Tips for New Book Bloggers #BookBlogWriMo

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This blog has been around in one form or another for over 10 years. What saddens me is that this blog could have become a big, well-known blog with hundreds of thousands of readers a month bringing my love of nonfiction to tons of new people every day. But it’s not.

I’d like new book bloggers to learn from my mistakes so you aren’t looking back on your blog years later with a sad face like I am.

Tips for New Book Bloggers

Tips for New Book Bloggers

Be Consistent

Although this blog has been around for 10 years, I didn’t blog consistently for 10 years. Over the years I would have spurts of blogging and not blogging. Sometimes I wasn’t feeling well or busy, sometimes I had no internet access for a period of time but a lot of the time, I could have been blogging and I just put it off till it had been longer than I thought. “But I love blogging, so that won’t happen to me!” you say? I love blogging too, but it’s easy to get in a rut and take a blogging break that ends up being too long. I don’t know how many of my earlier posts ( that were more relaxed) started with “well it’s been a while since I blogged but…”

Keep It Simple

If your goal is readers, keep your blog simple and easy to navigate. I originally had tons of buttons in my sidebar from all the reading challenges I was doing and places I reviewed from and other things I just liked.  It made my blog load really slowly and made it hard to look at. All I was doing was giving lots of links to direct those on my blog AWAY from my blog and making it so hard to look at they didn’t want to stay long anyways. Cut down on images and links, stay away from music (especially auto-play) and animated graphics or javascript widgets. If your blog is only for you to keep track of what you read, than it doesn’t matter if you fill the sidebar with graphics but if you want people to read what you write and stay on your blog, think about your readers.

Organize/Plan Your Labels/Tags/Categories NOW

So many bloggers have WAY too many labels and tags on their blog posts because they don’t understand how they work. Trust me when I say, this is not something you want to leave till later to fix. It’s a LOT harder to go back through hundreds of posts to make these neat.

Use Labels (Blogger) or Categories (WordPress) like files for your blog. You should have a limited number of labels/categories. They are what you blog about. For example my categories (above) show the types of books I blog about. If you hover on the menu it drops down and you can see some more. These are like sub topics. That is okay as long as you don’t go overboard. You should NOT be using book titles or author names for labels/categories. On WordPress you also have tags to use. These should give a little more information on what the post is about. Include a label if you will blog about that sub topic more than once. If you talk about a certain author or series of books a LOT you may want to add them as a tag. But if you are like me and read a certain topic and so therefore have tons of different authors, don’t bother. You can also use tags for your own organization, just remember they are public. For example you could tag reviews that you gave 5 stars to or use tags for types of books (children’s nonfiction) or anything else that fits your blog. For example I review lots of Chicken Soup for the Soul books. I add the review for them under the category that matches the topic (parenting, health, food etc) but tag them as a Chicken Soup book so If I want to see all Chicken Soup reviews at once I can.

Be Unique

There are LOTS of book blogs out there. It was not that way when I started in 2003. With this high of competition, to get readers you will need to stand out from the crowd. I’m still struggling with this one myself but the most popular book bloggers have a unique voice or unique features or their reviews/posts are uniquely done. Anyone can copy a book synopsis and write two sentences on their thoughts on the book. That will not draw in readers. Write your own synopsis or at least make sure that your thoughts are longer than the synopsis! Develop your own voice and keep it consistent from post to post. Get involved in the book blog community and take note of the blogs you enjoy the most. What is it about them and their blogs that draws you in?

Those are my tips for you as a new book blogger. Don’t be me in 10 years, practically starting all over to rebuild a readership that you lost because of blog neglect.

About Kathleen

I've been a nonfiction lover for as long as I can remember. I love children's nonfiction as well and love to share my knowledge and the books I gained them from, with the world. I wish more people would give nonfiction a chance.