If you are a cartoonist or artist, you may want to share your cartoons online in a way that they incorporate into your blog. Even if you do not draw pictures, you may want a way to showcase other images at the top of your blog. This tutorial will show you how to do this in both the Twenty-Eleven Theme, and the Panel Theme.
Setting Up Shop
Before we even decide on a theme, we need to make sure the digital images or digital images of comic strips are named properly, and include alternative text, or alt tags. This is important to do as you upload the media the first time, and make a habit out of it.
- The title should be the same as the title of the cartoon strip, how it will be shown to viewers. If the strip as its seen in the blog is “Howdy Doody Rides a Horse”, then the image should be named exactly “Howdy Doody Rides a Horse”, capital letters and all.
- Be sure and fill out the alt tag or alternative text on the image. This is especially important for a comic strip, because viewers who are blind, or who otherwise require a screen reader for their online experience will not know what is on the comic strip. The alt text needs to read something like this” “This cartoon shows Howdy Doody falling off his horse and uttering an expletive”.
- Set the image to open in an attachment page. This means that when the viewer clicks your image from your blog, it opens in a separate page as an attachment and there is never a connection to the original media file.
Comics In Your Twenty-Eleven Themed Blog
You may have your comics appear as blog posts, where you simply add the media accordingly to your post, and publish it. Each comic (or blog post) you add will go on top of the last one in reverse chronological order like most blogs do. But what if you want to have a comic strip seen at the top of your page, and still be able to make blog posts without moving your comic strip below it?
- For a theme such as the twenty-eleven theme, you will use the “sticky” option. This will keep your comic post pinned to the top of your page until you tell it not to be. This has to be done and undone manually, every time you publish a new comic. But this way you can still make blog posts and they will be added below your sticky comic page.
- Put all your comics in one category so that a viewer may be able to browse only comics if they would like to. I like to use categories appropriately titled “Comics” for the strips, and “Posts” for posts. One can then choose to only read posts or only view comics.
- Each comic strip should have several tags associated with it. For the “Howdy Doody Rides a Horse” comic, I would add the tags “horse, expletive, falling” for example. As you apply tags to more and more comics, you will see that there may be a common theme in your art, and allow viewers to choose only the comics tagged with certain words or phrases.
Comics In The Panel Theme
For a better experience from both the publishers’ and viewers perspective, many cartoonists use the “Panel” Theme, which is a free Theme choice in WordPress.com, and utilizes the Jetpack Plugin. The Panel Theme allows one to add content to the blog in either “Post” or “Comic” form. The posts and Comics are treated differently and kept separate on the back end.
- Comics in Panel are always kept at the top of the page. There is pagination and a “random” button below the comic on the front page to allow a viewer to navigate “sideways” through all the comics while never leaving the top of your front page. This is kind of like automatically “sticking” your comic posts, except you don’t have to “unstick” the old ones. And in Panel, every comic stays separate from your blog posts, unless they have the same tags or categories.
- Blog posts are then added below this comic panel, in reverse chronological order just like any other blog. If you added your images to open as an attachment page, when a viewer clicks the comic, it will open in a separate page, and not to the original media. You should make sure there are social media buttons on the attachment page for ease of sharing your comics separately.
- On the back end of your Blog, you can reference your Comics and your Posts separately. If you ever accidentally add a comic as a post, you can fix this from the “All Posts” page. Simply check the post you want as a comic and in “Bulk Actions”, you may select “Convert to Comic”.
There are many more features but this basic outline should get you started. Enjoy adding comics to WordPress.com!