20 Tips For Starting Your Own Movie Blog

I remember way back 5 years ago when I was getting ready to launch my own movie blog (The Movie Blog officially launched on July 24th 2003) I did a quick little google search for “movie blogs”. At that time it said it came up with about 11,000 results. I did that exact same search eariler today and found that google was now giving me 17,200,000 results. That’s a growth of just a hair over 1563636%

The popularity of Blogging in general continues to grow exponentially, and movie blogging in particular is something more and more people seem keen on getting involved in. And why not? What’s more fun to talk, debate, speculate and comment on than movies?

Without the slightest bit of exaggeration I can tell you that I get AT LEAST 15-20 emails a week from people telling me about their new movie blog! Some telling me I’ve inspired them to launch one (which is always flattering to hear), most asking me to link to them or at least mention them… and that doesn’t even touch the hundreds of others that start up each week that don’t bother to write me.

Many times they write to me to ask for some advice on how to get started, how to run things, how to keep things going and how to grow. Over the years I’ve seen a lot (hundreds) of new movie bloggers start up, only to disappear a few days, weeks or months later, so seeking advice from anyone at all is a pretty good idea.

So I thought I’d put together this little post on 20 tips for starting, maintaining and growing your own movie blog. Many of these tips are transferable to generic blogging, or blogging about other topics, but they are meant specifically for blogging about film. I’m certainly not the world’s biggest expert on blogging, but I have been doing this for a while, so here are some lessons I’ve learned:

I can’t even begin to tell you how many emails I get from people asking me how they too can blog for a living, or how to get invited to Hollywood studio events and stuff like that. “Hey John, I just launched my new movie blog over at www.GenericMovieBlogThatWontLastMoreThanAMonth.com. Can you tell me how to get on the Studio press invitation list?” Good blogging comes from passion, and passion looks for expression for its own sake. When I started The Movie Blog I had no intention of ever doing it for a living. I just started it because I LOVED to talk about movies. Plain and simple. If you’re motivated by anything other than a passion for what you’re writing about, it’ll show and show quickly.

The other thing is this… the harsh reality is that you will probably never get 500 readers a day. That’s not me trying to be negative, that’s just the reality of the numbers. If you start movie blogging because you want to be famous or rich, you’re going to find yourself very disillusioned pretty fast. BUT, if you blog because you love talking movies, you’ll have found a hobby you’ll love for life!

Don’t bother with buying a domain name, buying a hosting service, installing wordpress or some other platform you have to license and install before you get your feet under you. Most people who start a movie blog haven’t ever blogged, or blogged on a specific topic before. You may find it’s a lot more than you can handle… or you may find after doing it for a while that you change your direction and better understand where you actually want to go with it. For those reasons and more, I STRONGLY suggest setting up a free blogging account at either and doing a detailed comparison:


Just start your blogging there for a month or two and get an idea of what direction you’re going to go in… find your voice… figure out if you’re going to stick with it more than 2 weeks or not.

I know I know… you already KNOW beyond all shadow of a doubt that YOU’RE going to stick with it and do it for years to come! Yeah well… I’ve heard that before and 99.99% of the time they were wrong and ended up wasting money in getting set up for something they didn’t actually end up doing. Explore the water a little before diving in. It’s a good exercise, it’s free and if you do decide to move to a full domain name and server with a more robust blogging platform, all your posts are movable without much problem so none of your early writing will go to waste.

Walk into a gym for the first time and try to bench 200 pounds. You won’t be back in the gym tomorrow. I’ve seen a lot of new movie bloggers burn themselves out quickly because they let their own unrealistic expectations, or their enthusiasm get the better of them and try to post 10 posts a day right out of the gate. Find your voice first. Write just one or two a day to start. As you get comfortable with how you express your thoughts increase it a little… but start slow. I know there is a lot of movie news out there, but pace yourself.

99% of bloggers are hobby bloggers. So are you. Even after you start small, don’t get yourself to the point that you’re spending 6 hours a day posting to your site. Quantity doesn’t develop your writing. Quantity also doesn’t build your audience… quality and consistency do.

I have more blogs on my RSS reader that post 2-4 posts a day consistently than I do that have 10 posts or more one day, none the next, 2 the next, none the next… etc. etc. Being consistent with your posting isn’t just good for readers, it’s also good for you as you develop good habits. Yes it’s ok to take a day off from blogging and yes it’s ok to have a day or two where you post a little more or a little less… just make sure as you look over your month that you’ve been consistent in general. Readers like to know what they’re in for if they go back and visit your site today… give them that.

If you want to be a better hockey player, you look at NHL players. If you want to be a better scientist, you read the works of scientists. If you want to develop as a movie blogger, then read movie bloggers who have been doing it a while… and NOT just The Movie Blog. I have no less than 15 movie BLOGS (not news site… I have lots of those too though) on my RSS reader and bookmarks that I read almost every day. I don’t read them to get the news (I like to get my news from NEWS sites) but rather because I like their blogging and have lots I can learn from them. Some good movie blog sites you should be reading:

www.cinematical.com (they’re also a news site, but more a blog)

There are many others, these are just a sample. Don’t bother trying to write a movie blog if you’re not actively reading other good movie blogs

Blogging and news reporting are different things (I’ll get to that in a minute). Keep up to date with what is going on in the movie world by reading multiple movie news sites. Different outlets have different sources and focus on different things. I’ve seen too many movie blogs that always seem to talk about stories from the same site over and over and over. Diversify your sources a little. You don’t need to read 40 sites… but try to have at least 4 or 5 solid ones that you get most of your news from. Some really good movie news sites that I personally like to read are:


There are many others and you should find ones that suit you best.

Remember what I said earlier? If you write without passion, it shows. If you really don’t care all that much about the fact that Pauley Shore just signed a deal to co-write 3 indie comedies in Japan over the next 3 years… then why write about it? Your lack of interest will come off to your readers in about 5 seconds. Don’t write just for the sake of writing. There are 50 new movie news items everyday… you’re a blogger, not a reporter. Find the things that you are interested in… for good or bad reasons. The things you have an opinion on. Focus your writing and your valuable (and limited) time to writing on these things. Writing on stuff you couldn’t care less about (unless you’re passionate about not caring less) won’t help your writing, won’t entertain your readers, won’t start any discussion and won’t help your site. Remember, quality and consistency over quantity.

