on the webcomic to their favorite tax-exempt non-profits. Subscriptions accepted would be credit card ones that have a regular amount charged to them each month until the subscriber cancels their subscription.

+ A system that enables only paid subscribers to be able to access the rough storyboard used for a panel in an episode by hitting the down-arrow key.

+ Paid-subscriber-only forums. Links to the paid-subscriber-only forums not visible to the non-paying public and not even hinted at (no blank space that looks like something should be there).

+ A banner ad system that puts two banner ads on only the index page and on the first panel of each episode. The episode?s first panel doesn?t contain a comic panel but a reminder how to navigate the episode (see above). Different first panels for the non-paying public and paid subscribers to reduce confusion since the down-arrow key does different things for non-paying viewers and paid subscribers. The banner ads on the index page and episodes? first panels rotating amongst the different banner ads each time the index page or an episode?s first panel is viewed. One of the two banners is for paid advertisers and the other is for non-profits. See next two sections for more on these two types.

+ A paid advertiser banner ad system that enables advertisers to easily purchase exposure or click-through advertising. A simple and easy way for advertisers to load up the banner ad they would like presented to readers. All banners needing publisher approval before being allowed to appear and the publisher sent an instant email informing them that a new banner is awaiting their approval. If a banner is rejected, there would be an easy-to-use form for the publisher to send a rejection message back to the advertiser. Some check-off boxes for common rejection reasons and an open text box for when the publisher feels those are not good enough. For advertisers to purchase click-through advertising (they pay per click-through), their banner ad needs to be designed to ask/encourage viewers to click on it. This determination made by the publisher. If it is simply brand advertising, advertisers can only purchase exposure advertising for their banner ad. There needs to be a red-flag-raising system that can alert the publisher of a click-through ad that just isn?t getting clicked enough to earn it the click-through rate thus its advertiser needing to change it to get more click-throughs or pay for exposures instead. Exposure and click-through banner ads presented in same frequency. Advertisers would have a secure way to access and change their account. At this screen, the advertiser would see how many exposures they?re receiving, percentage of exposures that are click-throughs, and a break-down by hour and day of both exposures and click-throughs they?ve received. Accounts can set it up to either: 1) essentially have an unlimited account where as many exposures/click-throughs they get, they pay for. They give their credit card number and billing is automatically done once a week. 2) They deposit an amount and get deducted an amount for each exposure/click-through until the deposit is all used up. If all paid banner ads are this second option and all the deposits are used up, the paid advertiser banners are replaced with banner ads for non-profits (see next section).

+ A banner ad system for tax-exempt non-profits. When paid subscribers sign up, they?re presented with a menu of tax-exempt non-profits they can vote to give banner advertising on the webcomic?s index page and first panel of each episode. The paid subscribers vote with play-money versions of what they paid for their subscriptions (i.e., what they pay a month). Paid subscribers can vote all their play-money to go to one non-profit ? or be equally divided amongst a number of non-profits (or all those listed) ? or give differing amounts of play-money (smallest unit being a dollar) to different non-profits. All this is totaled up and the non-profit that gets the most donations, gets the most banner ad exposures. Not click-throughs, just exposures. The percentage of exposures a non-profit gets equals the percentage of the play money paid subscribers earmarked for non-profits. All this automated. Paid subscribers can change who they give their play money to at anytime. At the menu and as an option for later use, paid subscribers can suggest non-profits to which they?d like to give this free advertising and the publisher will contact that organization to see if they would like to receive it. Also, there would be a way for non-profits to initiate this process to get on the menu that paid subscribers pick from. Publisher approval required before their organization would be added. On the paid-subscriber-only forums, one forum would be just to discuss the non-profits being advertised by the webcomic and there would be an information window there that would tell the current stats for the non-profits on the webcomic, such as current percentage of exposures each is being awarded, number of exposures each has received to date, number of click-throughs each has received, newest non-profit being advertised, and such.

+ An automated mailing list that sends out emails which have links starting at the beginning of the episode that viewer has yet to see. Even when more than one episode notification is sent out (I'd like one sent for each new episode) and regardless which email?s link is clicked, it only takes them to the oldest episode they've yet to see.

