How to Start a Book Blog (and Earn Money)
In the last decade, the book industry has reinvented itself. Books have become much more accessible to a broader public, especially in their newer digital formats. This shift is also visible in how traditional book clubs have naturally evolved into book blogs.
If you’re an avid reader, creating a blog will give you the perfect platform to apply your passion for literature by writing book reviews, sharing novel recommendations, and most importantly, connecting with the online bookish community.
We know you’re pretty booked, which is why we’ve broken down how to start a book blog into just 10 easy steps. From choosing a website template and blog name to learning which types of book blog posts to write, here’s what you need to do to be ready to publish.
How to Start a Book Blog
01. Select a blogging platform
The first step in starting a blog is choosing where you want to host and publish your content. There are several blogging platforms to choose from depending on your blogging goals and needs. Some important factors to consider when making this choice are storage space, page security, uptime, and customer support.
In addition to top-level service in the above areas, Wix’s blogging platform offers free website hosting, professional web design features, opportunities to monetize your blog, rich website analytics and many built-in marketing tools to help you reach more readers. You can get access to all these tools at no cost and upgrade your free plan whenever you’d want.
02. Pick a blog name and secure your domain
Just like we often judge a book by its cover, visitors might be quick to judge your blog by its name. This is why you should be intentional when choosing the name for your book blog.
To help you choose the best one, we’ve come up with these efficient strategies to come up with blog name ideas. If you plan to mainly cover one book genre or stick to a single author, you can include related words in your blog name.
Use a blog name generator
Experiment with blog naming formulas
Adapt a popular saying or come up with puns
Try an alliteration
Use your own name or nickname
Simplify with abbreviations
If you’d like some inspiration before you start brainstorming here are some creative book blog name ideas:
Treat Yo’ Shelf
Been There Read That
Check Your Shelf
I Like Big Books and I Cannot Lie
Reading is a Novel Idea
Where My Prose At?
Do It by the Book
After you’ve finalized your choice, go ahead and secure your blog’s domain name. This should be similar to the name of your blog so users can easily find you and recognize you online.
03. Design your book blog
Now that we’ve chosen your blogging platform and domain name, the next step in starting a book blog is designing your site. The easiest way to begin is with one of our professionally designed blog website templates. They all come with built-in capabilities and are fully customizable. Still not sure which one to pick? Take a look at these blog examples for further inspiration.
When you’re customizing your template, consider creating a logo to elevate and personalize your site. Having a blog logo can make you more memorable, edgy and easily recognizable. Just remember to match your logo to the design and overall tone of the blog.
Next, choose which pages to include. On top of your blogging section, we recommend you include the following pages:
Let readers get to know you and your taste in books. This section is a good place to mention your genre of expertise, your favorite books of all time and let your personality show with some interesting facts and information about yourself.
State what your policy is about reviewing books. You might have opportunities to review advanced reading copies (ARCs), so it would be helpful for publishers and book reviewing professionals to know the following:
Are you currently accepting new review copies?
Which genres do you cover and which platform do you typically use to promote books and showcase your reviews?
What types of posts will you write?
What book formats do you accept? Just physical ones or also PDFs and digital copies?
What do you do if you do not like the book? Will you decline a review?
Do you have a book rating system? If so, how does it work?
What is the best way to contact you and which information should be provided?
Help authors, publishers and readers easily contact you with inquiries, questions or collaboration opportunities by adding a contact page to your blog. Using a free form builder, you can effortlessly create a contact form to make sure people are sending all the necessary information.
04. Choose your type of book blog
Before you start collecting books and writing your first blog post, first consider which type of book blog you wish to run. Your book blog can specialize in either a niche or genre or even be known for specific types of content.
At the end of the day, you should think about what your goals are for blogging and which kind of audience you’d like to reach. If you’re passionate about a specific genre that you think has a strong fan base community, you can tailor your blog around it. Of course, you can keep your blog more general, but in case you were interested, here are types of book blogs on the web:
How to write a book
Book discussion blogs
General book blog
On the other hand, if you want to write for a more specific audience, you can choose a literary genre to focus on and break into that niche reading community:
Action and adventure
Suspense and thrillers
Science Fiction (Sci-Fi)
Biography and autobiography
Religion and spirituality
05. Get books
Writing a book blog without books would be like cooking without food. So how can you feed your shelf? When you first start a book blog, you can utilize the books you’ve read in the past or currently own. Over time, you’ll want to scale your book reading efforts - so make yourself rich with book resources, get free ARCs and consider joining book networks.
