Before we start, go take a look at these three webcomics: Penny Arcade, VG Cats, and PvP. Ok, now, to borrow from the classic Sesame Street guessing game, one of these things is not like the other one; can you guess which one?
Give up? While all these sites are host to very successful, critically acclaimed webcomics, only one of them opens with the strip itself. Now with strips like these, this can work; all 3 have been around long enough to survive regardless of what appears on the home page. In the case of Penny Arcade, Jerry and Mike could run with the first photographic evidence of Michael Jackson actually touching a young boy for the rest of their tenure on the Internet and their traffic would not only remain the highest of any webcomic ever, it would probably double.
So these strips, along with many others, prove that the blog first, strip last approach can work. But do you really think that’s the smartest play when your work is largely (or completely) untested and unproven? Can you really expect someone to go to your site and check out your awesome drawing style or amazing writing chops when they can’t even find the freakin thing?
I may be old school in my thinking, but the strip should speak for itself. You want to put a blog on the site to explain your process and give that little bit of insight into why you chose to go with the fart joke over the slightly smarter pun? Then please do; the most fascinating aspect of a piece of art to me is the process behind it and the circumstance and strife that brought it into being. But make sure you’ve got something to back it up first. If I have to click a LINK to get to the strip and find the strip isn’t worth the effort, that’s it. I’m done. Finished. Your strip is nothing but a stain on my brain that may resurface in a conversation about how NOT to make a webcomic.
So please, artists and writers alike, tell us how you did it! Give us your secrets and let us know the tricks of your trade. Just make it a trick worth knowing.