I'm putting together a webcomic and am considering taking down the construction page in the next couple of days and going live (the site is finished). I just have a few questions regarding a startup of this nature.
I realise this probably seems slightly lame compared to a "proper" business launch (and indeed it's more a hobby than anything), but I would really appreciate any advice you could give, even if it's just a quick couple points.
Fraternity is something that may help in your field. Lots of webcomics recommend each other. Do you have any friends in the same space who can link to you? If not, can you make some friends? Granted, the big players may be hard to reach. But there are a lot of scrappy comic artists out there who may love to partner with you in cross-promotion.
How familiar are you with the big players? Sites like Achewood have awesome fan bases because of the following:
Did I mention content?
There are many sites out there that promote webcomics, and you definitely need a presence on many of them. (Registration and promotion, at least at the basic level, is often free.)
Promotion after launch on Twitter - direct links embedded to your awesome content - and Facebook will help. Tangential promotion - through consignment sites like Etsy and Tapatoco - can help. If people see your cool character on a mug or a tshirt, they will probably go hunting your site out.
Linking to webcomics you like is extremely important. It gives readers a sense of context - webcomic fans often like to know "who" they are dealing with. Are you for real, or just another dude wanting to make some cash?
Don't forget SEO. You're sunk without it. If you don't know how to do it, read up about it or hire someone.
Going forward, after launch, and after online promotions are underway, the single biggest thing you can do - arguably more important than everything else - is attend the trade shows/conventions. Be there. Sell stuff. Talk. Give away stuff. This one thing will probably do more in the short term than anything else.
Is any of this quick? Nope. Be patient. Be reliable (if you say "Updated every Tuesday" then mean it or you are sunk). Concentrate on the content. Treat it like a business.
You can't show a glimpse of the comic? A cover shot, background information about the characters. Anything? A sample.
I have seen launch pages such as LaunchRock do well. It all depends on how much traffic you're sending to your site, as well as how much hype there is for your product or service.
For more info on LaunchRock see the following link:
http://www.readwriteweb.com/start/2011/02/get-a-viral-launch-page-for-yo.php PS- I am in no way affiliated with LaunchRock, I just like the concept of their business and have seen it be successful for many various businesses.