Starting a movie blog is a fun, exciting journey. I’ve been writing movie reviews since 2018, decided to invest in a self-hosted movie review blog in 2020, and have not looked back since.
I would be lying though if I said that it was an easy journey to start a movie blog, with lots of wins and lots of money.
I’ve failed more times than I can count and have contemplated giving up but I’m still here because it’s worth it to me, I love it, and it’s just something that I do naturally and easily.
So I’d like to document all that I’ve learned and picked up in my 3+ years of writing movie reviews to help anyone else who would like to go on this journey. But before all that, here are the things I wish I would’ve been more prepared for before attempting to start a movie blog that is profitable.
Before You Start a Movie Blog, Read This
1. Find Out if You Can Be Consistent
The biggest downfall of many great movie blogs is the inability to be consistent.
When starting a movie blog, I first wrote in a private Google Doc, then a shared Google Doc with a friend, and then a free Wix website before transferring over to a paid WordPress Site hosted by Bluehost.
Starting with free platforms for your movie reviews is definitely the way to go because you can see if it’s something that you enjoy doing often before investing money into it.
With traditional jobs, they can seem exciting at first but then after a while, it becomes a chore.
If writing movie reviews still doesn’t feel like a chore for you after several months to a year of consistently cranking them out, then it might be worth it for you to try to monetize your reviews through a paid website.
Without a paid hosting platform, you will not be able to get paid through ads, and search engines may not rank or regard your site as highly as competitors.
What I would change if I were to start over is that I would write my reviews on a free WordPress site instead of a Wix site because it would help me get used to the popular foundational WordPress platform which can be a bit complex to understand.
It would also make it easier to transfer your movie reviews to a paid website since most of the best web hosting platforms use WordPress as their web-building platform.
The fastest way to grow your website traffic and your credibility with Google search engines are to post reviews at a consistent rate.
I find that the faster you get to 100 quality blog posts, the more seriously Google will take your website.
But you gotta post something, I would say a minimum of 2 posts every week is best for consistent growth.
If you can do even more, then your growth will be much faster.
2. Be Willing to Invest
Your money is a tool, an employee, a key that opens doors of opportunity. Don’t use your money only for instant gratification, invest in the possibilities of the future.
Instead of spending hours upon hours and days upon days trying to figure out how to code your website when you are not a coder, just find someone who can do it within your budget.
If you find a product that is perfect for fixing your problem but it’s not free, as long as it’s within your budget, just put down the money.
I’m a saver and very hesitant to spend money so I often find myself killing time trying to do things the “free” way. It’s never worth it.
When I finally cave in and buy the solution to my problem, I realize that I just unnecessarily made my life harder by having wasted so much time and energy.
I always say, either you’re spending time or you’re spending money, and only one of those you can get back.
Most blog necessities are not mind-blowingly expensive and still offer great quality.
And even if you don’t get a return on your investment anytime soon, every failure is a learning opportunity.
I invested in some blogging courses from the blogger who inspired me to try to make passive income from writing about movies. Not only have I profited from the valuable information from the course, but I also joined her affiliate program and made more than twice the amount of money that I paid for the course!
I really believe that you’ve got to spend money to make money sometimes and it really doesn’t have to break the bank.
3. Be Patient
You CAN make money through a movie blog with ad platforms, affiliate programs, and digital products. However, spreading the word about the value that your site has to offer to maximize your profits may take several months, even years.
Wen you first start a movie blog, you may be eager to see a steady stream pageviews right away but keep in mind, you have to give search engines (and people) time to trust you, trust your content, and find it valuable before they start to really regard your site.
You have to be willing to ride out the dry seasons in hopes of rain and making that money rain…
Thankfully, I had a day job for 2.5 years and I was making some extra money which allowed me to have expendable income for my blog. I did not have to rely on my blog to be successful before being able to invest in it.
So what I’m trying to say is, don’t quit your day job just yet, unless your savings are STACKED. Building a successful blog in the movie space takes time.
When you post something, it can take about 2-3 months for the blog post to gain traction with Google.
You can post a great article today and then 4 months later, that’s when the traffic from that post starts flooding in.
Or you can post an amazing post and 6 months later, still have absolutely no traffic. You never know for sure how well your efforts are going to pay off.
So you have to do your best, post it, wait, and keep posting while you wait.
Be patient with Google, patient with yourself, and patient with the process.
4. Understand That You Will Have To Wear Many Hats
One thing I was completely unprepared for when starting a movie blog was the number of skills I would need to learn in order to keep this thing afloat.
When owning your own blog, you’re not just a creative writer. You are required to become so much more than that for the sake of your blog’s growth.
No one will find your amazing work if you don’t understand SEO (search engine optimization) or have no Digital Marketing skills.
You will have to become somewhat familiar with some computer science languages like HTML and CSS to optimize your website design.
You will have to be your own social media manager, learning how to use social media to promote your posts.
You will have to learn how to build and maintain an email list.
You will have to be a graphic designer, creating unique images for post-promotion and digital products.
You will have to be a customer service rep, corresponding with anyone who has issues with your website.
You will have to be a lawyer, to ensure your website is legally protected.
You will have to manage maintenance, spending hours on the phone with other customer service reps when things inevitably get screwed up on the technical side of your site.
If you start a movie blog solo, you will have to learn how to juggle many tasks and determine which tasks to prioritize for the best ROI (return on investment).
And if you’re not starting a movie blog solo, you will have to learn how to best distribute tasks among everyone working to have an efficient strategy for your blog’s growth.
