How To Start A Book Blog: Steps, Advice, & Tips All In One!

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I’ve decided to start doing some How To posts here on The Sassy Book Geek about book blogging and all of the wonderful things that come with it! When I was thinking of starting a book blog and when I finally did, these types of posts were super helpful and I’d like to try and provide that for others as well.

I’ll be making this into a kind of series of Book Blogging Tips so you guys will definitely be seeing more posts like this that will hopefully help you out if you’re a beginner or even if you’ve been blogging for a while!

This post (as you can see) will be all about starting a book blog and then some tips and advice about what to do once you have it up and running!

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Picking Your Genre/ Focus Of Your Blog

1.) A big step you need to take before doing anything is deciding what kind of blog you want to run.

Do you want to focus on romance novels?
Young Adult books?
Sci-Fi and Fantasy?
Or maybe you want to do a little of everything?

This is all about what YOU want to talk about and share with everyone on your blog! It’s also helpful for other bloggers to find your blog if you have a set focus or genre of books, being a YA blogger myself there’s nothing more off-putting than checking out a blog that says it’s YA and then see nothing but reviews for adult romance novels.

2.) Another HUGE step is picking out your blog name, of course! Try coming up with something catchy and creative, your blog name reflects you after all. I suggest trying to come up with a name that involves something that means a lot to you or something that mirrors your personality. I definitely don’t claim to be great with coming up with names and I’m actually pretty bad at it. The Sassy Book Geek comes from my love of books of course and all things “geeky” and my friends are constantly berating me for my “sass” so tada The Sassy Book Geek!

Here’s a few blogs I follow to give you some inspiration!

copy-of-top-ten-tuesday2Picking A Blogging Platform

First things first you need to decide whether you want a free blog or a self hosted blog, which you pay for. There are pros and cons to both of course some being that with a self hosted blog your website will be http://www.yourblogname.com while with free blogs it will look like http://www.yourblogname.wordpress.com. So of course having your own domain name has a nicer ring to it than the free blog one but free is free, right? Then sometimes (as with WordPress) paying for your blog opens up the right for you to have 100% customization options so you can do a lot more with your blog design.

Personally I think everyone should start out with a free blog that way you don’t waste any money before you know you’ll stick with it! Here area few ideas for free blogging platforms:

  • WordPress
  • Blogspot
  • Blogger
  • Tumblr
  • Weebly

Of course I will directΒ everyone to WordPress because that’s what I use and I find it to be quite user friendly!

Designing Your Blog

This, like your blog name, should reflect upon your personality and well….your blog name as well. So if you and your blog name are fun and spunky go for some more bright and vibrant colors in your blog design!

I’d also like to note that if you go with WordPress your blog design is kind of limited because you are only allowed to choose from a few free templates that you can’t customize 100% without paying. However, this does not mean you can’t take a free template and totally rock it by adding your own designed headers and graphics! I highly suggest using Canva to design said headers and graphics.

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Important Blog Pages To Have

Of course there as many options for pages on your blog as you want there to be but there are a few that are essential for your readers to easily navigate your blog. These pages should be up and running before you start posting.

1.) About Page

I think it’s absolutely essential to include an About page on your blog I find it annoying personally when I want to know more about the blogger and there’s no information to be found! Having an About page also makes linking your blog to tags etc. a lot easier.

2.) Contact Page

Including a contact page will make it infinitely easier for other bloggers, publishers, or authors to get a hold of you. This may be for any number of reasons from asking you to participate in something to promote your blog or review requests. So be sure to include your email address or any other ways people can contact you.

3.) Review Policy

This almost goes hand in hand with your contact page, if any publisher or author wants to send you a request to review a book it’s a good idea to have a page like this explaining what you will and won’t review that way no one’s time is wasted.

Be sure to include:

  • Whether you are or are not currently accepting review requests
  • How long it will take you to read/review the book
  • Genres you will review and genres you will not review
  • Your preferred format for reading (print copies or e-copy formats)

4.) Review Index Page

This is not a page you necessarily need up and running right away but it’s definitely a good idea to add this page once you start posting book reviews. I find it pretty frustrating when I go to a blog and want to browse through all of their reviews and there’s nothing there!

Picking Your Rating System

Most people go by the 1 to 5 star rating system or occasionally 1 to 10 star rating and you definitely don’t have to do stars either you can pick whatever you like! I’ve seen people use skulls, Tardises, teacups, and an assortment of cute animals too. I find it nice to know how other bloggers rate their books and so it’s nice to have a page or something in the sidebar explaining your rating system.

Your Blog’s Sidebar

There are a few things you should be sure to include in your sidebar that will make it easier for readers to navigate your blog.

1.) Search Bar

It’s quite annoying to go onto another’s blog and be looking for a specific post and not be able to search for it at all. Do your readers a favor and make sure you have a search bar on your sidebar!

2.) Ways To Follow Your Blog

Of course you want to make it as easy as possible for readers to follow your blog, right? If someone can’t find any easy way to subscribe to your blog they will more than likely leave and then you miss out on a potential reader/follower. So be sure to include your blog platforms widgets and an email subscription widget as well so people can follow you!

3.) Social Media Links

You can of course just include these on your Contact Page but it’s far easier for readers to see these links on your sidebar and follow you!

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Do An IntroductoryΒ Post

Say hello to all of us out here in the book blogging community by doing up a post to introduce yourself!

