How To Start a Book Blog (2019)

a woman critically examining a book from the inside

So you consider yourself a bookworm?

I am one so we make good company.

I don’t know your favorite genre but for me, I find money and motivational reads amazing.

You know, anything which bears the names such as Napoleon Hill, Anthony Robbins, and Andrew Carnegie, will make my day anytime.

I am sure you’ve your own idols.

I, however, want us to forget about them for a moment and focus on how you can earn from your passion.

Imagine getting paid for every one of your reads?

I know it sounds like the stuff dreams are made of but it’s already happening for some.

And all you need is to launch a book blog.

This is what we will discuss in this article and hopefully, you’ll soon be on your way to internet riches thanks to books.

Let’s get down to business.

The basics

Before everything else, you need to make sure you have tackled the following preliminary tasks.

1. The Vision

Having a vision in place is paramount.

That’s because the journey is not always easy and sometimes you can easily lose direction particularly when things aren’t going according to plan.

But with a vision, you can confidently approach each task knowing that it will take you a step nearer to your dream.

2. Blog Name

Branding your blog is vital since it not only makes a mark on the mind of your readers but also allows you to stand out from the hordes of competing book blogs out there.

Indeed, choosing a good blog name is arguably the second most crucial step after niche selection.

Hence take your time and get it right.

Look:

You don’t need to reinvent the wheel.

Instead, just settle for a simple book-related website name.

I have seen some impressive yet simplistic-sounding book blog names like Book forum and Book Riot outgun dozens of sophisticated-sounding rivals a couple of months after launch.

3. Purchase a domain name

A domain name (web URL) is your online location and goes hand in hand with your blog name.

Compared to physical companies, a domain name is equivalent to a company’s headquarters and it makes it easier for your target audience to find you, especially if it’s memorable.

There are tons of online domain name registrars most of them charging just a couple of bucks so you shouldn’t struggle here.

4. Choose a suitable web hosting plan

The next step is procuring an ideal online home for your blog by selecting a worthy web hosting plan.

Now, websites are stored (hosted) on powerful computers called servers.

Sadly, most of us cannot afford to invest in one (they cost an arm and a leg) so we usually lease hosting from one of the many web hosting companies servers.

As you may be aware, I love Bluehost because of their 24/7 support, 1-click WordPress installs for blogs, and lightning-fast speeds. They also provide you with an included domain name in their plan so you really don’t need anything else.

5. Install word press

Even though you can blog on other platforms like Tumbler and Joomla, Word Press is by far the easiest to use and hence most popular content management system (CMS).

6. Add a suitable theme

A theme controls your book blog’s looks, feel, and style and directly impacts your users’ experience.

For this reason, choose one whose color scheme, sectional arrangement, and presentation emulate your brand.

Pop the term Word Press themes for book blogs into Google search engine and pick one that’s friendly and easy to customize. This blog, for example, runs on the Theme X theme from Themeco.

7. Establish a rating system 

A significant majority of your readers will come to your website looking for your opinion on specific books.  And the quickest way to quench their thirst is to have a clear book rating system.

Don’t worry too much about a rating system.

In fact, visitors care little about its design.

What they want is a straightforward ranking system to help them make informed book buying decisions.

A standard rating system ranges from 1-5, though you can tweak the number’s to fit your audience’s requirement.

For inspiration, you can peep at the rating systems your competition is using.

Don’t forget to expound on what each score means.

Check this example:

RatingInterpretation
1I didn’t enjoy it and cannot recommend.
2There were some things I liked, but on the whole, it wasn’t a memorable read. I can’t reread it.
3This is an okay read. It was enjoyable and I would purchase any sequels.
4Quite entertaining and enjoyable. I recommend this read.
5Fell absolutely in love with this book. It’s my newest favorite and I will recommend anytime.

You can also use star ratings (Similar to those you see on e-Commerce websites like Amazon).

A friend uses the following star system and I think it’s just fine.

Number of starsInterpretation
5 starsLoved it! Would always reread it.
4 and ½ starsReally enjoyed this book though not an absolute favorite. I still recommend it.
4 starsI enjoyed reading this book but I found a few issues. I nevertheless recommend it.
3 and ½ starsI liked the read but there were some faults. I don’t think I will reread it.
3 starsIt was good but beware of some issues. Nothing really special.
2 and ½ starsBang average. Enjoyed the read without really liking or hating it.
2 starsIt was uninspiring…but maybe I enjoyed some aspects.
1 and ½ starsIt wasn’t written for me though I didn’t HATE the book.
1 starDid not connect with it.

The best?

That’s up to you to decide…

8. Start blogging

You deserve a big round of applause for reaching this stage.

Now all that remains is for you to get down to business and write your first blog post.

It could even be a welcome to my blog piece describing how madly you love books!

What a huge moment this could be!

The Intermediate steps

Now that your site is live, it’s time to get behind the scenes and do the damn work.

Here are some important questions:

  1. What will your content strategy be?
  2. What’s your monetization plan?
  3. How else will you market your blog?

I am here to help you become a success story in book blogging so I will try to help you answer these questions.

1. Create a content strategy

If there’s something which can make or break your future as a book blogger, it’s content.

You see, your readers will either trust you or dismiss (and forget) you as another fake blogger depending on how delicious is the content you’re feeding them.

You might be wondering:

“How exactly should my content strategy be?”

It’s not that difficult to create one.

First, decide the type of information to publish. To win, you MUST build content that resonates with your target audience.

And how the heck do you do this?

Simple!…scour the web for hints on what your aimed-for traffic is searching for. A good keyword research tool like Semrush would be handy for this.

