How To Become a Blogger!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Do you love reading? Do you love talking about books or reviewing them?! Have you been contemplating starting your own blog? Then you've come to the right place!!


   When I started blogging back in 2013, I had no clue what the hell I was doing. I was nervous because I kept thinking "who would even read my posts?" If you feel like that then the first step is to think positive because we all had to start somewhere. We all eventually grew our blogs. Everyone will all experience something different. And I think it really just depends on how active you are with your blog and how much you expose and promote it to the world.

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

Who is going to be my audience? Young Readers? Adults? Or both?

Am I only going to be blogging about books?

What platform will I use to start my blog?

Am I going to post every single day?

What's my blog going to be called?

   Obviously, you don't have to just blog about books. It can be anything you want really. Remember this is going to be your blog and you have the liberty to make it into what you want. For example, I started off just blogging about books and now I'm sort of starting to post about my other random things.

The Platform

 or?

   The two most popular platforms people use are Blogger and Wordpress. Blogger is free while Wordpress is not. I think Wordpress offers a free version but I think it's very limited on what you can do with it such as the design. And there would be ads on your site. The version where you would have to pay and be ad-free is the self-hosted one.

   But if you're leaning towards WP, I'd recommend using Blogger first because you don't even know how long you will be blogging for; I've heard people say that WP is a bit complicated for new people and Blogger is pretty easy to navigate.

   Blogging may not work out for you or you'll decide not to blog anymore. But if it does, there is a thing where you can migrate from Blogger to Wordpress so that you don't lose all your work you've done.

   I think it's smart to wait for at least one year. And if you're still blogging, then you can consider using Wordpress. But, of course, this only my advice and it's really up to you. I've been blogging for almost two years now and I've been happy with Blogger so far.

The Blog Name

   The first thing you need to come up with is the name of your blog. It doesn't even have to be related to books. My blog's first name was Watcha Reading and I didn't like it so I recently changed it to A Reader Under The Sea. That's why you need to choose wisely as I don't think it's smart to change it after people already know you by your other name.

   And be careful about choosing your name because you don't want to pick a name that's already been taken. Do a search on Google and see if it's already been taken or not. And be sure that the name and link are the same!! It doesn't make sense that they would be different because people will have a hard time looking for your blog.

The Blog Design

   When it came to the look of my blog when I first started, it was a complete mess. My header was just horrible. I didn't know anything about graphics or coding. And I was alone so I had no one to turn to for help. But I promise that the more you move along, you will get better.

   Blogger offers so many backgrounds and you can mess around with it to make it like your own. The design doesn't have to be fancy. Just try to make it eye-catching because it could be a key factor to whether people will decide to come back or not.

1. Choose a color palette and stick to it! And don't have too many colors.
2. Stay away from overly bright colors like yellow (Maybe a dark yellow is okay).
3. Dark backgrounds and light text are straining to the eye.
4. Don't pick fonts that are hard to read.

Here are some examples of good color palettes: 


Designers


   I just want you to know that the first two designers on the list offer free backgrounds and lots of other things that I used to go to when I first started. And if you do want to invest in your blog, these designers aren't so expensive or they offer a cheap design package.

   Your Sidebar(s)

   I originally used to have two sidebars but I had decided that it made my blog look like a mess. And it looked less cluttered with only one.

   But I do recommend that you don't include many unnecessary graphics. You've probably seen lots of those graphics where people have their favorite series or favorite teams they are on where they move up or down or sideways. I just recently got rid of it because I realized that it was bit distracting and it was just taking up room.

The Essentials
1. Have links to your social medias like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, etc.
2. Follow options for your blog like Google Friend Connect, Bloglovin' or email.
3. Have your blog's archive.
4. Your Blog's Pageviews.
5. A search button.

   I always think having your archive at the top in your sidebar is important. That's just my opinion. I've always gone to some blogs and have been annoyed because they would have it at the bottom or they didn't have one. And I'm just there, trying to find an old post of theirs.

   Also if you decide to use Blogger as your platform, you should use the Pageviews widget because it helps publishers see where your blog stands with how many readers visit your blog. Thought that's only if you are going to request advance reading copies for review.


   What Not To Have:

1. Don't have too many graphics.
2. No moving graphics.
3. Don't have too many follow options.
4. Don't have a lot of countdown widgets.

