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!
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!
Picking 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:
Of course I will direct 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.
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!
Do An Introductory 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!
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.
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?
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!