Repeat after me: “Just because I write a movie blog dose not mean I’m a journalist”
Even some of the best movie bloggers forget that sometimes. As a blogger, you are a guy standing at the digital water cooler with other like minded people just talking movies. The pure, simple joy of yacking about the things you love and hate in the world of movies. You are NOT a movie expert. You are NOT a journalist… so don’t pretend to be or even try to be one. You don’t research stories, you don’t track down leads. Sure, some bloggers do a LITTLE of this, but it’s not the work of real journalists who will spend days, or even weeks doing nothing but researching, reading and chasing down one single story. They’re trained for that… don’t belittle what they do by being presumptuous enough to act like you do the same thing. You’re a blogger.

By “kind” of film I don’t mean “genre”. I’m not talking about comedies or dramas or thrillers. I mean “kind” in a more generic sense. Do you want to focus on Hollywood films? Indie films? Asian and foreign films? Retro films? Documentaries? Don’t try to be all things to all people. Here at The Movie Blog, I still write about indie films, Asian, Documentaries and the like… but the clear focus of the stuff I write about is Hollywood films. Twitchfilm will still comment on some bigger Hollywood films, but their clear focus is Asian and Foreign films. Know your focus. Talk about other things that interest you here and there… but keep your direction clear.

Ask your readers for input. End some of your posts with open questions. Encourage people to jump in the comments area or your forums and give input. Blogs work best when they are truly interactive that way. Blogs are meant to be conversational in nature… take advantage of that. Respond to comments as often as you can (granted, that part gets more difficult the more popular your site becomes) not just because it’s good etiquette but also because it’s a lot of fun. Without conversation, blogging gets stale pretty damn fast.

This is an important lesson I learnd from Leo Laporte. There are a lot of trolls and flamers out there who just love to ruin good conversation, so don’t be afraid to ban certain users who make your comments section a hostile environment to participate in. Commentors set the atmosphere of your site almost as much as you do. Don’t be worried about traffic… there are 99 good conversation people for every 1 troll… ultimately your comments section will be a better and more inviting place for new readers if you moderate. It’s YOUR site, you decide what the rules of your comments area should be… but keep in mind the enjoyment of other readers who will come to your site. Rightly or wrongly, new readers will associate the environment of your comments area with your site as a whole. It may suck to lose 1 or 2 readers, especially when you’re just starting… but TRUST ME, the long term pay off is well worth it. Your rules will be different than everyone else’s, because your site is unique.

I suggest you create a clearly laid out “Rules for Commenting” page that sets out your guidelines for participation in your forums. You can see mine here.

Most of your posts will probably be about recent movie news items, and that fine, but every other movie website out there will have the exact same posts as you do. One of the things that will make your site more engaging and increase your chances of a first time visitor becoming a regular visitor is writing original articles that aren’t just based on current news items. These take more time and more energy to write, but I find they’re more satisfying to write too and well worth the effort. Some examples of original articles that I’ve done in the past are:

The Cause of George Lucas’ Fall – And How He Can Rise Again

How Do You Handle Rude People In A Movie Theater?

How To (And Not To) Pick A DVD With Your Girlfriend

Actors With One Movie That Fooled You Into Thinking They Could Act

An Open Letter To Michael Bay Re: Transformers 2

12 Movies To Get You Started Into Asian Film

8 Life Lessons From Star Wars All Kids Should Learn

Economics Of The Movie Theater – Where The Money Goes and Why It Costs Us So Much

10 Common Sense Money Saving Tips For Movie Fans

Why Commercials Before Movies Is Worse Than Piracy

4 Rules Before Making A Remake

Original content is great for several reasons. First of all is starts great discussion. Secondly it gets the attention of other webmasters. Thirdly it usually gets you really writing about something you have a strong opinion on. There are even more reasons, but you get the idea.

I really believe that as a blog, your site should be as much about YOU as it is about the movies you’re talking about. YOUR thoughts, YOUR experiences, YOUR opinions. You’re not meant to be an impersonal movie news site. Blogs by nature are personal things. Don’t be afraid to share bits of yourself with your readers and engage them every chance you have. The news is the same on every single site out there… YOU are the most unique thing about your site. Leverage that. Some will say to me sometimes that Blogs shouldn’t be personal at all… to them I say “Then you have no idea what a blog is”

When we started The Movie Blog Podcast almost 4 years ago, most people hadn’t even heard of the term before. Now, podcasting is insanely popular and very EASY to do. Remember how I just said to make your movie blog as personal as possible? Well podcasts are a great way to do that. It’s YOUR voice. It’s a wonderful way for your personality to come through and for your readers/listeners to get to know you. Podcasting has never been easier. With free podcasting services like:

Studio Odeo

You can be up and running in no time at all. It’s VERY fun, VERY easy and very effective too. There’s no reason not to start podcasting as soon as possible once you launch your site.

You can spend 3x as much time, energy and effort trying to nail the “look” of your site than you do on the content of it. The old saying is true… “CONTENT IS KING”. Find a decent template or theme to start with and just go with that for now. You have LOTS of time to think about the look and design of your sight. You can slowly evolve it as you go. Invest the majority of your creative efforts towards your writing and your content. The look will come… and then you’ll change it 100 times. Don’t sweat it right now. Get started, get writing and let the rest evolve over time. Hell… just look at how successful Ain’t It Cool News is, and that’s the most ass ugly site on the net! Content first… then look.

The Internet Movie Data Base is the single best movie information resource site on the web and has several applications for those of us who run movie blogs:

a) Links to the appropriate IMDB pages give readers quick access to more information regarding an actor or movie. When you mention a movie or actor, try to link to their respective IMDB pages when applicable.

b) Doing simple checks on IMDB rounds out your articles more and gives you tons of info in just one page

c) Whenever you’re about to write a post on a particular actor, or reference them in some meaningful way, ALWAYS check their individual IMDB page. It’ll help you avoid little embarrassing mistakes like saying “Matthew McConaughey has never acted in a thriller before” when a quick IMDB check would have reminded you about “Frailty”.

There are a thousand other applications for IMDB information usage. Get acquainted with it if you’re not already and make it your most valuable online resource, not just as a blog writer, but also as a film fan.

