Reading is never going to go out of style.
Maybe the way people absorb information will change – for example, a lot of people read eBooks and listen to audiobooks instead of reading physical books.
Some prefer podcasts and some like to read condensed notes or summaries on Blinkist.
So, the way people absorb information may change or evolve.
But books are always going to be in style.
So, starting a blog about books is a good idea.
However, there is a caveat – you have to know some amount of SEO to start and build a successful book blog.
Please understand that tons and tons of people are starting blogs on books.
People even share their current reads on Instagram.
This post will guide you to start a blog but also help you understand how to get found.
Because – that is important.
Unless you get found by Google or Social media, you aren’t going to get pageviews and if you don’t get page views – you aren’t going to make money.
I will discuss ideas and examples of other book bloggers so that you can get inspired to build your own.
I have 2 clients who have book blogs and are making a living with blogging so I will be taking into account their work as well.
So, I know without a doubt that it can be done.
If you’re new to my blog, please download my blog planner – I send out very useful emails weekly that you will find helpful if you have a blog or want to start one.
This post includes affiliate links to products I truly (from the bottom of my heart) recommend, meaning at no extra cost to you, I may earn a small percentage which I will use to buy my poor dog’s food.
This is not just another “how to start a blog” post.
Why should you listen to me?
Because I have 3 other blogs apart from this one that has nothing to do with online business or blogging.
One of them deals with self-love and relationships, the other is about drawing and the last one is in the beauty niche.
I make a full-time living from my 4 blogs and it’s sufficient to stay that I have some knowledge on starting and growing niche blogs.
So, let’s get down to it.
What is a Blog?
A blog is a resource and a collection of pages that specifically answers queries related to a particular topic.
- Let’s say you want to order a McDonald’s burger. If you google the calories of the burger, you’re reading a blog post.
- When you want to get ideas on what to draw on a Mother’s Day Card and read a round-up post, you’re reading a blog post.
- If you’re looking to read the specs of the latest iPhone, you’ll probably be reading a specs blog post.
Blogs are very tailored to users now.
Blogs are no longer journals or online diaries.
These kinds of blogs do not grow because Google has stopped favoring such blogs.
Even if you are building a personal blog, your blog should cater to your audience. You can talk about your personal stories, but they shouldn’t be the main course.
If you are looking to start a lifestyle blog ( a mish-mash of different topics), please read my other guide on starting a lifestyle blog here.
Please note that starting lifestyle blogs is okay to start for experienced bloggers (but a bad idea for newbie bloggers) because they take longer to grow. Google likes websites that are very niche-focused.
This requires heavy knowledge of SEO to make it work.
Niched blogs are super easy and this is what I recommend for anyone who wants to get into blogging and make money from it.
This means that if the blog is about airplanes, it shouldn’t be talking about food or babies.
It has to be uni-directional.
This helps you build up your E-A-T:
I will explain more about this later.
How much does it cost to start a blog generally?
It will cost less than $5 a month to run and maintain a blog.
You only need to pay for hosting and it will cost about 2-5 dollars if you follow my tutorial. The domain will come free with the hosting for the first year.
After the first year, you will have to pay a flat $10 or less for the domain annually. This is not a huge expense considering how much you’ll begin to earn monthly in a year.
If you require a photo subscription (in your case you might not need it since you’re a book blogger), then that’s an additional $5.
You will require a Keyword tool – that’s about $12 a month.
I do not suggest starting a free blog. It will not make you money.
So, if you are going for a self-hosted blog – you just need to keep around $5-10 a month.
You will also have an initial expense of buying a WordPress Theme. But these you can get for very cheap and it’s only a 1-time purchase.
It will last you for a long time.
My WordPress Theme for this blog was a one-time fee of $60 and I’ve been using it for 5 years now. There is no annual fee and no maintenance charge.
The WordPress Theme I have for my second blog is only $35 and I have been using it since 2020.
If your budget is tight, you can also skip buying a paid theme and use a free theme (for a year or two) till you have the allowance to buy a paid theme or upgrade to a paid version of the free theme. I will talk about the best one further on in this post.
Are book blogs profitable? How much do book blogs earn?
A blogger can earn upwards of $5-10K/month if they’ve been blogging for 4-5 years.
An average blogger can earn anywhere between $500-$1K/month after blogging for at least 1-2 years.
The numbers are so vague because monetizing your blog depends on various factors.
There is no fixed amount to how much a blogger can earn.
I’ll give you a scenario of how much a book blogger can earn after 1 year of blogging.
After one year of blogging, if you are consistent, you can hope to make upwards of $500-$1000 monthly on ads alone. Then you can expect to make $200+ monthly via affiliate marketing.
People will buy books on your website by clicking amazon links and you’ll earn flat commissions for each sale.
Apart from that, you can take sponsorships – where you are paid to read books and write reviews.
Or you can sell other services related to reading and writing and earn a whole lot more.
Some book bloggers hire designers to create bookmarks and other merchandise and then sell those in their shops. The possibilities are endless.
On average, it is possible to make over $2-5K if you are very consistent and understand how to make money.
The sky really is the limit.
What to know before starting a book blog:
I strongly suggest you start a book blog only if you are okay with the following conditions.
1. You are ready to write about a few topics for a long time
As I said earlier, the fastest way to grow a blog in 2022 is to blog about 1 topic only.
You can’t write a post about “best romance books” or “best horror books.”
These topics have already been covered by experienced blogs (who have been around for a long time) and whom Google already trusts.
You won’t rank for those keywords anywhere near the top.
You have to be more specific than that.
“Best romance books for teens” – that’s slightly better but the competition is still really, really high.
You will have to target lower volume keywords like:
- “non-fiction love story books”
- “historical romance novel books”
- “which books do the wheel of time series cover?”
- “in which order should the myst books be read?”
Yes, that’s how specific you have to be.
Imagine a person asking a query.
Your post needs to answer that query as logically and thoroughly as possible.
You need to be super helpful and the person should leave feeling like they’ve just learned something new.
You can write reviews, lists, information posts, etc. but you have to be very, very specific – that is the key to succeeding. You will have to use a paid keyword tool to get these low-volume topics so that you can write posts and be found.
More on that later.
2. You are patient
Please note that till 2018-2019, Google was very lenient with growing blogs.
This means you could start a blog in March and by April or May, you’d be ranking for multiple keywords.
