The site has developed a few issues since I installed the newest version of WordPress. Infinite scroll is down, the previous button on the homepage is wonky, and the RSS doesn’t have images. I’m on it, guys.
Time to try out something new on the site. Some of you have noticed (and commented) about “Rossmom” posts in the comments. Yes, those are in fact my mother. Well, after much debate and little planning, here we go. The chance for you to write in and ask my mother questions, and she’ll answer them here on the site. Here’s how this works:
Send an email to systemcomic at gmail dot com with the subject line “Ask Rossmom” and then, well, ask your question! We’ll post the answers here on the site as we can. Some suggested topics after knowing my mom for 28 or so years:
Really, anything except about the time my brother pooped in the corner at the age of 3 is up for grabs. She graduated magna cum laude from a very prestigious university and holds degrees in things, so anything is fair game. If it’s successful enough, maybe it’ll become a podcast? So START WRITING!
Wow, what a launch! Lots of feedback, and a lot positive. Some negative. Of that, a lot constructive. Here’s some things that are going to be happening on my end:
Adding in the “previous” button on the home page. I had it greyed out because I wasn’t sure it logistically made sense, but enough people asking for it convinced me. it’s coming back.
Browser testing. I’m working my way through Firefox, Camino, Chrome, IE7 and beyond, going through all the issues and THERE ARE A LOT. I’m working on it, please be patient and feel free to send me screen shots along with notes about what browser/OS you’re using.
Turbo Reader: I think I’m going to collapse the “below info” so it’s JUST comics. That’ll be really turbo, it’ll also take a couple weeks to implement but I think it’ll be awesome for quick reading.
More comics! With the site launched, I’m going to be making sure to have better updates again. I hope.
Meanwhile, thanks so much for all the feedback! I read it all, positive, negative and everything in between. Just keep it constructive, that’s all I ask.
Hey Statistics Nerds!
For those of you that asked, here’s what’s been up with the stats since launch which I realize isn’t a very large sample site. Here’s some so-far details comparing the last month on the old site to the days since launch on the new one, using Google Analytics:
Pages per visit are up from 2.74 to 3.08. Truthfully not a huge change but it’s up and that’s nice. I’m thinking that, and all these other stats, are largely more due to people poking around the new site than anything.
Average duration is up from 00:01:30 to 00:01:37. Not huge but yay.
Bounce rate is down from 74.43% to 67.70%. Yay!
I’m avoiding new visit-related things because the site is too new to use them. Interestingly though, here’s the browser breakdown for the new site:
Wow, first of all, that’s a lot of Chrome. I’ll get right on that top-margin issue you guys. Here’s the mobile breakdown:
But here’s where it gets interesting, here’s the mobile breakdown from the old site:
Look at that difference in bounce rate and usage on mobile! SO MUCH LOWER. That is very encouraging, but again too early to make any calls.
Also, the % exit from the home page is down from 77.15% to 69.56%. That implies to me that more people are digging around instead of leaving, and that is part of the goal as well. Good on ya, users.
Oh, and one last thing that’s exciting. Before, among the top content types, “tags” didn’t even make the list. Nobody was using them, which was understandable since the site didn’t highlight them and their usage at all. Now “tag” (meaning any page listed by subject) and “tag-list” (the archive page with all the tags) are both in the top 10 of my analytics “content drilldown”.
Anyway, it’s an exciting start. More info when I have it, and more updates as they happen. If there’s more data/info you want that I can pull from Google Analytics, just let me know what to look for and I’ll try to provide. Just leave a note in the comments and I’ll respond.
Controls on the left that scroll with you
Lots of awesome CSS3 powering it for less images, smoother transitions, etc.
MEDIA QUERIES. This probably doesn’t mean much to most of you, but here’s the skinny: The site will be built to know how wide the browser is, and update the design accordingly to better fit the space. It’s in progress now, and if you load the examples below you’ll see what I’m talking about. For now, it just kinda breaks when shrunk, but you can see a little about what’s going to happen. And it’s gonna be great!
So all that being said, here’s what’s in the works so far!
