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!


MENTAL PREPARATION

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.

OR

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

SIDEBAR MUST-HAVES

*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.

NOW WHAT?

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.

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Agree with my tips? Disagree? Have any tips of your own? Anything you wish you knew when you first started your blog?

Liked this post?  Never miss a discussion post–follow us on Bloglovin’!

About Aimee

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.

Goodreads | Twitter | Instagramall of Aimee’s posts →

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70 thoughts on “How To Start a Book Blog | A Quick Crash-Course

  1. This is seriously a really good post, wish this was around when I started. It would have made it a whole lot easier. I found it really hard to come up with a name for my blog, but then it came and I though hey it works.
    Something else I would have liked to know at the start – don’t expect to have a lot of followers right away, let it flow, everything will come.
    Also don’t ask for every review book and ask nicely, don’t expect to get all the review books right away

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    1. I totally agree, Angel! Most of us would start out expecting all the merits of a blogger to come our way without work, when in truth it takes time and a crazy amount of effort to earn these privileges.

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  2. This would have been more helpful last year, lol. I learned the hard way, but I’m sure this will be really helpful to other bloggers. Great post, though. :)

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  3. This is a really really great post, Aimee! Definitely the kind of tips I would have shared, too. It’s so important to choose a name that will “stick” – something that makes your personality shine and will let people think, “Hey, I KNOW that blog!” Also, another tip – when writing, write YOU. As in find your own voice. Review how you would talk to a friend about the book. Make sure that even while discussing the book, your personality is in there, too. People can review the same book, talk about the same thing, but what makes it refreshing is the unique “edge” or “voice” the blogger gives.

    Faye at The Social Potato

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Faye! I definitely agree with that. Sometimes I don’t even care about the book, but the blogger’s unique voice will compel me to read their review and maybe get me interested in a book I wouldn’t have thought I’d read! :)

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  4. Thanks for the plug Aimee! *glomps* Yes, to all those above. I think for newbies, you have to experience everything first before investing money to this hobby. It is also time consuming so you have be really up to the task! So these tips are sure big help to those who are planning to step in to blogging. :3

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    1. Anytime, my dear! I love your designs. <3 Yeah, I think new bloggers should try blogging for at least a few months before they decide to invest in it!

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  5. I keep getting messages from readers who’re interested in starting a book blog but dunno where to begin and now I’m just going to tell them to check this post out. ;) Thanks for the quick mention about my designs, Aimee!

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  6. Wow, this is amazingly helpful. I don’t think I’ll be starting a book review blog anytime soon, but lots of great tips here for general blogging thoughts. I’d only add that Ashley’s infographic leaves out the option of Squarespace, which is maybe a touch cheaper than WordPress.org plus all the other stuff you need for that, and deals with all the coding, hosting, and other technical matters. It’s not popular in the book blogosphere, but since most of us aren’t so tech-savvy, if you’re willing to spend money Squarespace is a nice option. (And one I’m eyeing when I turn 18!)

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  7. Eep – thanks for mentioning us, Aimee! <333 Great post, too! I learned most of this stuff through trial and error (pick a good blog name and one you're satisfied with, or you'll keep rebranding and your fickle-minded-ness will scare everyone away), it's great to see all the important things in one place^^

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  8. This is really fabulous advice for people just starting out! Everyone really does need a search bar, because it does drive me moderately insane when I cannot find something on a blog (especially if it was a post I was going to reference or share- I likely won’t keep looking if I can’t find it within a few minutes!) And I wish I had spent more time on my blog’s name, that is a REALLY helpful tip- because it’s basically the one thing that is the absolute hardest to change once you’ve actually started your blog and put yourself out there!

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    1. YES! I would leave immediately if I don’t find a search bar, actually. And ugh, I know. I’ve switched names three times and it’s hard to rebrand yourself.