When writing a movie blog, it’s not only valuable to clearly communicate your thoughts and opinions, but also understand the context into which you’re communicating them. Sites like Rotten Tomatoes and Meta Critic are NOT the be all and end all of declaring a movie good or bad, but they do give you insight as to what the general consensus is about a particular movie. This information should NEVER change your opinion, but rather help you better express your opinion in the light of the prevailing thoughts other people have regarding your subject.

There is nothing more annoying then some guy who thinks he is the defacto knowledge depository for film. You know the type… they’re basically the guys from High Fidelity, except about movies. If you disagree with their assessment of a film, you just don’t know what you’re talking about. I HATE those guys. Don’t get me wrong, you should have an opinion (see next point) and stand by it if you believe in it… but…

You have to understand that film is art, and as art, different people will look at it, experiences it, engage it and ultimately have different reactions to it. 15 people can stand in front of a piece of art and see 15 different things even though they’re looking at the exact same piece. Have an opinion, debate other opinions, but understand that in the end, it’s all subjective and just because you think one thing about a movie doesn’t mean another person is an idiot for not sharing the same opinion or having the same experience as you did. Until you have a grasp of that one key truth, do us all a favor and don’t start your blog until you do.

As I mentioned earlier, every bit of movie news you talk about on your site is also being talked about on about 17 million other movie sites and blogs around the web. The single most important thing that makes your site unique from theirs is not your design or your pretty graphics or your oh so cleaver slogan… no… the most unique thing about your site is…


Your opinion is the one thing your site has that no other movie blog in all of the interweb has. It is not the “news”. If your site is to be personal, and encourage discussion and be unique, you must express your opinion. Express it loudly. Express it without apology. Express it regardless if your opinion is the popular one or not. Damn it, if you didn’t like “Blade Runner” then say so and make no apologies for it. If you didn’t agree with the WGA during the writer’s strike, then to hell with what’s popular… SAY SO! Let your reasons become a part of the discussion. If you loved a movie every one else hates, shout it from the roof tops: “MY NAME IS JOHN, AND I LOVED ARMAGEDDON!!!”

Don’t become a “blog” that just repeats the news that has been repeated a million times already today on every other site out there.

Don’t be one of these spineless jellyfish that is afraid to say “I don’t like Star Wars” out of fear that others won’t take you seriously if you do. The truth is we ALL have a huge list of films we personally love that almost every one else hates and vice versa. The difference is that you’re someone who isn’t afraid to say the unpopular, as long as it’s truly what you think.

Blogging is about personal expression… so what use is expression if you’re not expressing YOURSELF?

So there you have it, my 20 tips for starting and running a movie related blog. I’m certainly guilty of not following all of these tips myself from time to time, but they are lessons I have learned over almost 5 years of doing this. So off you go. Start slow, find your voice and express yourself. Go and add to the online movie community and make it a better place.

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199 thoughts on “20 Tips For Starting Your Own Movie Blog

  1. Wow, this post is still going strong after years! This really helped me whilst creating my website, it was a good source of inspiration.

    Now I have a steady momentum with my blog but I find that writing can take longer than I wish, I suppose just from the in-experience of writing reviews. Did you find this when you started? I want to post more but I prefer to write a good review I’m happy with before publishing and it just takes me a while!

    1. I would say no. A movie blog can be about anything related to film however a review blog makes it more specific.

      An example of a post that we did that’s film blogging:


      versus the review:


      Granted, this is a pretty extreme example of how they can contrast :-)

  2. Thanks very much, I am passionate about movies expecially and those at Hollywood,starting a blog soon so I decided to do some research.
    Thanks alot.

  3. Wow, this really speaks to me as I’m currently working on a blog of my own for my university project. I’ve shared to other aspiring movie bloggers just now. Thank you so much

  4. Thank you so much for this article. I want to start my movie blog because I love to watch movies. My only problem is I can’t write in artistic, literary English. Will this be a problem?

    1. You don’t need to write in a ‘artistic’ way. Your words are your voice. Just write what you feel, how you feel it. The only thing that matters is, as this article says, that you write with passion.

  5. Cheers for this – helpful! I was a music critic for years, but starting my own movie blog (largely because I miss writing and want to blurble about movies and get talking to likeminded folks), I find it’s like going back to the start all over again – writing about movies isn’t quite the same and I need to figure out my voice in this. Yr tip about reading loads of other blogs is totally on point.

  6. Thank you so much for those tips! I have a movie blog, and my problem is I love movies so much I never know which one to write about first. How did you overcome that obstacle? I get writer’s block not from not having enough to write about, but from having TOO MUCH. Any help would be appreciated :)

    1. Hi Pamela,

      This is a GOOD problem. The solution is in proper time management and planning. I tend to create a list of films I want to review, assess release dates, and then schedule progress on a review using my calendar. If I screen a film on a Tuesday that’s expected to release Friday I typically record or write an initial assessment immediately after viewing. On Wednesday I listen to my recording and type up a first draft and then typically on Thursday night I re-assess what I wrote and prepare for publishing on the Friday. IF I screen multiple films I like to space out the work in between a day apart.

      Please let me know if this helps!



  7. Hi, i’m looking to start up a film review blog and was doing some research. It occurred to me about images that I would use when reviewing, so I feel the need to ask do you have any copyright issues for film posters when you were starting up?

    Any advice would be grand. Cheers.

    1. Film studios often create “press sites” where they often offer images and trailers for use on websites. I would suggest researching your favorite film studios and searching/applying for access to their respective offerings.

      Please let me know if this helps and if you have any other Q’s.

  8. Thank you for this John! An enjoyable and very helpful piece of writing. My only other question is this: when you first started out, did you put aside time to write every day? I think the main reason people stop after a few weeks/months is not because they run out of material, but rather because life gets in the way. I want to start my own movie blog, but I am worried that work/the gym/family time/leisure time/movie-watching time won’t allow me to post as much as I should for it to be worth it. Any tips would be much appriciated!
    Thanks :)

    1. Hi Olivia,

      See tip #5. I make an effort to put up a post every day whenever possible but it takes effort, as a writer, to meet that commitment. Even if it’s a small update with a few sentences your readers like to know that you’re still out there and know to check back to see what’s next.

