Hey all! Alyssa here, and I just wanted to write up a post on how to start a book blog. I’m still fairly new at this blogging thing, so I don’t think I have the most experience of anyone. But I remember when I was first starting out how difficult it was to find other bloggers in the book niche that offered information on how to start a BOOK blog.
There are so many blogging niches out there. I’ve seen everything from blogging, finance, cooking, kids and even knitting and scrapbooking. And all the research I did for my own blog when I first started out was done on blogs that had only generic advice for anyone. This worked perfectly fine for me, don’t get me wrong. But I know that it would have been nice to find How To Start A Blog posts more specific to a book blog. So here we go!
P.S. Even if you’re already a book blogger, if you’re not self-hosted, there is a lot you can learn from this post. So please read on!
Why Start a Book Blog?
I asked myself this question for a long time before finally making the official decision to dive right in. When I created a book blog, I joined an incredible community of other book bloggers and readers. These people are amazing: they’re friendly, welcoming, and 100% genuine.
If you want a place where you can talk about WHATEVER you want, whether it’s bookish or not, then a Book Blog is definitely the place for you. No one here will judge you. Everyone will be willing to lend you a helping hand. It’s literally like moving to the nicest neighborhood in small town America!
So stop asking yourself if it’s right for you. I’ve never met a blogger who regretted starting a Book blog. Granted, blogging comes with a lot of work and responsibility. I spend AT LEAST an hour a day working on content or marketing or branding. But I do it because it’s fun and it’s important to me.
Choose a Blogging Platform
Before I did anything with my domain and site, I did some research on the numerous blogging platforms out there. WordPress, Blogger, Wix, there are so many to name but only one that stood out above the rest: WordPress. It’s the most popular and offered the best options for me. From there, you have two choices:
- Hosted WordPress blogs on WordPress.com. With this choice, your domain will include the wordpress name (i.e. http://www.areadersjourney.wordpress.com).
- Self-Hosted WordPress blogs on WordPress.org. With this choice, you have to pay a fee but gain access to many more options and have complete control of your blog. Plus, your domain name doesn’t include the wordpress name.
I HIGHLY recommend self-hosting your site through WordPress.org. It affords me more creative opportunities with my own site and offers me the chance to make some money to offset the cost of self-hosting. It’s definitely worth it!
Choose a Hosting Site
I know a lot of book bloggers that prefer to choose the free option and register with WordPress. This is a great option if you’re low on cash, but if you’re planning on being a serious blogger, going with a hosting site is absolutely the way to go. I went through Bluehost for hosting, and I have never looked back.
Bluehost offers a whole bunch of amazing options, including a One-Click WordPress Installation. Literally, all it takes is one click and WordPress is immediately installed on your website. It’s the best of both worlds, and there are an endless amount of possibilities.
One thing I didn’t like with the free WordPress blog is the fact that you’re limited in the creativity of your blog. I’m a designer and artist by nature, so I wanted unlimited freedom to build my blog however I wanted it. I’m still working on creating my own theme from scratch, but until then, I still get to do whatever I want to my blog.
Select a Hosting Plan
There are three options when you sign up with Bluehost: the Basic, Plus and Prime plans. To be perfectly honest, I went with the Basic plan. I wasn’t sure I would need all of those unlimited features for all of that money.
The one thing I DID splurge on was Domain Privacy Protection. This ensures that the personal information connected to your account remains PRIVATE. I’m a private person, so this made sense to me.
Depending on your own preferences, you may want unlimited website space of SiteBackup Pro. I just though that, at least for now, I could live without those until money was a little less tight for me.
Create Your Domain
Remember above when I mentioned creating your name as a part of your brand? That’s where this comes in handy. A domain is a website address like this: http://areadersjourney.com. Your domain can be whatever you want it to be, even your name, as long as it’s consistent with your blog name and brand.
When I registered my domain, I did so through Bluehost by using the new domain option shown below. Others chose to buy their domains through third party sites, such as GoDaddy.com. One thing that’s great about registering through Bluehost is that you receive one free domain name! So if, like me, you are only looking to create one website, Bluehost offers you this choice for free!
From there, you just enter in your personal information as well as your payment information, then create a password. You should then receive an email in your inbox welcoming you to Bluehost and giving you some handy dandy information. (Save these emails!)
Bluehost does offer you a few free themes to start off with, but I just stuck with the generic one for now. I found it easier to set that up using Wordpress.
You’ve done it! You have officially begun the process of building your website! From here, it’s all about setting everything up and making it pretty.
Installing WordPress on Bluehost couldn’t be any easier. WordPress now automatically comes installed. Just fill out the allotted information and your new WordPress account is now attached to your Bluehost website!
It may take from 2 to 24 hours for your website domain to be up and running. This is normal. Once it’s officially online, it will show ‘Under Construction’ content until you want your website to go live. But, since you don’t have anything to go live with yet, I suggest you wait until your website is ready to go before releasing it to the world.
From here, you can log into your WordPress account either through Bluehost or WordPress itself and start building a designing your blog! Don’t know where to start? You can find a good place for advice on building your blog and your brand here.
Congratulations! You’ve done it!
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