Hello readers! When you started blogging, did you really think you would be still blogging after 5 years? I sure didn’t. Even my husband is surprised. He thought this would be another hobby that I will do for few months or a couple of years and will switch to something different. But now at this stage, after 5 years of book blogging, this blog has become part of me and my life. I’m sure is serious about book blogging. I might see myself here after another five years. I know it’s a big thing to say looking at how uncertain life can be but I love this blog and even more how it feels to be among such a supportive like-minded community. So huge thanks to you all for making me stay committed to blog for these 5 years and, if I dare to say, many more to come.
Before I actually sat to write this post I wasn’t sure what I wanted to write. I did Q&A last year. After lots of thinking, I finally came to the decision of writing #5 of 5 yrs of blogging.
5 Things I Learned from 5 Years of Book Blogging
1. Be Yourself
This is something we all know either before starting the blog or along the way. Being yourself is nonnegotiable. It’s your space, your voice, and your content that makes your blog yours and different from all other the blogs out there. Simple appearacnce, ordinary content, or not having original idea doesn’t matter, readers keep coming back because of your voice.
2. Don’t wait to try new things
If you have some idea go for it. If you keep on thinking about it, trying to make it perfect, you will going to get tired of the idea and it will feel like not good enough after some time. There is no such thing as perfection. Wha I mean is you’re not always going to be completely satisfied with your content. There will always be a point where you think, I should have added this or shouldn’t have written this or there is soemthing missing. Overthinking kills. Just write it. I made mistake of not trying to write discussion posts earlier because of doubts but once I started, I actually enjoyed it.
3. Interaction is as important as content
Writing book is not where your work ends, lots of edits, marketing, publicity… there is lot of things to do. Same is for true for blog. You don’t just post thing and disappear from the internet until you have another post to publish. It work in some cases, if the content is extraordinary or something like that but in long run content only won’t keep the blog flaoting. And let’s be clear we’re all here so we can talk about books with other poeple, not just dump our thoughts on internet. So why not interact. I know it takes time more than actually writing content but it’s worth it. You form a bond with people who likes same things, even make friends and this community is super supportive.
4. WordPress plan is not worth the money
You can pay for domain name, alright. Even that is costly on WP compared to what other sites are offering but otherwise don’t pay for any WP plans. I tried it and it didn’t make huge difference like self-hosting does. It doesn’t give you flexibility they promise with plan, nor you can monetize your blog. Self-hosting is much better and if you think you’re not sure if you’re going to blog for long then free WP works just as good. I know bloggers who are pretty amazing both with content and stats with their free wordpress, even without domain name. So if you’re are really serious and know you want to get something from blogging, want to monetize, go for self-hosting but not WP plan.
5. Don’t stop writing reviews
I know any book blog features other than reviews are more likable and more interactive but to be honest, in my experience, reviews keep the blog floating. Discussion posts, recommendations, tags are all well and really great but there will come days when you run out of topics and creativity, and in those days reviews are going to save you in your uninspired days and from getting into blogging slump. I even write post on Why Review are enough for your blog. And you can be creative with reviews too.
5 Things I still Need to Learn From Blogging (If I’m still blogging for another 5 years!)
1. Be organized
If you know me for long time, you must know staying organized is not one of my strong suit. I’m more spontaneous person. I don’t keep many drafts ready until recently. I still don’t schedule posts, I keep them almost ready but there always is something to edit in my drafts.
For almost 4 years I was used to finsih book, write review and it goes up as soon as I finished writing. It’s really hard to get out of that habit and it took me this last whole year to fall into new habit of reading books early and keep reviews in draft. I’m still far from keeping things organised. Just this month I deleted app of notes where I also kept the calender, thinking I saved the files in device but after deleting I couldn’t open the file with the other app!! I also have accidently deleted emails. (yeah, you can laugh😁) You see I’m prone to such mistakes,
Every year I keep a diary, physical or digital and then I fail to update it even before I reach the middle of year. And, it alwasy looks so messy. At the end it becomes a space to dump thoughts, ideas, or notes so randomely that it’s hard to find things when needed.
I’m also very lazy with editing and proofreading. You must be thinking how blog is working? I don’t know! That question is banned in my dictionary.
2. Time management
You’ll see this in top most skill you learn from blogging but it’s atb the bottom with me. I know you must be thinking I make my presence very clear everywhere by staying active but trust me I’m not really managing blog, reading, life very well or smoothly. I used to have fixed time for everything when I started blog but ever since my kid. things are in disarray with my already not-so-organised self.
