I'd bet you're probably thinking I have certain people in mind. Of course I do. I'm constantly taking the time to quickly look at their webpages and comics as I type this out. But I'm not going to name names. Why not? Because I keep seeing these annoyances repeated over and over. Just because teh really cool kids did it, doesn't mean you'll (me) be cool as well. Just because they did this spectacular effect, doesn't mean it was any good to begin with. Count how many times it was used. If was used once, or even a few times, (or even in every comic,) probably wasn't a good idea to begin with and is not worth repeating.
In this rambling misgiving I am going after the comics themselves. What I am NOT going to do is criticize story, jokes, writing, or even the art. What's good and what is not good is subjective. One person finds stick figures a number one, the next finds it crap. Someone may think jokes about lesbian twin sisters are funny, or maybe they think it's just gay.
I just got done reading a comic about a fairly popular video game amongst a group of hardcore fans and discovered that while the art style was very distracting, I found myself ignoring it and reading the text. It was well written and the jokes were pretty funny.
Another reason I won't name names is that I don't want to piss off certain people. SO I'll just go back to my random ramblings.
Headers and footers. Sometimes these can be excessively too large. I opened up one of these comics in MS Paint with the magnification set at 100%; I took a tape measure to my monitor and measured it. The whole comic was about seven and a half inches tall. The header and footer was two and a half inches. Really? Inch and a quarter apiece? Really? That really is annoying. You got to have some way to identify your comic sure, do a cover page. (Please not a “click here to enter.”) Put in some fancy, but small and undistracting title bar and if you must have a copyright statement keep it short, sweet, to the point, small, and undistracting.
Keep in mind how people read. Since I come from a European background I read left to right so I construct my comics the same way. I try and keep it so that there is no question as to which speech box is to be read first, second, third, and so on. The second will usually be to the right or below the first. Only rarely do speech boxes cross panels. I try not to cover up the characters at all costs. Though sometimes I have no choice or I need to hide something for a while. The text is clean and crisp (usually for easy editing if years later I find I mispelled a word,) and it is on a flat white background.
However, people still haven't learned from other people's mistakes. I've seen this font that puts a halo around the text. This would be a cool effect for angels, but not every character. It gets to be very difficult to read with the background showing through. Speaking of that, FOR GODDESS SAKE DON”T FADE THE TEXT BOX INTO THE BACKGROUND! On top of that DON”T USE A FONT LESS THAN A TEN AND THAT IS ANTI-ALIASSED! You do this, people won't read your comic because they can't. You may have Superman like vision, not everybody else can see through Lois Lane's clothes.
Now the occasional misspelled word is okay, but not okay in every line. Use a word predecessor to type everything out first and then copy/paste it into the comic. Get one with a spell check. You can download Open Office for free. (Buy the weigh, spell chucks wont cats gamma.)
How do we read? Typically you don't move your head , you don't move the book, you don't move the monitor. You move your eyes. (And sometimes lips.) So make sure you consider this: NO LEFT TO RIGHT SCROLL BARS! It is annoying to have to stop reading, move the mouse to the bottom of the browser and move the screen, continue reading, stop, scroll back to the left, continue reading, stop..... you get it? Be sure to chose a panel format that prevents left/right scroll bars. Consider the flow of the comic. Will the reader be able to at least understand which way to read it? I've seen comics constructed like it was a game of snake. You start in the upper left, then it's up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, and Mr. T as B.A. Baracus.
One final bit about flow is once in a while I'll see the up to down method. It's not just a webcomic thing. Some nationally syndicated cartoonists and my local paper will often chop up comics to do this for space. It's annoying.
Here is one thing about writing and flow: This comic I was reading last year seemed as if it was changing stories halfway through the comic. Out of an eight panel or so comic, it felt like I was reading a different comic at around panel five. Not really annoying, just confusing. It was beautifully animated, just not a consistent read within one single comic.
Oops, Am I criticizing something I said I wasn't going to criticize? Put it to you this way, writing to me is the most important part. So what about stick figures? Good writing will overcome that every time. Then again, what's that song by Tim Wilson?
Plan ahead on your publication destination. If you have your own site which allows for the format, size, and color depth you desire, great. But not everybody can spend the money. So you decide to use a freebie site instead. These freebies can have many limitations. Some are not mentioned. Facebook changes all formats to JPG. They say you can upload a GIF, but it is re-GIFed at a lower quality or even changed to JPG. I have to consider that. One of my local papers runs a bad cartoon contest every year. I have to print out the comics, then they scan them in and resize for the paper. I've learned to make compromises of number of colors and what colors to use. For one comic I had to change the color of Penny's speech box so it wouldn't blend into the background.
Keep in mind that site providers will often shrink large comics down. So the reader will have to click on a thumbnail to see a slightly larger version, click on another thumbnail to see an even slightly larger thumbnail, to click on that to be blinded by white background.
Filenames. Keep your comics organized. If someone is asking about comic number 1495 you can look it up real quick and give an answer immediately instead of stalling for days trying to track it down. Plus, some readers save comics, they do like to reread them in order. A number of free providers have this strange tendency to generate completely random filenames. Like comic number 1 suddenly becomes 34r78106re2807314 b1bx018exb7t1e82t7bex871290te087.
If you can't control the file name, put the comic number in the header or footer.