How to Create a Book Review Website?
If you are an avid reader, maybe you can turn your passion for book reading (and love for the expression of your opinion) into a book review website. It will give you pleasure as well as become a successful business as was the case with Yelp, IMDB, TripAdvisor, and Rotten Tomatoes. Later, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about how to launch your book review website.
Website’s niche. The first decision that you have to make when launching your book review website is to choose a genre of books, which you’re going to be making reviews of. You can write reviews of all kinds of books, but this is inadvisable because there are already LoveReading, Goodreads, Reedsy Discovery, LibraryThing, reviews on Amazon, and many other platforms with reviews of all types of books. So if you choose this direction, you’ll have to compete with them, which requires a large budget to launch a big marketing campaign.
It’s much more appropriate (and cost-saving) to choose one category to offer the readers a deeper dive into the genre and personalized design of the site. This will let you stand out among the competitors and gain leadership in one niche. After that, you can think about expanding your business to other niches. That’s what Amazon, Facebook, and Google did at some point.
What niche to choose? Choose a genre on the basis of what you like to read and it’s desirable for you to have a pretty big reader base (fans of the chosen genre) and as few competitors as possible.
Book categories that the residents of the USA read the most. Source
Audiobooks market size 2016-2027 Source
Advertising. The oldest and simplest way of earning money on your site is using traditional banner ads. For this to happen, you have to attract a pretty large volume of traffic to your site and conclude an agreement with:
Sale of your own products. Alternatively, you can integrate a small online store into your site to sell your products or services. For example, you can sell branded T-shirts, cups, hats, or logos. Besides, you can sell your books. Perhaps, you might like to launch a service like TLC Book Tours, which a couple of bloggers launched.
Advertising through your influence. When your book review website gets the publicity, things, which you’ll be saying, will have greater value — you’ll become a powerful person. Many companies are constantly searching for influencers, who would promote them through posts on their platforms and/or by participating in advertising campaigns. These companies are willing to pay essential money for help with the promotion of their brands, products, or services.
Payment for writing reviews. It’s another option of making money for popular book review websites. Many little-known authors are ready to pay you for making reviews of their new books on your platform. It doesn’t have to be words of praise. It’s enough for you to do the same thing you always do.
Freelance writer. If you’re going to write all reviews yourself, you’ll probably get better at writing. As soon as you grow in popularity, you’ll get an amazing opportunity to promote your writing services.
Once you’ve determined a concept and approach to the site monetization, you need to decide what features are necessary on your platform. In the case of a book review website, these are the following ones:
Search system. Users should be able to find a review of the book they’re interested in quickly. It will also be great if the search system includes key filters (genre, rating, author, year, book length, cycle), which will help the users to find something new to read.
Admin panel. It should be integrated with the content management system (CMS), which will make it possible to edit the website contents, manage services, ban or delete users. If the reviews will be written only by you or selected authors-critics, they will be adding text to your book review website through the admin panel like on CMS WordPress.
Reviews (news) feed. It’s a common feed with the most recent news (reviews) and their brief description/introduction. Such a feed can be the main element of the first screen and/or a separate page, which you can go to through the menu. A brief description of the review in the feed has to contain a name of a book and an author, genre, rate, cover, and the name of a cycle.
Reviews and ratings of books. This feature includes a text editor and a page with the text of the review. Depending on who will be writing book reviews on your site, either only selected critics or all registered users will have the access to the editor. In the latter case, you’ll also need a feature of premoderation to prevent the posting of unethical texts.
System of genre categories. Books in the listing of your site have to be arranged by genres and subgenres. For instance, if you’ll be making reviews of fiction books, the subgenres are science, military, social, political, and romance fiction. In the case of popular-scientific literature, these can be biology, physics, chemistry, psychology, space, technology, and self-development.
Lists of 100 best books and authors. This section is almost a must for review websites. The books here can be arranged by users’ or authors’ rate and sometimes by both. Such lists of top books, authors, or cycles can also be grouped by genres and subgenres.
Book review community. Some online book review platforms such as Goodreads provide the users with the possibility to create and join book communities (for example, book clubs), where users can communicate on book topics, dive deeper into the selected genre/subgenre, see what their friends are reading, etc.
Book recommendations. Book review websites usually give their users book recommendations, which are based on previously read books, friends’ preferences, ratings, recommendations of famous critics and/or celebrities, a book’s relation to a cycle, popular trends, and the like. Now such recommendation systems are created with the help of neural networks.
Sign up, log in. If the user wants to find and read a review, he doesn’t have to sign up. However, if he wants to write a review himself, leave a comment, add a book or a review to his favorites, make a list of books read, and the like, he has to create a user profile. This feature is usually implemented via email or accounts on Google, Facebook, or Twitter.
User profiles. They can include such possibilities as edit and delete information about your profile, add photos, your profiles on social networks, manage notifications, see rates, reviews, and messages from other users and change privacy settings. If your site collects users’ confidential data, make sure that you comply with GDPR rules.
Ratings, comments. Users should have the possibility to comment on the reviews of books as well as rate reviews and books themselves. It increases the engagement and allows understanding what content people like, due to which it’s possible to see the direction, in which you should develop your site.
Protection from spam and fraud. Since reviews are an important tool of influence on the clients and their buying decisions, you should see it coming that some companies are going to try to use it to increase the number of positive reviews of the books by paying people for writing fake reviews. This problem mostly affects large websites (Amazon, Yelp, and Google), but small players have to know about it as well.
Website owners take the following measures to prevent possible fraud with reviews and ratings:
Here is how the information architecture (of the Spotify website) looks like:
Here is how a technical architecture (of the Qurrex hybrid exchange) looks like:
Tech stack and API. This is a set of software tools to create a frontend and a backend of websites such as programming languages, compilers, database management systems, libraries, frameworks, API, etc. A frontend is the part of the site, which the user directly interacts with. Backend is everything else and API (Application Programming Interface) is tools to connect the frontend and the backend of the website and integration of external services, which expand its functionality – starting with geotargeting and ending with purchases on the site.
Here is an example of a tech stack for the creation of a book review website:
It’s relatively easy to make a book review website, but if you want to make it unique and single it out among the competitors somehow, it’s gonna be a lot harder. It’s better to create such complex websites through custom development because it’s the only way you can implement a unique design, which is adapted to the chosen niche and audience. That’s the only way you can develop unique features. Moreover, sites, which are created from scratch, are far more reliable and safe than a website on WordPress, Wix, uKit, or uCoz.
The process of custom development looks as follows:
Here are the main methods of website promotion.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) — about $500 per month. You can get organic traffic to your platform due to website optimization. To do it, you need to analyze search queries of the target audience, create an SEO core, optimize the website content, and create a link mass.
SMM (Social Media Marketing) — about $700 per month. You will have to spend time and effort on the promotion of your site with the help of social networks: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter и Pinterest.
PPC and paid promotions — about $400 per month. This is one of the fastest ways to get a big volume of traffic to your site. You can find a lot of advertising networks, which will direct big volumes of high-quality traffic with a high conversion rate to your site. However, you should be careful with PPC because it requires training.
For instance, paid advertising on Facebook, Instagram, and Google allows targeting people with high accuracy, due to which it’s possible to show advertising to a specific demographic group with certain interests and preferences, which increases the conversion rate significantly if done properly. But you can achieve that only with the necessary knowledge and experience. Therefore, professional marketers or marketing agencies should do it.
This article describes how to find a marketing agency and what to pay attention to when choosing it: «How to choose marketing agency».