    1. Great stuff i like your tips and it help me to write blog on movie. But i have a question that how can i select topic for my blog and another thing Is it really need to watch the movie before written a blog over it.

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  9. The Amazing Spider-Man wasn’t that great a film, its all down to taste. I loved iron Man 3 and Man of Steel.

    I am thinking of starting up a movie blog, I’m a ‘sort of’ retired actor who is passionate about film. Several guides to starting up a blog say starting up a free blog is wasteful even if you aren’t in it for the long haul. Anyone have an opinion on this?

  10. my movie site is for viewing movies, started doing it for friends and family I’m 60 yrs young keeps the mind busy. Never really thought of making money with them mostly don’t want to hurt my SSI income. I have 10 sites just simple ones movies, TV, with other items like .com sites for news on line. I really enjoyed your information here thank you.

  11. “Iron Man 3,” “Man of Steel,” and “The Wolverine” didn’t match up to the superhero blockbusters of 2012. What did they miss that “The Amazing Spider-Man,” “The Avengers,” and “The Dark Knight Rises” got right?

  12. I have a question. when you do your own movie reviews, do you post original pictures from the film itself? if so, how can I go around the whole copyright problem? im thinkin about reviewing some films, but im not sure if I can just slap a picture on there or not.

    1. @JuanCervantes The easiest way is to use promotional images released directly by the studios. You can usually find these on official movie sites, and occasionally through special press sites created just for journalists and bloggers.

  13. This is a great post and I would like to apply this one on my new movie blog. I definitely love watching movies and writing my personal ideas on them. I totally agree with you, if you have other personal motives in blogging like earning quick cash,then, you won’t stay longer in the blogging world. Passion should always be there and that is what I must maintain. :)

  14. Thanks for being so generous with your advice, your tips are really helpful!

    I blog about movies, TV shows, and books at a free WordPress site and have been considering moving over to a more official platform. I will definitely keep this list handy.

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  16. Thanks for the great advice. I have been a huge movie nut since I was a kid and finally decided that it’s time to start sharing my passion for movies with the world. The only problem was that, aside from reviews, I had no idea what else to write about. Thanks to you, I now have a good idea of where to go from here. Thanks a lot.

  17. Very helpful article. I used a lot of your tips in moving my film reviews over from a Facebook page to a full-on review blog. I, too, would be interested in tips for how to advertise and increase readership. Although as you noted in one of your tips, I do it for myself first and others second. :)

  18. Thanks for all the great information. I just started my own blog and these tips are going to be very beneficial for me in creating my blog and gaining a following. I look forward to continuing to read your blog and getting your insights on how that can help me in my posts. I hope that someday you will be able to take a look at my blog and give me feedback on what you think or even guest post on my blog sometime. Keep up your excellent work.

  19. Great bits of info. I was contemplating starting a movie blog as I consider myself a bit of a movie buff so it was nice to read this from someone who has been doing it for some time.

  20. Quite an interesting article and helpful to boot. I’ve started my own blog up and it is steadily growing. Nice advice for others who might enjoy giving their opinions also. This same solid advice applies to other given subjects as well.

  21. After a year and a half of contemplaiting on starting a movie blog or not I’m going to do it.Thank you so much for these pointers eachone helped a little more than the last.


  22. This blog is not only “to the point” and realistic, but encouraging and thoughtful. I tried to blog for a while as a creative hobby, but the moment the pressure was on, I felt so much pressure… I shortly realized it was not for me! Great advice, keep it up!

  23. Hey great tips,

    I have been try to figure out if I should take my movie blog to the next level, or keep going like I am. Currently I am writing about whatever movie I want whenever I want. As a hobby it is a lot of fun.

    Thanks for giving me more to think about.

  24. This is pretty good advice, John. I’ve tried blogging for many months and have always gotten stuck on how to approach my writing, and I eventually decided to go back to Blogger because it was easy to my fingertips. So I tuned out the Internet Marketers for a bit and decided to listen to me for a change, and other bloggers. Thanks for tip.

  25. I guess I’m a bit late on saying this, but this article inspired me to make my own film blog, Movies and Other Things. You had some great tips, like opening it up on a free provider and actually providing some free blogging sites. I can honestly say that blogging about film is one of the most amazing things I’ve ever done. Thanks for being such an inspiration to film lovers like myself and others

  26. Thank you so much for a great article!

    I have a movie blog, Zombie Room, that was established about six moths ago. I absolutely agree about consistency and quality over quantity. This has been one of our main goals from the beginning. Right now we try to publish about 2-3 posts a week.

    I’m also a film maker and movies are my true passion! My blog is very important to me and I will never give it up. We were using a basic WordPress theme at first (first 5 moths), but just recently we got our new design done which I’m quite proud of :)

    You made me feel that I’m on the right track with my own blog and of course I am learning as I go. So thank you very much!

  27. Thank you John. words cannot express my gratitude as how intuitive these suggestions are.

    Like many other people who have commented, they must love to watch movies of all different shapes and sizes.

    I hope to one day be able to communicate with a person as experienced as you (If your wondering. no! I do not kiss up). And If you have the time, you would give me suggestions as to build up and configure my meager blog so that it may develop and grow.

    Thanx From Tech Jammer

    One more thing, I hope to develop my blog not only restricted to movies, but to comics and games as well, do you happen to know any blog that fits on these categories?

    I’ll check your awesome blog again soon.

  28. At the beginning I expected some more tech knowledge to learn from this page but ultimately most of the points here described are useful, specially the one about your opinion, I totally agree with you, that is all and all, the really special part of your movies blog, your personal opinion, don’t try to be a diplomat.

  29. This provides very useful information for any blogger to consider, regardless of whether that person wants to blog about movies or pasta (or combine the two and write about Spaghetti Westerns). I say that as the editor of a site that publishes several history bloggers – GreatHistory.com and, yes, we have a movie blogger, too; he writes about history in the movies and of the movies. I’m going to copy this URL and suggest any new bloggers who approach us consider adapting your advice to their topic. Keep up the good work, John.

