How (and Why) to Start a Book Blog

Sonia Akavan
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Before we dive into a deeper look at book blogs… some of you might just WANT TO GET STARTED RIGHT NOW.

Can't blame you there.

Here are a few things to consider:

  • What are you most passionate about?
  • Are you a snarky critic? Love to beat up books?
  • Love romance/literary fiction? Or fantasy?

Or maybe you’re more informative and want to talk about stuff like the latest trends in YA [Young Adult] lit, or adult fiction, or even science fiction.

What are you reading right now? What books are coming out soon that you’re most excited about?

If that’s you, use this quick-list below to jump right in.

Find your topic.

Find your niche.

Start blogging.

After you have your blog set up and ready to go, it’s time to start thinking about your topic.

The key to writing a great blog is to find a topic that you are interested in and that you can become an expert in.

The topic can be anything from literature to weight loss. There are some topics out there that are more popular than others but the trick is to find something that you are interested in and have knowledge of.

Why Start a Book Blog?

You can join a book club or not.

You can buy loads of books or only a few.

You can read a book a week and rave about it to your friends, or you can enjoy a quiet, uninterrupted reading session with a good book once or twice a month.

Whatever fills your cup of tea, you don’t have to do it alone. You can invite friends and relatives to enjoy the pleasure of reading with you through your blog. You can create a virtual reading club, gain new friends, share common interests, give each other recommendations, and let the discussions flow.

Your blog will be a virtual home where you can share your love of reading, exchange book recommendations, and inspire others to read more.

What about Presence and Profits?

You don’t have to wait for big websites to contact you to create content. You can publish your own book-related content and get it listed.

Most book reviewing websites have multiple sources and if your reviews are good enough, they may pick them up. Remember, however, that you should never pay to get your book reviewed.

So, to put it in a nutshell, you want to attract media interest and have them contact you about your book rather than chasing them around.

Research the websites which publish book reviews. Find out where the best place is to submit your book reviews and submit them. That’s all there is to it.

Though this seems very easy, it’s not. It takes a lot of effort to accomplish it. But don’t worry about that just yet. Just go out and write those reviews.

Bonus Round! The Future is Creative

As with any other platform, it’s important to keep improving your book blog. Put yourself out there and you’ll be surprised with the networking opportunities and recognition you’ll receive in the blogging community.

Kindlepreneur is one quirky book blog that has managed to grow from a small hobby to a profitable business. I’ve learned a lot from this self-published author. He shares a lot of insight into the publishing industry and social media marketing.

It’s a great blog to follow if you want to see how you can make passive income blogging about your passion.

I hope I’ve managed to inspire you to turn that passion into a profitable side-hustle.

Why Book Blogging?

The blogosphere in Nepal didn’t really take off until more than a decade after the inception of the word. Blame the lack of technology infrastructure for this.

Today’s Nepal is more connected than ever. You can access the internet from many vantage points. This has made blogging so much more accessible to people with messages to convey.

The audience for blogs is also more diverse than ever. The fact that anyone can start one makes it harder to stand out.

A book blog provides one way to set you apart from the crowd. It is also a low-maintenance activity that requires a small investment.

How to Start a Book Blog (7 Steps)

Below are 7 steps that will guide you in starting a book blog, including some suggestions on topics on which to blog.

Step 1: Choose a Name and Hosting

The first step is to pick a good name for your book blog. Think about some fun book-related names, then check for availability on hosting sites such as GoDaddy, Host Gator or NameCheap.

Step 2: Sign up for a Free Blog Hosting Account

The second step is to sign up for a free blog hosting account. Most of your competitors are most likely using free blog hosting to start their blogs, so if you’re serious, you’ll probably have to go the free route as well.

Once you’ve signed up, setup your blog according to your hosts’ instructions. It will be straightforward for the most part.

Select your first blog post.

You can quickly learn how to become a blogger using the WordPress platform by reading this article.

Don’t neglect the right sidebar of your blog.

When someone lands on your blog for the first time, he/she will look at that sidebar to decide if he is going to stick around or not. Put significant effort into choosing the names and the content of the links that you place there.

Register a Domain Name

The first step is to buy a domain name. That’s your blog’s web address.

Your domain name is one of the most important things you can do for your blog, along with creating a nice design and writing content.

Besides, it’s often the first thing that people see when they visit your blog. You can’t have an ugly looking domain name that’s a pain to pronounce or remember.

