How I Blog: Blogging & Review Tips

 

First and foremost their is no “right” or “wrong” way to do things. Everyone finds their own path. It may take time, but we each have our own way of doing things. We each bring our own experiences and backgrounds to the blogging world. So, take any and all advice with a grain of salt. And, remember you will find your way. It’s all about you, so do what is best for you. 

 

I deiced to put this post together; because I’ve been asked in private messages and I was asked a while back in my 10 Quick Things About Me & My Followers Asked Me Questions and I Answered post to share some blogging tips. Both posts I replayed with a few tips. Not much, so I decided it might be time to share what I’ve learned and those quick easy cheats I use.

Now; before I even started my blog, Angel’s Guilty Pleasures, I did a search on Google: Tips on Book Blogging. I also searched my favorite blog sites to see if they had any helpful tips posted up on what they have learned. I gathered information, maybe too much, but it was all helpful; especially since I had no idea what I was doing and how to blog or write a review. I did have to learn that not everything I read would worked for me. I took all this information I learned and used it to help me find my own path and make my blog, my own. 

Last, Every year I continue to learn something new. It’s a non-stop learning process. And, I like this non-stop learning. I’ve also figured out how to fix things on my own website. When I figure something out on my own, without going to my computer geek husband, it’s a big achievement and I feel good. 

Now onto those tips:

TIPS ON WRITING A BOOK REVIEW

I did a post in June 2017 just on book reviews and some tips, but I’ll recap a few things for you on what I do. 

  • First and Foremost you have to have read the book. You can’t review what you haven’t read.
  • DNF (Did Not Finish): An exception to reading those books to the end is DNF’ing. It means you tried, but just couldn’t get through it. DO NOT BE AFARID TO DNF. It took me a while to get comfortable with this option. Once I did. It saved me time reading something I didn’t like or couldn’t get into. You can still review a DNF book. Just look at the suggested questions to think about in taking notes or do your own thing. 
  • Take Notes. Some do this on a special Book Journal Worksheet or a Notebook. I use the Evernote app on my phone.
    • Some questions to think about when reading/taking notes.
      • Was it easy or difficult to read? Fun and rewarding to read?
      • How was the world building?
      • Does the book deliver?
      • What did you find interesting about the book?
      • What did you like or dislike?
      • How where the characters? Entertaining? Enjoyable? Likable? etc…
      • Does anything in the book remind you of something in your life?
  • Thank. Digest. Mull It Over. Before starting your review sometimes it’s good to give yourself time to just digest what you read.
  • Trust Yourself. Everyone is going to have different perspectives and opinions. Don’t worry. We are all different and like different things. Remember the review is all about YOU, be honest, be bold.
  • Leave It For A While. Once you write up your review. Leave it. Come back later and look it over. You will have some fresh eyes and might notice something or remember you forgot to add something.
  • Share. Post. 

 

AUDIOBOOKS

When review audiobooks there is just a little bit more to think about then just the plot, world, and characters. You have to consider the performance, production & sound quality, and your overall reaction to your listening experience.

At the end of 2017 I started to review audiobooks. Having to consider all this, along with everything else I did to review a book I read, was a change and a challenge. I used Reviewing Audiobooks, this handy guide I found over at Audiobook Jukebox to help me with reviewing audiobooks. 

 

TIPS ON BLOGGING

The most important thing is to be yourself. This is your blog. You can post whatever you want whenever you want. Don’t make it a job. Once you do. It may not be fun anymore.

  • Copy and Paste. OMG Copy and paste are your friend. I have learned to use this option for those posts that I do more then once.

 

  • Search Bar:
    • Make sure your website has a way to search it for content. 
    • Make sure it’s easy to find and use. I have mine at the top of my page in an easy to locate location. I dislike going to a website and not being able to search for what I was looking for. It makes me not come back.

 

  • Do Not Pirate other peoples work, pictures, or words… If you want to use something make sure to say where you got it, use quotations, and add a link back to where you got the information. Their are copyright laws. You don’t want to get in trouble.
    • Don’t take pictures off the internet (Google). Get your pictures of a free stock site like AllTheFreeStock.com, a photo site that you pay for, VectorStockor take your own photos, but make sure to put your blog name or twitter hander on them. I do all three for the blog.
    • Pictures that come in a tour are ok.

 

  • Be Original. This can be in making your own pictures/banners that show up on your site or social media or this can be posts you do.
    • I LOVE Canva. It’s the sight I use to make all the banners, pictures, teaser, etc…

 

  • Don’t Over Book. This applies to tours and ARC reviews you accept/sign-up for. If you commit to reviewing or touring, make sure to complete the review in a timely manner and make sure to post your tour on time.
    • For ARC’s: To many bloggers at the begging or even seasoned ones, see all those pretty books and go a little crazy. NetGalley and Edelweiss don’t make it easy to not click away. It’s so easy to get bogged down with to many books to review.
    • If you do find yourself bogged down. Take a break. Breaks can help you get refreshed and motivated. For those that need added help on completing those ARC’s Herding Cats & Burning Soup hosts this Challenge: Blogger Shame just for those people who need the added help/motivation to clean out old review books. This challenge is dedicated to those ARC’s over 4 month’s old that you haven’t read yet.