  30. This article was VERY helpful. I am a full time teacher who just happens to be addicted to movies. My focus so far has simply been to review movies that I have seen. I post about once a week. Now that I am in summer mode…no school for two months, I am inspired by your article to add some posts that are not necessarily movie reviews. There are so many movie topics I could write about and your article helped me sift through it all.

    Quick question: Does the title of a blog make it show up more in searches? Mine is Movie Margarine since my last name is Fleishman. Is there a better way to title your blog to get more hits?

    Thanks, you are awesome!

  31. Some extremely useful tips.

    I have a sort of techincal question when it comes to movie blogs which concentrate purely on reviews. Would you know what sort of bounce rate you would expect to see. Despite getting a reasonable amount of search engine traffic for specific terms which relate to my reviews I always seem to get a high bounce rate and it is a bit demotivating.

  32. I’ve just taken the plunge recently and this kind of stuff is just the information I need and I found it very encouraging. I love old movies and want to focus on that, to turn people on to stuff they might not otherwise bother with.

    You’re right about it not being about the money; I’ve been writing fiction for years and I haven’t been paid for any of it. I live with reality that I may never get paid for writing but I can’t help it. It’s a vice.

    You’re in my ‘favorites’ folder as of now.



  33. Great article, I especially liked the part about Making it Personal.

    I have a problem though, I encounter so many other blogging tips (specifically pertaining to writing and building an audience) and one of the things I ALWAYS see is: KEEP IT SHORT, since readers don’t actually READ, but only SKIM the content.

    Should this apply to movie blogs as well? I have a tendency to write long posts and I’m wondering if I should just cut that out.


  34. I’m in the process of making my own movie blog, I found this very helpful. I want to thank you for taking the time to do this. Also, can you put a giant banner for my site that isn’t up yet on your new homepage? That’d be great.

  35. My film review blog is a few months old–I’m getting “lookers” from all over the world, but no comments. I like your idea of posing a question at the end of our posts. My first one will be: Why do theatres list “show times” in the newspaper when it’s actually the time when all the crappy commercials and stuff start–and the film begins 15 minutes later? (Okay…so that’s an easy one to figure out!)

  36. That was a really good article I took a lot away from that. I have been a contributor with a website for a good few years now, and we closed the website to move over to a blog.

    We tend to struggle (be it the blog of the website) with getting comments, and I also struggle with about WHAT to write, so I tend to just stick with the reviews. I may well be able to improve things after reading this.



  37. Great advice, I am trying to start my own movie blog but I have no knowledge of the blogging world so this really helps. Feel free to check it out, I would love some constructive critisism.

  38. Great tips. Our blog is six writers doing one original essay each day. We take Saturdays off unless we can convince a fellow writer to guest blog that day. Our strategy was to NOT post any news. Just essays about film or commentary on current issues related to the same.

  39. Thank you thank you thank you so much for posting this! I myself just starting blogging a month ago, and your advice has helped me create a concrete base which i can build upon.


  40. This is such a great article. I just started a movie blog about a month ago and write every weekday just for the hell of it. Sometimes there is one article a day, sometimes two, but for consistency, I just try to make sure there is something up there once a day. That is unless I really have nothing to say that day, or no creative thoughts flowed through my head. And it’s true what was said, unless you are passionate about movies, don’t bother trying to start one of these blogs for the sole purpose of fame and money. I think this is the first time where I did not mind getting into a working habit of posting something every weekday. It was actually fun for me the whole time.

    Now my only question is…how do you get your site out there?

  41. THANK YOU so much! I have loved movies all my life and have been wondering what I could blog about recently. I thought about blogging about movies, but the world of blogging seemed to established and intimidating to me. Your guide/article was exactly what i was looking for to help show me the world of movie blogging. I will never forget your advice and wisdom.
    Thank you so much.

  42. Right now I’m just one of the many who just launched another movie blog and as I see, I already made some mistakes, if I were to take account of this post.
    You give some good advices there, I’ll follow them as much as I can and hopefully, I’ll have a blog just as succesfull as this one day :D

  43. I like your suggestion to write about more than just impressions of the latest releases. I think the best articles on film are the ones that transcend the usual “thumbs up, thumbs down” approach and try and find something interesting to say about the movie, whether positive or negative. In this sense, criticism is a creative enterprise, and actually helps shape the meaning of the film.

    Getting personal makes sense too. If you see your movies at the Angelica in New York you are going to have an entirely different experience than if you see them at the minimall in Cheyenne. Your experience at the theater might be more interesting than the movie itself!

  44. If you have not seen the new Jamie Fox movie titled the “The Sololist” with Robert Downey, Jr. then your not up on the next potential Oscar for Best Movie and Best Actor..go to zoogatv .net to the trailer and check it out. you will see what i am talking about

  45. Yes, very good advice, I have been doing my blog for about 2 months and it is going well, and I really enjoy doing it. I admit I would like more traffic, but I don’t really worry about it, I just keep it going. It is definitely something I want to keep doing.

  46. john

    just wanted to say that your advice inspired me to just now, start my own blog. i wanted to introduce myself first as a movie fan with my movie rules. i hope you give it a look see and give advice or comment. if anyone else wants to take a look, please do.

  47. John, I’m one of those people that emailed you for advice if I’m not mistaken. Thank you for this post. It’s definitely a heads up and a wake up call. You provided valuable information in a no nonsense way. I think I will have to do a post on your post. I hope you don’t mind but more people need to read what you have written. That crack about AICN was very funny by the way and the truth.

  48. @John

    lol, you’re right about that. I must admit my mind is always on the ‘business’ side. I still say at least buy a domain and point it to your free blogging platform.

    I also understand what you mean about blogging for the ‘love’ rather than the ‘money’. The money is something most will not see while blogging.

    We’ll see where I’ll end up.


  49. Hey TVForMen,

    You said:

    “So to start you’ll need about 55 bucks (yearly), that’s nothing to start a business”

    That statement represents everything that is wrong with blogging. If you’re starting a blog for the sake of BUSINESS, then just get out now.

  50. I disagree with number 2.

    You can get a domain for as low as 6.95 for a year.
    You can a decent host for as low as 4 bucks a month.

    So to start you’ll need about 55 bucks (yearly), that’s nothing to start a business.

    So say after a few months you’re out of 20 bucks or so. I rather invest something and take a small loss than have it take off and the domain name you wanted is gone.

