How to start a successful book blog
If you’re an avid book reader, you probably want to share the passion with others. Here’s everything you’ll need to know when starting your own blog.
How to Start a Book Blog
1. Determine if Your Blog is Going to Be General
Book bloggers can choose several directions. You can review all types of books you read. You can dedicate a blog to a specific genre like romance novels or science fiction.
Determine your biggest passion and the niche that you’d like to set up your blog in. A bit of competition research can be quite beneficial. Use a search engine to find out if others are already doing what you intend to engage in. If well-established blogs already exist in the respective niche, you’ll find it somewhat difficult to gain traction.
To get started, you need to determine the main concept that will be guiding your blogging efforts. Are you going to review the books that you read? Are you going to dedicate a blog to new releases and the popular responses they’re getting? Do you intend to interview authors and write news about upcoming books?
The options are numerous and it’s up to you to decide which path is the right one. Remember that to be successful from the start, you need to have a more or less unique concept.
2. Do Some Branding
Next, you will have to choose the book blog name and you’ll also have to ponder on the branding elements.
Even if you’re blogging just for fun, you’ll need to come up with a memorable title and a tag line. Opt for something clever that is also descriptive of the specific genre you’re interested in.
A bit of online research will once again be helpful. Check out the titles of other book blogs. Are they humorous? Are they very niche and specific?
Think about the specifics of the audience you’d like to address. Does it consist of young or older people? Well-educated? University students? Older housewives? Answering these questions will give you all of the answers needed to craft a suitable name for your blog.
If you need some additional assistance, give our blog name generator a try. It’s the perfect tool to utilise during your brainstorming sessions.
Once you have a blog name in mind, it’s time to get your website set up. Don’t worry, this is much easier than it sounds and can be easily done in less than an hour! Checkout our full guide on the best and easiest way to setup a WordPress blog here.
3. Set Up the Book Blog
You already have the basic elements, it’s now time to begin setting up the blog.
WordPress is one of the best platforms for the purpose, whether you’re a newbie or you have some experience. It’s up to you to decide whether you’re going to get a free design template or if you’d like to spend some money on giving your blog a more personalised appearance.
Setting up the blog also means laying the foundations of your branding efforts. A Goodreads profile is an absolute necessity. You can post portions of your reviews there and feature links to your blog for additional information. Other networks you should be active on include Facebook and Twitter.
Finally, think about the search engine optimisation (SEO) of your blog. SEO is the key to growing your audience quickly and efficiently. You’ll be doing a lot of SEO by generating high quality content for your book blog. Learning a bit about the essential SEO elements, however, can also come in handy.
What content do book bloggers create?
The term book blog is pretty general. So many possibilities and ideas hide behind this definition. One of the most common options is writing book reviews but it’s not the only one.
Book bloggers can review popular titles, suggest books for a specific type of audience, create rankings, interview authors and even give young talent a platform to share their work with a well-established audience.
A book blog can be humorous, serious and even educational. Your knowledge, your passion and your writing style will be determining for the nature of the blog.
To make things a bit more exciting, you can also focus on the creation of short videos, infographics and diagrams. Multimedia content is a great addition to blog posts. It increases the viral potential of your publications and makes them more likely to be shared on social media.
It’s entirely up to you to decide which writing style and format suit your personality and the purpose of the blog the most. There are very few rules and limitation. The length of publications, the tone, the multimedia and the use of visual content can vary tremendously from one book blog to another.
Create engaging and relevant content
When crafting content, you have to remember one very important thing – you’re addressing an audience of book lovers.
Your publications have to be eloquent, well-executed and properly structured. Mistakes and typos will quickly turn the target crowd away from the blog.
In order to create and maintain a loyal audience, you have to develop your own style. See what other book bloggers are doing and use this information to fine-tune the original idea. Obviously, replicating somebody else’s style isn’t the answer. You can, however, see what works for others and build upon it.
Find your niche. You may need some time to experiment with different concepts and see what the audience receives well. That’s ok. Take your time and have some fun in the process. Track the analytics to identify your best performing publications. These are the ones to base your future efforts on.
How to grow your traffic
Several key strategies can help you grow your audience.
The first rule to remember is write frequently but maintain the quality of your book blog.
Even if you have brilliant publications, people will stop visiting your site in the absence of updates. You can’t upload something new once per month and expect the audience to maintain a high level of engagement.
If you choose a niche right from the start, you will need to maintain all blogging efforts focused there. Starting with science fiction means you’re going to attract a certain audience. Making a sudden switch to historical romance will get the original audience completely disengaged.
Finally, work on your marketing. Social media marketing and SEO are two of the primary drivers of traffic for book blogs. Posting regularly on Goodreads and Facebook, engaging with others and attempting to build a community will help you establish the right reputation for your blog. If you have a reputation in the niche, you will soon find readers drawn to your posts.
How to make money with your book blog
A book blog can be monetised in a number of passive ways. Affiliate marketing is ideal, especially if you opt for the Amazon program. Amazon has one of the biggest online book marketplaces. While the revenue you will generate from each transaction is going to be minimal, it can still add up to something as your traffic grows.
Consider the addition of ads via the participation in a program like Google Adsense or Infolinks. These don’t pay an awful lot either. If you have well-established traffic from countries like the US, Canada and Western Europe, however, you will soon begin cashing out.
Finally, you can begin featuring paid publications or book ads on your blog. In order to accomplish this goal, however, you will have to be perceived as an authority in the field. Work on the quality of your posts and the frequency of updates. If you’re being offered free book copies for the purpose of crafting reviews, do accept the challenge. With time, you will become known in the literature community and your voice will be heard. Having a recognisable voice will result in even better revenue generation opportunities in the future.
Top #3 Book Bloggers
Katie’s Book Blog was launched in the beginning of 2009 and today, it enjoys a relatively large audience. Katie started blogging in her 20s. She has an expressed passion for the publishing industry rather than writing, which is why she decided to share her favourites with the world.
The blog explores titles in various genres and it focuses on extensive book reviews. The layout is simple and while the site is somewhat lacking in terms of proper navigation, it makes up for design flaws via high quality content. Katie’s style is pretty engaging and each review is well-structured to feature added perks like a star rating, the cover of the book, a buy the book link and a section focusing on other people’s opinions of the title.
Faroukh Naseem, the founder of The Guy with the Book, has recently won the London Book Fair Bookstagrammer of the Year Award. Apart from having a well-developed blog, Faroukh is also known for his massive Instagram presence and his 42.4K followers (that’s how you do online marketing!).
The blog is divided in two sections – Book Reviews and Bookstagram. The first one is pretty obvious and the second is much more niche and intriguing. It provides Instagram tips for beginners, sharing Faroukh’s second passion with the world.
Queen of Contemporary was launched in 2012 by Lucy Powrie. Lucy is an author and a blogger from the UK and she’s been featured as one of the Guardian top 10 book bloggers. Lucy Powrie has received a number of distinctions through the years, including the UK Young Adult Blogger Awards for Champion of YA and Champion of Social Media.
The audience consists mainly of people who have an interesting in young adult (YA) contemporary literature. Apart from maintaining her intriguing blog, Lucy is also very active on Instagram and YouTube. Her channel has over 24K followers and it discussed a number of book-related issues (from favourite books to writing tips and even personal stories).