How to Start a Book Review Website with WordPress?

I enjoy reading books. I read books in different languages. Every book I read adds something to my life. While I don’t have too much time for reading books, I can still manage to finish up one or two books per week.

If you also like reading books, and thinking about starting a book review website, well you came to the right place. Recently I’ve started my own book review site in Hungarian language (Konyvmoly.com), and I will show you how you can do it too.

To get started you will need 3 things:

  • A good, catchy domain name that is easy to remember
  • A good web hosting, where you will setup your website
  • WordPress, to build your site and publish your reviews

Although you can start your book review site for absolutely free, I would recommend buying a domain and hosting if you plan in the long run. In this article I will show you how to get started with a minimum of money.

Domain Name & Web Hosting

Domain name and web hosting go hand in hand. The domain name is the web-address, that you will type into the web browser to access your website. Web hosting is a server (computer), which you can rent from a hosting company, where you will keep your website files.

I won’t go into technical details, because I want to keep this article as simple as possible.

So you need to purchase a domain name and web hosting. For this I recommend BlueHost. This company offers different hosting plans and a free domain name. You can choose the cheapest, the Basic Plan, which starts at $3.95/month.

Upon signup, you will select and register the domain of your choice. BlueHost will automatically connect your domain to your hosting plan, so you don’t need to dive into any technical stuff.

After you purchase the domain and hosting plan, you need to setup your website.

Setting up a WordPress Boor Review Website

Now you might think that you have to learn web programming to setup your site. No way! With WordPress, you don’t have to know programming. In fact, WordPress is so simple that anyone, who knows how to use MS Office or other text editing software, will know how to use WordPress.

On top of that WordPress is a free website building software, that can be used for any type of site.

Setting up WordPress with BlueHost is extremely simple. Here is a detailed tutorial on how to install WordPress to BlueHost quickly.

I highly recommend reading the linked article, because it shows you step-by-step the signup process to BlueHost and WordPress installation.

After you have successfully installed WordPress, you can access your site through your domain. Just type in the domain you have registered into the web browser.

You will see the default WordPress installation. You want to customize it a bit, to look unique and add some extra features that a book review website has.

Install a New WordPress Theme

Login to the WordPress control panel, by accessing the yourdomain.com/wp-admin url in the web browser. Type in your user name and password.

login to wordpress

In the left side of the screen, you will see the menu. Click on the Appearance > Theme menu.

wordpress change theme

Click on the Add New button and choose a theme from the WordPress repository. Select and activate the theme you like. These themes can be used for free, so you don’t need to spend any more money.

Now you have a new design on your website, which you can customize even further by adding a custom logo, changing colors, etc. But this is more technical, so I will not go into details.

Install a Book Review Plugin

Now you need to install a plugin, which will add extra features to your standard WordPress system. I use Book Review plugin, but you can use any other book review plugin you like.

In the WordPress dashboard access the Plugins menu and click on Add New. Search for book review plugins in the WordPress repository and choose the one you like most.

wordpress add new book review plugin

Install and activate the plugin.

You might want to install some other plugins to make your site even better. Here is a list of the essential plugins that every WordPress site should use.

Start Writing Reviews of Your Favorite Books

Now, that your website is up and running, the next step is to populate your website with content. Start writing reviews of the books that you’ve read.

Try writing the reviews in a fashion that you don’t make any spoilers. You want people to actually read the books.

Take some good photos of your books and upload it on your blog as featured image to every post you create. This will make your blog more legit and your readers will actually believe that you read the books you are reviewing, and not just taking some information from around the web and sharing with them.

With WordPress you can publish your reviews really easy, and can categorize and tag them too.

wordpress add new post

Drive Traffic to Your Book Blog

Once you have a good amount of reviews, traffic should start coming from Google. This however takes a lot of time to be significant.

You want to speed up the process and find traffic alternatives. Start promoting your website on social media: FaceBook, Instagram, Pinterest. These are some good ways to drive in good traffic in the beginning.

Make Money with Your Book Review Website

Making money from your book blog is challenging. There are multiple ways you can actually monetize your site.

The easiest and fastest way is to install Google Ads to your site. This however will not bring you much money, unless you have a ton of traffic.

Find affiliate opportunities and promote products on your blog. You can team up with a book store and get a commission from the sales you drive to them via your website. This method requires also a good amount of traffic in order to make some significant money from it, but it is definitely a good option to try out.

Another way to make money is to write sponsored reviews. Find authors that are willing to pay some cash to promote their book. Get them to send you a copy of their book, read the book, write a review and get paid. This process is a bit complex, because you find the person who wants a paid review, and you need to read the book, even if you might not like the topic too much.

Write your own book and sell it to your audience. Once you have a good reader base, who loves reading your reviews, they most likely will love reading your own book and the will purchase it.

Another way to make money from your book blog is to promote your service. For example, you are good at writing; this is why you started your blog. You might want to offer your writing service to blog/website owners. Depending on your writing skills and area of interest, you can charge $20-$150 for a piece of blog post.

Another way to earn money from your blog is to look for sponsors. Not for those people, who will sponsor a post, but for book stores or publishing offices. Usually a company has much more marketing budget and they can spend more on advertising. You could partner up with a big publishing office and promote their books on your website.

Conclusion

As I’ve presented in this article, creating a book review website is quite easy, and you can do it in less than one hour. The challenging part is to write the reviews and promote your blog.

Your main goal may not be to make a living from your website, but it would be nice to earn some cash to support your reading hobby and the expenses of your website (hosting and domain).

Now, please let me know in the comments what book review plugin you are using and how is your book blog performing.

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