We’ve done some in-depth research for you and recommend these outlets and platforms for getting your hands on as many books as possible, whether it’s free copies or through book networks.
NetGalley (See their ARC book review program)
Book stores and thrift shops
Swap books with friends and family
06. Brainstorm ideas and write your first blog posts
One of the most important parts of starting a successful book review blog is creating quality content. Think of your blog posts as the central part of your blog, the factor that will draw readers in and keep them coming back. The simplest way to begin producing blog posts is by following these 4 steps:
Select your book blog content
Your blog posts' topics can be as creative and unique as you’d like. But sometimes, it’s easier to start where others have seen success and follow some of the blog posts' formats that are popular on book blogs. Here are some engaging blog ideas to write about:
Book reviews: Write a review or critique of a book you just finished. Share your opinion on what you liked about it or didn’t.
Themed “top X” lists and rankings: Create a list of top 10 or top 20 books that fall into a genre or category. This can also be in the form of book suggestions to readers.
Discussion posts: Spur up a discussion about a book that you’d like to analyze with your bookish community. This can even be discussing a controversial novel or a specific scene in a book.
Interviews with authors: Interview authors of a book you just finished. You can ask them about their inspiration for the book or even about character development.
Book tags: Answer questions about your favorite books, authors, and characters and then tag other people to write blog posts and answer those questions as well. You can also look up other book tags and respond to them.
Guest posts: Feature other book bloggers or writers on your blog. It can be nice for readers to hear new voices from time to time. You can even use this type of blog post to allow young writers to showcase their work.
Monthly wrap-ups: Summarize and rate all the books you read that month.
Roundups of new publications and TBR lists: TBR stands for “to be read.” Make a list of the books that just came out and are now on your must read list.
Essays, guides and opinion pieces: Share your opinion in the form of an essay. You can compare two books, analyze a book vs. the movie or even write an author review. Another approach you can take is providing reading tips, how to pick which books to read or even teaching people how to write books if that is something you’ve done.
Genre and industry news: Keep your readers updated on the latest literature news and gossip. Did a book just get announced it will be made into a movie? Is an author writing a new sequel to their first successful book? Let your readers know.
Personal reading challenges: Participate in book challenges that are happening in your community. You can add memes as well and get others to take on the same challenge. This is a great way to build community.
Character roundups: A roundup post consists of a collection of characters, authors, or even quotes. Your posts list several of the characters that ultimately can contribute something to your readers. For example, you can do a roundup of the strongest female book characters.
Come up with a book rating and review system
To be a trustworthy book reviewer that shows authority, it’s important that you have a clear method and system in place for how you rate books. There are several ways and scales to use and you have the freedom to create your own, just make sure to show consistency and transparency.
Some things to consider when rating a book are writing style, plot, world building, and characters. All of these can be factors to your end review and be aware not to leak any spoilers. Here is an example of how Liam Reads includes his book rating system as part of his review policy page on his Wix website.
If you’re working with a book review platform such as NetGalley, they have a rating system of their own, so make sure to always check rating guidelines with the platform you’re working with.
Write your first few blog posts
Now comes the fun part, learning how to write a blog post. This crafting process can be broken down into three main steps:
Do keyword research: If you want your blog post to rank in search engines, try to target certain phrases in your article, ideally keywords that are often being searched for. You can use sites like Google Keyword Planner, Answer The Public or Ahrefs for help to find highly searched keywords.
Come up with a blog post title: Write blog titles that will hook your readers. Small word choices can make a difference on whether someone clicks in your post.
Write valuable clear content: Try to have an introduction and use headers and subheaders to break up the body of the post. You can even start with an outline to make it easier to map out your ideas. Keep in mind that there are best practices to follow regarding how long a blog post should be. Lastly, don’t forget to add images with alt text, write your SEO titles, edit and then hit publish.
Before you start promoting your blog to a large audience, we recommend already having at least 3-5 blog posts published and living on your website. This will create a better reader experience and best show your expertise.
Create an editorial calendar
To ensure your writing process is enjoyable and you never feel pressed on time to publish articles, plan out the rest of your month’s posting schedule with an editorial calendar.
In section number 6, we brainstormed dozens of blog topics. Now you just plan out when you’d like to publish each type of article in a spreadsheet. You can even add your TBR books to your schedule.
