Wednesday, 26 June 2013

BLOG 101 PART 2: How to Start a Book Blog


You can see Part 1 of Blog 101 HERE and Part 3 HERE.. Today's post will show you how to set up your own book blog, although with a couple of alterations, the instructions can be used to set up any other kind of blog, too.

A blogging platform is basically the domain you see at the end of a blog address. For example, mine is '.blogspot.com' because I set my blog up using Blogger. Other blogs might have used Wordpress, so their web addresses would end in '.wordpress.com'. Personally, I recommend using Blogger to host your blog, because it's extremely easy to use and has a simple layout. Also, if you're a more advanced blogger, you can customise it however you want with a few bits of HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language) and CSS (Cascading Style Sheets.) Wordpress, from my own experience, isn't too easy to use, but you can customise it more than blogs on Blogger.
This is the fun bit. Your blog name is what will attract people to come and find your blog. You should consider having a brainstorm before naming your blog, so you can think of the best possible name.
To start with, you should try adding some Pages to your blog (e.g the tabs I have at the top of this blog.) A few ideas for different Pages are: About me, About the blog, Archive, Gallery...whatever you want! Once you start reviewing books, you should also add a Review Index, but that is optional and just down to personal preference.  A 'Review Policy' page is also a very good idea, as publishers and authors visiting your blog need to know whether you might be interested in reviewing their book/s. You should also introduce yourself with your first blog post! Tell readers a little bit about yourself and what you hope to achieve with the blog.
This is optional but I highly recommend doing this, so blog emails don't get mixed up with your personal ones. A blog email address usually has the blog name in it, for example mine is themilelongbook-shelf@hotmail.co.uk (I had to put a hyphen in it because 'themilelongbookshelf' was already taken...). If you created a Review Policy page, you should add the email address to it, so people can find it easily.
Visit other book blogs you have come across (or you can find new ones using a search engine) and comment on their blogs, letting them know you have set up a book blog too. However, it's quite important that you don't keep commenting asking them to look at your blog, because that is classed as spam and won't gain you much respect. They will look at your blog soon enough and they might even leave you a comment in return. Who knows, you might become friends!
Social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter are great for gaining more readers of your blog. You can easily set up your blog's Facebook page by logging into Facebook and clicking 'More' next to the pages tab on the left hand side. It will then give you the option to create a page. It's also very easy to make a Twitter account for your blog, just go to twitter.com and click 'Sign up'. Some other great social networking sites you should consider are Bloglovin', Goodreads and LinkedIn.
Start by reviewing books you already own, or alternatively you can borrow books from your local library. In time, publishers and authors will hopefully offer you free books to review, and add you to their blogger databases. Some of the  fab publishers that support my blog are Bloomsbury, HarperCollins, Atom, and lots more!
Adding a 'favourite blogs' list to your sidebar is a great way to make your way into the lovely book blogging community. Your blog link will pop up in the stats for each blog on your list, and you will have a quick and easy way of getting to other blogs without having to write down their link and risk forgetting it!

What did you think of this blog post - did it help you? If you make a new blog, make sure to leave the link in the comments and I'll check it out!

37 comments:

  1. Great post, Amber! I love the header and font of the questions, this is such a good idea! I wish I had this post when I started blogging ;)

    I definitely prefer Blogger over WordPress, mostly because of the GFC followers. It took me AGES to come up with a blog name... and I don't think I even like it ;p I agree that the blogging community is amazing. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thank you! Yeah, GFC is one of the best things about Blogger...I wonder if Wordpress has anything similar. And don't hate on your blog name, it's awesome! :)

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  2. Great post! That handwriting looks rather familiar.... ;)
    Wordpress doesn't have GFC because Google decided to stop supporting its use on other platforms so it only works on Blogger now. However, Wordpress has a huge plugins library and is bound to have something similar in there somewhere! I'm on Wordpress and I find incorporating a mailing list sign-up widget at the bottom of each post is an excellent way to gain followers.

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    1. Haha, maybe because it's yours! xD
      And oh right, thank you! Hopefully some readers find that as a helpful add-on to this post.

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  3. Brilliant post again :D Things would have been so much smoother when I first started blogging if I'd had a series like this to look to haha

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  4. Thanks for your tips! I started a book blog earlier this month (off-the-book.org), and I'll be incorporating a lot of your suggestions. You rock.

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    1. Woo hoo! I'll be checking out your blog in a sec. Don't miss the next blog post with more tips from other bloggers. :)

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  5. Like I said yesterday, I love these posts! And I love the headings, too!

