Hello everyone! Welcome to the third installment of my How to Start a Book Blog series. Today we’ll be discussing how to get followers and how to utilize social media.
So what are some common ways to follow?
The most common are through Bloglovin’ and Twitter, in my opinion. GFC is also very popular for people who use Blogger- it’s a bit of a pain to allow that option on WordPress and takes some coding.
Tell me about Bloglovin’.
Most people prefer Bloglovin’ because it is a very convenient way to keep all the blogs organized and easy to sift through. It also allows you to ‘heart’ posts which saves them so you can look at them later. It doesn’t matter what platform the blog is- whatever platform, you can follow it through Bloglovin’. So in order to entice your followers to follow you through Bloglovin’, make sure to set up an account and claim your blog through the site. Then you can put a link/button to your blog’s Bloglovin’ page in your sidebar (on your actual blog) to make it easy for people to follow. There are some buttons that you can get directly from Bloglovin’ to put on your sidebar.
- See my blog’s page on Bloglovin’ here.
- Chasm of Books has some great posts on why you should use Bloglovin’. Here is part 2.
All right, sounds good. So what about Twitter?
Twitter is insanely popular with everyone in general, not just book bloggers. So it’s really easy to make it work for you. There are a lot of book blogger circles on Twitter that you’ll soon become part of if you keep up with it. A lot of people use it for both personal use and their blog, but I use it just for my blog. I have my blog set up so it automatically posts to Twitter every time there is a new post. This is through the extremely useful Jetpack plugin, which can do a lot more than just that. It also allows people to subscribe through email and it tracks your page views.
But you have to be careful for a few reasons. One is that some people don’t like it when your only Tweets are your blog posts and they will unfollow you for that. So it’s good to have more Tweets- things that are going on with you, other updates in the blogosphere, cool things you’ve found online. Another thing is that often Twitter is a way for people to follow you when they aren’t that interested in keeping up with your blog. I am guilty of this myself. If I want to follow back to be polite but am not really super interested in your blog, I’ll use Twitter. If I’m serious, I’ll use Bloglovin’. If I’m SUPER SERIOUS, I’ll use email. Bottom line- it’s good to have multiple ways to follow your blog.
- See my Twitter profile.
This option is the default way to follow on Blogger. You can bring it over to WP so the followers that are more comfortable using that can still use it to follow you, but it involves some code.
- Ashley from NoseGraze has a great tutorial on putting GFC on your WP blog.
What about email subscriptions?
These are pretty popular things to have on blogs, but not many people actually subscribe to blogs through emails. This is because a lot of blogs have posts almost every day and it would be annoying to get an email EVERY SINGLE DAY from a blog. So usually people only follow this way if they LOVE LOVE LOVE the blog and are afraid of missing something, or if the blog is amazing but doesn’t post that frequently so they’re afraid it might get lost in their Bloglovin’ feed.
You can allow people to follow your blog via email through the Jetpack plugin or through MailChimp, in my experience. Jetpack is the easiest way. I think there’s a widget for it once you install the plugin.
MailChimp is great mostly for newsletters, but it does email subscriptions too- there’s an option where you can have it email subscribers whenever there is a new post up. I do both- my newsletter is a monthly summary of my posts.
Aren’t we forgetting something important? What about Facebook?
Of course! Tons of blogs have Facebook pages. Just create one for your blog, set the profile/cover image to match your blog, and you’re good to go. Just remember to have a link/button in your sidebar so people know it’s there. The one thing you’ll have to remember is to keep updating it. I only occasionally do, if my blog has some big event (like this) going on or I feel particularly proud about a new post. Or if I’m trying something new, like booktubing.
You keep talking about booktubing. Is that YouTube?
Yes. It’s YouTube, but the book blogger part of it. (It would be great if it was it’s own separate site.) Anyway, ‘booktube’ is the term bloggers use when they talk about making bookish videos on YouTube. I would say the grand majority of book bloggers aren’t also booktubers, but a few are. Some of the most popular book bloggers are also booktubers- I speak of Amber at The Mile Long Bookshelf and Jamie at The Perpetual Page-Turner.
This doesn’t really fall under ‘followers’ (I guess you could say subscribers?) but it is social media so I thought I’d mention that a lot of bloggers have channels connected to their blogs. It’s just another aspect of blogging that people seem to enjoy. They do video hauls, discussions, sometimes even reviews, tags, about me videos, they answer questions, all kinds of things.
- Of course I’m going to link to my own channel here.
I keep hearing about Goodreads. Explain.
Goodreads is to book lovers what the UBB plugin is to book bloggers. It’s the holy grail. Since all of us book bloggers are book lovers, we use GR for EVERYTHING. We get all of our book info from there. We keep track of all the books we’ve read and want to read from there. We discover lists and quotes and trivia. And of course we have the Goodreads reading challenge.
If you aren’t a member, I strongly advise you to check it out. If you love books, chances are you already are a member or have at least heard of it at some point. It’s a fantastic tool. A lot of bloggers have links to their GR profile so you can friend them.
- Here’s a link to my profile.
What is an RSS feed?
To tell you the truth, I’m not entirely sure how that works. I think it allows people to follow blogs on certain devices that allow that. I’ve never done it. But I know that the way for people to follow yours is to go to your website with a /feed at the end. So my blog’s feed is at awesomebookassessment.com/feed.
What are some other ways to get followers?
Besides advertising through these social media, just generally making yourself known in the blogosphere is a great idea. Visit other people’s blogs and leave meaningful comments. There is also a meme for that, Feature and Follow Friday (hosted by Alison Can Read), that I talked about in the last installment. This is probably the biggest way that new bloggers get followers. Once you’ve got a good follower base, you can continue doing the meme, but it’s no longer quite as necessary. I stopped last year.
In the long run, how important are followers?
There are so many posts about this throughout the blogosphere, notably on Ashley’s blog NoseGraze, so I won’t link to all of them, but instead summarize. In the long run, it doesn’t really matter how many followers you have, because those numbers can be deceiving. People who follow might not necessarily read most of your blog posts or check in with your blog. They may just follow and then forget about your blog. At the end of the day, blogging is about interaction. Having meaningful discussions/comments on a blog is better than having the most pageviews/followers. Think about the reason you started blogging. Was it to become a super famous book blogger, or was it simply to talk about books? Having followers is a great way to foster friendships, and in my case even pen pals, but it should never be a popularity contest. Blogging is about sharing the love of books and talking to people who care about them as much as you do.
Yes! I think I’m ready for the next step. Teach me about ARCs!
In the next segment, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about ARCs, so stay tuned. Right now, focus on getting your blog out there and making friends. I hope this was helpful to you!
So let’s talk!
Were any of these sites/tools new to you? Was this post helpful?
If you’ve just started book blogging, leave a link below so I (and my readers) can check it out & follow!
Questions? Comments? Leave a comment below!
For you seasoned bloggers out there- did I miss any big social media sites? Which ones do you use the most? How do you prefer people to follow you?