But now, the rules have changed.
Google algorithms have become very different.
They put new blogs in a sandbox for 9 months before they start ranking their posts.
Many people don’t believe in the sandbox. And it really depends.
For instance, my drawing blog did start ranking for a few keywords in the beginning, but it took time to see that substantial growth.
For my beauty blog, I started ranking in a week.
But I picked very low-competition, low-search volume topics (10 searches a month for each keyword) and I was able to see those blog posts on the front page of Google in a week – I will reveal that strategy in a bit.
Google waits till they can trust you because millions of people are starting blogs every day.
Google wants to differentiate between serious bloggers and pass-time bloggers.
So, if you are serious about blogging – prepare to get low pageviews for 6-12 months before you start ranking.
After 1 year, you will be able to monetize your blog.
You will earn anywhere between $100 and $500 a month via ads and affiliate marketing.
And then you can use SEO to boost your traffic and earn upwards of $1K a month.
If you follow my advice to the bone, you can do this.
3. You have to wait 1 year to monetize your blog
Unfortunately, because traffic will trickle in only after 9-12 months before climbing steadily, you can’t monetize immediately.
Not with Ads at least.
Google likes to see a lot of posts on your blog before they accept you for Google AdSense.
They do this to protect the internet and give users a good experience.
It’s all well and dandy because Google Ads aren’t a viable monetizing platform anyway.
They slow down your website and pay very little – peanuts.
Meaning, that you will get significantly less money for working really hard.
It’s not worth it.
But you do need to be in good standing with Google (getting Adsense approval means you can apply easily to other networks) in order to get approved by other Ad networks.
4. You are consistent and disciplined
I write about 100,000 words a month for all my 4 blogs combined. This does not include my email newsletters and social media content, mind you.
You don’t need to write this much.
If you can write at least 20 blog posts a month or more, you can grow quickly.
So, in order to become a book blogger, you need to be able to crank out content.
A damn lot.
And you will need to be very consistent.
This means you will have to write 4-5 blog posts a week.
And each blog post should have a minimum of 1K words or more.
I keep track of my blog posts and the word count in a spreadsheet document.
I use a different spreadsheet for each blog.
Those are the 4 conditions.
If you can fulfill all 4 of these, then you have what it takes to start a blog and make money.
Now that you understand if blogging is for you, let’s go through a few examples.
Examples of Book Bloggers
1. Lesbrary by Danika Ellis
And Danika has made this blog successful by niching down thoroughly and being consistent.
She has talked about how she noticed that a lot of book bloggers would pop up and then disappear after a while and she was careful not to go down that road.
She focused on making a proper content routine and was particular about building an audience first.
She slowly built a group of reviewers who now submit a review to her monthly and she strives on being consistent.
She mostly writes reviews of books and makes most of her money via amazon affiliate marketing.
The other ways she monetizes are:
- Support via Patreon and Ko-fi
- Sponsored reviews
She is more active on Twitter and Tumblr and makes money there too.
2. She Reads Romance Books by Leslie Murphy
Leslie Murphy is one of the first book bloggers I personally know and have worked with that has hit major traffic goals for most. Her book blog is incredible.
Leslie has focused on the romance sub-niche and gets well over 350-400K pageviews per month.
She’s always had a flair for romance books and decided to start writing lists and reviews on her blog to make money with her book blog.
Her main traffic comes from very specific lists she’s written in the romance niche.
She uses quizzes to get more email subscribers.
And she continues to write a lot of posts monthly in order to maintain and grow steady traffic.
Just like Danika, she also makes money via:
- Mediavine Ads
- Amazon Affiliate marketing
- Sponsored reviews
Leslie depends on mainly SEO traffic from Google.
So, she hunts for good keywords and then writes detailed posts to win snippets and rankings on Google.
3. The Book Thief by Ashley Pan
Ashley blogs about a couple of genres like contemporary, mystery, thriller, etc.
She loves suggesting books that are similar to popular books – this is very helpful because that’s what most people want.
They read popular or best-selling books and want more like those that are not so popular or well-known.
Ashley has capitalized on that and gives the audience what they want.
Apart from book drinks, she also writes recipes for drinks inspired by or in books. That’s something unique.
She also has a Youtube Channel so she’s broadening her horizons.
As far as I can tell, she is only monetizing via Amazon affiliate marketing at the moment.
Alright, you’ve seen some examples.
Let’s move on to choosing a good book niche.
What is a blog niche, and how to choose a good book niche?
Remember how I talked about how important it is to focus on one niche to grow quickly?
This is what we will be doing in this phase.
Choose a niche.
First of all…
What is a blog niche?
A blog niche means that every blog post you write in your blog will specifically cater to one type of audience or niche.
Meaning you will be blogging about one specific topic.
Now you have already niched down to creating a book blog.
But is that enough?
Let’s say there is a type of genre you read the most – isn’t it favorable to niche down to that niche alone?
This of course depends on the topic.
For example, I know that there are a lot of people that read romance books and non-fiction books.
But not everyone who reads romance will read non-fiction and vice versa.
You need to ask yourself if you want to focus on 1 sub-niche to grow your popularity or blog about many.
Again, blogging about romance, adventure and action are going to be very hard to grow.
Because people who come to read a romance book review will not be likely to click on your “The Shining” review.
It’s just not that feasible.
I’m a die-hard fan of post-it notes.
So, why should you niche down?
1. Google favors niched blogs
According to Google, by constantly talking about one topic, you become an expert in it.
Say you find a blog that has posts on
- 12 reasons you feel sick after drinking cow’s milk
- Best alternatives for cow’s milk
- How to make vegan cheese
and so on…
By reading a number of these posts, you will automatically believe that the Blogger is an expert in veganism and alternative dairy products.
Veganism is the main niche, and alternative dairy products are the sub-niche.
Do you see how narrow I am going right now?
These posts will also start ranking higher on Google.
Because Search Engines like Google like to show posts written by Experts, they believe these posts will enhance their user experience because the Blogger in question knows what they are talking about!
And having 50+ posts that are focused on one topic is the best way to do that.
After ranking for dairy alternatives in Google (1 year later), I will slowly expand by adding vegan recipes to my blog.
This is how you will build a blog in a niche.
Let’s say you are looking for a vegan burger recipe.
Which blog will Google favor more?
- A blog that blogs about recipes, trees, art, and mommy lifestyle?
