Book Blogging for Beginners | How to Get (and Keep) Followers

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One thing I learned from previous blogs (there were several, some more successful than others) is that gaining followers takes time. I started Adventures of a Bibliophile knowing that it might be a long time before anyone even discovered my blog. I don’t typically share my blog with people I know in real life, so word of mouth marketing isn’t an option. Plus, I liked the challenge of finding followers who knew me just from my blog. I started from nothing, and it was a few months before this blog got a single hit. Three years later, and I’m getting questions about how I’ve grown my blog. Here’s my answer:

Interact with Other Blogs

This is the most important thing you can do, especially in the beginning. Not only can you learn things from other bloggers, you can gain friends (and followers), too. Unless I’m in a hurry, I check out almost every blog that leaves a comment on one of my posts. I’ve found a lot of really great new blogs that way. Leaving comments gets you noticed, and it might even get you a new follower who definitely shares your interest.

A few tips: When leaving a comment, try to write something genuine. “Great post!” and “Thanks for the info!” might be encouraging and nice to read, but they don’t particularly catch my attention. Also, don’t just comment a link to your blog on everything. Make your post relevant. If I enjoy your comment, I’m probably going to check out your blog. You don’t need to ask me, it sometimes feels like you’re trying too hard. (Note: asking me to look at your blog to give suggestions on how you can improve, or sharing relevant posts is totally okay – it’s much more personal than “hey, look, I have a blog, too!”)

Interact with People on Your Own Blog

Once you start getting readers, chances are you’ll also start getting comments. My philosophy in the beginning was to like each comment and move on, unless I was asked a specific question. Which is fine, but once I started taking the time to respond to every single comment, even if it was just a quick “Thanks!”, my readership grew exponentially. Giving your readers individual attention, if only for a few seconds, makes them feel great. Just think about the little boost you get when a stranger smiles at you; it’s kind of the same thing. Now, I don’t even check my comments until I know I will have time to sit down and respond to each one. It’s something I make a priority, and now I really love doing it. 

Make Blog-Specific Social Media Accounts

It is so easy for readers to follow you on Twitter or Instagram or Facebook. It’s a great way to promote your blog, because people check social media more often than blogs (at least in my experience). Plus, it’s a great way to share more about yourself on a daily basis. Allowing readers to few like they know you, like you are a friend, is really important.

Post Good Content Regularly

I have another post planned about the actual writing part of blogging, so I won’t go into too much detail, but it is important to post regularly. Over the years, I’ve developed a schedule, and I think it’s really useful. I’m not sure if any of you notice – which is totally fine – but having a schedule makes things easier on me, and also ensures that I’m planning good posts ahead of time. I know I need to have reviews to put up on Mondays and Fridays, so I make sure those get done. Whether you post once a week or every day, it is helpful for readers to know that you’ll have a new post up on Wednesdays, for example. It reminds them to come back. One of the bigger blogs I frequent has a schedule, and I know my favorite post will always go up on Thursdays, so I usually go read the posts for that week on Thursdays. It keeps me coming back, and it’s nice to have that weekly ritual as a reader.

A note: do not commit to a posting schedule that is going to stress you out. It’s not worth it. It is totally acceptable to post just once or twice a month, if that’s what works for you. But it’s helpful for both you and your readers to know that maybe you publish a post every other Friday, or just on Mondays. Pick something that works, and try to stick to it. (And if it’s not working, change it to something that does.)

Take Part in Challenges, Memes, and Tags

When I first started this blog, I participated in a lot of tags and memes. While I’ve since made the decision to limit those posts in favor of more original ones and a more personalized schedule, I do think they were instrumental in increasing my readership. (Top Ten Tuesday in particular – that was the most popular day on my blog for a couple of years.) A lot of these posts are linked to other blogs, or easily searchable, so they get more hits. And those hits can lead to readers that are going to return. I cannot tell you how many blogs I’ve found though Top Ten Tuesday, or because I was tagged in a post by a reader I wasn’t aware of, and I’m sure at least of few of you discovered this blog in the same way. They’re also fun to write, and a great way to get started while you’re learning to come up with creative post ideas.

Do you have any tips to add to this list? Share them in the comments!