 

  • Calendars are your friend. Use a calendar to keep track of all those reviews, tours, or whatever you put on your blog.
    • I like to use my google calendar to keep track. Others like to have an actual paper calendar they write on. Find what works for you!
    • Color Code: As you can see on my google calendar. I color code my posts and it’s a life saver. How I color code: Interviews/Guest Posts are in Dark Green, Tours/Blitzes/Release Day are in Teal, Hops/Discussion Posts are in Yellow, & Reviews are in Red.

  • If you plan on doing a post on new book releases. Maybe think about separating that from your blog calendar. I actually use BlueSky Planner Jan. to Dec. At one time I had new release on my google calendar, but it was to much, so I moved it and have been very happy.

  • Scheduling Posts. Learn to use your scheduling thing on your blog for your posts. It’s a life saver to have your posts set for a specific date and time. So much time is saved with this feature.

 

  • Social Media: Set up social media accounts for your blog and then try to be social on them. Now you don’t have to be social on all. I’m active on Facebook and Twitter all the others I just post my blog posts and that’s it. Remember to not spend too much time on social media or you miss out on reading. I had to learn how to manage both. I usually set a timer and once it’s done I get off and work on other things. It’s a balancing act. 
  • Social Media Sites I’m On:  People can follow me on these sites; Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, Goodreads, Tumbler, BlogLovin’, NetworkBlogs, BookLikes, Riffle, Amazon, BookBub
  • Blog Post Social Share: Make sure to have a way to share your posts featured on your blog. I really dislike going to a blog and wanting to share their post, but they have no share buttons. It turns me off from visiting them again.
  • Share Settings on your blog: Set up a way for your blog to share your posts to all your social media accounts. This will save you time. Their are some handy programs to use in having your blog share your posts on social media sites for you. 
    • Depending on what blog site you use to set up your blog. It may post to your social accounts for you, but you will have to set this up.
    • Divr.it is a social share site I use to share on my Facebook Page. It shares my posts for me, but only on 1 social media site; unless you pay for a plan. 
  • Newsletter/Email Subscription: Have an option to signing up for an email on your blog. Their are different options you can pick for this. Just make sure it works and people get your emails.
    • I use MailChimp (free) and really like it. The mail option that came with my website just didn’t work well enough for my liking, so I switched. 

 

  • Blog Button: Weither someone uses your button or not. Make a button for your website. 

 

  • Associate Programs: You can, but don’t have to sign up for Associate Programs. Most retails offer a program where you can make a little $ money back when someone uses your link to their site or product and then they have to purchases an item for you to get a small % back. It’s a nice program. As a blogger I don’t make much. Not even enough to cover all the giveaways I do, but the funds I do receive go to the blog. 
    • You can read about my Affiliate Program Discloser
    • Who offers programs: Amazon Associates, Kobo (Rakuten Marketing), Book Depository, and others.

 

  • Things to consider on your website:
    • An about page. This doesn’t have to be long. Something short. Introducing yourself to those who visit your blog. Check out my About Page
    • Contact Page or a way for someone to contact you
    • Policies
      • Giveaway Policy
      • Review Request/Policy
      • Affiliate Program – If you do deiced to join in one. It’s more a disclosure. 
      • FTC Discloser – Very Very Important. Can be on the main page at bottom. I have it on my main page and a designated page for it too.
      • Copyright

 

  • Mobile
    • Make sure your site works on a mobile device. Check to see if this is set up and that it looks good. 
    • I use WPMobileTouch Plugin to design my website for mobile devices. 

 

WEBSITES I USE TO HELP ME BLOG

 

PLUGINS I USE 

  • Revive Old Post
  • Shareaholic
  • Book Review 
  • CommetLuv – Lets your commuters share a post from their site.
  • AccessPress Social Icons
  • Custom About Author – This puts a small bio at the bottom of each post.
  • Image Rotator Widget
  • Progress Bar
  • Related Posts – Link to related content on your blog.
  • WPDiscuz – Comments
  • Use Any Font
  • Simple Image Widget
  • Akismet Anti-Spam

 

Well that’s it. I hope you enjoyed and where able to take something away from this post.

 

I was born and raised in Northern Indiana. I’m an outdoor sun loving reader living near San Fransisco. I’m a mother, wife, dog owner, animal, and book lover. I’m the owner, reviewer, and mind behind Angel’s Guilty Pleasures. My favorite animals are horses & dogs. As for reading I love all things paranormal & urban fantasy. My favorite shifters are dragons!

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24 comments on “How I Blog: Blogging & Review Tips

  1. wow this is such a fantastic post! Great information here! This is pretty much a “book blogging encyclopedia” I cannot think of a single thing you left out! Thanks so much for sharing all this Angela!