- Or a blog that only focuses on vegan recipes?
Think about it.
Google will favor the vegan recipe blog more because its expertise rating is higher.
Google’s main ranking factors are:
The more you continue to blog on 1 specific topic, the more your expertise and authority increase via Google’s eyes.
Please note that it can get boring blogging about 1 topic so much, but it is the best way to stand out and build a strong reputation with Google.
So, talking about horror books alone will help Google see you as an expert in Horror books, and you will also gain expertise as a book blogger.
2. Having a blog niche will help you make money faster
Imagine you have a DIY blog that teaches people to make origami.
Can you believe that this started out like a swan?
It becomes easier for you to sell origami tutorials to your readers because they are interested!
However, if your blog is about Knitting, Paper mache products and Origami, selling origami tutorials to all your readers will be slightly tricky.
Sure, there may be some readers interested in all crafts, but what are the chances that you will be able to make the same amount of sales?
Not that much, right?
My point is, it’s very easy to create products or even choose products to become an affiliate for if your entire audience is interested in that 1 thing.
So, now that you understand how important a blog niche is let’s move on to choosing a profitable blog niche.
Okay, there is a little bit of thinking involved here and let me break it down for you.
Here’s what you should focus on when you’re choosing a blog niche:
The parameters involved in choosing a good book blog niche
1. Pick a sub-niche
Your niche is books.
The sub-niche can be:
- Graphic novels
- Action and Adventure
- Biographies and Memoirs
- Science Fiction
This entirely depends on you.
I suggest something that you have a general interest in reading about because starting a blog is very hard.
It’s easy to start and write a couple of posts – it becomes tiring and mind-numbingly difficult later.
So, pick something that you aren’t going to get bored of.
Trust me, it is the fastest way to grow.
My general suggestion to you (if you want guaranteed success) is to start a blog that caters to people aged over 18 years.
This way, you’re playing it safe.
Because if you target kids or school-going kids, you won’t have much flexibility in monetizing.
Kids and teenagers rarely buy products – meaning you can’t make money with products, services, or even affiliate marketing. You will be limited to ad revenue.
So, if possible, stay away from books for kids and teenagers – you will be putting a cap on your income.
2. You need to be mildly interested in the subject
Unless you hire writers, you need to be somewhat mildly interested in your book niche.
Please note that it is going to get boring.
There is no workaround for this. If you’re writing 100,000 words about 1 topic, you are going to get tired of it.
But remember, it will pay off.
It will help if you are mildly interested in this topic.
For instance, I love drawing.
So, I can talk about graphic designing and website designing since it falls into those areas and there’s a bit of creativity involved there as well.
It will involve a lot of studying, but it will work.
I love to draw.
It can get mildly annoying talking about drawing 24/7 but that’s the only way I’ll build authority with my niche website.
3. Keep goals and aspirations
Look up some book authors who are getting a lot of traffic.
Download the free Ubersuggest chrome extension and open it while on a book website.
It will show you the traffic that it thinks the website gets. Its data is based on the keywords that the website is ranking for. It’s not very accurate but it gives you a good picture.
Multiply that by 2 – this is a more accurate result.
Let’s say you find a book blog getting approximately 75,000 pageviews according to Ubersuggest, you can be sure that they’re easily getting over 150,000 pageviews.
It means that they are doing a good job.
If you want to blog about multiple genres, please note it will take longer to build authority and rank.
Branding your Book Blog
What is a domain, and how to choose one?
A domain name is your website URL.
E.g.: (www.twitter.com or www.yahoo.com or www.straycurls.com)
Don’t overthink this.
When you’re starting a book blog, you’re going to want everything to be perfect.
But know that there is no such thing as a perfect blog – you cannot get everything right. And the more you waste time researching and trying to make things perfect – the more you’re going to delay starting your blog.
Your domain name and your logo are not that important.
Your content is incredibly important.
Wasting time in branding will invariably slow you down and shift your focus away from the most important thing – writing and publishing content.
So, try to not spend more than a week on this.
When picking a name for your book blog, remember to keep the following points in mind:
- Do not keep your domain name too long. It has to be within 15 characters preferably.
- Make sure it’s easy to spell. Write it down and see if it sounds right. www.therapist.com can be read in 2 different ways. You don’t want that happening when you’re naming your blog.
- Choose a .com because it’s easy to remember.
- If you cannot find your domain name or it’s owned by someone else, let it go and buy another one. It’s not worth the hassle of pursuing this.
- If you’re finding it hard to come up with a domain name, you can create something that describes the niche you’re in. For instance, take Saranya, who chose to go with One Fine Wallet because her blog is all about finance and savings.
- For inspiration, look up your competitors. See what they’re doing.
- When all else fails, go with your own name. See how Lisa Glanz is rocking her blog.
- Think of what you want to be remembered for, and use words that resonate with that!
For the love of everything holy in the world, do not overthink your domain name.
Google has stated that your domain name will not influence your SEO in any way.
Google’s John Mueller declared in 2020:
“Just because a website has a keyword in its domain name doesn’t mean that it’s more relevant than others for that keyword. In short, you don’t need to put keywords in the domain name.”
This means if you’re starting a blog in the home organization niche, you don’t need to put keywords like “home” or “organization” in your domain URL. It sounds nice, but there is no added SEO benefit. So, don’t overthink your URL.
What I do when I try to think of a domain name is pick random words that sound really good to me: I write them all down and then come up with multiple domain names. I keep inputting them into Bluehost to see if it’s available and then when I find one that I like – I buy it. You can use this box below to check if it’s available:
How to design a logo for cheap?
Now, regarding the logo – keep it simple.
Most blogs have text-based logos. Let me show you my old logo.
This fancy logo used to be my logo for many years.
But I realized how much space it took on the desktop and laptop. It also distracted my audience from the content because it’s so big and colorful.
I’ve modified it to this now:
I stripped it of its illustration and just stuck to the text. It looks plain and simple and doesn’t take up too much space.
I went with the same approach for Mind Space Cafe.
See? Clean and simple!
Remember, you don’t need an extremely fancy logo created by a Logo Designer if you’re starting a blog. Keep your expenses low and minimal, and go for something sleek and simple.
I would highly suggest just buying a simple and minimalistic premade logo bundle like this:
This will save you so much time, and it looks really professional too!
