Everyone has heard of these two popular websites and everyone knows that they've got a lot going for them. They must have big budgets with big sponsorships behind them. But what does it take to make something like this?
There’s no way you can beat those billion-dollar entertainment sites on your own. But that shouldn’t stop you from forming some ideas. It’s not impossible for you to steal some of the techniques that HuffPost and Buzzfeed use, form a small version of a celebrity news & gossip site with a twist and make some money. There are a few things you can do.
Background on How Web Entertainment Sites Came To Be
Entertainment sites like BuzzFeed and HuffPost are unique in that they combine the features of a blog with the functionality of a full website. These sites began as blogs and then transitioned into full-fledged websites in order to attract a larger audience.
They offer content that is interesting and entertaining, which can generate traffic, and hence be a lucrative source of income. They have the ability to monetize their content through advertising, sponsored content, or subscription fees by creating premium content that only registered members can access.
How To Build An Entertainment Website (And Make It Close To HuffPost or Buzzfeed)
Just in case you’ve never heard of BuzzFeed.com or HuffPost.com, these two sites are both owned by BuzzFeed, Inc., based in NY. They both have a variety of topics and news, but one of the reasons they’re extremely popular by the general public is because they’re focused on the entertainment value that they provide, rather than serious discussions, politics, etc. Plenty of surprising non-fictional stories and celebrity gossip are posted daily.
If you like that kind of thing and want to create your own website and start making money from it, following these tips will help you get started. You may not be able to have millions of readers so soon, but the main thing is that you put in your passion and excitement; what you really want to do.
1. Plan Your Niches
HuffPost and Buzzfeed focus on different topics, fashion, celebrities, nutrition, parenting, travel, making money, popular culture, film, television, music, and more.
First of all, stop for a second and clear your head. Write down what kind of niches (topics) you want to create in the next weeks, months, and hopefully, years to come.
2. Choose a Domain Name
Once you have chosen a theme and template, find a domain name that sounds right to you.
Usually, something relevant to your niche is supposed to be good. For example, if you are selling classic guitars on your site, DiscountClassicGuitars.com. But in this case, you are creating an entertainment site, so anything that sounds familiar to you will be good.
There is one warning to you. Never choose a name that’s very similar to a brand name, for example;
This is an absolute no-no. You will risk being sued for confusing and damaging the brand.
3. Create an Account on WordPress
4. Choose a Website Template
WordPress has thousands of website templates for you to use for free. If you want to create a website with a happy and friendly look and feel, you can use one of these light-coloured templates.
How to Make Money with an Entertainment Website
Here are some of the most popular ways you can make money with your entertainment website.
1. Display Ads
Displaying CPM (cost per thousand) banner ads is the most basic way to make money with a website. Google Adsense is a typical, and probably the most popular advertisement scheme among bloggers. There are roughly three types of ads;
CPM (cost per thousand) Ads:
CPM means that the advertiser will pay you every 1,000 impressions. They will pay you for every thousand visitors to your particular page where their ad is displayed. The amount may be cents, rather than dollars to start with. But simply the more visitors you get, the more revenue these ads will raise.
CPC (cost per click) Ads:
CPC ads are where you earn money every time someone clicks on an ad, regardless of whether they buy anything or not. The payout rates are higher than CPM ads.
Other than Google Adsense, all sorts of banner ads are provided by brands and retailers to their affiliates. Almost all the banners are CPA ads.
CPA (cost per action) Ads:
CPA ads are where you only earn money if someone clicks the ad to access the advertiser’s product page and actually buys the product. The commission rates are much higher, usually 25-50% of the sales price.
Unless restricted by the advertiser (which is very rare), you can place these ads anywhere on your website, and they don’t cost anything extra.
2. Sell Affiliate Products
In addition to displaying banner ads on your site, you can also recommend some products as an affiliate. You can share your own experience using your own words, then your recommendation will sound much more credible to visitors, hence more likely to make good sales.
Entertainment-Related Affiliate Products
If you browse Amazon, you will almost instantly know what kind of products you can promote to your site visitors. Products that are directly related to entertainment include videos, music, books, celebrity calendars and other gift items.
It’s also easy to promote non-related best-selling products because entertainment audiences are wide range, they usually show interest in anything such as innovative household items, clothing and electric appliances.
