I’ve been blogging about books for nearly three years now, and Adventures of a Bibliophile has grown into a fairly successful blog (beyond what I’d ever expected). It’s taken a lot of hard work to get here, but I’m really happy with where I’m at.
Lately, I’ve been getting a lot of questions about book blogging, so I thought I’d start this series as a way to share what I’ve learned over the years. I’m by no means an expert, but I have discovered some tips and tricks along the way that have really helped me. Hopefully they help you, too.
Today I’m starting at the beginning: how to start a book blog. These are a few things I’m either glad I did in the beginning, or wish I had. If you’re thinking about starting a book blog, I hope you’ll find this advice useful:
Choose a Platform
This is the very first thing you need to do. Personally, I decided on WordPress because I’ve had other WordPress blogs in the past and am generally happy with it. I also think there’s a lot of room for growth and customization. I also find blogging on WordPress very convenient, since I can use the app on my phone to work on posts even when I’m not around a computer.
You need to do some research and figure out what’s right for you. But regardless of which method you choose to go with, you do not need to spend any money. I decided to spend a little bit to get a domain name (and not be adventuresofabibliophile.wordpress.com), but that is not really necessary and always something you can opt to do later.
Choose a Blog Name
I know ‘Adventures of a Bibliophile’ might not seem like the most creative blog name in the world, but it took me a while to think about it. I wanted something recognizable that clearly indicated what my blog was about. And then I had to contend with the millions of blogs already out there. I went through about ten iterations before I found one that hadn’t been taken already. Choose a name that speaks to you and that also fits the image of what you want your blog to be. Tip: You can change your blog name later, but it might cost you a few followers, since people tend to bookmark blogs they like.
Decide Who You Want to Be
This isn’t really something I think most people think about, but it was important to me to establish who I wanted to be online. You may have noticed that I don’t share too many identifying details – like my last name or picture – and that is because I want to protect my privacy. Once something is on the internet, you can’t really take it back. I love when bloggers are more open with who they are online, but I’ve had a few uncomfortable interactions in the past, and I don’t want to have to deal with that again. Regardless of what kind of blog you’re writing, you should make a conscious decision of how much information about yourself you want to share with your followers.
Choose a Theme
Blog themes dictate how your blog looks. And they’re more important than you might think. They instantly tell readers what to expect, whether it be more professional posts or something fun and colorful. I’ve gone through my fair share of themes, and even though I love my current one, I still feel the itch to change it all the time.
Choose a theme you like, but also make sure it isn’t going to be obnoxious to your readers. Don’t make them read black text on a neon background, or tiny letters that span the entire page. A good tip is to really look at blogs you like, and see what exactly you like about them, whether it be a minimalist theme or a fun color scheme.
Make a Few Pages
It might be different on other platforms, but, on WordPress, pages are kind of static webpages linked to your blog. On this blog, they live in the menu bar at the top of the page. I have quite a few pages, but when you’re starting out, all you really need is an ‘About’ page, and maybe a ‘Contact’ page (I’d recommend creating an email address specifically for your blog). These pages are pretty self explanatory, and you can always branch off to include other things (check out my pages if you need a few examples).
Blogs take time and effort to grow. You have to start somewhere. Once you have your name, your theme, and your blog all set up, it’s time to write your first post! It doesn’t have to be long or particularly exciting – you can even write a first post introducing yourself and your blog – but it needs to exist, otherwise there isn’t a blog, right?
I believe my very first post on this blog was a 2014 favorites and un-favorites, which is kind of embarrassing to look back on. But I’ve gotten better with time, and you will, too. So don’t be too hard on yourself right away, you’ll become a better blogger with time, and your blog will improve, too.
That’s it for this installment of Book Blogging for Beginners. Let me know if you enjoyed this post, and if there is anything else you’d like to see from this series (I’ve already planned posts about blog organization and gaining followers).
Feel free to comment below with any questions, or if there are any tips you’d like to share.