It can get overwhelming in the beginning when you’re branding and thinking of a logo concept but take it from someone who’s a graphic designer, illustrator, and blogger – the more straightforward you go, the more you stand out.
You can even use Canva to design your logo.
If you’re planning on getting into this full-time, get Canva Pro. You’ll get access to multiple photos and design elements, and it’s worth it. I have Canva Pro and I mainly use them for their stock photos.
Less is more, indeed.
Let’s move on to where you need to spend your money.
3. Buying the hosting for your blog
Your hosting is basically where your website will live – imagine a house where your little blog is going to stay.
The bigger your website/blog gets, the more housing space you require.
Now, since you’ve already named your blog, let’s understand how we can buy hosting.
Whatever you do, don’t go for free hosting.
I understand that you may be on a budget, but free hosting will seriously impact your blog earnings.
If you are blogging as a hobby and have no intention of making money with your blog, free hosting is alright. Otherwise, stick to paid hosting.
Trust me, it is worth it and it doesn’t cost that much. It’s only a few dollars. You will save more money if you buy it annually.
Now, if you are still skeptical, here are a few more reasons why you should not start a blog for free:
- Affiliate Marketing becomes impossible. It’s difficult to apply to Affiliate Programs when you have a blog with free hosting. No Brand or Company would want to be associated with a free blog. It tarnishes their image. They will decline your request almost immediately.
- You cannot place ads freely. Getting accepted into Ad programs is the same. And now, you will need to be accepted by Google Ads before you get accepted by most Ad networks.
- You can lose everything without any notice. Tomorrow, the free blogging platform you’ve chosen can close down or they can suspend your website, and your website will be wiped clean. Or they can change the rules, and you’ll have to start from scratch. It’s extremely risky!
- Ranking on Search Engines is close to impossible. You can say goodbye to your search rankings because Google almost never ranks free websites in their Search Results. Remember, they want to provide only the best user experience to their readers.
- Your domain will look outright hideous. This will automatically drive people away.
The Best Host for New Bloggers is Bluehost
*whips out her pokéball*
Man, I can really rock a low ponytail…
I choose you, Bluehost!
Go with Bluehost because it’s quick, efficient, cost-effective, and reliable.
It’s the perfect solution for new bloggers who want to host their blogs and not spend a fortune on them.
Not only do they have 24/7 customer support, but they also give you a money-back guarantee if you’re not happy.
Apart from this, WordPress gets installed automatically!
You’ll also get free SSL – which every blog needs now to prove to Google that you’re a secure website. You’ll get the “https://” instead of the regular “http://,” which will also help you rank better.
And the best benefit of all: You will get a free domain!
Why buy a domain when Bluehost allows you to pick one for free?
Now, since this is a step-by-step tutorial, click here to visit Bluehost, and I’ll guide you through the whole process of starting a blog.
Go ahead, and click the View Plans button. I’ll wait over here.
Okay… is it done?
Choose a package
If you’re just starting out, you can choose the basic plan and slowly move your way upwards when you feel your website needs more space or grows a little bigger.
Type in your domain name
Now you’re going to have to pick a domain name if you already haven’t done it before.
The good news is, that if you’ve already purchased a domain, you can click the second option. If not, think of a suitable domain name (if you haven’t already) and select the first.
If, however, you can’t think of a domain name, that’s not an issue at all! Just click on “I’ll create my domain later.”
Did you know that I had no name for eight days after being born?
Yep. My parents couldn’t decide on what to name their firstborn child.
To think that they had nine months to come up with one…
After this, you will be asked to enter your payment and address details.
Enter your Account Information
Below, you will have to choose and customize your package details.
The best option, in my opinion, is either 36 months or 60 months because although this is a lot of money to pay upfront, it’s a massive saving in the future.
If you choose the most expensive plan, you will only pay 5.95 per month, which means you save almost 2 dollars every month or $24 in one year!
Please don’t add the extras – you don’t need them.
Enter Your Payment Details
After entering your details, you will be taken to the payment page.
Below, you will have to enter your payment details.
After you’re done, click the little box to agree to all the terms and conditions (that no one reads anyway) and click on submit.
On the next page, you’re going to find some add-ons. You don’t need these for your blog, so just click on “complete.”
Congratulations! You’ve just purchased your domain and hosting.
And you’ve finished the first step of building your website.
Now, set a good, strong password until the bar shows green, and you will get this screen.
Bluehost will have already installed WordPress for you.
So, all that’s left is to pick a default theme. Just pick one. We will choose a better theme later.
Once you’re in, you will be able to see your Website’s Dashboard! This sweetheart is where all the magic happens!
The Best Hosting for Intermediate Bloggers
Now, if you’ve already been blogging for 2-3 years, I highly suggest that you move over to Dreamhost.
It is not expensive at all.
- They have minimal downtime. If you’re getting over 30K pageviews, you will need to upgrade your speed and host.
- They are specially built for WordPress. They load WordPress websites fast.
- Free SSL. Their customer support is excellent. Whenever I have an issue, I just initiate a chat with an available agent, and they help me within minutes.
Overall, once your website becomes more popular and you start creating more pages, I suggest you shift from Bluehost to Dreamhost because the user experience becomes better and faster!
The expense won’t pinch you because you’ll be earning a good income from your blog by then.
Both these Hosting Companies download WordPress automatically, so you shouldn’t have any hiccups there.
Okay, now you’ve given your blog a name and purchased the domain and hosting for your blog.
At the moment, I am with Dreamhost because I have been blogging for over 5 years.
All that’s left now is to purchase a theme.
4. Purchasing a beautiful theme for your book blog
I would suggest buying a WordPress theme.
You don’t have to buy an expensive one.
Free WordPress themes are okay but they do have some cons:
- Free WordPress themes aren’t updated, and when your WordPress updates next, there is a good chance the WordPress theme will not work.
- It isn’t SEO friendly. It will not allow Google’s spiders to crawl your website easily, meaning you are going to find it difficult to be indexed or ranked.
- Due to poor coding, your website speed will get affected. It will lag a lot after installing plugins, and ranking and monetization will become hard. So, make sure you get a popular free theme if you’re deciding to use a free WordPress theme like GeneratePress.
When you start a website, ranking is not up to you – it’s up to the Search Engines.
However, it is your job to make crawling very easy, and choosing paid hosting and a paid WordPress theme will help you rank easily.
