create
counter

Feature: The Newbie’s Guide to Book Blogging Part 1

the-newbies-guide-to-book-blogging_header

Introduction

So you want to delve into the world of book blogging? From setting up your blog to how you should contact the publisher, this guide will help you on your way to book blogging greatness!

When I first stumbled upon the book blogging community, I couldn’t find helpful guides to book blogging. Only tips and tricks from other bloggers. I asked questions or I researched the answers myself. Most of these things I’ve learned just by doing. Experience is the best way to learn and that’s why I’ve decided to create this guide for newbie book bloggers. The most frequently asked question I receive is “How do I receive books for review?” And my simple answer would be, “Lots of hard work reading, blogging, networking, and loving what I do.” Yet there are so many other questions that I get that I decided to just keep notes on all the questions I get. After a while, the questions showed a pattern. Most of them refer to newbie book blogging questions, and that’s how I got the idea to start a guide.

I hope this helps you guys a lot. Feel free to pass and share this guide around. But do remember that this is a guide and I’m not telling you what to do, but I’m sharing with you what I did to get where I am today.

Check out the rest of the series:

 


So you want to start a book blog?

Before you start, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you eat, sleep, and breathe books?
  • Do you have the extra time to commit to almost 30 hours of reading books, writing reviews, writing blog posts, managing your blog, scheduling blog tours?
  • Do you want to interact with fellow book lovers from around the world?
  • Would you love to meet and greet your favourite authors?

If you say “yes” to all then you’re ready to start. If you’re unsure then maybe you’ll have to adjust your schedule to fit in your book blogging duties. It sounds like a job doesn’t it? But you know what? It’s not. A blog isn’t work. I love doing this simply because I really enjoy reading books. And I take a lot of time and energy into making my blog as successful as it can be.


Before you start…

Who is your audience? Who will be your visitors? Are they readers, authors, or publishers? If you set up your target audience, then you can set up specific goals. My target audience are readers who just so happen to be book bloggers too. The content on my blog cater to readers and book bloggers alike. So do my giveaways that anyone can enter. My language, and tone of of my content is casual, and informal, so most people will understand what I’m referring to.


Name your book blog

How do you make yourself stand out from the hundreds of book blogs out there? You don’t. You just be yourself. There’s no one more unique than you! I consider myself a nerd as well so after a bit of brainstorming with my friend Stephen, he popped out the two words that stuck with me… “Book Nerd” and the rest is history!

Tips on naming your blog

  • Find a name generator and use it!
  • Use a thesaurus and find synonyms to describe your blog.
  • Be creative or as personable as you want.
  • Keep it simple. A complex name is forgettable. A simple name is unforgettable.

Blogging Platforms

A blogging platform is a service that lets you produce your own blog. There are dozens of blogging platforms you can use. You can opt to either go free or self-host.

Free Blogging Platforms

You’ll want to stick to the most popular ones since those are the platforms that everyone is familiar with. The two most popular blogging services are Blogger and WordPress.

the-newbies-guide-to-book-blogging_blogger-dashboard

Blogger

Blogger was well known as blogspot.com. (Even I had one way back in the day when it first came out. ) They eventually got bought by Google. What I love about Blogger is that everything is done for you. Your stats are enabled. Your widgets can be turned on and off. So many other bloggers use it, so they’re familiar with the interface when they comment. It’s easy, and it’s free. The only downside is the theme must be customized, and if you don’t have an advanced knowledge of HTML or CSS, then it’s rather hard to make it look the way you want.

the-newbies-guide-to-book-blogging_wordpress-dashboard

WordPress

WordPress is just as customizable as Blogger. It has all the features that Blogger does, but the themes are a lot prettier right out of the box. There’s a lot more themes to choose from to suit any style, and most are coded to respond to mobile, and tablet screens which is a huge convenience to your visitors.

PROS

  • Free
  • You don’t have to worry about your site being down
  • A lot of book bloggers are already using the platform so they know how to navigate your blog
  • Web site traffic stats are installed already

CONS

  • Limited themes so you may not find the style that you want
  • If you want a new theme change, you’ll have to delve into the code to change it manually
  • Your url will include the service’s name such as: “mybookblog.blogspot.ca” or “mybookblog.wordpress.com.”

