How To Start a Book Blog in 2020

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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.

Hosting

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!!!

InterServer Web Hosting and VPS

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!

Themes

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.

I’ve had great success with purchasing themes from Creative Market, but I also love the free themes at Dessign.com.

Websites

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!

Want to read my book reviews? Click right here.

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