Starting a Book Blog – How to Make Money Running a Book Review Website

start a book review website

Starting a book blog is one of the best ways book lovers can share their passion and make loads of money while at it. A book review website, same as a book blog, is where you share your thoughts on books you have read.

Not only do you share your passion for books, by starting a book blog, you help further a good cause – promoting a reading culture, which is quite brilliant.

What makes review websites very useful is because they provide valuable feedback to potential buyers. In the case of a book blog, this feedback will help other people who are thinking of reading the same book make an informed decision.

You are also able to start conversations on various book topics, grow an online community of people who share your passion for reading books, even start a book club and expand your network. On top of all these, you will make money.

Starting a book blog – money or passion?

One question you may be asking is: what if I’m not so passionate about books but I want to start a book blog because I can make money this way?

Yes, you will make money when you build an active book blog but you need a passion for books to sustain your blogging drive especially during the early days when you are not seeing the money yet.

Believe me when I tell you, one of the hardest things to do in blogging is to come up regularly with posts after posts. Without the passion to keep you going, you may be looking at one very long journey which you are likely to quit before you reach promised land.

Book lovers are passionate people. They will find you out if you are starting a book blog just for the sake of making money, and they won’t follow you. This is only my opinion but something you should think long and hard about before you start.

If you don’t have passion for books, there are so many other niche topics you can blog about, and there’s got to be something you are interested in enough to start a blog on. I suggest you go with your interests but have enough money sense to generate revenue from your blog when it starts gaining traction.

How does a book review website make money?

Before we look at what goes into starting a book blog, I’m sure you would want to know how such websites make money. Let me enlighten you a little.

When you review a book, you do 2 things: you inform people about what to expect from the book by sharing your thoughts on the said book, and you help spread the word about the book.

Now, how does the money come in?

Affiliate income

Your readers will be thankful to get such feedback from you because it would help them decide whether to buy the book or not.

In most cases, they will click on your links to buy the book. You will earn a commission, if any is available. This is called affiliate marketing. It’s one very important income source.

Promote your own books

What better way to promote your own books than to talk about it on your own website? When you build an online community of book lovers who love your book blog, they will be more than happy to read your own book when you decide to write one.

Sponsored posts

Book authors/publishers are happy to send their new books your way so you can read and share your honest feedback.

In some cases, they are willing to sponsor a post. So they pay you to publish your opinion about their book on your blog. How much they pay depends on your negotiation with them. Sponsored posts is another income source.

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You can also spread the word about book launches, new titles, events, etc. People who see the influence you have on your readers will want to, through you, tap into that base of passionate book lovers. Of course, they will pay you to advertise what they want on your site.

There are other ways you can make consistent income, like Google Adsense and other contextual Pay Per Click programs.

Traffic is king

It is important to point out that how much money you are able to make will depend on how much traffic you are able to attract to your website/blog. It does not matter what you post on your website, if there is nobody to see it, you are not going to make any money at all.

Your basic task, other than posting unique and interesting content, is to promote your blog and get as much people to like and follow your blog.

Starting a book blog

This is how you start a book blog:

1. Come up with a plan

What separates successful blogs from failed blogs is mostly in the planning. Many beginners don’t give a thought to the planning of their blog. This is in part because they are consumed with the technical aspect of starting the blog that they forget to plan how the blog should run.

Start by asking yourself the following questions

  • What genre of books will your book blog focus on?
  • Which demographics will be your target audience? Do they enjoy reading such genre of books?
  • Are there any book review websites you know? Do a quick search to find as much of them as you can.
  • How are they structured, how regularly do they publish new content, how often do you plan to publish new content, will your tone suit your target audience?
  • How will you make money with the blog? etc

The more you think about these questions and try to answer them, the more questions that will come out at you to further cement the plan of your book blog.

It’s dangerous to start anything without planning it. Starting a book blog without having a solid plan is setting yourself up for failure.

2. Choose a blogging platform

Many people will tell you they prefer WordPress over Blogger while others will tell you the opposite. I use WordPress to build all my blogs. I find it more fun to use and there are countless tools and resources I could use to make my website whatever I want it to be.

You should hear from people who use Blogger, and other blogging platforms. Then you need to decide on a platform to power your blog.

3. Pick a domain name

Your site name does not need to have the word ‘book’ attached to it. It could be any name that makes sense to you.

Make sure the name is easy to remember, contextually relevant to what you are trying to achieve, could be scaled for future purposes and, most importantly, is not another person’s trademark.

When your site gets popular, it could end up on a lot of book covers. Make sure you pick something you won’t need to change later..

4. Register your domain and host your blog

It’s time to register your domain name and host your blog. Usually, your register your domain name with a domain registrar like namecheap and find a reliable web hosting company where your files will be stored and accessed from.

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I host this blog with hostinger.com. If you are having a good experience on this blog, no downtime or anything like that, it’s because hostinger offer top-notch services and their prices won’t leave a dent in your pocket. I couldn’t recommend them highly enough.

5. Setup your blog, design a layout

This is where you install your plugins, choose a suitable theme for your blog design and make sure everything is running as they should.

It’s rather technical but don’t worry. I’ve got a free email course which will walk you through the process. You’d be going from a newbie to a pro in a few days.

If you would rather not grapple with the tech side of blogging, you can outsource the blog customization and design to a third-party. Contact me, my team will give you an excellent service.

6. Have a review policy

As your blog gets increasingly popular, authors and publishers will start approaching you to review their books or feature other contents such as interviews or author guest posts on your site.

By creating a review policy, authors will get to know the kind of post you consider, the genres you are interested in, how quickly you read and review books upon request, email address you can be contacted with etc.

Instead of waiting for people to email you for information regarding reviews on your site, it will save you time if you just create a review policy page on your website where you can direct them to upon request. This will help authors and publishers know what books to send you.

7. Promote your book blog

This is where starting a book blog could be fun, and this is where a lot people find so frustrating that they quit. Promoting any blog at all is not a stroll in the park but, in my experience, it’s fun.

Learn as much as you can about how to promote your blog. There are many methods you can adopt to get people to see your site.

Social media is one of them, search engines is another.

You can also join book clubs, forums and communities where people discuss books. Join the conversation and make yourself known.

Don’t spam any community with unwanted links. Your aim should be to contribute positively to the community, not to share links about your blog. But when you contribute positively, many of them will follow you to your blog.

Learn as much as you can about blog promotion and practice everything. Above all, make sure you start building an email list from day 1. I can’t emphasize on this enough.

Success comes eventually if you are focused and consistent.

Conclusion

Starting a book blog is more than just starting a blog for the sake of it.

Don’t start a book review website for the sake of making money; the money will not start coming immediately. You may not make any dime in your first year. But, with commitment, focus and consistency, your success is a question of ‘when’ not ‘if’.

I’m interested to know your thoughts about starting a book blog. Comment below to let me know.

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