    Just recently, like yesterday I reg’d a domain that deals with a niche of the movie industry (6.95) and I contemplated should I or shouldn’t I. Well I did.

    We’ll see where it goes. In the meantime while it simmer, I’ll check out your blog.

  51. And get yourself an ultra-mini laptop. I just got a 9″ Asus EEE 900, it weighs 2 lbs. I put it in my backpack, it’s so light, I don’t even know its there. I even go jogging with it. It’s got WIFI, a text editor, some simple graphics programs, so I can write blog posts in a coffee shop, on a park bench, in a diner. Perfect for bloggers, perfect for multi-tasking.

  52. Thanks John, that makes total sense (focus on the blog)… I guess I just wasnt sure if there was a certain time period when I should start advertising but you answered that for me. Need to remember to not try and be like everyone else. Thank your for the insight.


  53. Get Kristi Luv – Yes you need to take a writing class; I didn’t understand half of what you wrote.

    John has been at this for seven years (2,555 days). Lets say he spends roughly an hour on The-Movie-Blog itself every night, that would mean 153,300 hours or 106 straight days. Don’t expect to get where john is without a great deal of stamina!

    You should be reading other popular AND unpopular movie blogs
    in order to get a grip on what to and not to do.

    The biggest turn away for me is when people have their blogs neutrally presented (tip 14). It’s YOUR blog, write YOUR opinion. Firmly state your case, you may give penance to god later. For (and for not) example:

    “Although some people like onions, I personally do not. They could be tasty if they didn’t have such a strong taste. Yea, I like them on burgers, but not really anytime else. It’s ok if you do, I just don’t like them.” No!

    “Onions suck. If you or a friend likes them then you should die. My brother likes onions so I punched him.” Not only have I offended my audience here, but I’ve unwittingly insulted them.

    “Onions taste like shit. They can also turned the most hardened man into a weeping Madonna. I steer clear of them. ” Yes, I nailed it. I firmly voiced my opinion without insulting my audience.

  54. Hey Eric,

    Seriously… ignore advertising. If you’re already thinking about how to make money, then you’re not doing it for the right reasons. If you’re thinking about money, then your head isn’t on blogging.

    Don’t even bother with advertising for 6+ months or until you have over 20,000 view per month. It’s not worth it. Just focus on blogging and your writing. Nothing else. Screw “building your audience” crap and screw advertising right now.

  55. This is a really interest post, I am planning to start writing a blog one day perhaps on film. I think free blogs are the way to go, did a quick search, this site looks quite good – Movie Buff – http://moviebuff.tv it’s a free blog hosting site for film writers.

    I’d probably start with my own domain just because I have a server already though.

  56. starting a great movie review blogs and screening popular movie clips and videos have found great both new and old movie trailers on ZoogaTV, Hulu and TidalTV. you can use their embed codes to get the most popular movie clips… quality content. they have worked for me

  57. Just wanted to say thanks for this article. I’ve gotten some of these things right, but I’ve noticed quite a few things that I can do a lot better. You’ve helped me to look at my blog in a new light.

    Very nicely done!

    And I’ve really got to get started with Pod Casting… :)

  58. Thanks for the advice, I think you’re absolutely right. When you have a movie blog, you have to write out of passion for movies, you have to express your own opinion, but also accept other people’s opinion, even if it’s different from yours, as long as the arguments for it are good. Keep up the good work, and thanks again for the advice.

  59. Hi John,

    Very useful tips, made my idea about starting a blog for BIGFlix more clear. Very insightful to make my blog more interesting and create that X factor to keep people wanting to visit my blog regulalrly.


  60. (Type your comment here. Make sure you’ve read the commenting rules before doing so)
    Thanks for the advice. Ive been reading your blog for quite some time and consider it quite good and better than most. You also speak from the heart and put a lot of thought in your posts. Its easy to throw a bunch of items up on a blog just to get hits but what makes a really good blog is interesting and well written commentary and you do that well.

  61. (Type your comment here. Make sure you’ve read the commenting rules before doing so)

    Hey, John. First and foremost, I he found your brilliant the MOST informative, truthful no holds barred information for film bloggers whi run the gamut from novice to the advanced blogger. John, I have a quetion to pose to you. I graduated frm Hodfstra with a Bachelor’s in Communications with a concentration in Film Analysis. However, it has been awhile since I have even attempted to write a film critique. I was wondering if before starting a blog, should I invest in a writing course (i.e. Gotham’s Writing workshop) so I can hone my writing skills. Cinema is my passion, John, but I don’t want to start a blog and my writing isn’t up to par (especially with film critics like Joshua Rothkopf from Time Out New York and even other bloggers whom seem to have cinematic vernacular dtraming through their veins as soon as they peek-a-booed fro the womb! So, would a class or two advance the process along faster, John? Pr should I kust start blogging and go woth the flpw in my own unique inner voice? Thanks, John, Best Regards,

  62. Could I please add point 21?

    21) Once launched, read your favourite already established movie blogs and find a contextual way of getting a link to your blog (with my tongue firmly in my cheek) like posting comments! ;)

    Great post – thank you

  63. That was a really good read. I was looking to start a blog but wasn’t sure exactly how to begin, but those guideline helped me a lot.

    I was just wondering how did you get people to know about your blog?

    Did you just put it in your signature on forums or just spam the hell out of places lol?

  64. After seeing Wanted today at the theater, I thought that I might start a movie blog, mainly for myself in order to vent, but also for my friends and anyone that stumbles upon it. If it ends up being mildly successful, then good for me! But I came on here to read your review for The Dark Knight and saw this article linked on the side. PERFECT TIMING! Good read, thanks a lot.

  65. Josh,

    Thank you so much for your keen insight into movie blogging – it’s definately given me some very needed encouragement to keep going with my blog!

    I’ve been blogging (seriously) now for around three months and work really hard on my site, but it has to be said that I’ve loved every minute of it.

    My problem is finding like minded writers to come and join the blog, to provide an additional voice and personality to a quickly growing site.

    Do you have any advice or tips about finding like minded souls (I live in the UK, not the same abundance of movie nuts in my area) to contribute?

    Or if anyone else reading this wants to try their hand at blogging but doesn’t have oodles of time every day to commit to it, why not drop me an email? [email protected].

