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“So, how do I become a book blogger?” Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to this question. I will, however, try to navigate you through this journey as best as I can. Without further ado, here is how to start a book blog in 2020.
Yes, you can without a doubt start your blog on WordPress.com, Blogger.com, or any other free blogging platform — I did! However, if you’re serious about blogging and want to, some day, earn money from your blog, I highly recommend self-hosting.
Yes, I realise that FREE sounds really really good, but hear me out. Free also brings lack of freedom — the services, themes, and options are very limited. Also, moving your not-so-new blog to a self-hosted platform is a major pain. You risk losing subscribers, traffic, and sometimes even posts and comments. Not good at all!
So, how do you start a self-hosted blog? I will tell you about the only two options I am familiar with. There are many many more, but since I have no experience with them, I won’t take the time to list those. But do your research — I did! I made a whole lot of mistakes, I corrected them, learned from them, and moved on.
There are two things you need when starting a blog: domain and hosting. Domain is basically the web address of your blog (mine is mariesjourney.com), and hosting is basically a service that puts your website on the internet.
Though you can purchase your domain separately from your hosting, I would encourage you to first decide on what hosting company you want to go with. Many of these companies offer free domain for a year when your purchase a hosting plan. So, what companies would I recommend? Here are the two that I’ve used:
Bluehost – While I do think that Bluehost is a great company, and I loved hosting with them, the initial startup cost is a bit higher. Bluehost does offer a great price of $3.95/month, however, that is only if you purchase your hosting for 36 months (comes up to $142.20). It is definitely worth the investment, but I do understand that not everyone can shell out that much money in a single payment. Though the one-time cost is not low, Bluehost does offer free domain and a free SSL certificate. Their agents are super helpful and the setup is very easy.
Interserver – If you don’t want to spend over $100 for a hosting plan, Interserver is a great choice for you! They offer a monthly plan that costs $5. Though that’s a bit more than Bluehost’s $3.95, Interserver allows you to try self-hosting without a lengthy commitment. If you use the coupon code mariesjourney, your first month of hosting will cost only a penny!!!
Before you jump into self-hosting, I highly recommend thinking about your domain name. Changing your domain is not the easiest thing in the world (though not impossible — again, I’ve done it before), so make sure that your blog address is easy to remember, and it is a name you love!
One of the biggest perks of a self-hosted blog is the ability to make your blog look exactly the way you want it to. However, unless your really good at web design, you might need look for a theme. There are plenty of both free and paid themes online, so look around until you find the one you love.
Goodreads – One of the most important aspects of book blogging is socialisation. This website is a great platform for connecting with your bookish friends, tracking the books you read/are reading/want to read, and sharing your reviews. Goodreads, in conjunction with publishers, also hosts many ARC (advanced readers copy) giveaways — a great way to obtain books before they’re published.
NetGalley – This is a platform for librarians and book bloggers offering free ARC e-books in exchange for a review. NetGalley is perfect especially for new book bloggers who don’t yet have a large following.
Pinterest – Friends, if you want to increase your traffic and make money blogging, you better get on Pinterest ASAP! I will write a separate post on this topic soon, but in the meantime, I urge to get familiar with it. Create a business account, add some boards, and start pinning.
Now that you know how to start a book blog, I urge you to keep learning. I plan to post more on topics such as how to write a book review, how to request an ARC, and how to promote your blog. If you need help setting up your new blog, don’t hesitate to reach out to me!