The bookish community has certain days dedicated to specific articles and memes. For instance, there is “Top Ten Tuesday,” “Waiting on Wednesday,” and “Thrifty Thursday.” These types of themes can help you post the most relevant articles on their matching days. See this detailed book blog meme directory for more subjects for each day of the week.
Lastly, keep in mind that Tuesday is the day most books are published which can be a neat day to post reviews on your blog.
07. Optimize your blog for SEO
In order to attract heavy traffic to your book blog, you should aim to show up on search engines through search engine optimization (SEO). Besides writing keyword optimized blog posts, there are a few more SEO tips for bloggers to know about.
Optimize your website content and metadata descriptions with relevant keywords in strategic placements—including the page title, description and URL.
Write-SEO friendly alt text on all the images on your blog and within blog posts.
Use internal and external linking from other related articles.
Get backlinks to your blog from other trustworthy sources. This will show authority to search engines and likely improve your ranking.
08. Promote your blog
A good author wouldn't publish a book and not tell anyone, and neither should you. You’ve crafted a masterpiece website and now it's time to promote your blog. Here are the best ways to do so:
Share on social media
When literature lovers are not reading a book or consuming book blog content, they are likely engaging with the literature community on social media. This is why you should open a social media account under the same blog name and join book groups.
We also recommend you have an Instagram marketing strategy, as the book fans have a large community on the platform with accounts known as “Bookstagrams.” There you can share your blog content and book reviews.
Make sure to add your website's URL on your Instagram bio and feel free to mention which book you're currently reading using the abbreviation CR, followed by the book title. Here are some Wix user’s beautiful Bookstagram’s to look at as examples:
Create a blog newsletter
Make an effort to get subscribers and use an email marketing tool to send out newsletters, promotions and distribute your content. This will invite readers to come back to your blog for more and sustain a loyal fan base.
Join book clubs
Whether they are virtual or in-person book clubs, meeting and engaging with other book lovers can help grow your network. Over time, people in your book club will get to know that you're a blogger and likely show interest in coming to your website, reading your content and recommending your blog to others.
Write for other blogs
Collaborate with other lit bloggers and offer to write a guest blog post that will be published on their site. In your signature, include your name and add a backlink to your blog so people can come to follow you. Overall, writing on other blogs will get you in front of new relevant audiences.
Invest in paid ads
Dabble with paid marketing and advertising to reach people who do not currently follow your social channels or blog. You can try social media advertising, banner ads, search ads or even YouTube video promos.
Participate in book tags and discussion sites
An excellent way to reach new people is to go to them instead of waiting for them to come to you. Therefore you should read other book blogs, respond to their book tags and engage with the fans and readers on those blogs. If you can show how insightful you are with your comments and engagement, people might be curious to come to your blog and learn more about you.
Host a book blogging event
Have you ever been to a book reading aloud that took place in a bookstore or library? You too can host a unique event that will bring book lovers together. There, you can mention your blog and encourage event registration to sign up for your blog newsletter and later send them emails.
09. Make money blogging
When we wrote the title “How to Start a Book Blog,” we added “and Earn Money” for a reason. We’ve seen many users monetize their blog which we believe has made their blogging process even more rewarding at times.
If you’re looking to turn your passion project into an additional source of income, consider trying one of these ways to make money blogging:
Join an affiliate marketing program. Amazon Associates can be a great place to start since there are a lot of books sold there.
Advertise within your blog with a Google AdSense integration.
Offer paid subscriptions.
Write sponsored content.
Sell books, e-books and merchandise on your online store.
Provide consulting services.
Sell an online course and use Wix Video to produce your content. Consider teaching others how to start a book blog, since by then you’ll be an expert.
Write freelance book content for publishers and magazines.
10. Immerse into the book blogging community
It takes a village to raise a child and a lit community to bring book blogs to life. This is why to make the most of your book blog, you should highly engage with bibliophiles.
After you start your book blog, attempt to make a weekly effort to read other book blogs, not just to get inspiration but also to show support and connect with other like minded writers. Lastly, follow publishers and authors on social media and join their mailing lists so you stay in the know about upcoming releases and hot industry news.
Remember that ultimately, blogging is a beautiful journey, so try to take as many readers on that journey with you.
By Lena Sernoff
Digital Marketing Expert and Writer
This article was originally posted on Wix Blog.