    Thanks for your help dude!

  66. Great article, Vic from screen rant pointed me to it.
    I have a lot to learn but am enjoying things while I do and that is all that matters.
    No matter where I go and no matter who says it, CONTENT IS KING. No other way to look at it.
    My writing isn’t the best, but it is getting better. Now to get some more authors and start this up right.

    Great post!!

  67. Terrific article John, you should maybe consider making it into a little ebook and selling it online as an info product. There’s probably a lot of people who would enjoy your insights but don’t visit themovieblog. Anyway keep up the great work. You and Doug on your podcasts get me through my gym workout every week!

  68. This is a great resource for all of us up-and-coming movie bloggers and I am glad that I took the time to rifle through your archives to find it.

    I know that when I started ToC (Truth On Cinema) that if no one else but my family and co-workers ever got involved in it, then I would consider it a success. I think bloggers need to set their expectations at a realistic level. Too many people get involved on the Internet thinking that they HAVE to come up with the next big thing, re-invent the wheel, but like you said, our voice is the most interesting thing about us and so we just need to take our wheel and use it.

    My opinion isn’t the end of any argument or discussion, nor is it the answer to any question, but as long as I have a voice and a few people listen, ToC will live on.

  69. Great stuff, and thanks for the link. :-)

    Everything stated above by John and the “veterans” who’ve posted comments is true – but even with all that there are no guarantees your blog will ever “go big.” Of course implementing everything above puts the odds in your favor, but sometimes it’s just luck that gets your site “out there.” Then it’s up to you to keep pedaling as hard as you can.

    Oh, and one VERY important thing I haven’t seen mentioned by anyone above is that you actually need to know how to WRITE. I’ve had people apply to be authors on my site who actually believe they’re excellent writers – then I read a couple of samples from them and the lack of proper grammar, spelling, sentence structure and flow is horrifying.


  70. I like your article John and I strongly agree with all of your insights. I like to watch movies and that is all I need to share my mind to everyone.

    This post is very inspirational. Thanks mate.

  71. One really important thing not covered above…

    Good ol’ fashioned HARD WORK.

    If you don’t really care about readership and traffic and are just writing when you feel like it for a hobby or just for friends and family or whatever, then fine. But what if you want to get noticed?

    Work hard. Don’t be a dick and just spam everyehere, but drop your URL all over the place. Join Flixster and submit news stories to their news section. Go into all the movie forums (there are tons of them) and discuss the topics at hand and then drop your URL at the end of your comment. Same thing goes for blogs. The more link backs to your site (no matter how small), the better. If just one person finds your comment on “The Highlander” in some comment section at some random blog and they see your URL and click on it, that’s one more vistor.

    Email! Don’t be afraid to email people. Start emailing all your friends to let em know about your site. Tell them to forward the email on to everyone they know that might be interested in some good movie opinions.

    At parties or whatever, tell everyone about your site. Maybe even hand out some business cards. They don’t have to be professional, just print some from your computer or go to Kinko’s and get a few made.

    Stay up late polishing your articles and making your site look the way you want it to.

    In other words, like John said, not only be passionate, but WORK HARD at you passion. It takes time and sweat, but it will pay off in the end.

  72. Great points, John.

    Using your examples, I can see why, from time to time, some people that I run into on the web think I should have a “movie blog” of my own. But I really saw the need for one, because it would, in essence, be just another one, one of out a zillion. If I did, it most likely would focus more on a filmmaking or creative aspect, such as FX or screenwriting. (and it would not surprise me in the least if there were such sites already)

    Not to mention that I tend to contribute to other sites. Take for example Choking On Popcorn. While they are in a blog format, the site usually focuses on movie reviews. My Dutch friends are good to me, but if I get a typo, they *will* let me know. (that’s why I don’t bitch about typos I see on TMB or other sites from time to time…I’d be one to talk!)

    Which brings up something else. There’s nothing wrong with helping out with new or pre-existing sites (should they request help) even if you do it for nothing more than crumbs. Joining up with an existing site is also good practice and/or getting to know WordPress, for example. In fact, that’s what one online friend of mine did. He joined up with the site (CoP) for awhile and got to know WordPress. When he was ready, he slowly splintered off, and started his own review blog site. He’s still at it, too.

  73. I have a blog, but I don’t post much. When I do post I mostly just write about film scores, and how I eagerly anticipate James Horner’s score to Avatar, or James Newton Howard’s score to The Happening. =)

    Don’t get to many readers. I started it back in March, and I barely have about 130 views. =(

    I think I need to be more active on it lol.

  74. Damn John. That’s what I’ve been waiting for. You nailed it and I thank you very much for that. Keep up the great work, and as I have emailed you before. This site has really been an inspiration for me and my blog and this article only furthers the reasons why.

  75. hey John, this got nothing to do with your post but its movie related ;)
    the AFI’s has realeased the Top Ten Greatest Films of All Time in case ya dont know, the list its this:

    Lawrence Of Arabia (1962)

    Vertigo (1958)

    Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs (1938)

    The Wizard of Oz (1939)

    2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)


  76. Your timing couldn’t be better. I work for a radio network and recently pitched the idea of an in-house weekly, on-air movie review (we currently use an outside source none of us have been happy with). In addition, of course, I want to tie it into our own movie-related blog as an extention to our station and affiliate websites.

    You “20 Tips” post will be extremely helpful as I move forward on this. Thank you very much.

  77. Such great advice. Very nice list – a lot of thought was obviously put into it. I disagree with #2, but only partially. If you KNOW you’re starting a long-term site, the worst thing you could do is start with a free hosting site, build it up, and then try to switch later. You’re essentially starting all over again, and losing all your search engine juice. Get your own domain – it’s only $7-10/yr. Hosting is as cheap as $3.99/mth. On the plus side, you have complete control of your domain. On the negative side, you have complete control of your domain.

    But if you are not sure, then yes, start with a free host. Just understand that all of your effort will have to be repeated when you decide to get your own domain – which you really should do if you want a long-term serious site – for many, many reasons including more flexibility in how your site is presented.

