I was recently asked by a lovely human being on Twitter about starting a book blog. And I definitely needed more than 140 characters to explain this. Anyway, I’ll be talking about the basics of how to start a book blog, and some tips for when your blog has been put up as well!
1. Decide on what your blog will focus on. Are you going to feature only young adult books? Only romance? A mix of all age groups and genres?
2. Know your audience. Observe other blogs with the same focus as yours. Which posts seem more popular? Which go unnoticed? After observing, you’ll find out that you know your target audience’s general likes and dislikes.
3. Decide on what you’re willing to post. Now that you know what your audience likes, decide what you want for yourself. If you’ve found post topics that both you and your audience will enjoy, then you’re good to go!
THE TECHNICAL STUFF
1. Pick a blogging platform. I would highly suggest trying out free blogging platforms as you start out–you wouldn’t want to invest in a self-hosted blog until you’re sure that you will commit, since of course you’re going to be paying on a regular basis for domain names and hosting and all. Ashley made a really helpful infographic for choosing which platform is right for you. (Although personally I’d just recommend everyone to use WordPress because it’s my baby.)
2. Come up with a catchy blog name. Now that you know your focus and your audience, pick a blog name. Some go for using alliterations, bookish quotes/sayings, even book titles… It’s all up to you! You may also brand your blog using your name, although that way it’s a bit harder to figure out what your blog is all about. Personally I am shitty when it comes to this kind of thing, but here are some of my favorite blog names for inspiration:
- The Social Potato (I love potatoes. Also this one sounds both professional and fun at the same time.)
- The Daily Prophecy (This one has a whimsical and very bookish feel to it.)
- Loony Literate (I am obsessed with alliterations, plus it has the word loony in it. And it’s bookish!)
- Bookfever (Very simple, but it sticks, yeah? I also love the perfect tagline for this blog.)
3. Blog design. Choose a design that suits your name. If your blog name has a playful tone in it, maybe choose light, pastel colors. If your name sounds more serious, maybe go for something simple and professional. Also note that:
- If you’re on Free WordPress, you can only choose from the templates that are available to you. Mostly they’re clean and nice to look at, but they won’t be unique. With some templates, you cannot edit the colors, fonts, or anything really without paying.
- If you’re on Blogger, you have tons of free templates to choose from, and they’re also customizable (is that even a word?) and you can change it up as much as you like.
- You can also hire a designer to really get a look that is uniquely yours. I highly recommend Just Peach! (for sleek and minimalist designs), Charm & Co. (for professional-looking designs), Creative Whim (for adorable and unique designs) and Stay Bookish (for bold designs).
YOUR FIRST POST
1. Introduce yourself. Let the blogosphere know why you started blogging. Explain why you chose your blog name. Talk about you and your love for reading.
2. Get down to the nitty and gritty. You can always skip the introduction and just add an “about” page for anyone who’s curious. You can get on with your first review or other post as soon as you like! It’s all up to you.
IMPORTANT BLOG PAGES
1. About. I find it really annoying, personally, if I want to find out more about a specific blogger, and then I found out they don’t even have an “about” page on their blog. On your page, go ahead and introduce yourself and your blog however you like.
2. Contact. Another must-have page is the contact page. This will be helpful for bloggers and publishers/authors alike if they ever feel the need to contact you. You’re missing out on a lot of you don’t have one! Make sure you have your general email address right there, or other ways you can be contacted.
3. Review Policy. This is, again, very helpful to publishers/authors. You wouldn’t want them wasting their time sending a review request that will surely be ignored. Include:
- Genres/age groups you will read from
- Genres/age groups you will NOT read from
- Review time frame
- Preferred review format
*These are the things I personally seek out on blog sidebars, but honestly you can put anything you want there.
1. Search bar. It’s extremely frustrating if a blog doesn’t have a search bar. If I’m looking for something in particular, a search bar would really be helpful.
2. Social media links. You can either have this on your sidebar or in your contact/about page, but you really should have it there. Readers and other bookish people will be able to find you elsewhere online to follow you and chat!
3. Subscription options. Add ALL of the ways readers can follow your blog. Have a widget for email subscriptions, Bloglovin’ followers and all of your other following platforms so readers can follow you at any time.
1. Network. Find blog readers by promoting (but please do not spam or promote obsessively) your blog on social media. Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads–yep. Also go around and visit other blogs if you please! I talked more about networking here.
2. Post consistently, but remember: ‘quality over quantity.’ This statement basically speaks for itself. It’s okay if you only post twice a month if that’s the pace you need to churn out quality content–but I find that it’s easier to follow a blog if they post consistently rather than sporadically.
Agree with my tips? Disagree? Have any tips of your own? Anything you wish you knew when you first started your blog?
Aimee loves being a little bookworm (okay–she doesn’t like being little). She also loves chocolates and sweets but is freaked out by the thought of possibly getting diabetes.