Are you thinking of starting a book blog? Below discover the basic blogging resources I used to launch That Bookish Brunette.
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How That Bookish Brunette Started
Last year I started a blog focusing on romance novels which I self-hosted using BlueHost. I started a corresponding bookstagram account and before I new it, I was spending more time on bookstagram then the blog and it soon fell to the wayside. Then I changed my bookstagram account to a more general bookish name rather than it being solely connected to my original blog.
In early 2020, after being a part of bookstagram for about 6 months, I decided I wanted to get back into book blogging and start a blog connected to my bookstagram my account.
Having been through the process of starting a blog before, I decided to do a few things differently. Here are the blogging resources I invested in my second time around starting up a book blog.
Basic Blogging Resources
I highly recommend self-hosting with SiteGround. I pair SiteGround with WordPress.Org. I am currently on their middle-sized plan, the “Grow Big” plan which is $5.95 a month.
Their starter package, which starts at $3.95 a month, still has some great features, including a free custom domain email like elisabeth [at] thatbookishbrunette [dot] com
With SiteGround, you can:
- Monetize your blog with ads and affiliates
- Control plugins, features, and functionality
- Achieve faster-loading speeds; SG has its own optimizer and cache plugin
- Protect your website with FREE daily backups and 24/7 online support
- Create a free custom domain email
WordPress offers a variety of free starter themes. You can also purchase different themes.
That Bookish Brunette currently uses the Genesis Framework with a Hello You Designs theme. I have been loving the look and functionality of my theme. I currently use the Hello Beaches theme and really appreciated the set up guide.
StudioPress (works with the Genesis Framework) also has beautiful themes.
Plugins are great and help you add features to your website, but on the flip side, can really slow down your website. Use them sparingly and choose them carefully. Plugins are sometimes made by third-parties and can be hacked or cause other security risks.
Yoast is free and helps you rank higher in internet searches by providing you with suggestions to improve the SEO of your text. It also provides you with tips to improve the readability of your post.
You’ll want to download this plugin if you self-host with SiteGround as it clears caches and data that is slowing down your site. It also optimizes your images to improve loading times. High-speed sites rank better for SEO.
Anti-Spam and Wordfence
Protect your site from hackers and block spammy comments. Both plugins are free but have premium versions. Some people use the Askimet plugin for blocking spam.
Smash Balloon Instagram Feed
If you have a bookstagram account you want to feature on your book blog, this free plugin allows you to add a feed of your account to your site.
Genesis Simple Share
This free plugin enables you to add share icons to your posts and pages to allow your readers to share your content to places such as Facebook and Pinterest.
Something important to think about when starting your blog is ensuring that you are doing so legally, by complying with all applicable laws and regulations. There are a lot to think about–FTC Guidelines, the GDPR, CAN-SPAM Rules, etc.
I am not a graphic design expert by any means but using the following tools I have managed to make all the graphics used on That Bookish Brunette.
For some more tips on creating graphics, check out my Book Blogging Graphic How-Tos post
Canva has a free and paid version. I use Canva to make Pinterest pins, Facebook posts, and graphics for my blog.
I used to spend a lot of time creating my own pins and this ate into the time I wanted to spend on actually creating blog posts and other content. Then I discovered these amazing Pinterest templates and they completely changed my life. You can grab up to 86 templates that are easily customizable in Canva and completely streamline your pin creating process.
Adobe Spark, Photoshop, & Lightroom
I subscribe to the Adobe Photography plan, which provides me access to Photoshop, Lightroom, Adobe Spark and a few other apps for $9.99/month.
I use photoshop to create graphics for That Bookish Brunette, including my header and other images. Adobe Spark is used mainly to create Instagram Story template and Pinterest pins.
I have recently discovered the magic of Lightroom presets and have been using a couple presets to edit my images for my blog and Instagram. With my Adobe photography plan I have access to the desktop version of Lightroom but there is a mobile version that is free to use.
The Hungry JPEG
TheHungryJPEG.com has a variety of design resources you can purchase to help you in creating graphics for your blog. These include fonts, patterns, textures, icons and more. My blog header, signature, and submark were all created using items I purchased here; all three use the Sparkles Brush Font for the text, the heart in the signature and submark were part of a package of hearts clipart, and I added a gold texture to the font for the signature.
You can also find Lightroom Presets here, like the bright interior presets I use.