  78. Hey clone_tk422, If you live in a big city or small town.
    Everybody loves a free bumber sticker. Also as in LA people just put bumber stickers on fences, street post you name it. (Drop off a bunch at selected locations. Dvd stores , high schools etc. ).
    What you need to do is get your site out there for people to see when there driving or walking around.

    That would be the first thing I would do, im not a marketing guru but if I see a site address I find interesting I check it out. ;-)

  79. AICN has a horrible Mobile Emulation apperance. The bloggers there are a reminder why some sites have rules.

    One piece of advice I can say as a (blogger) for anyone starting a Blog site.

    Don’t make the readers register to make a comment. Nothing gets me off a site quicker. BS account passwords are time consuming and don’t impress me.
    They have management programs you can use to gather all that info without making the blogger do the work for you.

    And lastly have a good mobile Emulation platform. Alot of people blog on the fly with mobile handhelds and their not going away.
    In the near future more people will blog on treo’s and Blackberries.
    If it takes 35 min to load your site on a BlkBry, your missing out on a huge market.
    Nice work John, consider a book on the subject? You could totally do it.

  80. Incredible article, sage advice, real learnings from real experience.

    Thanks a lot for this post, it does apply to any blog topic in particular.

    Articles like these are the main reason TMB is always on my home page.

  81. Thank you very much Feral! It’s great to hear that kind of feedback, I’ve never really thought about it. I’m currently working on a real website that will be black on white or light gray… maybe I’ll change my current layout for the time being.

    Thank you for checking out my site!

  82. @Josh

    … The white text on red you have used on your site makes it really hard to read, it might be OK if the posts were very, very short. I would change that to black and white asap or even white on black which is normally a no-no would be better. I imagine its probably well written, but it was blurring my vision straight away.

  83. Most awesome post. I know for me, my general interest are movies toys comics, so I talk about those most. But I also like to talk about what I call on my blog, slice of life. Stuff I think everyone goes through.

    Posting news sucks since it changes daily. I have learned recently, as you suggested, to post stories or thoughts that are all Hero Stew and NOT copy paste.

    I noticed one famous site was NOT mentioned in any of your links. I wonder if that was for the same reasons I have. They SUCK!

  84. What about a tip on how to get your site noticed?? Like you probably dont have tons of cash to pay for google advertising.. how do you get people to find out about your site?? I know you can list it on podcast and blog directories but there are so many.. how does one come to choose to visit your site? And once you get people to come to your page how do you get them to stay there and find out what the site is about and not take a quick glance around the start page and think oh yeah and move on

    Take me for instance, I have my own personal blog about my weight loss, I dont really care if people read it its mostly for myself and for friends and family but it would be nice if i could attract an audience as well as im hoping i can encourage others by reading my journey but so far no one has clicked on my site yet!! So this tip would go for all blog sites in general.. how to get noticed??

  85. Oh my god.

    First of all, let me say that I am in college studying to be a movie critic and have a blog in which I post my work including new reviews and reviews of classic films.

    I read the subject of the post and got really nervous that I would not be up to par with how you, John Campea, believe that one should run a blog specifically for film. Luckily for me and all my hard work and for my unquestionable love for film, I now feel as though I’ve been doing something right. You are one of my movie-blog/critic idols – you have a comprehension of film that I can understand and agree with on many levels.

    I read each and every tip and so far I’ve pretty much followed each one, except for the podcasting tip (and the 1-3 posts a day, but I’ve been really busy lately working on a HUGE specialty post). I’m fond of my voice when it comes to writing, but not quite yet for the recording. I’m still working on that, and in fact I’m considering talking to my college’s radio station about starting a show in order to build a multifaceted voice in the movie critic business. I have been told by many people that I have a very good style for writing, including my exceedingly famous film professor and all my editors for my college paper in which I have a column each week.

    Finally, I just wanted to say that I wholeheartedly agree that film is subjective and that is my main priority in writing. I try to write to express my opinion, but I want people to get out of my reviews a better sense of the film in particular and to possibly engage their feelings about the film in a different sense. If that doesn’t happen for them, that’s fine… but I really just love spreading my passion about film, because if you can show someone how to appreciate rather than to accumulate it can make the process so much better.

    Thank you, and check out my blog!

    P.S. That huge post I mentioned earlier, a retrospective on the films of deceased director Fred Zinnemann, should be up in a few days if any movie fan on the internet is interested.

  86. Thanks Yoda, this is probably the best article you’ve ever written;)

    I didn’t start a blog but it was you, friends i met on the live shows and SoulVideo who encouraged me to start my own podcast (well live show that you can download later, call it what you will). I start it at 11pm on Friday night and it usually takes me through to 3am because i want to be on at a time that an American audience can catch it. I do it because i’m proud of the show and love doing it.

    So far, we only have a few regular listeners every week but they enjoy it and thats enough to make me happy.

  87. One other thing you can do is join up with people who share similar movie tastes. Having 6 writers really helps us at Row Three since more writers equals more voices (just make sure its somewhat of a shared voice) and it also allows us to comment on each other’s posts. Discussion is often a hard thing to get going but John is right, discussion is what drives blogs.

    One other thing you want to do is to participate in the community. Don’t just visit the other blogs but also comment on the the discussions. The more you participate the more other movie bloggers will get to know you and the easier it will be to become part of the community.

  88. I hear you man, and I have followed many of those points. My movieblog is in Dutch so I will never have the amount of traffic as an English blog, but I have like 10 to 15 regular people giving comments and this stimulates others to react on the articles. So yes, ‘encourage discussions’ and you will have a reason to keep it going. What I also found to be rewarding is to make top 10 lists. :)


  89. Some very good advice, John.

    Although I might argue a few points.

    I would say that, once you know what you are doing, buy the domain name. I’ve seen some bloggers start to develop a readership and then change domains, set up a new format, and lose all the momentum they built up. It is better to start with a name and build rather than get a following and start over.

    And, very few of the major film bloggers (other than news sites) publish 1-3 times a day, so that really isn’t small for many. Did you mean 1-3 times a week? That sounds better.

    Podcasting though isn’t for everyone. It may be popular, and I tried doing it for a while, but I don’t even listen to podcasts, and a lot of people don’t.

  90. I can honestly say this is very encouraging and insightful. I was actually thinking of starting one up, oddly enough. You just gave me my sign, John.

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