I’m curious to hear from those of you who do share your blog with family and friends. Do you think that has benefited you? Would you have done anything differently?

76 thoughts on “Book Blogging for Beginners | How to Get (and Keep) Followers

  1. Some really great advice here. I particularly agree about the interaction with other bloggers. It’s fun as well.

    Personally I think good content is the key. I’m not so sure the ‘regularly’ is essential or even a schedule. I follow a lot of blogs but I’m not sure I’m aware if they post certain things on certain days. I’m just prompted to visit them by getting an email, the post appearing in my feed in WordPress Reader or Bloglovin or via Twitter or Facebook notification. I don’t just think, I wonder if x has posted anything today. But perhaps others do…

    I think another important thing is for visitors to your blog to easily get a sense of the sort of things they’re likely to find there – the sort of book genres you like for instance. Not exactly a brand but some identity. That way they’re more likely to keep following if it chimes with their own interests.

    1. Thanks! That’s a great point – I’m not sure if I have a solid, thought-out blog identity, I just talk about things I like. But I’ve had a few other bloggers mention that they come to my blog for adult fiction (as opposed to YA), so I guess I just didn’t realize it. Though I am more likely to follow and revisit blogs that at least occasionally delve into classics or literary fiction, so clearly I’m just not paying attention. Now I will! Thanks!

    2. Both this post and this comment is great and full of useful information.

      I agree about having good content, for sure. It’s also nice to be able to look at a blog and tell what type of content you can expect to see if you follow.

      Again, wonderful insight!

  2. I like this intro on blogging 101 you are giving here! From what I’ve learned the past couple of years, the interaction part on and off the blog really is key! Also, when you are just starting out, participating in weekly memes can give your views such a boost.
    Awesome post! I hope it helps some newbies out there 😀

    1. Thanks! I completely agree! I used to be so bad at interacting with people, but my blog has grown exponentially since I started. Plus, it’s a lot more fun.

  3. I’m not a book blogger per se; the focus of my blog is spreading awareness of various chronic illnesses I’ve collected over the past few years. But reading is something I’ve enjoyed since I can remember! I do have some book-related posts; this year I’m going to try to do a monthly wrap-up each month.

    That being said, I do share my blog with people I know. I have social media accounts just for my blog, but I also post a link to my posts on my personal Facebook timeline. The main reason I do this is because since I write about my health, people I know occasionally like to know how I’m doing. In addition, I want to be able to educate as many people as possible about my illnesses because most of the conditions are misunderstood and lack adequate treatment as a result. I share my posts in Facebook support groups where I am permitted to for the same reason, and to give other sufferers encouragement and tips for handling the illnesses. I will often get hundreds of hits this way, but I also have to be more open to receiving criticism (not always constructive) when I’m sharing in a group of 10,000 people suffering from the same condition!

    I agree with all of your tips! I’m looking forward to your post about writing posts; book blogging is new to me and I’m interested in seeing how others do it!

    1. Great points! I think it is different depending on the subject of your blog. Your aim is to educate people who might not be familiar with your condition and share with those who are. For me, I’m not trying to attract readers who aren’t interested in books. It’s not something I’ve thought about before, so thanks for sharing!

  4. I initially shared my blog with some family and friends. If I could go back, I would probably just share it with my close blogging friends, as not everyone I share it with understand what blogging is.
    I really enjoyed reading this post! A few months ago I didn’t understand why I had so few followers (not necessarily a small amount, but for the amount of time I’d had my blog it was) and I did try to seek advice on how to get more followers. They all seemed to say the same thing you’re saying. Be genuine, interact with other bloggers and just take the time. I was kinda frustrated because that’s what I’d been doing for a while. But I kept going and in the last couple of months my following has nearly doubled! It’s totally worth the wait. Great advice. 😊

    1. Thanks! Sometimes it just takes time. One of my last blogs was doing okay, and then one day I was featured on Buzzfeed (they referenced a completely random old post of mine), and everything blew up. Sometimes a specific post will attract more traffic, but it’s impossible to predict those kinds of things. You just have to keep going. Good luck!

  5. I remember how naive I was at the beginning, thinking that if I just posted my great content readers would magically appear. NOT! There’s a ton of competition in the blogosphere, which means we have so much wonderful stuff to read, but it also means you have to find your people. Your tips were all really important for me too. When I was feeling lonely and isolated, I would make a special point of going and commenting in a real, honest, interested way on other blogs. It always made a big difference in my traffic.

