I love reading, not just for the pleasure of reading itself, but for the joy in talking about what I read. My favorite times in college lectures, book clubs, and the like are when ideas and interpretations are shared amongst people who are reading the same book. As such, it seemed fitting for me to use this passion in an online platform; so I started Christian Literature Review. Doing this has helped me learn more about books and network with authors and other reviewers. If you are in a similar situation, then you too can start your own website with a few tips!
1) Website or a Blog?
The first thing that you should determine is if you want to pay to purchase your own domain, or if you want to set up a free blogging account. For the vast majority of people, a free blogging account is sufficient. If, however, you want more notoriety and to possibly make money, a website is probably more fitting. You can purchase domain names from places like GoDaddy or Deane Internet Solutions. Most of the times, the domain name you will try to buy will be very cheap–$12.99 seems to be the price I often see for purchasing a domain name for a year. If, however, you want to have a free account on a blogging website, you can try Blogger.com, WordPress.org, or even Tumblr.com.
2) What is your niche?
Next, you’ll want to determine what kinds of books you will read. Will they just be your favorite genre, or will they be any types of books? Although Christian Literature Review was started to review secular literature from a Christian perspective, I quickly expanded that to include Christian books as well. Chances are, you are going to start off reviewing books that you like; but you might find your tastes expanding as you come in contact with different authors and reviewers.
3) Find other bloggers
The book blogging community, I have found, can be quite faithful. If you take the time to read other peoples reviews, comment on their materials, etc. than they will usually return the favor. When this happens, you might make new online friends, and maybe even offer some guest posts on your own website/blog. I’ve seen blogs team up together to tackle separate genre’s, such as one of them doing YA novels while the other does adult novels. Whatever the case may be, finding other bloggers can be a great asset to you and your website/blog; at the very least, you will learn other perspectives from reading their work.
4) Start a Facebook page
Facebook has quickly become the dominant social media outlet. As such, creating a page to supplement your website/blog can help you interact with readers, gain readers, and keep readers engaged. Facebook will allow you to share things that you might not want shared on your book review site, along with providing you another medium for showing people your site and work. On all websites and blog pages, you will have the ability to point people to your Facebook page, and hopefully, start to gain a good number of “likes.”
5) Create good content
In between all of these steps, it is crucial to constantly create good content. If you want more readers, have good content. If you want to keep readers, have good content. Do you get the idea? If your content is sloppy, readers will not want to visit your site nor take the time to stay on it. Make sure that you take your time in writing your reviews, editing them, etc. Moreover, it is important that you be consistent in creating the content as well–you need quantity as well as quality. Ideally, most people say to have at least 2 posts a week. However, reading books takes time! I would suggest setting your own, consistent time in which you will always publish a book review, even if it’s every two weeks. In the meantime, write short posts on random things that pertain to reading: advertise for another blogger, talk about why reading is important, or even ask another blogger for a guest post. The point is, if you do not have enough content being circulated, people will forget about your site.
Now that you have some tools, I hope you will enjoy your endeavor in book reviewing and start meeting other reviewers/bloggers such as myself! Book blogging is very rewarding, but you get out of it whatever you put in. Be diligent and I have confidence that you will get some faithful readers and start having fun in some online dialogues about book!