+ An announcement mailing list subscription system. Fans (paid subscribers or not) of the webcomic would be able to sign up for a mailing list. They would be allowed to pick which announcements they wish to receive from a menu of possible ones, such as ?new episode?, convention appearances, talk show appearances, new tie-in merchandise, milestone achievements, and so forth. A banner ad on the index page (the third banner ad on that page) would advertise this mailing list option to readers and, upon being clicked on, would take them to the webpage where they can sign up for it. There would be an easy-to-use form for webcomic staff to send out non-automated notices and with check-off boxes to insure they go to those that want to see them.

+ An easy way for the webcomic's writer to load scanned-in storyboards (rough drafts of panels) and send them to the publisher. With each panel, there being a comment box for the writer to send messages to the publisher. The publisher being likewise able to comment back to the writer. Upon approving of the storyboards, they are archived and copies sent to the artist for them to look at to create the finished panels. The artist can set up of each finished episode (normally fourteen panels each) and its corresponding storyboards then send this to the publisher for approval. Comment box system done for this as well. When publisher approves an episode for public release, it automatically loads onto the index page and ?new episode? email notifications sent out to all fans that signed up for that mailing list. When loading on the index page, the writer and artist are automatically given credit next to the episode listing (i.e., ?Story and storyboards by [writer?s name]. Art by [artist?s name]?) and their names are hyperlinked to their own websites or where their portfolio is on public display. The artist and writer will possibly be in other parts of the world so I need an easy-to-use-and-understand system with which for them to upload their artwork and without much hand-holding.

+ A way to track the click-thru traffic that goes from the website to the artists', writers', and models' websites. A secure way for each of these individuals to see their individual stats.

+ A tie-in merchandise section where fans can purchase webcomic-themed t-shirts, coffee mugs, compilation books, and such. Not opposed to using an already-existing system if it
does the job well. Also on this page, there would be link for manufacturers to go to a webpage where they can propose tie-in merchandise to the publisher. The form would enable them to upload images for the publisher to look at.

+ An easy simple way for fans of the webcomic to load their fan art. The fan art not loading automatically to the publicly-viewed Fan Art webpage but needing first approval from the publisher. An easy-to-use form for the publisher to type in comments that would be posted along with the fan art.

+ An easy-to-use form for adding writers, artists, and models as well as webcomic characters to the ?Cast & Crew? section. This include a body of text, photographs, and hyperlinks.

+ An easy-to-use form to add questions and their answers to the Frequently Asked Questions section.

+ FUTURE PROJECT: After hopefully the webcomic becomes a huge success, a peer-to-peer client would be added that would help reduce the bandwidth load of the webcomic's website and increase loading speeds of episodes by locating a copy of its archive on the computers of fans (given a free "paid" subscription for doing so) and which would be as seamless as possible. Readers never knowing they're accessing the archive from these fans' computers. The fans would need so much hard-drive space and at least a cable modem, DSL, or faster continuous connection to the internet to be able to do this. Would need some program that could test this. Fans would bid their systems and connection speeds to get this deal and only as many as would be needed would be accepted. The stored archives would also need to be protected so fans cannot alter them in anyway.
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William G
Reinvents understanding

Joined: 15 Jan 2003
Posts: 560
Location: South central...Korea. Word.

PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2005 11:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Everything at once, eh?
Her lips are devil red, she's the color of mocha...
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Pumpkin Pie
Consistant Poster

Joined: 01 Jan 2005
Posts: 105
Location: Madison, Wisconsin, USA

PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2005 11:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

William G wrote:
Everything at once, eh?

From my understanding, it's best that way so the code is more smooth and developed as a whole.
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Frequent Poster

Joined: 06 Dec 2005
Posts: 56

PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2005 9:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Install a Wiki, and upload the pictures to it. Then you can write all the back and next buttons, story titles, etc, as Wiki pages.

The problem with "everything at once" is your programmer will spend lots of time working on features that you don't realize you don't need. Start minimal, and only add the features you find a use for.
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Eric F Myers
Understands reinventing

Joined: 03 Oct 2003
Posts: 352
Location: Chicago

PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2005 9:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As for "the webcomic takes over the entire computer screen" you could put your pages in a zip file then change the name from *.zip to *.cbz. Then your readers could download each chapter and read them using CDisplay.
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