But if your budget is tight, get a free one now and upgrade to a paid theme later, it’s alright.
Cheer Up is currently the theme for my blog – Mind Space Cafe.
It’s very minimal, clean, and simple to set up.
It’s super pretty and highly flexible.
And its support staff is excellent! It also integrates with a lot of plugins which I love the most.
It’s a one-time fee for the whole theme, and you get a lot of demos for this theme. I’m currently using the Sweet Crunch (Food) demo for my theme.
And this is how my website looks at the moment using this theme:
If you are looking for a free theme, then only download Astra.
It’s plain, simple, and very easy to work with.
Not to mention – it’s one of the fastest website themes in the world. And it works very well with all Ad networks.
Because it is owned by WordPress, it is constantly updated and they make sure that it runs smoothly and works with almost everything.
It’s compatible with all plugins and runs ads very fast too.
You can even upgrade to the paid version if you want more featured – it is highly recommended by most bloggers who make 6-8 figure incomes from their blogs.
5. Install these plugins first
There are quite a few plugins that you should get, but I will list the few that make a big difference.
- Akismet (FREE) You’re going to be getting a lot of spam comments as a blogger. And you’re not going to have the time to weed them all out. Akismet is free for personal blogs. So download this to filter spam comments.
- Yoast SEO (FREE)– For Google and other websites to find you better, SEO is a treasure in disguise. This isn’t an end-all SEO plugin, but it does help you get started by editing your post URLs and editing your meta-description. You do not need the paid version.
- Shortpixel (PAID)– This plugin will smush your images, which will boost your website’s speed because all of your images will be optimized! Speeding up your website will also help boost your SEO. I highly recommend getting the one-time pack for $19. It is worth it.
Over time, you will find many plugins that will suit your needs. But don’t download it unless you find it necessary.
Using tons of plugins can slow down your website drastically. Try not to use more than 20.
Note: So, always make sure that your plugins integrate nicely to give you a proper and fully functioning website. If you have issues with a certain plugin or it’s not updating as it should, delete it immediately and find an alternative. Plugins can cause a lot of damage to your website if they are not updated or the code is buggy.
6. Build the necessary pages for your blog
1. A Home Page
When people land on your website, they need to know in less than 5 seconds what your website is about and who your blog serves.
Make your homepage unique, pretty, and highly relevant.
There are a few things you can display on your home page:
- A little excerpt about yourself and a small button leading to your About Page (this can be on your sidebar)
- Recent blog posts
- Include relevant keywords in your niche on your Home Page. This will boost your SEO.
If you want to keep things super simple, just let your homepage be your blog page and display all your blog posts on the front page. You can always edit the design of your home page later.
This is what I do for all my blogs. I just let the blog posts display on the homepage with a neat sidebar.
This easier for ad implementation.
2. About Page
This is the most viewed page by people because when people read your blog posts, they will want to know who wrote this post and how they can perhaps get in touch with you.
When you’re writing your About Page, you can include:
- A little history about yourself: How old you are, where you live (only country – not your whole address), and why you started your blog. When people know what drove you to create your blog, they will identify with your passion and relate to you better.
- Your credentials: If you have some credentials that will help make you look like a professional reader or writer – include that. Google will crawl it and give you more credibility.
- Whom your blog serves: Write a bit about why you’re writing your blog and whom your blog is for. This is very important.
- A relevant and high-converting opt-in: Include an extremely relevant opt-in that will get people to your email list. (you can add this later after a couple of months of starting your blog)
Additionally, you can read this post to learn how to write an extraordinary About Page for your website.
3. Contact/Reach Me Page
If your readers love you and connect with you, they will want to write you little notes or hire you.
They may also want to write for your blog or ask you questions.
Aside from that, Companies and Brands will also want to reach out to you.
Have your Contact Page visible, so these people find it easy to write to you. Additionally, the more open and approachable you look, the faster you build trust.
Note: Make sure that you include a link to your Contact page on your Footer.
Now, let’s write blog posts for your blog.
7. Write and publish SEO-optimized blog posts for your blog
The moment your blog is created, you need to spend every waking second creating content.
And the more content you get out, the faster you will find your content ranking for keywords.
Focus on creating about 15-20 blog posts in the first month. This is you telling Google that you are serious about your blog and you want to be ranked.
After 6 months of writing 15-20 posts/month, you can slowly move down to 10.
It is preferable to publish at least 10-15 blog posts a month, but if you are really short on time and you don’t mind delaying your ranking, then it’s alright – you can write less.
These posts must be very high in quality; otherwise, you will not rank or be indexed.
Your posts should be 2K words minimum if they are heavy tutorials or guides. You can go up to 6K words or even 9K words if the topic is very difficult to rank for.
If you blog about tiny questions – you can even write 500 words.
For example, if you were writing a blog post on what order to read the Harry Potter books in – the post can’t be very long.
This is okay. It’s fine.
Now, here’s how I started:
- Find websites with a domain authority between 1-25. You’ll have to install the Ubersuggest Chrome extension (it is free) and then enter multiple keywords (in your niche) in Google Search. For instance, if I had a drawing blog, I’d write “best pencils for drawing” or “how to draw a horse.”
- Make a note of all the websites with low domain authority in a Spreadsheet. Collect about 30.
- Use a premium Keyword tool (I suggest KeySearch because it’s one of the most cost-effective tools out there), enter each website in the tool, and find out which keyword is the domain ranking on the front page.
- This means that you have a chance to beat their ranking and replace it with yours.
- You can beat them if you write a better post than theirs. Write a blog post on the same topic that is even better and outranks theirs so that you stand a chance to replace their ranking.
The second method you use is to identify some terms people are using in your niche.
Write them in your keyword Tool and find out the keywords or topics that have a search volume of only 10.
See if the topic is covered. If it isn’t, write a post!
When Google realizes that nobody has written a blog post for that topic, they will have no chance but to rank you for that keyword at the top of the page.
Even if 10 people are finding it, it doesn’t matter – this will help your blog get noticed by 10 people.
That post might even rank for similar keywords – bringing in more traffic.
This is the most crucial step when starting a blog.
Most people assume they can write about anything they wish.
No. If you don’t pay attention to SEO, you:
- Won’t be able to rank for any keywords
- Won’t get traffic
- Will not be able to monetize your blog quickly
Your entire monetization plan depends on you ranking for keywords via Google. This will help people find you via organic search.