    Now I have regular readers who I feel are real blog friends, as well as the new or occasional visitors who come by from time to time. I don’t feel I have to do so many memes and challenges, but I do comment on every comment on my blog, and try to visit other blogs regularly. Building community takes work, but it’s so rewarding too.

  6. If you don’t mind my asking, do you tend to write your posts all on one day? Or write your reviews as you read them and others as topics come to you? I definitely have a schedule. I try to post every other day with three reviews a week and then a mix of discussions, tags, etc. but I have a full time job so I tend to cram in all my writing on the weekend which gets kind of nuts. Just wondering if other bloggers are like me? Or more organized in their writing. Thanks for the topic, interesting!

    1. Thanks! I have a full-time job, too, so I try to get all my posts done for the week on Saturday or Sunday, but that doesn’t always happen. Recently, I’ve been drafting posts during breaks at work, which isn’t ideal, but helps a lot. I still write posts at the last minute quite a bit. Planning when I’m going to publish certain posts is helpful, but I still haven’t gotten a handle on finding good time to write them. It’s like having a second job!

  7. All of this is such great advice! Most of my friends aren’t blog readers, so word of mouth marketing has never really been an option for me. But being active on Twitter & following other blogs does grow your community!

    I have this intention to participate in memes and tags, but it just doesn’t work out! I’m awful at doing weekly memes, it doesn’t feel like I’m posting quality content 😞 I’ve only been tagged once in a CHristmas tag, and I wasn’t able to work it in before Christmas.
    Anyway, I keep telling myself it’s going to be ok without doing all the memes!

    1. Thanks!

      It’ll definitely be okay! Memes are helpful, but absolutely not necessary. It’s hard to fit them in, which is one of the reasons I stopped doing them after a while.

  8. Great advice! Interacting with people in the community is key, for sure. I’ve noticed a direct correlation between how much I actually get around to commenting on other people’s blogs and what my own stats look like. So when I’m super busy with other parts of my life, my blog tends to suffer (which is fine, because the other parts of my life generally bring in my income, and beggars can’t be choosers). The book community is definitely a social one.

    Weekly or popular memes/tags/what have you are great for building your readership too. I got back and forth on this one though, because I know I tend to ignore most tags and memes in favour of more original content. Maybe a balance thing? Or maybe it’s just me. Either one.

    The only thing I can think to add would be to make your content accessible and easy to read, at least to start off. Keep your paragraphs short, don’t get crazy fancy with your language, and talk about things people can relate to and understand easily. I sometimes get into psychological analysis on mine because I’m a nerd, and the more science-y it gets, the less attention it gets.

  9. That’s a very useful post specially for beginners!! just like me!!
    As a new blogger and trying to understand the different WordPress themes, Can you help me how you included all the book reviews by lists in alphabetically or may be in chronological order under that “Book Review menu”? (in Your own blog)
    Reply from fellow bloggers may also be appreciated!!

    1. Thanks! Glad you found it helpful!

      The book reviews page is all (painstakingly) manual. I update by hand every week or so. It’s annoying, but I haven’t found a better way, unfortunately.

    1. My current theme is called Rosalie. It’s a paid theme, but I think it was under $20, so not too bad. I’ve always enjoyed the WP yearly themes (Twenty Seventeen, etc.), too. Don’t be afraid to keep changing until you find something that works for you.

  10. What a great and very informative post! I definitely struggle with the schedule part – mostly because I find myself going through blogging ups and downs. I’ve just recently gotten my focus back for blogging after a month away. This post definitely reminds me to get back in a better schedule that I can keep 🙂

    I have a few friends and real life people I know who visit my blog sometimes, but I can’t remember if I self promoted or if it was something that randomly came up in a related discussion.

  11. I would add that you should make sure there is a prominent and easy way for people to subscribe to your blog when they visit. I’m guilty, myself, of visiting a blog and if I can’t quickly and easily follow it, then I leave. Short attention span :/

    Thanks for this post!

    1. Yes! I completely agree! I also don’t like when WordPress blogs only allow me to subscribe via email, because I just can’t handle that volume of email updates on a daily basis.

