How To Start A Book Blog

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Late last month, Cait over at Paper Fury did an awesome post about why you should start a book blog. It was an awesome post and basically all true, so if you’re on the fence as if you actually want to start a blog; go read that post.

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I have personally blogged using both Blogger and WordPress, and I personally prefer WordPress.However, I know lots of people who blog on Blogger, and they seem perfectly happy with it, and it just comes down to personal preference.

(Please note this is me comparing free WordPress blog to Blogger, rather than a self-hosted one)

Blogger is, yes, simpler to use, and has the added advantages of being connected directly to you Gmail account. However, because it is simpler, that also means you can do less stuff with it. But, it is extremely secure, thanks to it being run by Google, and is less likely to get hacked than a WordPress blog, and it tends to catch more spam comments. But if you wish to move your blog for whatever reason, Blogger makes it extremely difficult.

WordPress is a bit more complicated to run, but because of this, you have more ability to do stuff with it. It has a very big support network if something happens to go wrong. And, if for whatever reason you want to move your blog, WordPress makes it easier than Blogger. Not a TON easier, but still, easier.

But I’ll once again say it comes down to preference. If you’re on the fence, check out both the sites, maybe talk to people who run blogs, and then decide.

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Next up, you get to name your blog! Maybe you’re got a name already picked or, or maybe you have several and need to decide, or maybe you have no idea where to start.

You may not know, but Writing on a Vintage Typewriter was originally going to be called Once Upon a Bookcase, but some jerk had already taken the name, and then had never actually posted anything on the blog. Which was extremely frustrating.

But, the good thing about naming is that no matter how weird you blog name is, people won’t really question it! I know of a wildly popular book blog called The Social Potato, and people don’t question that name.

So go for it!

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Now, at least with WordPress, there are several thousand designs you can choose from: both free and ones you can pay for. The free ones tend to be a bit simpler, and are, well, free. The ones that cost money tend to be a bit more complex, and, on average, seem to cost around $75. But it could be more, or less. I’ve never seen a blog layout that costs less than $50 or more than $120, so if you’re willing to spend some money to get a really cool blog layout that maybe less people will have? Great! If you don’t want to, though, you can get some awesome blog layouts for free, too.

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Now, do you want to make your own blog graphics, or do you want to buy them? If you want to buy them, there are definitely people out there. Aentee at Read at Midnight has a store, for one.

But if you don’t want to buy graphics, you have two options; you can either make your own using your own photos, or using some else’s photos/graphics.

If you don’t want to take your own pictures, I recommend Canva.They’ve got thousands of free stock photos and millions of free graphics, and everything that isn’t free only costs $1. Plus, it’s free to join!

If you want to use your own photos, you should use PicMonkey. Easy to use and free, no account needed.

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Now that you’ve got your blog set up, decide what you’re going to blog about! Are you only going to write book reviews, or are you going to make discussion posts, too? Are you going to post pictures of every bookstore you go into, or are you going to do author interviews or make playlists for your favorite books or draw fanart of your favorite characters? Are you going to join any linkups, like Top Ten Tuesday?

The possibilities are endless! You could do none of what I just said, or you could do all of it! It’s totally up to you.

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I’d say that pretty much as soon as you get your blog up and running, you should join Bloglovin’. You have to do basically nothing, and you’ll get more followers.

Other social media sites are a great way to get more traffic, too. It’s not a must to join social media, but it’s certainly helpful. Some bloggers swear by Instagram and Twitter. Others say that the best way to get more is by using Tumblr and Goodreads. I would say pick two at the start: Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, and Goodreads seem to be the most popular, although I bet you could use Snapchat and Vine, too, although I don’t know how that would work.

If you’re writing book reviews, Goodreads should probably be one of the two. And when I say “pick two”, I don’t mean only use two and never add any others. Just get a feeling for your blog, and those two social media accounts, and if you can handle that, then add more. When I first started my blog, I joined it all, and promptly panicked and stopped posting because I couldn’t handle everything.

Now, I use Goodreads and Tumblr, and I can handle that on top of my blog. Maybe you’re one of the lucky people that can handle ten million social media accounts with ease! If so, good for you! If not, that’s fine, too.

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We book bloggers are an extremely friendly lot. We’ll suffocate you with our friendliness, while screaming about awesome books! And if you’re shy to introduce yourself, remember three things: 1) everyone is book blogging because they love books so much they want to talk about them every day, 2) it’s normally pretty easy to see who the nasty ones are just by reading their posts, and 3) most people got followers, not only because they write good posts, but because they’re really friendly to everyone who comments and follows!

Basically, book bloggers are only scary if someone attacks another book blogger. Then we fall down on that person in waves of (friendly and nice!) fury until they go away.

Basically, book blogging is one of the awesomest things you can do on the internet (other than watch Netflix and argue with strangers about stupid things), and so you should probably make one.

So, blogglings! Was this tutorial helpful, do you think? What made you guys decide to start a book blog? Do you agree with me that the book blogging community is one of the nicest ones out there?

Happy Wednesday,

BlogSiggie

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17 thoughts on “How To Start A Book Blog

  1. Great post! I was converted to WordPress two years ago and never looked back. Personally I like their free blog templates better than Blogger’s, but as you said, there are ups and downs to both and it really is personal preference. And I definitely agree that the book blogging community is one of the nicest out there! I have yet to come across a “mean” book blogger. πŸ˜€

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    1. And there are so many more options for templates than there is for Blogger. And I kind of don’t think Blogger is going to be around that much longer, anyways, since more and more people are switching to WordPress

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  2. Excellent post! Blogger has like zero professional looking templates, so if you want something nice you definitely have to download something. Luckily, there are TONS of gorgeous free templates out there! I personally went with Blogger solely because all the bloggers whose blogs I was reading at the time used it and it was the only platform I knew of. If I had to do it again, I would probably choose WordPress, but my only big gripe with Blogger is the design thing and downloading templates solves that in a jiffy.

    Ellie | On the Other Side of Reality

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  3. So many great tips! I wish I had read this post when I first made this book blog πŸ˜‚
    I think naming your blog is super important. It has to be unique and catchy and also interesting.

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  4. I wish I’d had this before I started like four years ago πŸ™‚ I made the move to self-hosted WordPress about a year and a half ago – never looked back. It’s so brilliant. And I use all my own photos now – never used to – so at least I don’t have to worry about copyright!

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    1. I’ve heard several people say that! When I get the chance, I’m going to switch to self-hosted (sometime this fall, I’m thinking. maybe as a blogiversery present to myself). And I really need to us my own photos more, because the copyright thing freaks me out. You hear those stories about bloggers being sued for some insane amount of money because they used like one photo and that kind of scares me.

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  5. Aww, thanks for linking to my post! *flails happily* And this is a REALLY good starting place for anyone who doesn’t know how to start a blog! ALL SO TRUE. I’ve never done free WP, but self-hosted is aaaaamazing and omg I would not go back to blogger for anything. But I do know a few very successful bloggers still ON blogger, so good for them! I think it’s handy place to start if you’re not sure if blogging is for you or not *nods*
    ALSO I LOVE HOW FRIENDLY THE COMMUNITY IS!! I mean, sure there are the few odd grumpy apples out there. But it’s pretty easy to make friends I think. :’)
    YAY FOR THIS POST! πŸŽ‰

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    1. No problem! And I do know a couple of people who do super well on Blogger, but I just didn’t like it? I didn’t like all the limitations that came with it. But you’re right, it’s probably the better website to start with.

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