This is in response to Janae Grace Huber's request for advice for a webcomic newbie... and it's way too long for a status comment, so...
There's basically three "costs" in starting a website of any kind:
- Loss of control of your content.
- Your time and effort.
When you minimize one of these, but the others go up.
Sites like Wordpress.com and Blogger will set you up with a site for free and at low effort, but at a loss of control. (In that they can display ads on your site. Also their terms of service need to be read carefully. Sometimes services want to be able to use your content to promote their own service)
You can pay them to remove ads, but of course, that's more money for less loss of control.
You can pay to have your site hosted, which shouldn't cost more than $10/mo. for a small site plus about $10 a year for a domain. Some hosts offer a sitebuilder. Many have easy installations for wordpress or other content management systems (CMS).
There's a catch with those sometimes. Since they use pre-built templates, there's usually a link on the bottom of each page to the designer and/or the sitebuilder. In other words, ads. You can pay for a custom template (more money) or design your own (more effort).
You can also design your own site from scratch. The amount of effort that goes into this depends a lot on how interactive you want your site to be. It also depends on what you already know.
So, here's the bottom line. If you want to be in webcomics, I recommend learning some of the "web" part as well as the "comics" part. The extra effort will give you more options, and can save you money and help maintain control of what your readers see when they read your work.
Libraries will have books on making websites. Some libraries even offer online courses. Here's some tips for picking a book:
- Pick more than one. It's a library, they're free, and different teaching styles work better for different people. (I'm usually fond of O'Reilly, Visual Quickstart and Missing Manual.)
- Look for recent books. Something in the last few years if possible, the newer the better. The internet changes quick, and some things I learned fifteen years ago when I made my first site are would be terrible advice now.
- Other than titles just saying "how to make a website", look for books about things like HTML5 and CSS, or Wordpress.
There's also plenty of websites that teach webdesign.
Ok... That was a lot of typing.
Any other webcartoonists have any other advice?
*Edited to differentiate wordpress from wordpress.com.
Wordpress is a free, open-source content management system (CMS) which can be found at wordpress.org. Almost a third of the internet runs on wordpress. It handles most, if not all, coding for you unless you want to make your own themes. Pre-made themes are plentiful but are not all free and/or open-source. You still need a webhost for your wordpress site. Many webhosts offer auto-installers for wordpress and other CMS.
Wordpress.com is a hosting service run by the people who manage the development of the wordpress CMS. It offers free and paid wordpress sites, simular to Blogger.