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  9. Hello!!! I’m the one who asked you on twitter about this thing. Haha thanks for this!!! although I already have a blog but still it will help me improve it. Yay! Can you visit my blog and tell me what to add or to do more. Thank you again for this! It will really help me and many new bloggers too! :)

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  10. This is an excellent post!! So helpful, Aimee. Your sidebar reminders are great – we all need to make sure we have the search button and social links/subscription link where they’re easy to spot.
    Thanks for sharing the great tips :)

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  11. Those are some good tips that I wish I had a while ago haha but I’m still newbie so it’s still pretty useful :”D The subscription box thing took me a while to add because I didn’t get it eep. Your review policy also has some good ideas!

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  12. It’s always great to hear people like your blog name <3 What a helpful post for beginners! It's definitely important to pick a platform and an audience. You can always branch out, but the first step is to make a beginning. A search bar, social media & following options are so essential. You can leave anything else away from the side bar as long as those are available.

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    1. I’ve probably already mentioned how much I love your blog name about a billion times. xD Yeah, those are the ones I look for the most. Other than that I don’t mind what else is on your sidebar!

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  13. This is a very helpful post, I wish I had this checklist when I first created my blog. I had to learn it the hard way </3 I agree about the seatch bar, and social media essentials! I hate when sidebars clatter though with so much going on there. I feel the more simple it is, the more easier it is to navigate your blog. Wonderful tips :)

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  14. Awesome post Aimee – I was making a mental checklist to see if I’d done this with my blog when I started lol. You’ve got some fantastic, concise tips here which I’m sure a lot of prospective bloggers will find very useful :)

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  15. I wish I’d read this post when I first started; wonderful advice, Aimee! In my first two years, I had a really crappy blogger template that I never changed because I am so bad at tech stuff. But I made my own design for my name change, and I’m very happy with it! I definitely LOVE blogs with unique designs, styles, and posts. Also, so much agree with quality over quantity. But hey, if people can churn out creative content 7 days a week, more power to them. HAHA. Seriously though, this is a post ALL newbies should read before they start a blog. :)

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    1. That’s so awesome! I’m still on Free WordPress so I use a template, which I find is okay as long as it looks clean. :)
      I admire daily posters who still have FABULOUS posts–they’re probably undercover super heroes. :)
      Thanks so much, Holly!

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  16. I’ve been blogging for 7 years and put a lot of thought and planning in originally, but it was all so new then that there was little out there about how to pull it all together. This would have been so helpful to me then. I’m still having trouble matching my blog color scheme to the name, so I’m going to look at Stay Bookish since you recommend them for bold designs.

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    1. Whoa, 7 years! That’s amazing, Elizabeth. More power to you. :) I use colourlovers.com for picking out color schemes! <3 Hazel makes AMAZING bold designs. ^_^

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  17. Fantastic tips! I’d add in there being social on a lot of different networks before starting your blog is definitely a big deal. Having people be familiar with your name helps once your blog is open.

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  18. This post was so informative thank you…I have been wanting to start a blog but didn’t know how or where to start!!! I will have this up as my checklist when I start it!!!

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  19. Thanks for this post. I am thinking of starting a book blog and was reading helpful tips and saw this. Deep insights here, I must say. Now let me start thinking of how to discipline myself to read.

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  20. Hi!! This post is great. I am going to bookmark it for future use… I am really interested in starting a book blog but I don’t have any ideas on where to start. I run a book/book-fandom Instagram account and I absolutely love it, I just really want to be able to connect with other readers on another level but don’t know how. What else do you recommend?

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  21. Such an informative post! Thanx for all the tips :) I want to start a book blog considering how much I love reading, I want others to know my thoughts about that book, especially coz my friends are now irritated with me fanning over books every tym!! ;) Will follow your advice! Thanx again!

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  22. Do you have any advice for bloggers who have started their blogs but who want to change their blog’s name? I’m in the process of changing my name. I like it, but it’s too vague and hard to find. If people want to find me, they’ll have to use Siobhan’s Novelties, which is my full URL and sounds like a trinket shop. But I’ve been solely marketing my blog as Novelties. I like the name, but I want to change it.

    But I’ve hit a brick wall with picking a new name, and generators and worksheets aren’t cutting it anymore.

    Got any advice or can offer some help?

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  23. I love this! Actually using this helpful tips right now! Any chance you could give me a hand with how to get the alphabetical list on your ‘by title’ page? I’m really bad at this aha

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