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  6. Thanks Amber, I loved this blog post! Really liked the tips :)
    And also, I just created a blog: www.theredbookmark.blogspot.com
    Please come and check it out! Xx Erika

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  7. I was actually beginning to create my blog today and was searching the web for help when this popped up! I've been on your blog before and so I thought it was rather fitting to use this for help. I don't have my reviews up as they're on my other computer which is in the computer hospital, but the link is foreverreadingya.blogspot.com so if you ever feel like checking it out, I'd appreciate it!
    XO Gabby

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    1. Aw thanks, that's great! Welcome to the blogoverse. I'll have a look at your blog now! x

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  8. http://bookbitchreviews.blogspot.co.uk/

    How do you add the tabs at the top? I want to know so I can get prepared for 2014.

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  9. This is a really great post that distills the essence of what needs to be done! Thanks for writing this post that I believe would prove helpful to the many new and upcoming book bloggers!

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  10. I found out ur blog from DREAMCATCHER. check out mine at quanwenzhen.blogspot.com

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  11. Great post, I wish I would've had this a few months ago when I started my blog. I was really foolish and decided to use tumblr as my host because I already kind of knew how to code for their website and there are some book blogs I like there. But, kind of bad decision. haha

    Anyways, my real question here was you mentioned LinkedIn in your list of social media sites. Do you think LinkedIn is an important site for a book blogger to have or is it a take it or leave it kind of thing?

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  12. SO helpful as I have only started blogging this month :)

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  13. I absolutely love your blog! You inspired me to start my own blog (http://blotsanddots-inkstains.blogspot.com/) and this post and your others have helped so much!

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  14. Hi, I set up a blog too! I love your blog. I'll leave you the link to my blog, but as you can see it is quite amateur and less advanced than yours is :)

    http://teenagebookwormreviewing.blogspot.co.uk/

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  15. Haha love the Queen Maureen at the end. I've just started paying more attention to my blog - I guess you could say "running" it. I don't know why I never thought to review books I've ALREADY read! Definitely subscribing to/following you! :)

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  16. Hi Amber! I am a huge fan of your blog, and I thought this post was really helpful since I am starting my own blog too after seeing so many cool ones like yours! Please go check it out the adress is: http://teenpageturner.blogspot.sk/ and I would appreciate any advice from you. I only have one post so far, since I started making my blog yesterday.
    thank you!
    Nina

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  17. Hi! Thanks for the tips. I've had a book blog for a few years now but this is definitely helping me improve. Can I ask for your advice on blogger templates and themes? As yours is gorgeous - can you recommend any good free themes or templates please? :)

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    1. I used the Simple template and then built on that. It's the most customisable of the lot.

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  18. Very helpful. Thank you very much. Hope you could discuss about people or publishers giving you copies to review...?

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  19. Thanks so much for the tips! :D I know you might get this a lot, but I just started my *Test* blog and I hope you check it out! http://thechroniclesofabookmaniac.blogspot.com/

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  20. Thank you so much Amber! This post was so helpful when I was looking for some guidance on starting my blog, I really had no idea where to even start. I still don't really know what I'm doing haha! I've only been doing this for almost a month now. I'm still not sure on where to be looking for help either. If you want you can check out my brand new baby blog here: https://thesassygeek.wordpress.com/
    And again thank you so much for making this post!

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  21. Hi! I'm just confused on how to add widgets like your facebook and instagram ones. xD so much confusion

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  22. Hi, this was really helpful thank you, as I have just started a blog today! it would be great if you could take a look at it! http://jodysmusing.blogspot.co.uk/

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  23. I just started my blog! Could you check it out? That would be so helpful. :) http://iboughtabookblog.blogspot.com/

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  24. Hey Amber,
    I was just wondering if you were willing to tel me how I make my own URL on blogger and not be really "associated" (if you know what I mean) with it.
    Thank you

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  25. Thanks so much for the tips I just strated my book blog today, its http://sarahsbookishblog.blogspot.ie/ if you would like to check it out :)

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  26. Hi!
    Thanks for all the good tips on how to start a book blog. I've been thinking about it for so long and I got great inspiration from reading your post. Now I just need to figure out a name, buy a domina and get started! :D

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  27. Great tips,
    I started a blog in december, and will certainly be using some of the stuff you wrote about.
    check out my blog
    it's thetweenbookblog.blogspot.co.uk

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  28. Thank you so much for this! I have been wanting to start a book blog for so long as I don't have many people to share my love of books with. I really wasn't sure how to go about it or what site etc. You helped so much. Thank you!
    'hugs!!'

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  29. I'd love to start a book blog! Your posts actually inspired me to think seriously about blogging.-

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Feel free to leave me a comment. I will get back to you as soon as I can! :)