5. Be Resilient
When starting a movie blog, you will reach roadblocks. You will need to unexpectedly troubleshoot some things.
Your website will go down sometimes, causing you to lose traffic.
You will get hateful comments from people.
When I get negative comments, I take anything constructive from them (shed a few tears) and then move on.
And positive comments are encouraging too. But realistically, it’s best to remain level-headed, and not give the opinions of people who don’t really know you that much power to break you or build you.
Just keep moving forward toward your goal, fine-tuning your craft on the way.
You have to take each setback as a learning opportunity. Nothing good comes easy.
When things go sideways technically, I am calling, emailing, online chatting whoever I can to get things back up again.
You gotta have that drive to do all you can do, within and outside of your power, for your website.
If you really believe in what you do and love it, then bounce back.
6. Be Willing To Be Creative
If something is not working, try something new, and be creative.
Always have it in mind that in the arts, there is not one right way to do something.
Try to think about what you can do to set your movie blog apart from competitors. What can you offer that no one else is offering right now? Or what can be improved in the movie blog space?
You may not know right away but it’s something to think about during your journey.
Don’t forget to have fun and don’t be afraid to approach your movie blog differently.
You’re your own boss. You make the rules.
When you start a movie blog, just makes sure your rules work for your goals and your bank account.
7. Have an Abundance Mindset
There is too much money.
There are not enough film critics.
There is an ample amount of space for the unique thoughts I have to offer.
The market is not over-saturated. I promise you, once you get comfortable, you will notice gaps in knowledge and services that you can provide.
So don’t count yourself out too early and if you find that you’re not enjoying your space, revisit the step above, be creative, and build a space for yourself.
8. THINK MORE ABOUT THE READERS THAN YOURSELF
I learned this from my virtual blogging mentor, By Sophia Lee. This was one of her biggest pieces of advice from her blogging course that I completely ignored but am now realizing how essential it is.
Really think about who your audience is and how your words can help them.
Where and how can you service people?
What questions can you help them answer?
What problems can you help them solve?
The more helpful you can be and the more value you can bring into people’s lives, the more value you will see coming back to you.
Yes, you can sprinkle in content that is solely for your enjoyment but with starting a movie blog, it’s risky to rely on those posts to bring in a lot of traffic for you.
9. Be a Student & a Scientist
As I write this now, there is still so much I have yet to learn.
Blogging is a lot of trial and error. Trying and failing until you try and succeed.
Carry out things as you do but you always have to be willing to learn.
Find out what other successful people did and incorporate those techniques into your goals.
There are so many valuable blogging courses out there for whatever you hope to learn. Learning can accelerate your growth as those people have already experimented and found out what works for them.
So be willing to learn and ready to adapt.
10. Plan Ahead & Be Organized
One HUGE thing I wish I would have kept in mind before starting a movie blog was researching and planning popular keywords before creating time-consuming products and posts.
Find out what people are already looking for through keyword research before wasting your time on projects. This helps to ensure that all your hard work doesn’t go completely to waste.
Also, because you’re your own boss, you have to keep yourself in check and stay on top of completing the tasks needed to grow your blog.
Set your priorities and make them plain. Write them down, and follow a schedule.
I recently started using the method from the book, The 12-Week Year, because with it, you can see what works and what doesn’t work each quarter of the year, and rethink your next quarter to make it more profitable for you.
Because there are so many hats to juggle as a blogger, the faster you create a well-researched plan and organize yourself to execute it, the faster you’ll start seeing results.
11. Have an End Goal and Be Obsessive About It
Why do you want to start a movie blog?
What’s your end goal with your movie blog?
Do you want to make enough passive income to sustain your livelihood?
Do you want to be invited to movie premieres?
Do you want to direct or produce your own movies and are using this platform as a stepping stone?
What will motivate you to keep going when your energy is low?
Don’t be afraid to be ambitious with it. If you shoot for the moon, at least you’ll land among the stars.
If you aren’t a little bit obsessed with your blog, it may be easier to abandon it and abandoned blogs are not rewarded.
So have some strong goals to strive torwards.
12. Believe in Yourself
I know it’s a cliché saying but when you’re really doubting yourself, it comes in handy.
As a critic, you yourself will get critics and people will oppose what you say, but as long as you support your opinion with your reasons you’re good. Let your voice count, even while it’s still being refined.
People have become rich and famous for less so never think that you can’t make a living doing something you actually enjoy. Starting a movie blog and becoming a movie critic that makes money is entirely possible.
There are so many profitable systems out there in blogging: affiliate programs, ads, digital products, and sponsorships can make what you do profitable.
There are several millionaire bloggers out there and you can be one of them.
Starting a movie blog is an incredibly fun, liberating, and profitable venture but it’s not always easy.
Before starting a movie blog remember these 12 things:
- Find Out if You Can Be Consistent
- Be Willing to Invest
- Be Patient
- Understand That You Will Have To Wear Many Hats
- Be Resilient
- Be Willing To Be Creative
- Have an Abundance Mindset
- THINK MORE ABOUT THE READERS THAN YOURSELF
- Be a Student & a Scientist
- Plan Ahead & Be Organized
- Have an End Goal and Be Obsessive About It
- Believe in Yourself
I hope this article was able to give you insight into a few things to be prepared for before you start a movie blog. Best of luck to you!
Any questions about what to prepare for before you start a movie blog? Let me know in the comments below!
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Peace, love, and lots of popcorn,