Step 1: Define your ‘Why’
One of the most important factors of your book blog success is your “WHY”. According to Simon Sinek, “Your why is the foundation of what you do.” Before starting a blog, you must know your end goal. By doing so, you’ll know which direction you’re going, and when time gets tough, you don’t give up.
You “why” may change over time but having this from the beginning is crucial. “Earning some cash” is obviously not enough.
If you’re still trying to figure out your “why” for starting a blog, maybe some of these will help you:
- To inspire your audience – your blog can inspire people and change their lives for the better
- Improve writing ability
- Meet new, like-minded people – blogging exposes you to a huge community of new people. For each blogging niche, you can join a lively community.
- Gain marketable skills – Blogging can help you learn so many new skills and abilities. Here are some I’ve picked up along the way: WordPress design, SEO, affiliate marketing, content management, website hosting.
- Build a business – This is probably the one point you’re most interested in. It’s possible but it’s not easy. Be prepared to work diligently.
Step 2: Choose Your Niche and Book Blog Name
The next step is to carve out a unique spot in that ecosystem where you can thrive. That’s your niche.
Characteristics of a Perfect Blog Niche
- Something you’re passionate about
- Serves a community of people who have a need
- Not too much competition
Things to Remember When Choosing a Name
- The shorter, the better
- Creativity is essential
- Think of branding
- Avoid hyphens – makes your name harder to remember
- Tools can help: Namecheap Name Generator, Namelix.com
What Else To Consider When Looking At Book Blog Names and Niche
What are you passionate about?
Your niche often ties with your passion. Are you passionate about reading fiction or non-fiction? Pick a genre you’d enjoy writing about without getting bored.
Choose a specific sub-category. For example, in the non-fiction niche, you can explore business, leadership, self-help, and biographies.
Do a little googling.
See who is already blogging about your preferred niche. Look at how many book blogs are already there, how successful they are. Do you think you do it better than them? Do you think you can offer something new?
Who is your audience?
Where are they located? Always think when you are producing content: “Would my audience like this?”
Be very specific.
You don’t have a niche if you started a website on Book Blogging, and you are just talking broadly.
If you’re for everyone, then you’re really for no one.
You won’t drive any meaningful traffic if you are not identifying a niche and targeting your content to that niche.
Step 3: Choose your Blogging platform
When people are starting building a blog, they think they can start something for free. And yes, it’s possible!
There are numerous free blogging platforms out there: Wix, Squarespace, WordPress.com
When I started blogging in 2015, I used the free version of WordPress.com, but when I decided to make blogging a valid business, I know it won’t work. I’ll tell you why.
Do you think Google would do as well they have if the domain name was Google.wordpress.com?
Of course, no. It’s not professional.
With my experience, I can tell you one thing for certain. The best domains are professional and elicit trust from readers and followers.
I recommend you use WordPress.org and then get website hosting elsewhere. (Stick with me, I’ll tell you in the next step.)
There are two WordPress platforms – WordPress.com and WordPress.org. Many beginners do not know this, which leads to a lot of confusion. WordPress.org gives you total control over your site. Unlike WordPress.com, with WordPress.org, you can do anything you want with your website and customize it as much as you wish.
According to Kinsta.com,
- WordPress is the world’s most popular content management system powering 34% of all websites on the internet. On top of that:
- WordPress has a 60.8% market share in the CMS market
- WordPress powers 14.7% of the world’s top websites
- 500+ sites are built each day using WordPress while only 60-80 per day are built on platforms like Shopify and Squarespace
- The WordPress Plugin Directory features 55,000+ plugins
- WooCommerce powers 22% of the top 1 million eCommerce sites in the world
Step 4: Get your Domain and Hosting Account
This is your address on the internet. It’s how people find you online.
My preferred domain name provider is Namecheap. I bought several domain names from them because they have great 24/7 customer service and they’re way cheaper. They also offer free WHOIS privacy protection with every domain purchase
Examples of domain are: Google.com / Facebook.com / nameofyourblog.com
This is the actual house that addresses points to. This is your property.
Why do we need this? A web hosting company makes it possible for your website to be accessed by everyone on the web. This is a space where you store your website files.
When you choose a hosting service, there are a few important things to pay attention to:
- Support – I think support is one of the biggest factors when choosing a host. Every time I crash my website, the tech staff is always there for me to guide
- Backups – you’re likely to make some dumb at some point. Make sure they back up your blog
- Cost – I bought a 3-year domain name in Namecheap for just $27, I do self-hosting at Dreamhost for $6.99 a month
- WordPress Integration
- Server Power/Speed
My web hosting provider is DreamHost. They are one of the web hostings recommended by WordPress.org. Some features of Dreamhost include 24/7 support, a free SSL certificate (to keep your website safe), an unlimited number of email addresses, 1-click install for WordPress, and other popular web apps like Joomla! and others.