3. Find balance
Not just with life, blog and reading but also with ARCs and my own books. Let’s not start for how long I want to get Kindle unlimited but I don’t because I’m hardly keeping my head above eARCs I get. So I hope to get that NetGalley ratio under control and get KU as I already have list of authors and their books I wish to read.
4. Be creative
Hmm!! I’m not most creative person when it comes to features other than reviews. I wish I have that brainy cap that helps me come up with unique ideas. I think I can write discussion posts if I was give the topic or question but I can’t possibly come with something unique. I hope that changes with few more years into blogging!
5. It’s okay not read each and every posts every single day
I find it hard to skip days when it comes to blog hopping. I take break on weekends but come Monday and I feel there are so many posts I missed that I should check. Not blog hopping regularly somehow unknowingly adds pressure as I have been in the habit of it since the beginning of blogging. With so many new blogs I follow and now with my kid, it’s getting hard to keep up. I know I’m not obliged to keep up but it’s hard to break the habit and I hope one day I can.
5 Advices I follow
I wrote a post on blogging rules I follow or don’t follow and I want to add few more points to it.
Consistency will always be on the top but as I have included it in my blogging rules post I’m not including it in #5 points. But I still want to say consistency is as important as quality of content. Sometimes consistency is more important than quality. Stick to 3 or 5 days or even once a week posting (2 posts per week is most advisable). It doesn’t have to be on same day or same time, just make sure you’re posting consistently.
1. Take notes while reading
It has been most useful with writing reviews. If I keep procastinating, I don’t usually, but somedays I do and in that case the likeliness of forgetting points or characters and what I think about them are really high. Keeping notes while reading helps me remember thing for longer time and it’s easy to refer or recall things that I might forget without notes.
2. White space and easy to eye
I have seen this point on one of Hugh’s post @ Hugh’s Views & News. I don’t remember exactly which one but Hugh always have amazing tips to share about blogging and I agree to most of them so you should check out the blog.
Blog aestheics and beautiful blog is not only thing that matters. Posts need to be easy to eye. I hate it when fonts are very tiny and every time I visit blog either I have to zoom or increase text size. I’m sure there are readers who aren’t reading posts in WP feed of phone that keeps all text in same size. It’s so much trouble for readers of my age, I can’t image how much trouble it can be for readers who are older than me. Trust me, even if you’re YA book blogger, old people are still reading your blog.
I also like to have white space in posts. Long long paragraphs are not very pleasing both to the eye and in reading. If there are long paragraphs with 10 sentences or more I have to drag my fingures along sentences like a newbie reader. It’s very distracting and I’m tempted to lose interest in reading whatever is written in post. So keep paragraphs short.
People are going to read posts more if there is three or four sentence in one paragraph than 7 or more. It’s also SEO friendly. And if you’re having difficulty in it (I always have!) I advice- what Karen @ BookerTalk said to me in one of our conversation through comments- you can keep the balance of long-shor-long-short paragraphs.
3. Keep cross posting automated
No need to spend hours cross posting you post in all social media individually. Save time as much as you can by enabling auto shares in apps and blog setting.
4. Sharing is caring
Share other bloggers’ posts you read or like. Show some care and support to other bloggers. It’s okay if you’re introvert or not comfortable with comments but sharing can also help in many ways not just the other blogger but to you too. Why do you think I have more twiter followers than my blog? I’m not always active on twitter. It’s sharing posts that not only give me feed for twitter or get followers but also help in connecting with bloggers, authors and publishers. It’s a win-win thing for everyone.
5. Read what you want to read
You don’t have to always read ARCs for blog growth. You can make your book blog sucessful even with old populars or classics. Don’t be pressurised by ARCs or publish reviews or mention books around publication date just because you’ve recieved one. Yes, it’s good to help authors and publishers but let’s be real, they don’t pay us. Payment is in terms of books (ebooks, if you’re international blogger like me) and we get loads of them. This is our hobby not our job and we need to keep that in mind. If you want to read it by publications date, it’s great but you don’t have to. Keep in mind reading should be enjoyed and pressure reading takes the joy away making it a chore. Nobody likes laudry or dishwashing, don’t make reading something like that.
Thank you so much for all support and keep me stick to blogging for 5 years!
How long have you been blogging?
Can you remember how long you have been following this blog or why you started following?
What advices you follow? what have you learned from book blogging or still need to learn?
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