        1. It’s too many! Even the non-WP blogs, I just keep in a bookmark folder and go through once a week or so. I can’t even respond to all my review requests at this point, there’s no way I’d have time to actually read that many emails every day haha

  12. Excellent post!! Your tips are very helpful. I have heard so many blogger suggest commenting on other blog posts. I totally agree with this suggestion! Do you recommend any other ways to “publicize” a blog? Does signing up on sites like Feedspot help to promote a blog?

    1. Thanks! Personally, I publicizing in a lot of areas hard to manage/control. It’s just a lot to keep track of, and, in my experience, it’s not really worth the effort. I’ve learned to stick with sites I regularly use (like Twitter). It’s always worth a try if you’re starting out and have the time, though.

  13. I really love this post. I’ve just barely started a blog and I’m not very consistent with because I’m a current student and most of the time, I have other assignments I’m working on. I do want to be more consistent and reach out to other bloggers. Again, thank you for your tips.

    1. Thank you! I’m glad you found this helpful! When I was in school, I found that writing and scheduling posts ahead of time made a huge difference in being able to publish consistently.

  14. Great advice! I’m new at this whole blogging thing. I created my blog several years ago but never got serious about it until this past July. I will take all your tips to heart. I actually wrote them down to keep on hand to help me out. I try to interact with others as much as I can.

  15. I love how you took the time and type up a post like this. It’s really cool to see you sharing your knowledge of the blogging world. Being humble is a beautiful thing. I found this post really helpful. I’m stuck in a blogging slump right now and this post might give me the push that I needed to put on my blogging thinking cap once again.

    Thank you 🙂 ! Xx

  16. when you are building blog readership you are building a community but it. shouldn’t be your main objective. I have seen blogs with many followers but very few comments. I have a regular community through finding a niche and posting about it regularly.

    1. I completely agree that it shouldn’t be your main objective. As I mentioned, it took me years to get as many readers as I have because I wasn’t trying to get more readers for the sake of having them. Great points!

  17. Wow! This is some extremely valuable content! Thank you so much for sharing these tips.

    The problem I have been running into is not so much traffic (I pull in an OK amount of traffic through social media) but, engagement. I started a book blog last October and have been consistently posting 1-3 times a week. I usually average about 20 views from social media and about 10 from google and bing per day, but nobody wants to engage! I think a big part is my blog is sort of review heavy. Do you have any advice? Does my content just suck?

    Thanks again for sharing your knowledge, It can be difficult to find book blog specific advice.


    1. Thanks for your comment!

      Sometimes it just takes a while to get readers who engage with your blog. I do find that I get more feedback on posts that aren’t book reviews (discussion posts are great for this), but there’s no rule that works for every blogger. My book reviews typically don’t get any comments, so don’t think your content sucks; I think people feel less of a need to give feedback on reviews. You can always try asking questions at the end of posts to engage your audience. But don’t feel like you need to change your blog just for the “likes”.

      I’ve also found that engaging with other blogs will encourage other bloggers to do the same. It’s very much a community, which is nice.

      Hope that helps!

      1. Thanks so much for the reply! I think I may have shot myself in the foot mostly working off twitter, as I do get engagement through my twitter posts linking to my blog posts, just nothing on the blog side. I recently found the wordpress reader (which is how I found you) and it has been invaluable so far with connecting with other like minded bloggers. I will brainstorm up some good discussion posts and try to balance out my reviews. Thank you for the advice!

        1. WordPress reader is how I found most of the people I follow – it definitely helps! Best of luck with your blog (sometimes you just need to keep working at it before you see results).

  18. I found this so helpful, especially how I’ve only just started my blog a few months ago it can be quite scary and seeing no progress can really put you off. I found this so motivating, thank you 💖

    1. Thanks! I’ve been blogging for three years and my blog has mostly grown over the last year. The first year, I had about ten followers and it’s grown from there. So don’t give up! It just takes a while.

  19. I just created a schedule for myself to get back into blogging. As a creative writer, I want to help others hone their skills, but I also really want to share my own stories. I only have a few followers, so I am trying to grow my readership. That’s how I found your site. I’m definitely going to be trying these things (and committing to them)!

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