    • You are welcome!

  2. This post is super helpful! It’s so detailed and basically outlines all the essentials that a book blogger needs <3 I haven't tried the Google Calendar for my blog yet but that's something I starting now itself. Thanks for all the other tips you've shared 😀

    • Fanna, I’m glad you found my post to be useful. Ya, it is detailed and outlines a lot of essentials for book bloggers. I’m a fan of my Google Calendar. It helps keep me organized on featured posts for the blog. Hope it works for you!

  3. This post is so freaking helpful I can’t even sdfsdfaf. Thank you so much!! I have done some of the things that you mentioned like the Google Calendar but there are so many tips that I haven’t tried that will make my life so much easier!

    • I’m glad I could help. It not easy blogging. You think it will be, but then you get into it and find out their is more to it then just posting. I’m glad I had help from other bloggers, was brave enough to ask those bloggers for suggestions and advice, and found sites that had the information I need.

  4. Lots of fantastic information here! You’re way more organized than I am, I’ll admit. I’ve come to know this about myself though, and I make it work. LOL!

    • Thank you. I’ve always been an organized person. It’s good you’ve get that you aren’t, but you still make it work ^_^

  5. Loved this post – I like to see how other bloggers do things. I hadn’t heard of the “Revive Old Posts” plugin, so I’m off to check that out.

    • Glad I could help you find a new plugin. It’s great to get those older posts out their and have people come to your blog to visit. Thank’s for visiting.

  6. Thanks for sharing all this information. Great post.

    • You are welcome!

  7. These are some great tips. I agree that it doesn’t matter how long you’ve blogged for, you are constantly learning. I also agree that what works for one person, might not work for another. Nice to have these resources in one location too. Great post.

    • Glad you enjoyed this post Melanie. Have resources all in one location is great/helpful!

  8. Great tips!!

    • Thank you!!!

  9. Awesome post angela!!! Some really great tips!! I will leave the blogging up to you and all the other great blogs I follow.I’m kind of a free spirit,I love to share what I read with others,but I don’t like the pressure of reading loads of books in a little time or coming up with fancy reviews.I’m a simple girl,so if I say I loved a book I totally mean it. The thing I love about your blog is even if you couldn’t finish it or you didn’t like it,you always say something positive or that it just wasn’t your thing. You totally have one of the best blogs!!! Here’s to many more years!!!

    • Thank you, Kathy. I’m happy to have you as a follower and so glad to hear you like the blog and the honest reviews.

      I never believed in being mean to an author or review on a book they written or read. I feel the honest reviews that say what they like or didn’t, even if they didn’t finish the book, are the most informative and tell me if I want to give that book a try. Their are only a handful of bloggers who I’ve truly come to relay on; because they like me don’t bet around the bush, but they don’t put down the author or his/her work. They say what they liked or didn’t in a positive way.

      As for being a blogger. I never thought I would blog. It was something my hubby suggested since I was readying all these books already. And, I’m glad I started, but I do have to say it’s been a balancing act on picking up and limiting reviews. I never new that I could get so many books to review until I started blogging. It’s exciting to get this advanced reader book, but then you feel the pressure. I had to learn to balance and to say no thank you.

  10. This post is fantastic! I bookmarked it to refer to later as well! Thank you!

    • I’m glad you found the post to be fantastic. To be honest I wasn’t sure about this post. It took me a month to make sure I had everything I wanted on it and that it looked the way it does. And, then I was still not sure if I really wanted to post on how I blog, but I’m glad I did. Their is no right or wrong way to blog, but it’s nice when you can find websites or posts that share what they use to make their blogging better or useful.

  11. Great post Angela very informative

    • Thank you, Debbie! ^_^

  12. Great post! Do you have a paid sub to canva or any stock image sites? You always have great graphics. I find it a tad more difficult reviewing audiobooks because normally when I’m listening, I’m driving and cannot take notes. For me, that means the book and narration have to work that much harder to make themselves memorable for me to have plenty of good things to say in the review.

    • For Canva I use the free service. You can pay for pictures as you go most are a $1 each, but I’ve stayed with the free images they offer and not done the pay.

      As for stock images. Yes, I’ve paid for a few stock images. I put $25 on my VectorStock account, which means I bought $25 credits. I still have some credits on my account. Their is no time limit to use them. Most images are 1 credit, but if you want the right to use it on business cards, multi-use, resale, put on a t-shirt or something like that then you need to pay for the expanded rights which costs more. I have only done the expanded right on one image and that’s the Angel I use for everything to define the blog. For many of the images I use the Free Stock photo sites or take my own pictures.

      I can see you need things to be more memorable for you with a car listen. I don’t listen in the car, but I still find audios to be a bit more challenging to review. Trying to come up with words to describe your listing experience and deciding if the narrator captured the characters the way you thought they would be…