By the way, I know it’s broken in a lot of places (mostly with the media queries, aka when the browser is set to smaller than 950px wide). It’s still in progress, but I’m too excited about it NOT to share it. Stay tuned!
There’s been a lot of spam comments coming through on the site, things like “I love your content, the way you describe the topic really intere/sts me.” I’ve been deleting them. In an effort to keep them off the site, I’m currently moderating all comments to keep the spam away. So yes, I read them all. Because I care.
If you know how to fix this, please tell me. I don’t think this is the best use of my time.
First off, my sincere apologies about the lack of updates in the last week. And by lack, I of course mean “any”.
Last Sunday I started to come down with a serious throat infection and high fever that toasted me pretty thoroughly. A sickness I’m still recovering from. While I’m well enough to sit up in bed, put on pants, speak a complete sentence and swallow water (all of which are wonderfully great new experiences lately), I’m definitely not at 100%. Not to mention that I’m behind on over a week of not being able to do anything with my day job, the comic, or anything else in my life.
This isn’t the end of anything, but it is going to take me a few days to get everything back on track, and in the meantime please bear with me. I wish I could say this was my day job and my first priority, but truth be told it isn’t. So any emails sent, orders requested, and new comics are going to take a few days to get to. I’m working on it as fast as I can, while trying to recover from being really sick.
Other comics people, if you have the time and send me a guest comic, I’ll gladly post them.
My laptop is officially on the fritz. I think it’s the display, but that doesn’t matter for now. I’m taking it in to get looked at and hopefully fixed, but until I do I can’t get the comic up. It’s not a hard drive issue (thank god) but it’s going to affect today (Friday’s) post.
If you feel like donating to the “Ross Will Probably Need a New Computer Since This One Is Out of Warranty” fund, feel free to make a donation via PayPal using the button below. Anyone who donates any amount will receive a custom comic that’s totally new and unseen by anyone else, and while I haven’t written it yet, I’m sure it’ll be amazing.
Of course if you don’t like the idea of a donation, you could always purchase a print from the HilariAwesome.com store. Or a shirt, but I really like shipping prints so I’m going with that.
I’ve seen a lot of comic artists agree, disagree, and criticize the idea of a “donation effort” like this, so let me just say this. I am lucky enough (unlucky enough?) to have a full-time job outside of comics, and while they won’t pay for me to get my computer fixed, I’m not in destitute and will be getting this computer fixed or replaced whether you donate a dime or not. There are plenty of artists out there without health insurance or who are unlucky enough (lucky enough?) to have the art of making comics as their sole livelihood. If you feel like people like that are more worthy of assistance, you will get no argument from me. If this rubs you the wrong way, don’t sweat it and come back for more comics on Monday. However, I don’t ask for much from Systemics outside of reading the comic, sharing when you can, and giving your opinions in the comments on things like shirt preorders and new designs. So if you feel like throwing a dollar or two my way on whatever credit card currently has “double points”, it’d be amazing.
See you all on Monday, if not sooner! I’ll update with computer-news once I have it.
All the traveling to and fro Austin, TX really wiped me out. Apologies for the lack of comics so far this week, but expect a new one Thursday morning (EST). In the meantime, here’s a cool picture from the panel I was on:
If you’re looking to see some comics, how about creating one! Here’s the artwork from System 289, how about rewriting it? Send me (systemcomic at gmail / @rosscott) your best and I’ll post on the site. Click the image (or here) for full size.
Going to conventions is hard work and what generally happens consists of the same cycle. I spend lots of energy preparing everything and running through all the logistics, then get to the show already exhausted. After a weekend of standing, trying to look awesome, schmoozing with fellow artists, fans and random passers by I come home exhausted. At that point, I promise myself and you that I’ll post a writeup about the convention, but after a weekend of not answering email, not sleeping and not drawing more comics I generally fall behind rather horribly. So here is a gigantic mega-writeup to cover 4 of the cons I’ve been to in the last couple months. Apologies in advance for forgetting to write about people / events / details. Conventions are a blur when I look back on them so I tried to hit the highlights.
If I met you at one of these cons, this is a perfect chance to say hi in the comments!
