Now that you know the ins and outs of Starting a Movie Website, setting it up once its online is another issue. One of the most if not the most important part of the design of a movie website, besides the logo and the theme, is its sidebar. Most movie website owner neophytes have no idea on how to set up the sidebar of their website, what they should include, what they shouldn’t, and for what purpose.
Here is my personal movie website sidebar story.
When I started my first movie website, Film-Book dot Com, in 2008, I had ads for Text-Link Ads on my sidebar, Bidvertise, you name it (what the hell did they have to do with movies), on my movie website. Not surprisingly, I made no sales. Using those programs on your movie website to generate revenue is one thing, advertising them is another. I slowly realized that no one comes to a movie website looking for advertisements for those programs. I had been reading the make money online websites and decided to advertise the programs I saw there instead of just using them. There was no “How To” website like ProMovieBlogger around then. I had big 160×600 banners on the sidebar with no way for anyone to subscribe to my website via Email, Twitter (it had not started yet), no social networks of any kind. Plus what should have been there, Recent Posts, Comments, Categories, Archive, etc. were almost no where to be seen. I, and my sidebar, were all about the ads and making money in the wrong way. I thought: place whatever ad and the money will come. Wrong! The ads were irrelevant to my audience plus I had no traffic since my website was a newbie.
Eventually, through lots of reading, I placed a Subscribe to Us by Email link and RSS Feed button at the top of my website on the sidebar. Gradually the number of people subscribed to my feed began to creep up. I got rid of the banner ads, they were fruitless and taking up too much room, and placed a widget on the sidebar which rewarded commentators on my website with their hyperlinked name on the sidebar of my website (I will talk about that widget later in the series). People liked that widget because they got some click-throughs to their website because of it. When I changed my WordPress Theme from Misty Look (one of the most popular, free themes for WordPress), which had a sick rotating 760×200 banner script that Evan Derrick over at MovieZeal installed for me on the back-end on my website (it does NOT come with it), to my current one, I had to get rid of the comment widget (and the rotating banners, damn). They did not work with the new theme but I was compensated financially because I could now properly use a specific money making plugin (which I will talk about later in the series) after the switch which allowed me to effectively advertise 125×125 ads. After the first lesson I learned about unrelated ads, I only advertised movie-related products and I placed those ads as high up on the sidebar as I could. I also used widgets that kept people engaged on my movie website for as long as possible that didn’t slow down the loading of my website.
Long story short, I realized through trial and error the anatomy of a movie website sidebar and I will share it with you.
The remaining posts in the How to Set Up a Movie Website Sidebar series:
A question for discussion
- How is the sidebar of your movie website setup?
Please share your thought process behind it below.