“Follow the plan outlined here and you can create your own website from scratch without writing any code for less than $300.”
Are your opinions different?
Is everyone missing out on the best films?
If you’ve got something unique to offer as a movie reviewer, there’s still plenty of space online for your voice.
You’ve probably posted reviews on IMDb and other sites, but building your own website will allow you to turn your reviews into a business.
With your own website, you can publish and share your reviews, and earn from advertising on your site.
The best part is that making a website is pretty easy these days. Here’s how to get started.
How to create a movie review site
Before we get into the design or anything like that, there’s one step you have to complete first.
Get a domain
I’m sure you’re familiar with domain names, but just to make sure we’re on the same page, a domain name is the address of a website. For example, google.com and imdb.com are both domain names.
If this is a side project and you don’t have a lot of funding then you’ll likely want to get a domain for as cheap as possible. Unregistered .com domains only cost about $10/year, but any domains for sale by flippers will cost thousands of dollars (then $10/year to keep).
The problem is that finding an unregistered domain is really tough. That’s why I put together a guide on finding available domains.
If you’re having any trouble finding a good domain name, try the techniques listed in that article and I’m sure it will help.
Once you have your domain name picked out, you’re ready to get a basic site online.
Get your site online
The next thing you need is hosting.
What is hosting?
When someone visits your domain, you need a server to deliver your website’s content to the visitor’s browser so the site loads.
This doesn’t mean you need to purchase a server rack and put it in your house. Only the world’s largest companies (like Google and Amazon) maintain their own servers. Everyone else rents space on a server from a hosting company. Renting the use of a server is called hosting.
How to get hosting
Signing up for hosting is just as easy as making any other online purchase.
There are thousands of hosts to choose from, but for a new WordPress user, I recommend Bluehost.
Bluehost has a great mix of affordability and reliability. If you go any cheaper with hosting, you tend to have lots of issues.
I used Bluehost for my very first WordPress website almost 10 years ago and after testing them again recently, I can still vouch for their service.
If you haven’t purchased a domain name already, then wait to buy it until you create your Bluehost account. They will register your first domain for you for free, so that will save you about $10.
Things are going to move fast after you create your account.
Get to know your new website
After you signup, they’ll auto-create a WordPress website for you. In other words, you’ll have a live website at the domain you chose.
Your website will use the latest default theme, so initially, it will look something like this:
If you want to get familiar with WordPress and how it works, this video will give you a walkthrough of the whole dashboard.
You won’t be a master of WordPress just yet, but after watching that dashboard tour, you’ll be familiar with the interface itself.
With a live WordPress site and a basic understanding of how it works, you’re ready to turn your boring site into a gorgeous movie review website.
Transform your site for movie reviews
WordPress websites change their design primarily by using themes, and they add new functionality by adding plugins.
Depending on your site vision and goals, there are two different paths you can take. I’ll outline both and make some product recommendations.
Make a simple movie review blog
The first approach is to make a simple movie review website where your personal brand and perspective will be the focal point of the site.
To do this, I would recommend picking a free blog theme. We have 19 free themes all made for content creators.
Adding one of these themes will give your site a clean look and a design that adapts well to mobile devices. Once you’ve switched your theme, you can follow this basic customization guide to set things up the way you want.
Now your website isn’t just a blog, it’s a movie review website which means you need a way to add star ratings to your posts. For that, I recommend the WP Product Review Lite plugin which is also free.
This plugin is extremely flexible and will add a complete review system to your site. You’ll be able to rate every movie you review and publish your star rating on the front-end.
For many people, that’s all they’ll need, but if you have something more ambitious in mind, try this next approach.
Build a movie review database
If you want to build a database and potentially have multiple reviewers on your site, the Moview theme is an incredible tool.
This theme comes with a review system and also an IMDb importer. You can import movies and celebrities from IMDb with this automated system and display their info automatically on your site.
Using these tools, you can quickly build a large website and have thousands of movies to write reviews for.
Moview is also extremely customizable. It includes a page builder plugin called Visual Composer which lets you create entirely custom page designs. It’s more work, but you get total control over layouts this way.
If you want additional alternatives to choose from, you can check out this collection of movie themes.
While not specific to movies, we also have a collection of product review themes with more excellent templates.
Start publishing your reviews
By following the steps above, you’ll get a WordPress website online in record time.
Regardless of the content and design you have in mind, you’ll need to get a domain and hosting, and Bluehost is an excellent host to get started with.
If your goal is to create a simple review website where you’re the only author, that can be done entirely with free themes and plugins.
Creating a large movie database website is possible too using the Moview theme. It’s an interesting option to explore if you hadn’t even considered it.
I hope this tutorial has helped give you a clear understanding of how to create your movie review website.
If this guide helped you out then make sure to share it with someone else before you go!