New York Comic Con (NYCC)
Most recently, as in 2 weeks ago, I attended the biggest convention of my life. I don’t mean figuratively, I mean that completely literally. Up until NYCC the biggest convention at which I had ever exhibited was Otakon with over 20,000 attendees. NYCC hits a number in upwards of 100,000.
At this point I have to pause to say that I did three things that were essential to making the weekend a success:
I had gone 2 years’ before with Internet superfriends Marty, Nick and Dern and therefore knew where it was, what the crowd was like, and generally what I was in for. Otherwise the sheer size may have blown my face off.
I split a table with Applegeeks’ artist extraordinaire Hawk (along with his awesome friends Jess and Jean), which kept me sane, gave me a few breaks without leaving the table empty, and brought the price on a table down from “absurd” to “high”.
Finally, I set up a new convention favorite of mine known as the TOWER OF COMICS™. This involves putting up lots of prints of various System comics in a giant tower and at a large size for people to come by and read. This was hugely successful and constantly drew crowds over to come read comics, laugh at a few and sometimes even buy one to take home. You can see it slightly in some of the pictures below.
Outside of those events, it was a blur of a weekend. Thanks so much to all my friends and fans who stopped by the table, whether to buy something or just say hi. When doing any convention you find yourself staring at a sea of people, but seeing some friends in the crowd really helps break up all the insanity. Thanks to those of you who said they were a fan, and to those new ones out there who took the time to come by. I’m looking at you, girls from San Francisco.
Some other highlights from the con include dinner with the Least I Could Do / Blind Ferret gang which, in case you didn’t know, includes an entourage of about 10 people. I have no pictures from this event but according to witnesses we had a good time. All I can say for certain is about 20 minutes where the entire table was talking about Super Art Fight. That was a good feeling.
Oh, and what’s that? You saw me at the Cyanide and Happiness table? Yeah you did. Here’s me drawing wangs with the gang:
Finally, thanks to my parents and my good friend Kimmers, who made the whole weekend possible. My parents helped with all the logistics of getting all the supplies to the con, and Kimmers gave me a place to stay. I couldn’t have done it without you guys.
Wild Pig Con
I went there! It was fun! I spent most of it staring at this TV that my table was pointed at making fun of old Spider-Man and Thor cartoons with Dern and James Hatton. Rossmom even worked the table for a while, but nobody asked her to sign anything. I was disappointed for her. Also, I saw Fat Flash. Which has been my iPhone background ever since.
We did 2 amazing Super Art Fight shows there. Fans came by. I got a table next to my friends Kev and Blondie from Caf-Fiends, and they stayed with me for the weekend. Nobody can have better friends than these two, they are amazing people. Not to mention Kev is insane. If he and Gary Busey were ever put in the same place, that place would explode and take about 4 square miles with it.
I shared a table with Kev and Blondie. There was a fire alarm. I really wasn’t trying that hard to sell things because I was so tired, but I DID invent the TOWER OF COMICS™. It must’ve been successful, this badass girl dressed as monster-hunting Velma came by my table and I sold a “Beards Turn Laziness Into Awesomeness” shirt to a girl with no beard. Velma, if you’re out there, I miss you.
What We’ve Learned
Since this wraps up the convention season for The System for the year, here’s some behind-the-scenes recap:
The TOWER OF COMICS™ is a must in the future. Will be trying to perfect it further.
Sometimes, the convention doesn’t have a lot of traffic. That doesn’t mean you aren’t good at selling things, sometimes there’s just nobody around to buy them.
I really need to finish book 1 of comics, if only to get people to stop asking me about it.
I hate lugging around a ton of shirts. I either need helpers (that I can’t afford) or to only bring 3 or so shirts to a con.
There are lots of you Systemics out there, and you guys come to cons. Which is honestly always a treat, as numbers do not accurately represent the fact that people come and read this site every day. It is always a heartwarming feeling.
The new banner is sweet as hell. Did you see it? It’s in a lot of the pictures above.
I miss Velma.
Thanks for reading this absurdly long post, guys! If you liked it or even just if you read it, post a quick word in the comments. In fact, if you ever met me at a convention, post that too! Was I awesome? Smelly? Did I have a sweet beard? Post your convention stories about me or any of these cons and your experiences!