Trust me, you can rely on social media – but so many people have had their social media accounts banned or suspended for no reason. Pinterest recently changed its algorithms, and it now takes 9 months to rank new accounts.
Another method is to use your paid Keyword Tool (please don’t use free keyword tools – they give you inaccurate results).
I explain my entire process of nailing keywords and writing solid, SEO-optimized posts in this eBook.
If you are in India, PayPal might not work since I am in India too. So please contact me for alternate payment methods.
What kind of posts should you write?
Aim to answer specific queries – the devil is in the details.
You can also write very specific posts in answer to very specific questions.
So how do you write a detailed post?
1. Be detailed and solve one problem at a time
Every time you write a blog post, try and tackle one problem at a time.
For instance, this post that you’re currently reading teaches you to start a book blog.
But I also have a post that teaches people how to start a lifestyle blog.
The topic might be similar, but they are two different posts entirely.
Your blog post needs to be extremely detailed and not leave any questions in their minds.
At the end of the blog post, your reader must feel like they’ve learned something new and their lives are just a little bit better. Basically, they should be able to take what you’ve said and put it into action.
2. Do your keyword research methodically
I started my newest blog in the beauty niche 2 weeks ago.
For the first 50 articles, I’m going to target very low-volume keywords – between 0-10 with a search difficulty of 0. Obviously, I’m going to double-check this with the first page results on Google to see if I can outrank anyone before diving in.
Then for the next 50 articles, I’ll target 10-100 volume keywords, again with low difficulty.
I know that keyword tools aren’t accurate, but I am using my best judgment here. This has taken months to develop if not a year.
As I understand more about this niche and note what Google likes on the website, I’ll get better at choosing keywords.
The idea is to write, write and write.
Don’t waste your time fiddling with your theme and trying to make your blog look pretty.
You need content – a library of content.
3. Listen to your readers
Your readers and fans are going to write comments or emails to you after 1 year of blogging.
They will ask you questions or your thoughts on a particular subject. All this will happen 9-12 months later.
So, be prepared to hear crickets for a while.
Use these emails and comments to develop even more blog post ideas.
You can also use Facebook Groups to find out the most popular ideas in your niche.
Use those ideas to get keyword ideas and see what keywords have very low volume and competition.
4. Find your USP (Unique Selling Position)
I cannot stress this enough.
There are a lot of helpful posts and tutorials that I’ve read online, but sometimes, I feel like a robot writes them.
Many blogs have been started by people who just want to make money.
Unfortunately, that shows in their writing.
They either vomit out facts or keep their writing devoid of their personality.
This is not going to keep people on your website for long.
Your readers want to know the real you behind your blog. A lot of people might cover the same topic you have. And if people want to learn about something technical or plain, they can read Goodreads. Instead, they’re coming to you.
So, your personality needs to shine through your blog.
What makes your blog unique is the way you tell it – your voice.
Infuse your personality in your writing. Don’t be a plain Jane. Or a simple Dimple.
The way you connect the dots matters.
Everybody’s perspective is different. So, write from your heart.
Additionally, you can use my Business Planner to help you find your voice and start a Business the right way!
If you are in India, PayPal might not work for you. So please contact me for alternate payment methods.
5. Have an enticing title
Using relevant keywords is going to help your Blog Post reach the top.
The idea is to get them to click on your title.
If your title is like everyone else’s, nobody is going to click on it.
Remember, the headline of your Blog Post is super important. Only if the headline resonates with the reader will click on it to find out more.
So, how do you write a good headline?
- Aim to invoke emotions like fear/curiosity/happiness. E.g., This Common Food is making you put on weight unknowingly!
- Use odd and prime numbers to invoke curiosity. E.g., 7 Reasons Why Your Wife Isn’t Talking to you!
- Add urgency to get readers to click on your title. E.g., How to become confident in your interview in the next 5 minutes!
- Ask a question before stating the title: “Toddler not sleeping? 3 Easy Hacks to get your toddler to sleep right now!”
Writing headlines takes practice. It doesn’t happen in a snap.
But here’s a tip that’s worked for me.
Study your competitors.
Hop on Pinterest and read a few blog posts in your niche. Before clicking on a title, ask yourself why you decided to click on it.
What made you click on it?
This technique has helped me draft better blog post titles.
Note down the titles that make you want to click on them and keep them in a swipe file.
If it gets a high score, use it as your main title.
Use the others for your other pins. I explain my Pinterest strategy in this post.
6. Use paid stock photos
If you really cannot afford paid stock photos, it’s okay. Invest in it later.
However, if you’re keen on making your blog stand out and improving your SEO, paid stock photos help.
This is another signal to Google that you are serious about your blog. It helps you stand out from hobbyists.
A lot of people don’t treat their blog as a business but expect it to make money for them. That’s not how blogging works.
Search Engines give more priority to unique images.
And since the free stock photos are used worldwide by millions of blogs, paid stock photos give you an advantage over these websites. If you are starting your blog in a competitive niche, I highly suggest using paid stock photos.
I required a lot of versatile photos since I have different blogs. I just took a paid subscription to Canva Pro. They have millions of photos that work for every niche.
I prefer making 1-time investments for my blog because I feel I save more money that way.
And remember to embed images in your blog posts so that you can break away from large groups of text.
This will help your reader not get sore eyes.
Additionally, you can also embed videos in your blog posts.
And the quickest way to do that is to film them using your laptop, phone, or an inexpensive vlogging camera.
Or you can embed other people’s videos in your blog from Youtube.
YOU WILL ALSO LOVE: 13 DEADLY BLOGGING MISTAKES I MADE IN MY FIRST BLOG
Overall, writing viral blog posts is a tad bit long but super easy.
By constantly writing content that clicks with one type of audience, you become an expert, and you will make a lot of sales and commissions because you will have built trust.
If you are keen on learning how to write blog posts that rank for keywords and want the techniques I have used to grow my blogs, please check out my SEO eBook.
It contains all the no-nonsense strategies that I personally use to rank my blog. Please note that PayPal doesn’t work from Indian to Indian accounts. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for alternate payment methods.
8. Grow your Blog Traffic from the ground up
1. Implementing SEO
I’ve already given you a gist on how you have to target low-competition, low-volume keywords in the beginning and write fantastic blog posts.
But apart from that, you have also to write more blog posts around specific topics that you want to be known for.