Self-Hosted

By having your own web site, your limitations disappear, and you can do anything you want to your site. There’s a bit of a learning curve if you self-host, but it’s always good to learn something new!

The two things you must need to get your own web site are server space and a domain name. Server space is content and pictures you use to display on your blog. This requires maintenance which is why you must pay for it. Domain names must be registered because a web address is actually a string of numbers, and who is willing to remember that? This is why we have domain name registration so you can easily say “mybookblog.com” instead of “164.1.5.2” which is the IP address to which your blog is pointed to.

PROS

  • You can control every aspect of your website
  • You can install plug-ins manually which gives you a lot of freedom
  • You can upload and download all your files, and a whole lot of other techy goodness
  • No advertisements or limitations to your site

CONS

  • More work to be done
  • You will need to pay
  • You’ll need to fix problems on your own
  • Web traffic stats must be programmed in
  • Everything must be installed by you
  • If your site goes down, you must contact your host

Buying server space

What you want is the service when you’re looking for a reliable host. I’ve been using GoDaddy for years and I’ve never had a problem with them. My site was down only once, but it seemed to go back up right away. Also, GoDaddy has a great customer service area. You can even call them if you want to talk to a real live person. (If you’re wondering if I get a referral credit when I refer someone I don’t. I’m not affiliated with them. I’m recommending it because they’re honestly reliable.)

GoDaddy offers several packages, and everything is pretty darn cheap. Most of their hosting services have three distinct plans, and I always opt for the lowest. A book blog doesn’t need as much space so you’re okay to pick the lowest plan which in this case is called “economy plan.”

With my experience, I picked “Web Hosting”, the “Economy Plan”. I chose this one because the features suit my needs and I can install all the software and services I want. Yet, a book blogger newbie like you won’t need MySQL databases, or 10 email accounts, so the WordPress hosting plan sounds a lot better. You can pay in increments of 3 months, 12 months, 24 months or 36 months. I highly recommend paying 12 months. It gets cheaper when the months add up, but you must be willing to commit to your blog for at least a year so you don’t waste your money.

After you selected your plan, you can now find a domain name to register.


Buying a domain name

Type in your name of your blog in the search field and see if it’s available. If it’s not then, you can either choose a different name or a variation of it. Sometimes just changing the .com to .ca or something else works, so don’t worry if it’s not available in .com. GoDaddy will let you know. (Just an added tip…. Canadian web sites are about $2 more than the others.)

Just like the server space, you can pay in the same increments. It really depends on your budget. There are options to also point your Blogger.com address to a domain name, so that’s another option you can choose as well.


It’s Up to You…

Decide whether you want to be self-hosted or work with a free blogging platform. There are pros and cons for each, so whichever you choose is entirely up to you. I chose the self-hosted path, and the cost for one year of server space, and a domain name registration for BookNerd.ca is $78 CAD. I also work with Blogger to test out themes for several clients, but I do have to admit, working with Blogger can be really buggy, so I opted to self-host. I like having my own domain name, and the control over the site and the backend.

After you have set up your blog and your domain name has been activated, your blog is ready! But don’t start telling people right away. Not yet! There’s no content or even a theme. The next section can help you make it look pretty. This is the most fun part for me, and you may be delighted to learn how much fun designing banners, headers, and buttons can be.


Check out the rest of the series:

18 Comments

  1. Daniela Plume

    January 27, 2016 at 2:49 PM

    Well done. Great advice. Well thought out and presented. Thank you!

  2. Pingback: Feature: The Newbie’s Guide to Book Blogging Part 6 – Get Visitors to Your Blog

  3. Pingback: Guide to Book Blogging: Publishers, ARCs, and Etiquette

  4. Pingback: Feature: The Newbie’s Guide to Book Blogging Part 4 – Writing Your Reviews

  5. Pingback: Blogging it (or how to be a book blogger) | myhomemadelibrary

  6. Pingback: The Newbie’s Guide to Book Blogging Part 7 – Get Organized

  7. Pingback: Feature: The Newbie’s Guide to Book Blogging Part 7 – Get Organized - BO-OK NERD CANADA

  8. Pingback: Feature: The Newbie’s Guide to Book Blogging Part 8 – Credibility - BO-OK NERD CANADA

  9. Pingback: Guide to Book Blogging: Publishers, ARCs, and Etiquette

  10. Pingback: Feature: The Newbie’s Guide to Book Blogging Part 3 – Books, Libraries, and Stores..oh my! - BO-OK NERD CANADA