You’re also going to need a hosting plan because it’s impossible to host a blog on a free platform.

This is a service that a web provider offers. If you ever want your blog to be accessible from any device, anywhere and at any time, you’re going to need one.

As for the name, you can choose whatever name you want. However, it should be easy to pronounce, short, and highly memorable. Pick a name for your blog that’s evocative and matches its purpose.

Since you’re starting a book blog, I recommend that you name your business “A Book Lover’s Guide” or something similar.

Select a hosting company for your WordPress blog

When you sign up for a basic package with Bluehost or Hostgator, your hosting company will provide you with a domain name, technical support and unlimited web hosting.

Important: Pay attention to the package limits. Bluehost gives you just one free domain name, while Hostgator provides unlimited domains.

Connect your domain and host

The first thing to note is that you’re not actually creating a blog until you’ve registered the url for your website (known as the domain) and installed a blog-building platform to help you get started.

You’ll need a few things to get set up in the first place:

+ Pick a domain. There’s a wide variety of domain providers out there, such as GoDaddy, NameCheap and Google Domains.

+ Pick the right hosting service. This service basically offers your website an “address” to live at online, like what your website address is for your physical home. This is an important step because many domain providers don’t offer their own hosting services, although most bloggers find it much easier to sign up for a hosting plan from the same company they got their domain name from.

Install WordPress

On your blog and WordPress will be free if you just want to write a journal-type entry.

Novelist Douglas Adams once said, “If you’re going to be playing in someone else’s universe, you’d better have a good map.” Needless to say, if you’re starting a blog about books, you’ll want to make sure it has a map.

To build an audience, your blog should offer a unique take on books. Even though readers can get information from your review of a book, unique opinions will help you stand out from other book blogs.

This can be as simple as recommending a book that is unique from the rest, or pointing out an intriguing fact about a book that you offer to readers. One way to be unique is to review books that aren’t popular. These books may still be good, but sometimes they don’t receive as much attention as other titles.

Focus on books that are innocent of scrutiny to avoid redundancy in reviews. It’s also a good idea to spend as much time as you can researching book blogs similar to yours and see what you can do differently. You might find some good ideas there.

Pick a theme for design and function

The first thing you need to do when starting your book blog is to figure out what your goals are beyond just being motivated to write or record an experience. In the end, you want to create a great blog that attracts readers.

Don’t let the idea of making something great stop you from making something at all. When I started my first blog, I didn’t really know what I was doing and I didn’t really know what I was doing and I didn’t have anyone to tell me what to do right. I just dove in and started writing, and I did this for many years.

I made so many mistakes. I changed themes, changed names, and even went through a couple of web hosting providers as my traffic grew.

As I’m looking back on it now, I can look back and see the mistakes I’ve made. I still make mistakes today. That’s part of the journey. Within most of my mistakes, I’ve also found a few success stories from which I have learned a lot.

Choose Content Pillars

Content pillars are the primary topics you will cover for your book blog. Examples of content pillars are the following:

General intrigue books: These are the books that will intrigue or entertain the readers who just want to relax and take it easy with their reading. General intrigue books do not necessarily have to be fiction.

Hard core fiction: These are the books you can’t put down because they are so gripping. While you may consider this one of the most enticing to read, books that fall into hard core fiction can also be the most time consuming.

Hard core non-fiction: These are the books that will have you say to yourself, “Just one more chapter,” and then you just can’t put the book down.

Biography: These are the books that show the real story behind the person and how they got to where they are today. Most biographies will give you a broader insight into the person and inspire you to be a better version of yourself.

History: These are the books that highlight people from the past who did something great and give you an in-depth look at those historical events.

Business: These are the books that will give you actionable advice to help run your business better.

Decide on your monetization strategy

Before you take the big step of launching a blog, you will need to decide how you want to monetize it (make money from it).

There are lots of ways to monetize a blog, such as display ads, affiliate sales, sponsored content, and selling your own products.

If you are a newbie, you will probably want to stick to option 1 or 2 at first. Display ads and affiliate sales are easier to manage when you are starting out. Plus, there is often little or no work involved in these types of promotion.

Also, affiliate sales don’t depend on traffic, so even a low number of visitors will help you earn an income from the blog.

Once your blog starts to grow and has a substantial audience, you can think of increasing the number of display ads, selling your own products, and even launching an email list.

Some bloggers also switch to a membership site model where paying members can access extra content. But that’s a more advanced strategy than the ones described above.

Once you’ve completed these steps…