Book Blogging Basics: Starting A Blog
Starting book blogging is always hard. You don’t know where to start, what you want to talk about, or even how to start. When I started 6 years ago, I had no idea what I was doing. I just starting blogger, with a crap layout and wrote about my thoughts. Now, I am here on WordPress and I treat it like a job – a job that I love. But where do YOU start?
Today, I have the lovely Sarah from Written Word Worlds to delve into starting a bookish blog. So here are some hints and tricks on where to begin.
Hi, everyone! Thanks so much for having me on your blog, Angel. I’m looking forward to talking about our blogging journeys together!
Figure out a name
Choosing your name for your blog is probably the most important thing. It’s how you are going to be known, it’s going to be your display. Creating ‘Angel Reads’ wasn’t much an effort as it wasn’t that creative – it’s just my name and what I like to do.
I agree. What you decide to name your blog is really important because that’s how people will find you, and it’s how you’ll get your content out there. I decided to call my blog Written Word Worlds because I’ve always loved alliterations. And the domain name was available, so that also helped!
Choose your platform
The next thing on your list of things to do is find a platform that you love. As I said before I started on blogger. It’s always a good place to start as there isn’t much HTML work and their basic themes are easy to work around. About a year and a half in, I moved over to WordPress and never looked back. My lovely friend Millicent created my fabulous design and while it’s gone through a couple of changes – it’s still the same. I have much more freedom with WordPress and after learning some basic HTML, I love that I can do.
I absolutely love the layout and design of your blog! My ‘origin’ story was a little different. When I was in high school, we had to do a project for the whole year, which counted towards a major part of our grades. I wanted to do book reviewing, but initially, I wanted to do it on YouTube. When I realised I was way too awkward to show my face in front of a camera (well, I’m still awkward but I actually do YouTubing now), I thought I should start a blog! I’d never been a big part of the blogging scene and I had NO IDEA what to do, so I talked to my IT teacher at school and asked if he could help me make a website. I thought I’d have to make it from scratch (silly me), but then he told me about WordPress! So I made my blog with his help, right then and there! I love WordPress – it’s really easy to use and looks fabulous.
I wish I had assessments like that at high school – maybe if I continued with IT, it would have come later. But hey, I am here blogging now.
Over the years it’s become apparent to me that social media is very important when you are a book blogger – any type of blogger really. Not only is social media amazing for promoting your own blog, but it’s a great way to connect with other readers and bloggers. Twitter and Instagram are two that I would highly recommend that you have. Social media is also a great way to keep up to date with bookish news. Before I starting blogging I missed out on a lot of news and bookish events – but now it’s everywhere and it’s great.
I absolutely agree. I’ve had my blog for over four years now, but I only really found the bookish community on Twitter at the start of 2016. Up until then, it kind of felt like I was shouting into the void. But then I started following some bookish people on Twitter and really got into bookstagramming. Not only did this help promote my blog, but it also allowed me to meet a ton of awesome nerds, like myself! I’m so happy I found this community – it’s become such a big part of my life and I have social media to thank for that.
You don’t need a fancy layout to blog. Obvious a nicer layout is more appealing and will make more people look at your blog. But, to start off, you are blogging for YOU. As you become more use to the idea of blogging and doing it more consistently. Then you can think about creating something more with the layout. The way I see it, it’s better to have great content that something looking amazing, but you haven’t posted in months.
I’ve never been very good at creating graphics, so for a while, the look of my blog wasn’t something I was proud of. I thought it was boring and not very aesthetically pleasing, but thankfully one of my blogging friends was kind enough to give my blog a makeover! I’m in love with the way it looks now, and because of that, I’ve felt a lot more motivated to post on the blog.Being proud of how your blog looks is definitely very important, but I agree with Angel – it’s equally important to have good content on your blog too.
Totally agree, when I starting blogging my layout was very simple. Just a header and a couple of things in the sidebar. Then when I starting loving blogging more and becoming more into it – it became what it is now.
Why have a blog and not post? Book reviews are probably the easiest thing to start with. And you don’t need to get books from publishers for this. Start off with the books that you are reading – and write away. Features like Top Ten Tuesday and Waiting on Wednesday are always great ways to get some posts up. These also create a space where you can connect with other blogs that you can follow and interact with. Something that I’ve learnt over the years is to blog what you want. Don’t let others influence what you post, it’s your blog, your space. Obvious don’t post anything offensive but post what you like to see, what you like to write.
Such brilliant ideas! I’m ashamed to say that I’ve never done a Top Ten Tuesday or Waiting on Wednesday – probably because I have too many favourites and I’m waiting for EVERYTHING! To me, having a regular posting schedule is important because it helps me stay motivated. Throughout high school, I only had time to post once a week – twice if I was lucky. Now I’ve started having a more regular posting schedule and I usually post three times a week (Tuesday, Friday and Sunday). It gets a little tricky when I have blog tours, but you can always work around them. But just posting SOMETHING is better than nothing! Don’t know what to post? Write about indecisions or being in a blogging slump! Too many books on your TBR that you feel overwhelmed? Talk about what’s on your TBR and how you got recommended them! There are infinite possibilities for posts, so get cracking!
Something else I’ve learnt over the years is to interact with other bloggers. Not only will you create a connection via blogging but you could make so great friends. That is how I become friends with Ely and Michelle from Tea and Titles and Sarah here. Even if you don’t comment on their blog (which you should) talking on social media is great.
Absolutely. I’ve always been quite good at replying to comments on my blog, even if it takes me a couple of days sometimes. I think replying to comments is really important because it shows people who take the time to read your posts that you care about their opinion. I also love to chat with other readers on Twitter and recommend my favourite books, as well as tweeting at authors and freaking out when they favourite my tweet! Instagram is also a great way to interact with followers and promote your blog. Remember – your opinion matters, so don’t be afraid to interact with other bloggers on their platforms!
Don’t concentrate on stats!
Stats are not the be all and end all – if you are loving what you are posting that is all that matters. If you are always looking at how you stats are going you might become upset – and you don’t want that. It’s not what blogging is about. Try and not focus on that, focus on your content. I know this is hard – trust me, but it’s for the better.
I couldn’t agree more. It’s easy to fall into the trap of being obsessed with your follower count or how many views you’re getting on certain posts. It’s vital to remember that your passion and your opinion is more important than any number that emerges. You can’t put a number on your love for books or this community.
Obviously, we are not totally experts, but between us, Sarah and I have been blogging for 10 years and we know a little be. Also, these hints are based on our experience of book blogger and yours might be totally different.
No one blogging journey is the same, so we’d be interested in hearing about you! How did you get into blogging? How long have you been blogging for? Let’s chat in the comments below! Thanks for having me, Angel!
Thank you, Sarah, for joining me and I hope to have you on Angel Reads in the future. But, yes let’s talk below. Both of us would love to hear about your journey. Check out Part 2 of our discussion on Sarah blog now.
Don’t forget to follow Sarah and I on social media. We will be doing some more of these discussions soon.