Fun fact: Searching Google for “movie review site” gives you over 1 billion search results. And most of those sites suck.
Most people start their own movie review site to publish their unique view of why Han didn’t shoot first, or how Robert Pattinson will surprise us all as Batman. However, very few people have any sort of plan and usually give up in under a year after they fail to earn a following.
You need more than just a sense of humor and a Netflix account to create a good movie review site. You need a plan.
To help you instantly rise above the majority of the failed sites out there, here are the things you’re going to do differently.
1. Choose a Fast and Reliable Host
No matter how sharp your wit is or how hot your takes are, nobody is going to wait 10 seconds for your site to load. In fact, you will lose about half of your visitors in the first 5 seconds.
Your site will slow down as you add more content, which is why you need to prune it regularly. But, if it’s slow right out of the gate, odds are good that you went with a cheap or free website host.
We know that you’re on a budget until this blog blows up and makes you independently wealthy, but you need to pay a little bit of money for website hosting you can rely on or your site will suffer.
2. Define Your Niche
Yes, we know this is a movie review website, but “movies” in general is a bit too broad to start.
Not having a defined niche is the number one blog killer and podcast killer on the web today. You can’t start competing against The Ringer and Rotten Tomatoes out of the box. So start small with a narrow focus. Maybe start out by reviewing horror movies of the 1960s or forgotten movies of the early 2000s.
The narrower your focus is, the more likely it is to resonate with a target demographic. Once you have that loyal base of about 1,000 true fans, you can broaden your focus.
3. Be Mobile-Friendly
Never assume people will be reading your blog on a desktop or laptop computer with their feet up and a cup of tea. They are more likely to read it on their mobile phone while on the train or in line at the store.
This is why Google has switched to mobile-first indexing and why you need to have mobile-first planning. Your site needs to look and work flawlessly on a mobile device, or both Google’s robots and human beings will ignore it.
You also need your mobile site to be fast, as Google’s speed update has made mobile speed a key ranking factor and more important than ever. You can leapfrog several of your competitors’ sites simply by being faster than them.
Of course, when building a blog you can actually do far more wrong than you can do right. There are only a few things that can make you a success, but literally countless things that will lead to failure. However, being mindful of your host, your niche and your mobile site will instantly put you above about 999,000,000 of the top billion movie review sites out there.
The rest is up to you.