The Book Blogger Platform, Barb Drozdowich
Genre: Computers & Internet, Professional & Technical
Well, like many people I fell into to blogging by accident a couple of years back. I love to read, added reviews on amazon of books I’d read and started getting authors requesting I read their books. From there I joined a site aimed at reviewers and saw they prefer those with a blog. I didn’t really understand the whole blog thing but had subscribed to a few art and novel blogs and saw that for me wordpress is easier than Blogger to use, so started a WordPress blog. From there it grew and I now have a product review blog too.
Blogging demands time though, its not a quick and easy route to free stuff, what you get out is determined by what you put in. To start I was confused, so many things to choose, to learn, different styles, themes, colours, fonts…I was guided there by my experience as a reader/user of blogs, but that’s where this book is useful. I’ve changed bits overtime, but I’m still reluctant to make too many changes in case I get it wrong. I still open a new window to make changes, so I can revert back to the old one if I mess up…and I do!
Barb has a series of YouTube videos – ironic really – linked to the book, and with the help of those I plan to make more radical changes when I’ve time. If you’re just starting its easier I feel to focus on the videos than try to make sense of what the book says. Much of the text is quite complex, and its not exactly riveting reading anyway is it ? These kind of books are always somewhat dry to read. I tend to do them in stages, give time to absorb new info.
There are things I’ve learned from this book, that I could incorporate, how to get more subscribers, how to encourage comments etc. Blogging really is second to me to reading, and is there to support my addiction to new books! That doesn’t mean I ignore it though or can treat it as inferior. I try to have a new book or product review each day, and its a personal choice what kind of content and how often you blog. Barb helps there – you need to focus on your aims, and mine is to get good books to read, and useful products to review. For others is about trying to make money from the site, to attract adverts, get commissions from amazon etc. Each demands a different approach, and books like this help you see where to go, what to do.
I’d love to make money from my blogs – who wouldn’t? That demands even more time though and I feel my life is pretty full as it is, so currently I’m not going that route. In the future though who knows? Books like this do help take away the mythology surrounding how to make money from blogging.
In a way I did feel Barb let personal preference override her advice at times, often there was little to choose but she’d come down on one side without really explaining why. That doesn’t help readers work out how to choose for themselves.
There’s some interesting stats re blogs, but for me and I suspect many bloggers, that side doesn’t really get made the most of. What many really want to know is what makes the most effective blog for a good user experience. I’m not convinced this book really covers that, but it does offer lots of advice on where to go to find out things, and of course the YouTube videos which are excellent.
If you’re thinking about starting a blog don’t let the technical side put you off, in this book it sounds quite scary at times! Just start one up and learn as you go, using books like this to guide you but not rule your choices. Its Your blog You choose, having explored different options first. I call it the Suck It and See approach!
It is easier if you get it right to start – I’d like to change the “theme “ of mine but not sure if that’s going to involve a lot of work or be a simple job. If I’d chosen more carefully to begin that would have been better, but I was just swamped, overawed with all the choices. Looking at them with a book like this to hand would have helped me weigh up pros and cons.
I have the free wordpress blog but am thinking about changing to the paid one, really just because I like to be in control. I did fall foul of their policies by accident about two month into my venture and my blog was locked, but they were great at advising where I’d gone wrong and soon unlocked it. Having now made over 1600 book reviews I really don’t want to risk that again, but am still not sure what else I need to do if I change, what WordPress does – such as back ups – that I would need to build in. I suspect that’s true of many of us though.
Use this book for reference, use the YouTube videos, but don’t get put off by the jargon, the tech side. You can learn as you go – many of us have and TBH I think you never stop learning. Its a great hobby, whether you’re talking about books, products, hobbies or just using it as a kind of daily diary.
Stars: Four, a great reference but a little dry and hard going at times.
ARC received from Netgalley and publishers for review purposes.