   Believe it or not, I was guilty of having all of these. They can be fun but they may distract your readers from what they are reading. And if you are going to have a countdown widget, I suggest keeping it to a minimum of one or two.

Page-Tab Essentials

  • About Me: It would be nice for your readers to know who is running and posting on the blog. And just have fun with it. You can add a picture if you want to. You don't have to if you don't like having your picture in social medias.
  • Policies: I think it's important to jot down rules you have for your readers/authors. If you host giveaways, you might want to say whether it's only US or INT. And maybe you don't accept indie author review requests. Simple things like that can go in this page.
  • Contact: You can leave your email for your readers if they have questions. Or for authors who might want to work with you. And you can also leave links to your social media sites here as well.
  • Review Archive: You can have all the reviews you've ever written so that readers can find them easily. I don't think this is really important unless you're requesting arcs because this could be like your portfolio and publishers can see how you do your reviews.

   What Turns People Away From Blogs

I decided that it would be a good idea if I actually asked people what they don't like seeing in a blog. These are some of the responses I got from Twitter:





What did you guys think? I hope you all found this to be very helpful!

16 comments:

  1. This is such a great post!
    I found it extremely helpful and I'm sure others will too :)

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  2. This is awesome thanks for using my tweet! (@Queen_Malec)
    I tried having my own blog but I guess I'm not really good at it. It's been months since I last posted something. :/

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    1. Your welcome! Thanks for the answer. And having a blog is such a big commitment. Sometimes, I also struggle with it.

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  3. Great tips! I know that when I started first blogging I would have loved something like this since I too, had no idea what the heck I was doing!

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    1. Me too. I wish I would have searched for things like this when I first started because I also had no clue.

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  4. I love your post! I just posted one as well. On how to stand out. You have amazing tips. I will ref to this post whenever someone new needs help. ;)

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    1. I just checked out your blogger advice post. Such a coincidence that we posted ours very closely. I loved your tips because I think sometimes people forget about the littlest things. And I definitely thing it's important that our names in every social media stay very close.

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  5. I tried with Blogger and couldn't deal. WP was easier and they don't have ads on the blog if its free. I decided to move to self-host with Ashley from Nose Graze and it's the best decision I've ever made. I actually moved with Ashley because of a blog that used to be with blogger and this year they made the change to WP with Ashley too. If you want to stay blogging, self-host is the way to go and Ashley offers so many themes esoecially the tweak me theme all for free if you are hosted by her. Plus other book plugins that work amazing with book bloggers.

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    1. The only thing with Blogger that worries me is that they can shut me down at any time. So if I ever do switch over to WP, I'll definitely use Nose Graze because I do love her designs and I keep hearing how helpful she is.

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  6. Awesome tips! I keep getting emails and DMs about how to start a book blog and what the heck to do. I might just link to this post. I personally like blogs that have a diversity of posts to choose from. Also I don't like busy designs and strange fonts/colors. Keep it classy and simple, and if it's intricate make sure it works. Nice post!

    Rachel @ A Perfection Called Books

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    1. Aww thanks! Me too and the posts that make like a blog more are posts like this one. I love reviews and discussions but helpful posts win my complete attention. I also agree that fancy fonts and too many colors do make me stay away from those blogs.

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  7. This post is super useful! I've grown since 2013, but like you, I was completely lost when I first started haha. But over time I've improved on a lot of things!

    I do want to say that multiple times, I wanted to switch to self hosted Wordpress, but it's annoying since I'm on Blogger. That's why I would tell people to start on Wordpress first, but then with that you can't customize anything unless you pay money.

    Oh, and also, I think Blogger has more space for images on your blog? Though I wouldn't know because I have never used Wordpress.

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    1. I was so lost and I can't believe how far I've come. I know so many things that I never thought I would ever learn. I've been wanting to move to Wordpress but that would mean fully committing to blogging and sometimes I love taking breaks. And it would be weird paying for blogging when I take breaks. Maybe one day. For now, I'm content with Blogger :)

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  8. Thanks lovely - I love these types of posts - I'm fairly new on the book blog scene and it's a great learning process to find what works and doesn't.

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    1. Me too! I find to be very intriguing and just helpful. Good luck on your blogging journey :)

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