This builds topical authority and is something that will help Google understand how much expertise you have around a specific topic.
Let’s say I want to be known in the drawing tools topic; I’d write posts like this over the next 3 months:
- 5 drawing tools every artist needs
- Which drawing pencils are perfect for shading?
- Everything you need to know about blending stumps
- How to convert your pencil sketch into a digital illustration (step by step)
- The ultimate guide to using charcoal pencils
If you notice, the blog posts are related to drawing but specifically focus on drawing tools.
It’s incredibly narrow, and I will internally link all of these blog posts to each other to help create a nice silo.
Do you get my drift?
Google will watch my blog for a while and place me in a category – understanding that I’m targeting people who like drawing.
Internal linking helps tell Google that all of your posts are related and this enhances your SEO.
If you are in the makeup niche, then I would create the following posts around the topic of lipsticks.
- 5 nude lipsticks for brown skin
- 7 red lipsticks for Indian skin
- How do you choose lipsticks for cool-toned skin
- 10 best non-transfer liquid lipsticks for Indians
- Lipstick or Lipgloss? How do I choose?
This will help me rank faster for keywords related to Lipsticks.
And eventually, I will become an expert on lipsticks.
Once I start ranking for multiple posts on lipsticks, I will move to blushes and eyeshadows.
Creating multiple silos around makeup topics will help establish me as an expert in Make-Up.
This is precisely what I did with my posts in Mind Space Cafe and got it to rank for thousands of keywords in the 0th or 1st position.
I cover every strategy I’ve used to rank higher in my SEO Blueprint eBook.
Do not ignore SEO because when you’re applying to Ad networks in the future, they will want to know how much of your traffic is organic. So, organic traffic is significant. It doesn’t fluctuate as much as social media traffic.
I know many people who have been denied getting into an Ad Network because most of their traffic came from Social Media.
Speaking of social media…
2. Use Pinterest
SEO takes about 9-12 months to kick in, and it’s best to rely on other sources of traffic to help grow your blog’s traffic.
Pinterest works great for lifestyle blogs and creative blogs because over 80% of Pinterest’s audience is women.
Most niches have a good base on Pinterest.
However, in early 2020, Pinterest went through major algorithm changes, and it’s no longer as easy as before to get traffic from Pinterest.
It takes about 8 months for a pin to take off and bring significant traffic as Pinterest prefers old pins.
I’ve explained my manual pinning strategy here. I only pin for 10 minutes a day.
And I watched Carly’s training to see how she used only Pinterest to grow her blog traffic to a micro-niche.
In this video training, she shows you:
- All her statistics – how she started from zero page views and grew it to 40K
- How many pins she pins a day, and how she pinned to just two boards (personal and not group boards)
You can check it out here – I found it really helpful!
When it comes to Pinterest, I only recommend Carly’s courses and eBooks because no one else teaches better strategies.
I love her strategies, and all her strategies include manual pinning. She doesn’t talk about Tailwind at all.
So, the course is a one-time investment.
But, if you only want to use Pinterest and no other social media (this is what I have done), then get her complete Pinterest course.
- Optimizing your Pinterest profile the right way
- How and where to use keywords (how to find them)
- How to create and design your pins to get long clicks
- Studying analytics and using it to your advantage
- How many pins to pin and where to pin them
- Pinterest SEO- the whole enchilada
I’ve taken many courses on Pinterest, but this is by far the best one ever. As a social media illiterate person, I found this very helpful. You can read my full review of the course in this post.
The key is to be patient and promote your content on all the social media that bring you the most traffic. Pinterest is responsible for almost 25% of my blogging traffic and brings me tons of views.
3. Join Blogging communities
Aside from marketing on social media, keep aside time to join FB groups to be part of a community where you can share your views and get help related to blogging.
It’s nice also to help others because when you offer help and advice to others who were in your shoes 1 year ago, you make friends and establish yourself as an authority on the subject.
Try not to spam FB groups with links to your blog posts unless absolutely necessary.
However, if someone has asked for a resource and you have one, you may post a link to your blog post only if the admin allows it.
Helpful Tip: Instead of sending people to your blog posts, send them to your opt-in landing page. This way, you will get people on your email list.
Furthermore, when you make online friends and have accountability buddies, you can keep tabs on each other and be constantly motivated to work on your blog!
4. Comment on other blogs
There are many ways to market your blog for free, and this is by far the best one!
Whenever you like a blog post and find it valuable – don’t just leave.
Write a comment.
Ask a question.
Keep the conversation going wherever you go.
Not only does this help you build relationships with bloggers, but it also makes you visible on the Blogging Map.
Comment on at least 2-3 blog posts every single day. This will help you get noticed in the blogging community. Make sure your comments are detailed and well-thought.
Here are a few posts to help you gain blog traffic:
- 13 Proven Strategies to Decrease your Bounce Rate
- 33 Easy Ways to Double your Blog Traffic
- 13 Free Ways to Market your Blog and Business
- How I currently use the manual pinning method in Pinterest in 2022
- How I used Pinterest to gain 18,000 views in my 3rd-month blogging!
- 17 Killer Ways to Get Tons of Blog Comments
5. Build backlinks
Google will take at least 6-9 months (sometimes 12 months) to move your website from the sandbox and start ranking it because it needs to see your expertise, and authority and understand what you blog about.
The best way to speed this up is to build backlinks.
However, it will take time for you to build natural backlinks and domain authority. You can sign up for HARO, and then you will get emails every day about journalists looking for answers to questions. You’ll have to weed them out based on the category that you blog under, and you can respond to specific inquiries.
If your answer gets chosen by a particular journalist, you will be featured on a website in the same niche as yours and higher domain authority.
I’ve seen many requests for book reviews or book related questions.
This will give you link juice, and your domain authority will go up.
I learned this from Debbie Gartner.
She has an excellent eBook on building backlinks that I snagged a year ago.
The best part?
None of her strategies include blogger outreach. You can build these backlinks on your own! A major mistake that most bloggers make is not trying to get backlinks. This accounts for at least 50% of how well your article ranks. She shares over 31 strategies and places to get high-quality backlinks. Check out her eBook here.
I didn’t know most of these strategies myself. So as an Intermediate blogger, I have learned a lot from this eBook!
I understand that I have covered a few paid resources in this blog post.
But please note that they are all one-time buys.