^Click the banner to buy cheap web hosting using your selected blog name or click this link if you want a $50 discount on shared hosting
Do I Have to Buy a Domain and Web Hosting Together in One Company? or Can I Buy Them Separately?
You can also buy both the domain and hosting from the same company. You will not have to change domain name settings.
In contrast, if you purchase them separately, you will have to point your domain name to your web hosting company by editing its DNS settings.
- Use “.com” TLD as much as possible because people are most familiar with it.
- You can also create your own free and professional email address with your domain and web hosting companies. For example, my email is [email protected]
Step 5: Select your Book Blog Theme & Design
Key aspects of a theme you should consider
- Mobile responsiveness – ensures your website displays correctly regardless of the device on which it is viewed
- Loading time optimized – a slow page speed will negatively affect your website
- Page Speed – a measure of the amount of time it takes for the content on your page to load.
- SEO optimized -ensure that your website is visible on search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo!
- Beautiful designs
- Easy customization
- Prompt tech support
My theme provider is Superb Themes, they have FREE beginner-friendly themes that are easy to install and set-up. You can do lots of customization, they are mobile-friendly, and SEO optimized. They met all of the criteria I’ve mentioned and provided helpful and responsive customer service. They are just the best! I’m not kidding.
Step 6: Create Your Essential Book Blogging Pages
The about page is where you get to tell people your intent and story. It helps your visitors understand that you’re an actual person and they can trust and connect with you. You can answer these questions in your about page: Why book blogging? What is your blog specifically about?
The Contact page is another absolute requirement when starting a blog. As your blog grows and you begin to develop a following, a simple contact page can bring many different opportunities your way.
This page contains a statement that informs your readers about product placements in your blog. This explains that you’re being paid to make recommendations.
And that’s it.
Step 7: Read and Write Your First Book Review Post
Commit to writing 5 blog posts yourself. You need to make sure you do this to develop your brand voice and understand exactly what it takes to create quality content. Don’t get distracted, this is your #1 focus right now.
- Check grammar errors. I use a free version of Grammarly to proofread my work.
- Use Title Capitalization Tool. It’s free.
- I use Coschedule for scheduling my posts. It helps me organize my blog, social media, and more. It’s super easy and affordable + it comes with a free headline analyzer.
- For graphic design, I use Canva Pro. Click here to get your free 30-day trial
- Remember to use keywords, be engaging, and include book information. The goal of any blogger is to provide value. Here are some keyword tools:
Step 8: Claim Social Media Profiles
Make sure that you claim your profiles to protect your brand. If you’re a beginner, focus on one platform first because your main focus needs to be on the content that you create. Don’t try to be everywhere.
I recommend you embrace Pinterest because you can gain organic traffic even if you’re a newbie.
Aside from social media you also need to add Google Analytics and Google Search Console access to your blog. (They’re free). By adding them, you can understand who the people are visiting your site, what the most popular content is on your site, and where your blog visitors are coming from.
Step 9: Build Your Email List
You have to create a ‘tribe’ of raving fans who will follow you. Email marketing is a great source of traffic and selling your products.
Building a list is free. It will serve you when all platforms crash All you have to do is write daily and promote good offers
Step 10: Start Monetizing
This is the fun part about blogging. Even though it takes a long time to get here, making money from blogging is one of the most gratifying things you can possibly do.
- Amazon Associates – everything
- Commission Junction (CJ Affiliates) – BetterWorldBooks.com
- Rakuten Advertising – Kobo Books
- Impact Radius – AbeBooks
- Involve Asia – Lazada, and Shopee
- Awin – The Book Depository and Book Outlet
But remember, your primary focus now is not to make a ton of money but to grow your blog and start to get traffic. By doing so, you’ll be able to make passive income from people who are visiting.
This blogging stuff/affiliate marketing is not a get rich quick type of business. It takes a lot diligence and consistency to succeed.
Bonus: Here Are Books That I Recommend Before Starting
- Russell Brunson’s Experts Trilogy
People won’t truly buy into your product, service, movement, or idea until they understand the WHY behind it.
A timeless classic for everybody who wants to learn how to write.
This book will be your hands-on guide to building a portfolio of revenue streams, both traditional and online so that you can liberate yourself financially and shape your own career destiny.
You can also find books on Audible if you’re more into audiobooks.