You then craft very incisive and helpful articles answering your reader’s queries.

What next?

2. Decide your ideal type of content

There are myriad content types that you can publish including:

  • Book reviews: These are very popular in this niche. It could be a detailed essay or just a brief but interesting review.
  • Interviews: Readers usually derive immense pleasure from reading the personal story of their favorite authors. You can organize occasional Q & A live chats with famous writers or request them to publish a guest post about their work on your site.
  • Top X lists: You might publish themed lists on various topics such as top 10 club books or authors.
  • Industry news and updates: Keeping your fellow bookworms posted on the latest book releases and other breaking news may earn you a loyal following.
  • Reading challenges: Several book bloggers I have met participate in numerous book challenges and usually blog about their experiences. This could be another awesome way of keeping your readers hooked.

Over time you’ll learn the type of content your readers enjoy most and concentrate on it.

3. Decide how often you will be posting

From my experience, being consistent pays. I thus recommend that you settle on a regular posting program and stick to it.

This way, your readers can predict when to expect your next post. It doesn’t matter if it’s once every two days, weekly, monthly or even 2 posts daily.

The key is to be disciplined, even if it means hiring writers.

4. Include your Call To Action(CTA)

Take advantage of every content piece to persuade readers to subscribe to your newsletter, buy your recommended books, or take part in a survey.

You can use a tool such as Aweber to start building your e-mail list and keep your audience updated.

This could help you meet your objectives in less time. 

For example, if you’re planning to maximize earnings, it’s easier to attract sponsored ads when you have a bigger emailing list.

5. What’s your monetization plan?

Let’s face it….

Most of us want to make cash within the shortest time, right?

Well, when it comes to earning blogging about books, I have some good news and bad news.

Let me start with the good news….

This niche is teeming with immense opportunities and it’s possible to live off your blog.
The bad news?

It’s not a get rich quick scheme and it may take time.

And it may finally boil down to your preferred monetization strategy.

I propose that you consider these gold-mine book blog monetization proposals..

  1. Become an Affiliate – There are dozens of lucrative books affiliate programs out there. Most have easy approval conditions and can be a great way to get thing rolling. They include Audible, Barnes and Noble, Better World Books, and Amazon, to name but a few.
  2. Sponsored posts– You can seek out and invite third parties like publishers to sponsor a marketing article on your website.
  3. Contextual Advertisements– You can apply to become a publisher for targeted advertising programs such as Adsense and media.net
  4. Market your own books- This works well for writers. If not, you can outsource writing to a blogger, give them a trending topic to write on, and still make good sales with some aggressive marketing.
  5. Sell other Services– you will become a guru over time and can sell other related services like book blogging consultancy to new bloggers.

And it’s always wise to incorporate a monetization scheme at the earliest possible moment. For example, you can apply for Adsense with just a few posts, as long as you keep up the quality of the content.

The few dollars you receive in the early days can help keep you motivated.

6. Market your blog

Most people think blogging is all about releasing smashing blog posts one after another.

How wrong!

Let me tell you: a blog is like any other business and the going will be super tough if you don’t get the word out there.

Ask any experienced blogger about it and you’ll get the same answer.

In a nutshell, the most difficult part is getting your website known.

In fact, a good chunk of my time these days goes to marketing.

Here are some techniques that can help you reach every Tom, Dick, and Harry…

  • Strong SEO (Search engine optimization):  To be found by Google and his competitors like Bing, optimize your website for search engines. Start by inserting the target keywords in all your content and mix this with other tactics like guest posting on authority sites in the “books” niche.
  • Social Media Marketing: Build compelling social media pages and channels. Facebook and Instagram are awesome for starters.
  • VLogging: Publishing reviews on YouTube can also help prop up the visitors’ numbers.

How to succeed as a book blogger

Now it’s time to share with you some master tips to help you conquer the book blogging niche.

  1. Have a plan ‘B’– Developing an alternative plan allows you to counter unforeseen risks and can enhance your chance of succeeding.
  2. Put your audience first– Do everything within your hands to make sure that your content connects with your audience.
  3. Don’t be afraid to self-promote– If you have a product, mention it in your posts and on social media. After all, you are your own best marketer.
  4. Be ready to experiment– Keep evaluating your progress and ditch plans that are bringing zero results. For example, stop organizing online book reading challenges if there is little interest in favor of live author interviews (of course, if your readership likes them).
  5. Diversify monetization– I won’t tire of repeating it- don’t carry your eggs in one bucket. Find out other monetization avenues and introduce them.
  6. Have fun– Seriously, life is never that serious!

Mistakes to avoid in book blogging

  1. Avoid free blog sites– Readers might think you’re not serious despite that some do well with free blogging platforms like blogger.
  2. Steer clear of garbage content– Your audience will drop you like a stone if your content is low quality.
  3. Being in a hurry– It’s a lengthy journey. Be persistent and patient.
  4. Dishonesty– Don’t lie just to sell your affiliate products.
  5. Failing to spend– How will you grow if you don’t want to splash out on good writers, SEO companies, and social media marketing (among others)?.

Recap

It’s clear that you can profit tremendously from your reading passion.

But you have to play your cards right all through.

And now you know what to do.. don’t you?

Try it.

And who knows?

Maybe starting a book blog could finally make your dream of leading a digital nomadic come true.

Good luck!

How To Start a Book Blog (2019)
ABOUT

Silas

My name is Silas and I'm an Italian civil engineer with a passion for online marketing. I even got a university degree on the subject, just for the sake of it. Through my wins and failures, I gained valuable info that will help you succeed at blogging. Stay tuned. Leave a comment below and share this post if you liked it.

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