  11. Pingback: Feature: The Newbie’s Guide to Book Blogging Part 2 – The Resources - BO-OK NERD CANADA

  12. Pingback: The Newbie's Guide to Book Blogging Part 2 - The Tutorials - BO-OK NERD CANADA

  13. Pingback: Feature: The Newbie's Guide to Book Blogging Part 2 - The HTML - BO-OK NERD CANADA

  14. Pingback: The Newbie’s Guide to Book Blogging Part 6 – Get Visitors to Your Blog - BO-OK NERD CANADA

  15. Pingback: The Newbie’s Guide to Book Blogging Part 9 – Canadian Book Events

  16. Michelle N

    September 28, 2013 at 11:05 PM

    I am so happy I found your blog & this feature. I’ve been on the fence about starting a blog so this has really helped,
    I’m looking forward to reading your other posts about blogging.
    Thank you!

  17. Ashleigh Swerdfeger

    August 30, 2013 at 5:59 AM

    This is great advice! It is also applicable to other blogs. Thanks for writing the series. I am looking forward to reading more!

  18. Ashfa

    January 20, 2013 at 4:53 AM

    This is great, thanks a lot. I’m going to pass this one to my friend who’s on the process of starting her book blog.

  19. Bea Tejano

    December 31, 2012 at 3:02 AM

    thanks for the great tips! Been planning on starting my own blog:)

  20. Rachel Friars

    November 13, 2012 at 3:17 PM

    🙂 Posts like this one help me out so much! Thanks for taking the time 🙂

  21. Devon

    November 1, 2012 at 12:20 AM

    These tips will help out a lot when/if i start a blog the begining of the new year. I can not wait to start blogging and sharing my love for books.

  22. Izz

    October 21, 2012 at 2:52 AM

    thanks so much for this post, I’m new in blogging, so this post help a lot. I have been blogging for one month ^^

  23. ExefeLofHep

    September 23, 2012 at 6:53 PM

    The most principal vindication in behalf of this is heating the make public from the hot sun, the sod, the bring about can also serve atmospheric fronts and more.

  24. Inky

    September 18, 2012 at 4:59 PM

    So awesome! I love how you’re doing this! 😀 Blog on!
    <3 Inky @ bookhavenextraordinaire.blogspot.com

  25. Sara (of the Page Sage)

    August 26, 2012 at 11:07 PM

    This seems like a great feature! I would have loved to have this when I was just starting out. I chose Blogger because it was the only one I really knew of so I didn’t look into WordPress at all. I think I made the right choice for me, but if I did it again, I’d definitely do a bit more research.

  26. Luna

    August 18, 2012 at 9:00 AM

    Where was this when I started. LOL. Can’t wait to read the next post.

  27. Stella C

    August 17, 2012 at 5:54 PM

    Love this, Giselle! I can’t wait to read more.

  28. Ashley

    August 17, 2012 at 4:18 PM

    Awesome post! I’m sure this will be great for newbies! 🙂 One thing you might want to change though is this sentence:

    “Yet, a book blogger newbie like you won’t need MySQL databases”

    Bloggers actually DO need MySQL databases! WordPress uses databases in order to function! That’s where all your post content is stored. And the Godaddy economy plan comes with 10 MySQL databases anyway 😉

    • Giselle San Miguel

      August 19, 2012 at 12:09 AM

      Thanks so much!

      I forgot to add in “Yet, a book blogger newbie like you won’t need 100 MySQL databases.”

  29. Jenn@OwlReadIt

    August 17, 2012 at 2:09 PM

    This would have been extremely helpful when I was just starting out. It still is really. I’ve been thinking about self hosting lately, but not sure how to go about it. I think I’ll like this guide!

    I’m really looking forward to next weeks post!!

  30. Anna

    August 17, 2012 at 1:26 PM

    so proud of you, best friend! I think this is really helpful. I might even take your advice here instead of bothering you about it 😉 lol looking forward to more posts!

    ps. LOVE the Newbie Guide banner and the green book background! 😀

  31. Kiss @ kisskitkatey

    August 17, 2012 at 12:50 AM

    will def wait for the next post! yay! this is good and helpful especially for someone like me who’s just starting! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge

%d bloggers like this: