There are over 4 million WordPress blogs owned by people from all over the world but no more than a handful of user generated revenue sharing websites based on the WordPress platform. This is probably due to the lack of knowledge and resourcefulness on the part of a large chunk of the webmasters.
However, contrary to popular belief, with access to proper resources, it is remarkably easy to set up a fully functioning user generated revenue sharing website based on the WordPress platform. This is a step-by-step guide to designing one such website from scratch and is aimed at the most inexperienced of webmasters.
The first thing you need to launch any website is obviously a web host.
There are literally thousands of web hosts to choose from including a number of companies which provide free hosting services. It is advisable that you start off with free hosting and then upgrade to a premium plan once your website has started receiving sufficient amount of traffic and generating some revenue.
While choosing a hosting service makes sure that it is compatible with the version of WordPress you are planning to use. Now, simply download the available version of WordPress from wordpress.org and install it on a database provided by your hosting service by following the simple procedure mentioned on wordpress.org. Some web hosts also provide a iVista Script Installer for one click to installation of WordPress.
Registering a Domain
Most hosting services include a free sub domain along with their hosting plan. However to gain credibility it is highly recommended that you register your own domain with one of several domain registrars like Godaddy.com or namecheap.com.
After registering the domain all you have to do is replace the default name servers of your domain registrar with those provided by your hosting service. Typically it takes search engines around four to six hours for add-on domains and 24 to 48 hours for parked domains to relate your domain name with your hosting account.
Selecting a Proper Theme
It is common knowledge that you never get a second chance to make a great first impression and this is precisely why you need an eye-catching and at the same time effective theme. Almost all user generated websites use a ‘magazine theme’ which displays excerpts from latest or featured posts on the site home page. Including a featured post slider on your homepage further increases the site appeal. Two great free WordPress themes which you might want to try out are the Gallery Theme and the Lime Theme.
If you can afford to throw around a bit of cash then you can try out a theme framework (like Thesis Theme or Headway Themes), which is basically an online webpage editor and will give you tremendous flexibility in designing your webpage. In addition, many theme frameworks come loaded with many important and versatile java script based plugins for easy integration of image galleries and image rotators in your WordPress blog.
Installing Essential Plugins
This is the most important part of this article and will tell you how to convert an ordinary WordPress blog (which you have already set up by following the above-mentioned steps) into a fully functioning user generated revenue sharing website. To accomplish our target you need two types of plugins:
Plugins to accept new members
By default, the present version of WordPress provides the webmaster with an option to allow new members to sign up for an account on the website. All you need to do is go to the ‘User’ section of your WP-Admin and set ‘Role’ (under ‘Add New’) to Author (by default it is set at Subscriber).
However, to make the sign up page look a lot more credible you can use one of the following two free plugins:
- WP User Registration
- Cimy User Extra Fields
Both these plugins are almost identical in their functions and simply provides additional fields like Password, Nickname, Name etc. in the default WordPress registration form.
If you have some cash to throw around then you might want to try another plugin called Wishlist Member, which is a lot more more expensive but is highly effective and versatile.
Plugins to enable revenue sharing
This is probably the thing that has got most people stumped. For reasons unknown to me, there are just a hand full of WordPress plugins which enable you to automatically share ad revenue with your contributors. The two most effective plugins I found capable of doing this are Ad-share from WPMUDev and WordPress Multi Author Ad Management by Ravall. Both these plugins allows each author to display their own (admin approved) ad codes or banners at the beginning or end of their respective posts and shares revenue on the basis impressions and not ad clicks (similar to Hubpages’ author compensation scheme). A generalized author-admin ad display ratio can be arbitrarily fixed by the admin.
The major difference between these two plugins is that, while WordPress Multi Author Ad Management is a free plugin, Ad-share comes with a hefty price tag of $17.42 per month
After activating the above two plugins you should be able to run your own user generated revenue sharing website based on the WordPress platform. But before you start inviting people to write for your site be sure to further increase the credibility of your website by writing a few guiding posts for your would-be authors such as Submission Guidelines, Terms and Conditions, SEO Tips etc.