Promote Your Blog

This can be done by promoting your blog on your social media or by blog hopping! I find that blog hopping is very helpful in finding not only new bloggers to chat with but also to gain new followers. Please do not spam other people’s blogs constantly with links back to your own blog, instead try to leave thoughtful comments and hopefully they’ll come check your blog out!

Start Posting

The best way to start giving your blog a start and gaining followers is to generate content so to do this get reading and do up some book reviews. One of the other best things to do is join in weekly memes which can be Top Ten Tuesday, Top 5 Wednesday, or many other bookish memes out there. Not only are they a lot of fun to do but this will also help get your blog out there and start chatting with other bloggers!

And remember the rule: quality over quantity when it comes to doing up your first posts.

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Hopefully some of you found this post to be helpful whether you are wanting to start a book blog or have already started but need some direction!

Do you agree with my tips?Β 

Do you disagree with any of my tips?

Are there any tips you find to be helpful when starting out?

Are there things you wish you knew when first starting your own blog?

Please let me know in the comments!

The Sassy

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54 thoughts on “How To Start A Book Blog: Steps, Advice, & Tips All In One!

  1. Blog name is a biggie. I think it’s good to create a good one right as you start, but maybe I can only say that in retrospect. But creating a good one early on prevents one having to change the name later, which was very annoying when I had to do it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes I definitely agree with that, it’s a good idea to take your time with it and be 100% sure about it. I know when I typed in my domain name I forgot to add the word “book” so now my wordpress address is just thesassygeek. Whoops! πŸ™‚

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  2. I think having your contact information/ review policy on your about me/welcome page is fine too. I also don’t think having a page for reviews is necessary, I don’t have one and my blog does just fine, I also don’t review books as I read them. Overall this is a great post for newbies just starting out.

    Liked by 1 person

    • When it comes down to it a blog is 100% however you want it and these are just some suggestions that I personally follow. So of course you could put everything on one page or forgo a page altogether and that’s what makes a blog your own and unique.
      Thank you Ashley! Hopefully this will help some people starting out to get a general idea of what to do! πŸ™‚

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  3. Great post, Heather! Would’ve been super useful to have this back when I was starting out – I managed to fumble through, but some of the tips you gave are definitely things that would’ve helped. And the search bar! I wish more blogs have them placed somewhere more natural/quick to find – I sometimes have to search for the search bar first. πŸ˜›

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Reg! I perused so many How To’s when I was starting out so I tried to make this post something I would have found useful. Glad you think some of these tips will be useful to others, that’s the goal after all!
      And yes the search bar! I do get pretty annoyed when I can’t search for specific things on blogs or scroll to the bottom of their page to find the search bar! Mine on here is way up at the top which is an odd place but the template I use comes with it so I can’t really move it. πŸ™‚

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  4. Great post πŸ™‚ Definitely will be helpful for newbs and also for long time bloggers for some ideas πŸ™‚

    I wish I would have done more thinking around the whole blog name etc when I started out.. well, initially my blog started as a random posting platform for anything I noticed from life… then I turned the focus to books as I started reading more and more… so my blog URL isn’t as funky as I’d like it to be, especially after seeing all the cool titles and blog URLs by fellow bookbloggers πŸ™‚ But… it is what it is πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much! I definitely hope this will manage to help some new bloggers out!
      I definitely do feel you on the blog name thing! When I was typing in my domain name I actually forgot the word “book” which is super embarrassing because now my name is just the sassy geek, whoopsie! But you’re right, it is what it is! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I love, love, love this post πŸ’– Everything you’ve mentioned is crucial in creating an amazing blog – these are really excellent tips! Definitely agree with the search bar, I HATE having to scroll through endless pages to find something that I want!

    P.S: Thanks for the shoutout, it is much appreciated 😘

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much Michelle! I’m glad you think these are great tips so hopefully they’ll help some newbies (like we used to be!) out! Glad we can agree about the search bar, haha, I personally like blogs to be as easy to navigate as possible!
      And you’re more than welcome for the shout out! I’ve always loved your blog name and think it’s a great one to help give others inspiration! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much! I tried to make this post contain all the information I wished I would have had to start out in order to try and help newbies out. I also appreciate you sharing this with others, if you get the chance and I hope it will help others out! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Lauren! I think we were all super confused when we started out, I remember doing so much research and still not knowing what to really do! I’m really glad you think these tips are helpful since you run such an amazing blog yourself! I appreciate you mentioning this post to others if you get the chance and hopefully it will help them out! πŸ™‚

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    • Thank you so much! I’m very, very glad you found this post helpful! I remember when I started out that I did the same thing, searching for posts like this endlessly so I’m definitely glad this was able to help you out some! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I really need to create the Contact page, it’s all on my About page but sometimes people don’t think about checking there! πŸ™‚ Great tips! I’m terrible with design and everything so having a limited range with WP doesn’t bother me, I like what I came up with even though it’s very simple πŸ™‚ It took me a while to choose my platform because it can be hard to know what will be easier for you. WP felt a bit complicated at first but I love it now. Even if it spam-jails people, hahaha!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Donna! πŸ™‚
      Yes, I think having separate pages makes it easier for people because they go “Oh hey where’s the contact info? Oh contact page *click*” done. I like to try and make it easier for others even if it means making more pages I may not necessarily want to.
      I am not great with design either, it’s always been frustrating for me because I wish I was more creative! I personally like the WP templates too because it keeps things simple and I like what I did with mine as well and that’s all that matters is that we are happy with it!

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