You don’t need anything else if you’re starting a blog.
To recap, the best way to grow your blog quickly is to:
- Build a blog with just paid hosting and a theme
- Start writing a lot of posts (all related to 1 topic)
- Get a paid keyword tool to help you choose keywords (that you can actually rank for)
- Learn about SEO properly (my ebook will really help)
- Understand and exploit Pinterest
- Spend some time getting backlinks
If you realize that you are ranking on the front page for multiple keywords in a year or so, you may not need to invest time in trying to procure backlinks.
People will automatically link to your blog posts, and you will build backlinks naturally.
Overall, the best strategies I use to build traffic to my blog are SEO and building backlinks. I don’t rely on Pinterest too much, because it’s very finicky.
Now, let’s skip to the good part.
9. Make money with your blog
I don’t recommend ads for brand-new blogs.
Your aim is to build traffic and build a loyal following so that you get many people coming to your website every day.
Once your blog makes at least 5K pageviews monthly, you can consider joining an Ad network; there’s no harm against it.
Ads slow down your website (this is normal), so I always suggest that my readers work on their blogs for at least 3-6 months and have at least 50 posts before applying to an ad network.
Otherwise, people will leave your website if they see 2 blog posts and a website full of ads!
Here are a few ad networks I recommend:
- Ezoic – They don’t have a cut-off; you can apply as soon as you finish 6 months of blogging. But make sure you have a lot of posts.
- SHEMedia – You need 20K page views, but I applied with 1K on Mind Space Cafe, and they accepted. They mainly look for lifestyle blogs whose audience is predominantly women.
- Mediavine – You need to have 50K sessions a month before applying. They pay exceedingly well. It will take a year or so to get here with your traffic
2. Affiliate marketing
Okay, what is affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing means you promote a product or a service (that you are an affiliate for), and you make money every time someone uses your link to buy the product/service.
For Mind Space Cafe, I am an Amazon Affiliate.
So, if I suggest an excellent book to read in my niche (and use my Amazon affiliate link), and they purchase the product, I’ll earn a small commission.
This is one of the best monetization strategies that work with almost any type of blog.
Because there are companies that you can tie up within pretty much any niche and start promoting straight away, Tracie Fobes has a good guide on all the affiliate companies you can join for any niche. It’s free; please check it out!
The only factors that you need to consider are:
- Is the affiliate product/service in your niche?
- Do you actually enjoy using this product/service?
- Can you see yourself promoting this product/service to your readers?
Apply to Amazon US’s Affiliate Program if your readers predominantly stay in the US.
Please wait for at least 8 months before you apply. Amazon requires you to make 3 qualifying sales in a span of 180 days. Otherwise, your account will be closed.
So, wait till you have some traffic coming in before you apply.
Many people trust Amazon when it comes to their shopping. So even though the payout and commission rates are less, you stand a good chance to make more money via Amazon because more people click on the links.
As an Amazon Affiliate, you can also promote Audible for people who want to listen to books instead of read them.
Please be careful when picking affiliate companies.
You want to be very picky initially because you are building trust with your readers, and you cannot jeopardize this over a few measly bucks. So do not promote products you don’t use or don’t like.
Promote something that you are comfortable promoting and know will work for your audience.
Here are some affiliate marketing hacks you may enjoy!
3. Sponsored Posts
I haven’t tried this monetization strategy till now, but you can write sponsored posts for companies or clients as you grow.
When your traffic grows and becomes big, companies will reach out to you to ask if you are comfortable writing about a book they want to promote.
If it falls in your niche, you should definitely go for it. You can learn more about sponsored posts here.
There are more monetization strategies, but I will not list them in this post because it will get too long.
How to be a successful book blogger?
In the Facebook Groups, I am a part of, I constantly see questions like, “I’ve been blogging for 10 months, but I have made no money. I want to give up.”
It is very disheartening to see that people have such high expectations for making money blogging.
Blogging is a long game.
We don’t join MBBS and expect to become doctors in a month, do we?
Likewise, blogging takes time to make money.
Because it takes time to start getting traffic.
As I explained before, it can take 9-12 months to even start ranking.
Once you do start ranking, your traffic will go up like a hockey stick and it will become more stable.
It is hard to get the first 1K pageviews. But after that, it increases almost linearly or even exponentially.
In some extremely rare cases, blogs do take off because they become viral or have found a gap in the market and then fill that gap.
But most bloggers take time to make money blogging, especially if you’re blogging now or starting a blog after 2020.
It takes time to grow, time to build trust, and time to gain a loyal audience.
It will take time for Google to understand what your posts are about and rank you. SEO takes time to work. You may also find these posts helpful:
- Is blogging dead? Answering all your questions
- How long does it take to make money blogging realistically?
- 19 frequently asked questions I get asked about blogging
- My 6 month blogging report for my new art blog
Once you start getting traffic, making money is really easy.
If you have about 100 thousand pageviews, you can make $1K or more just via Ads.
2. Analyse your progress
For the first 6 months, your progress will be close to minimal.
Let it go.
After three months, analyze your progress at the end of each month. See which keywords you are ranking for and go through those blog posts and optimize them for those specific keywords. You can use Google Search Console for this.
See which topics are doing better than others and write more blog posts related to those topics.
Your blog will continuously evolve and become better and more refined – but the only way to get there is to blog consistently.
Speaking of which…
3. Be consistent
It’s so easy to start something new, but it’s very, very hard to show up day after day and work when you cannot see the results immediately.
No one has it easy.
None of us are given a guarantee that we will succeed when we invest money into our blogs.
Entrepreneurship is like taking a leap of faith into the darkness.
The only way to succeed is to put in the work, day after day, and keep noting what works and what doesn’t while tweaking things to become successful.
So, focus on growing your blog and let it grow slowly.
If you have written 100 blog posts (200,000) words and are not seeing any traffic then you have either picked the wrong niche or your posts just aren’t SEO optimized.
But for the most part, you will make money blogging.
You’ll get there!
Here are some posts you may enjoy:
- How to form a content plan for the next 6 months and crush it!
- The Ultimate Guide to Being a consistent blogger
- 27 productivity hacks to help you blog better!
- How long does it take to make money blogging?
- 17 Reasons your Blog is not making money
- How long does it take to get organic traffic? + Case study
If you have any questions – please leave them down in the comments below and I’ll be more than happy to help!