Do you have a book blog? Do you ever get the feeling that your blog is just a little . . . blah? Or maybe your page views have gone down. Regular commenters have disappeared. Your shares are lookin’ downright pitiful.
Don’t worry. We’ve all been there.
Whether you have a new blog that you want to grow or a seasoned blog that that has hit a plateau (goddamn right I just busted a rhyme [did I say that right?]), these tips for amping up your book blog could benefit you. Or not. I don’t know your life.
Tip #1: Do you write mostly book reviews? Try writing other book-related posts!
Book reviews are awesome, but they require a ton of mental energy, especially if you want to do right by the book and the author (whether you’re giving it a glowing review or panning it). Reviews contain some of my best writing and thinking, but sometimes, I want to write something fun, where I can maybe be a little crazy and load up on cat gifs.
Writing entertainment pieces and opinion pieces can help break up the review-writing rut. They’re also more universally-read (since a book review is a bit limited to the book’s intended audience), so you may see an uptick in views and shares, as well.
Tip #2: Go lowbrow or get a little dirty.
As lofty-minded as readers are (and we are, aren’t we?), even the biggest smarty-pants likes to shut off the ol’ think-machine every now and then and just have a fun time. So don’t be afraid to slum it now and then; write about something trashy (like sj’s Trashy Tuesdays, only not Trashy Tuesdays because sj came up with that) or something that is more on the side of brain candy and not so heavy. Readers love it when you show them that you don’t take yourself too seriously.
Lowbrow doesn’t even necessarily mean that you have to run for Twilight (in fact, please, please do not run for the Twilight). You could do a post about why you want to marry Mr. Darcy, authors that you think are hotties, or, I dunno, characters you’d like to punch in the face.
Also? Don’t be afraid to get dirty, if you are of the inclination to do so. Cunt Week was one of our most rockin’ good times of 2013. I’m not saying you need to write about cunts to be a kick-ass book blogger, but you don’t have to not write about them, either.
Tip #3: Bring in fresh blood.
Real talk: if you write all or most of the content on your blog, you’re going to get burned out after awhile. I wrote a good 85% of the content for IB for a long, long time. After awhile, I ran out of inspiration and my writing started to suck. I’ve been much happier since I started writing with other people (waves at my fellow booksluts).
You don’t have to permanently add people to your blog to inject new life, though. You can trade posts with other bloggers or accept guest posts.
Tip #4: The listicle can be your friend.
Yeah, I know sites like BuzzFeed have kind of started to ruin the listicle for everyone (that’s an article that is in list form, in case you’re not familiar with the term); HOWEVER, people still love lists. In fact, you are reading a listicle right now.
Listicles have amazing advantages. They’re casual; they’re fun to write; they’re often informative; they lend themselves well to humor; they’re quick to read. And for whatever reason, we’re always drawn to see what’s on a list, aren’t we? They can also be amazing for generating comments and discussions, because everyone has their own take of what they would put on a similar list.
Speaking of discussions,
Tip #5: Make your blog more discussion-friendly.
The only way to generate discussion on a blog is to write posts that open up topics people want to talk about. This is hard if you mostly write book reviews, because you would either have to write a realllllly thought-provoking review or the person would have to have already read the book to have a comment besides “this sounds good, adding it to my TBR!” (Which, don’t get me wrong–I love knowing when someone’s added a book to their TBR based on my review. But as a discussion, it doesn’t go very far.)
Comments on a blog can be worth their uh.. I was going to say weight in gold, but they don’t weigh anything, so um.. worth their word-counts in carats? I have a great time reading through the comments, and most commenters have really valuable input.
I like to give a nudge at the end of a post to kick-start the conversation by, basically, asking people what they think of what I wrote. I invite them to criticize me at times, even, when I’ve written about something controversial. (I only get mad when they criticize stuff I didn’t even say, because it means they clearly did not read the post.) I try to respond to most comments so people know their comments are appreciated; in order to keep trolls and other unpleasants from ruining our good time, I also make sure I strictly implement our comment policy.
Tip #6: Use images.
Adding images is a no-brainer, and if the only images you’re using are book covers, you are missing opportunities. It doesn’t have to be gifs, either, if you think those are too silly; plain ol’ still images can enhance a post, too.
And speaking of images,
Tip #7: Learn some basic Photoshop skills.
Okay, this is actually a bit of a time investment, but being able to make your own promo images, sidebar badges, and blog elements can take your blog up a notch. Photoshop (or equivalent program that you have access to) isn’t that hard to use, and you can find a lot of free resources to help, from brushes, to fonts, to tutorials (both video and written).
These promo images can help you get views, too. I posted this one to Facebook and doubled the pageviews for the post:
Not only can you make promo images, but you can make original images for your blog for series, blog events, your sidebar, and so forth. These can help further your blog branding and be eye-catchers to help draw people into your content.
How do you spice up your blog? Leave your tips and tricks in the comments below!