Advertising on Top List Sites. Which ones work?

Updated – April,14 2010

Since I started posting reMIND online I’ve been scouring the internet to find ways to promote my site. One of the ways I’ve seen are “Top List Sites” or “Webcomic Directories” where hundreds or thousands of webcomic creators come to list their online comics in hopes they can get more followers. These are websites designed to organize lists of webcomics by popularity. Each site decodes popularity based on a different algorithm of their own. For some it’s a combination of your hits, page views, etc. Others are based solely on voting while others are a complete mystery to me. I joined a bunch of these when I first started but most of these top-list’s seem to be gimcrack sites. It makes me question if it’s even worth it to list my comic there.

Before I go into details I want to mention the “Pareto’s Law” or more popularly called the “80/20 Principle“. I’ve read about this rule in many motivation books and it goes something like this:

80% of outputs result from 20% of the inputs.

or..

80% of my time at work produces 20% of my finished work.

or in this case…

80% of all websites are 20% effective.

Some push it even further…

90% of all websites are 10% effective.

You can even flip it like this…

10% of all websites are 90% effective.

If you look into this rule more you will see that it can be applied to almost everything in life. If you can figure out what 10% of your life is 90% effective and just focus on that 10%, you can save lots of wasted time.  With all this said. I think it’s a complete waste of time to add your webcomic to every list out there especially if it’s in this 90% that is 10% effective or less. So lets move forward.

As I mentioned, most of these sites have the ability to advertise on their homepage in which I have tried 4 so far and have no reason to try any others yet. So here is…

The 80/20 Principle applied to Top List Sites.

I structured it this way because once you get past the top four on the list it’s just a complete waste of time to try to figure out which one is better.

Top Web Comics seems pretty relevant to todays online communities for one. I joined and listed reMIND about 3 months ago and was ranked around #1500 on their list finding it hard to move up because the top comics were getting thousands of votes a week. I tried to remember to log on each day to vote for reMIND, I know I’m cheating, but it hardly moved me up the ranks anyway. I let it go for a while but one day noticed the ads on the top of the page were prime placement so I looked into it more. Turns out you can buy an ad there for as little as $10. (which is a discount for webcomics!) I bought an ad for $35 (300,000 impressions) and waited about a month for it to make it’s way up the queue. So far this ad has brought in an average of 100+ unique viewers a day since it started displaying. It looks like my ad will run for about 3 weeks. From what I can tell I am averaging about 100,000 impressions a week on their site. This could mean over  2100 highly targeted unique viewers by the time my ad expires. Not to mention lots of new subscribers.

But the biggest advantage to advertising at TopWebComics is people start voting for your comic (if they like it). Since my advertisement started, I’ve moved from around #1300 on the list to #320 (as I write this) in just about a week. Because I’m moving up the list, I’m now getting more people to recognize my site. When people goto the site to vote for other comics they might see my ad at the top and decide to vote for me too. So your not just paying for a little advertising, your also putting yourself on the map so people can find you to vote for you which will continue to drive traffic to your site long after the ad expires.

[Edit] When I first wrote this article I blow this one off thinking it was useless. The nest month I had some traffic from the site so I went there to check it out. What I found was a pleasant surprise. Someone had listed my comic and it was being displayed on the front page as a new comic. Being on this list alone was sending an average of 60 unique visitors to my site. Wow. Then I got another surprise when so many people subscribed to my comic there that I was added to the Most-New Subscriptions list. This shot more people to my site for a few weeks.

I started advertising on the Belfry lately and it’s been a wonderful return on investment, as far as getting new people to notice my graphic novel. So my end conclusion is that the Belfry is the second best Top List site I’ve found so far. Go there and sign up and list your comic if it’s not there yet!

This site is kinda clunky, but hey, they all are. The Webcomic List is sometimes very slow to load a page and I find it frustrating to navigate. The stats don’t really work on my comic too because it’s a blog but I don’t really need stats. I use Google Analytics. Overall, since I’ve listed my comic here I get about 4 unique viewers a day who somehow find me in the infinite list of burnt out comics. I think they add your page views to their algorithm and since 80% of the comics don’t get updated anymore, you automatically move up the list. As of writing this I’m ranked at 1,839 out of 15,310. That’s allot of comics to dig through!

One thing I’d suggest is to buy a spot in the featured list for $15 a month. This was my first advertising attempt being cheap enough for me to risk. They have other banner advertising but it seems really expensive at about $100 for 150,000 impressions. I’ll let you know when I tap into my Home Equity Line of Credit for this.

When I bought the $15 featured spot, I was sent about 5 to 16 unique visitors a day from the ad. Not bad for about 50 cents a day. Of corse it’s important to make a catchy button to attract people or your precious 15 duckets will float down the toilet. So in other words, this site is pretty good and seems up to date. I’m not sure if I will keep advertising there though. All together it has brought in a little over 300 unique viewers in about 3 months, mostly when I was featured.

I bought a featured ad on this site too for 3 months because it was only $5 a month. I’ve had a total of 37 unique visitors since I joined. Advertising the WHOLE time. What? Is that possible? But I’m ranked # 210 on their list (as of this writing). It seems like this list is pretty rarely traveled. It seems like a well managed site though but it definitely falls into the 80 to 90% ineffective catagory. Unless this changes in the future, I wont be spending my time there anymore.

Below are more Top List Sites that I found but don’t see the point in listing my comic with yet. If you know anything about any of these then feel free to leave a message in the comments below.

My Conclusion.

So with all this said, there is only one reason I can find to list your comic on more then the top 3 here. If you are a brand new webcomic with no links back to you, this is a way to get a few. You see, the more links you have to your site the better search ranking you will get with google and other search engines.  I still don’t suggest it though. You might as well join forums, write good content or even buy a few ads with Project Wonderful before wasting your time on all of these.