Also read: How To Make Money As Amazon Affiliate
3. Publish Sponsored Articles
Business owners are willing to publish their content for a fee. They usually employ a copywriter to create an article, so the quality of the content is second to none. They also provide all the images to be placed on your web post space. All you have to do is publish it and charge them as much as $100 - $1,000+.
4. Offer premium content
Many entertainment websites offer premium content (such as behind-the-scenes footage or exclusive stories) that is only available to their subscribers. This can be a great way to attract a new audience and build loyalty among your current audience. Just be sure to create a value proposition that is true to yourself and compelling enough for people to want to subscribe.
5. Sell Ad Space
Popular news and entertainment sites charge between $1-3 per 1000 impressions, so this is something you should seriously think about once your site becomes popular.
Unlike particular niche sites, an entertainment site should attract a wide range of audiences, which means advertisers who deal with general products/services will be interested in advertising on your site. This will include general retailers, financing companies, event organizers such as music and theater, and charitable organizations.
Just remember for now that you could potentially earn a lot of money by selling ad space on your site.
Celebrity Photos And Licensing Issues
One thing that BuzzFeed And HuffPost do but you cannot do so easily is display celebrity photos. They are copyrighted and licensed by stock image holding companies such as Getty Images, Shutterstock, etc.
You would either have to buy a license for each and every photo in order to use it on your site or buy premium access to be able to use an unlimited number of images. You could end up spending thousands of dollars either way, and that's not ideal.
There are a few other ways to display celebrities instead.
1. Creative Common Images
Use images that are available on Wikimedia Commons. Depending on the license status of each image, rules are slightly different from one to another. But you can use the images from Wikimedia will be free, providing you give appropriate credit and provide a link to the license underneath each image.
2. Embed Social Media Posts
You can embed Instagram posts (or any other social posts) posted by celebrities on your site, for free.
3. Use Illustrations
You can create illustrations of celebrities and display them on your site instead. But make sure not to illustrate an exact copy of any one photograph. Because it would still be considered as making a copy of a copyrighted image, i.e. infringement.
What To Write On Your Entertainment Website
It’s your website, you can write anything you want. But here are a few things you may want to remember.
- Make it generic if you want support from a wider range or audience. Some users may love your bitter, bitchy comments, but you could risk losing some sponsors/advertisers.
- Make sure to place a link to the information source if you ‘gossip’, so that your discussion is based on the truth.
- Avoid writing anything that could damage the reputation of others. You don’t want to be sued for spreading bad rumors.
How to Market Your Entertainment Website
You can market your entertainment website in lots of ways. You can use online advertising, social media marketing, search engine optimization, and public relations to reach your target audience.
1. Use PPC ads to reach your target audience.
You can use Google AdWords or other paid advertising platforms to advertise your website. You can also use free advertising platforms like Facebook and Twitter. AdWords is a paid advertising platform that allows you to place ads on Google search results and on websites across the web. You can also use pay-per-click (PPC) advertising to advertise directly to users on websites they visit. PPC allows you to place ads on websites that users are likely to visit based on their interests.
2. Use social media marketing to connect with your target audience.
You can use social media platforms to connect with fans in a variety of fields such as music, movie, gaming, TV shows, etc. You can create a Facebook page for your business, post regular updates about your work, and engage with visitors through posts and comments.
3. Use search engine optimization to improve your website ranking.
You can use search engine optimization (SEO) to improve the ranking of your website on search engine results pages. This means that potential fans who are searching for information about particular events, gossip, celebrity profiles, etc. will find your site.
4. Use public relations to promote your entertainment website.
You can use public relations to generate coverage for your website in online and offline media outlets, including newspapers, magazines, online publications, and podcasts run by individuals. Use them to generate awareness of your website among influential people who could help promote it to their followers or friends.
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How To Create An Entertainment Website Like BuzzFeed And HuffPost And Make Money - Wrap Up
Making a website that sells - with great design and layout, providing compelling content, making sure that the products you recommend is suitable for your visitors…
All this may sound like a tough job to achieve, but it really isn’t. Keep creating content that excites yourself, then it will excite others too.
Soon you’ll start to work out how you can excite a larger audience. And you’ll also work out how you can feature a variety of topics and styles of writing. It will surely be a fun and lucrative venture.
I hope this guide has outlined some of the key steps to take to put your entertainment website on the map. If you’re ready to start building a successful platform, get started right now. Good luck!