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Doooom is upon us?

Created Mon 22 Sep 08 - 0:21 by Mithandir in category Mithandir's Blog

So we had our big 500th anniversary readership drive, how did we fare?
Sadly ... not all that great. Before I go on, let me first thank everybody who has linked to us. We are truly grateful for your efforts on our behalf.

That said, on friday we received 987 visitors. This compares well to friday a week earlier (849 visitors) but that was a particularly weak week. A week before that we had 923 visitors on friday. In spring we tended to get over a thousand quite easily. So despite all the effort - and again, we are grateful to everybody who helped - the numbers were merely average.

Of course, that just means that without all that extra incoming traffic, numbers would have been simply appalling. Over the past few weeks/months, our visitor numbers have been on a noticeable downward slide, and I'm a bit down because of that.

Of course, we've been rather sporadic in summer, a period that's traditionally lukewarm for comics as people in the northern hemisphere go play in the sunlight. However nothing much changed when we became more regular again in late august or when we went back to 3/week two weeks ago. September is normally also the time traffic picks up again as students head back to university, but alas, not for us.

And ever our readership erodes. It's not that we're losing people any faster than other comics, on the contrary I think we have very loyal (and totally awesome) readers. A certain bleed is natural as people lose interest but normally this is counteracted by new readers. It's this last bit we're failing at.

Still, even amongst our loyal readers we're detecting a certain discontent with how the comic is going lately. Obviously we're not doing things right.

So here's my question: what is it we're doing wrong? What should we improve to both keep our existing (and fantastic) readers and attract new ones? (for those suggesting advertising: we've done so in the past and will do so again in the future no doubt, but our finances aren't great and it already costs us some money just to bring you a comic in the first place).

Please sue the comments to this news post or our rather neglected forum to help us out. All feedback, even (especially) negative helps.

I still enjoy CtS as much as before
I still enjoy CtS, but not as much as before
I'm new, but I like it so far
I'm considering dropping CtS
I don't know why I still come here

Comments

WinterbayI feel you forgot one choice though: "I still enjoy CtS, even more than I did when I started reading" which would have been my choice really. The art and story work has evolved lovely from the first strips until today. I will try and pimp your comic at some more of my friends and see if that might help :)
bluemeadowshi Mith please dont feel down about the numbers, I have been reading your comic for years and even though I sometimes dont check updates every week i am a keen reader (I was gonna say devoted but thats just corny) you guy always make me smile and I enjoy looking though the art work (some of which are Very Good) the jest is just relax do what your doing and dont worry about numbers, I'll shut up now :-P
JRegularity takes time to repair the damage of irregularity. See how the numbers are by the end of December, keep on plugging.
IrishDrinkerWell, I enjoy this comic as much or more then before. For a short while there, there was an inactive spree, where I would come on day after day and there wouldn't be a new comic, and that made me a bit depressed. Some people might wait till the weekend, so they have more comics to read at once.

All in all, I think the comic is great, and as you don't ask people to pay to read it, and try to give your al, we all understand sometimes, Life gets the best of all of us. As for others, mabye they think the current section is just dragging on. I am not sure, I think its going quite well. But, as your asking for feedback, I am going to try to accomidate.

The current strips have been slow in progressing the story, and some might not like the new look. They liked the older look, the familiarity, and then it changed. There was also, as I stated, the infrequenty, but that seems to have improved. Overall, I guess its just a matter of time, money and interest. I know one person had about 100 webcomics they checked in school every day or two, but they cut many. Last I talked to her she was down to 25. compared to others, some might not be as interested in your.

I hope any of this has helped. I dont think of any of the following is true, but then, thats just speculation, and wouldn't hold up in the courts :P
LordOfDoorsI would say I weigh in at "I still enjoy CtS... more than ever". I'm not a good source for good advertising or making an appeal to more viewers or anything like, but I've been reading your comic for years.

The artwork has developed wonderfully. I enjoyed it at the start, but now I'll come back to view the comic in between updates to look at each strip in detail.

The story continues to develop in rich ways, and you're doing an even better job of highlighting the individual characters and their traits through how you write (and illustrate) them. Leaf in particular has grown a lot.

This dwarven rebellion / Ambassador Teryanil storyline is perhaps your best yet, in my opinion. And again, I've been reading regularly for years.

You're better than other comics I've read at letting your readers know about what's changing to affect update schedule, but I think that continued efforts in this area may help with reader confidence. For me, it's no issue - I come back and check regardless. But that may help with some other readers.
Mogget's Little SisterI tried to advertise on MuseBlog but people ignored me! It was very saddening... I thought a lot of Musers read CtS. Maybe the people who read it don't post on MB.
LaeI generally try to read at least once a week - tbh, mainly because updates have been really sporadic until recently. If they continue to be regular, I'll be checking everyday. Love the comic though, great job!
Night DancerI've been a loyal reader for around three years. I love CtS more now than when I first got hooked on it. I rarely comment, but I think the story is wonderful. I'm hooked to the end (and probably beyond), which I'm hoping is a long way off.
Dark DragonI try to be a regular, and spread the word, but a)this is blocked at school, and b)I'm not on any chatrooms/blogs. (I'm not a muser anymore, sorry mogget's little sister) Plus, if it makes you feel any better Mith and Alien, your daily totals for hits are about 9-10 times higher than the total hits ever for my webcomic. ....

