“I thought this was supposed to make things easier”. That was the thought going through my head this week as I struggled to make a site for my new web comic. I already have a site for other artwork at jaredosborn.com and, though it was a lot of work, I didn’t have much of a problem with. I used a program called “Freeway” to make it and it all went pretty well. But I rarely update the site because that is a lot of work. I am looking for something a bit different this time.

For my web comic site I decided to try out something called “WordPress”. It’s blogging software that a person can install on his own site and the software manages the look and updating of your blog. It’s supposed to make things fairly simple but it hasn’t quite worked out that way for me yet.

The strength of WordPress is its open source flexibility. Lots of people write their own code that works within the WordPress software that changes the look of a blog. They are called themes and there are a lot of them to choose from. The theme am particularly interested in is called “Comicpress”. It is specifically designed for web comic sites. There is a place to put everything I would need.

One of the problems with making a web comic site it that it has to be updated all the time. If you want to do a daily strip then a new one has to be posted everyday. Yeah, that’s obvious but still has to be done. One of the good things about Comicpress is that you can automate the posting process. Upload the strip, tell it when to post, and then forget about it. You can upload all of your strips for the week at once.

Lots of web comics and blogs in general use WordPress and the Comicpress theme so it must work. Just not for me quite yet. I managed to install WordPress pretty easily. I picked the layout I want but the overall look of the page is still fairly ugly. I figured out how to change the layout around a bit but I don’t know how to change the overall look of the page. Color, font, and background are all still a bit of a mystery right now.

I’ve been digging around for more themes and plugins to help me and some of them do but I’m really not much of a code guy. But, of course, that doesn’t really matter when I can’t even do the things I know how to do. I went to change some things and kept getting error messages. Error messages are no fun.

It’s one thing to get error messages when I’m trying to change the look of the page but an entirely other level of frustration when I get error messages trying to upload the comics. I mean, that’s the whole point of the site. How could that part not be working? I can upload the comics to anywhere on my server with my FTP program but somehow that doesn’t matter. When I upload through Comicpress all I get is error messages. I have no idea why.

The worst error messages to get are ones that I know couldn’t possibly be true. That one was “File name invalid”. Now I’m no coder but I do know how to name a jpeg so it can be seen on the Web. It’s not hard. Don’t use any of the restricted keyboard symbols in the name. That’s it. So how come every time I tried to load a strip it told me the name was invalid? I don’t know but it sure was frustrating.

I had my FTP program open uploading and downloading stuff, was on WordPress forums, my server’s FAQ page, and any place else I could think of and it helped not in the least. I got a couple of minor things to work briefly but I still can’t post my comics to the site. It’s real annoying. Especially since it works for other people just fine.

So that’s my web comic update. I’ve got plenty of the strips done. That’s not the problem right now. It’s the site build that’s driving me crazy. But that was just my first day trying to figure it all out. Maybe a light bulb will come on during day two. Whenever that is.