Maybe if you guys did a low quality update everyday, and then a really good one on the weekends, it would draw more visitors?
KaracanI first found the comic via an ad from another comic. I actually can't remember which one linked me to it, but since that's the way I find comics for the past three years, it must have been.
I haven't seen any other ads for the comic around at all. Word of mouth rarely works when the readership is below 10k daily, from what I observed, so other methods have to be found.
As for the decline... I have to admit, I dislike sporadic updates, but have been happy with the past month. The storyline however is getting too long while focussing on characters I don't really care about. The cool main characters in the comic have been sitting at the sidelines for the past dozens of strips, only interjecting something now and then. Since they're the ones the comic is about, I can imagine why people lose interest.

I'll certainly stick around for a while, myself, and will mention your comic every now and then. The writing is clever and amusing, it has a lot of quotable material ("History to the rescue!"), and interesting enough characters.

Also, fridays are a helluva busy days, and I for one don't get leisure time to check comics on fridays. :)
ReginaI agree with a lot of the things that have been said so far!
I have been reading for about three or four years, and I also got hooked by a link from another webcomic- I think it might have been "Adventurers!" (if that tells you how long ago it was, since that comic ended a while ago...). Anyway, I have continued to enjoy it. Irregularity can be discouraging, but you do keep updating, and we know that life definitely gets in the way some times! So basically what I am saying is, don't be discouraged! You have a very loyal fan population. ;)
CoyoteI've missed it for quite a while so that explains one fewer reader of late. Don't worry, I'll stop by more often!
KittenI very much disagree with the suggestion of "a low quality update everyday, and then a really good one on the weekends". I'd rather have one or two updates a week. Good ones that you're both pleased with.

Too many updates might also lead to overwork, which again leads to late comics and irregularities, which again leads to less visitors (or so it seems from some of the comments here). If you had less updates on the other hand, you might even get to store up some episodes, so if there was a week or two with stress/work/illness/holiday/etc, you could still update without too much sweat.

As for myself, I like reading more than one strip a time, so I find myself checking in not every week. (at least not to check for updates and read the last strip. Some times just to look at pictures etc. though.)

I hadn't thought about it before, but to some extent I agree with Karacan. While I do like other characters coming and leaving, I wish we could see more of the main characters while these storylines goes on. There are many stories on the side, and some times I'd wish to catch more of the main character's feelings about why they are there at all, what they feel about the "side storylines", and about the other characters. Some side stories are going on for long, and some might not like that (while others may), but I wish we could see more close up on what's going on inside their heads (and hearts). I don't really mean thinking bubbles, because that doesn't fit all the time, but...
For example when we saw things that happened in the past, we get more close to the main characters. Don't we just Love the story about how Leaf and Myhrad met?

Amazing how the story, dialogues, and art have evolved. Great to see. Keep it up!

I'm a Chasing the Sunset fan. Period.
Kuyselle GoldwordAwwwwww, Mith! I'm not going to stop loving CTS, ever! I recommend it to all of my friends,and I think this is the best fantasy webcomic, best webcomic, heck, it's the best comic I know of! I'll never stop reading!
IcalaNew reader here. I found CtS linked from the award you received recently (can't remember the name of it now.)
As far as getting new readership is concerned, the main way I find new webcomics is by browsing the links page of the webcomics I already follow. Many of the ones I read are interconnected.
And so far, I like what you have. =) The art has improved tremendously, and the plotline keeps me interested. Detailed, well-written, family friendly webcomics are a rare find. I'm constantly on the lookout for comics I can recommend to my younger siblings and enjoy myself. CtS fits the bill quite nicely, thank you. =) I read the entire story to date in one day.
As has already been mentioned, a steady update schedule helps the readership quite a bit. If I know I can count on you to update on certain days then I'll keep coming back for more. Some comics I've found have amazing storylines and beautiful art, but they petered out of steam and stopped updating for months at a time. That said, someone has also mentioned (and I agree) that if your schedule is cutting in on the quality of your art, then it might be a good idea to change the schedule to allow for more time. I really like the way the comic looks right now, but if there's a possibility that I may have to check in on a TR schedule instead of MWF, that's fine. You've both probably heard this before several times over and don't *even* need me to say it, but having buffer comics is a near necessity for regular updates.

Keep up the good work!
ChisI came across 'Chasing the Sunset' a week or so ago after following a link from another on-line comic. Such is the quality of the story line and the drawing that I have worked my way from number 1 to the present strip and I cannot wait to see what comes next. As others have written, better to modify your update schedule than let the quality slip.

I am probably a rather unusual reader as I am old age pensioner in the UK. Having time on my hands I have worked my way though, and read regularly, several strips and can say that yours is up with the best.

Please do keep up the good work.
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