How Book Reviews Could Boost Your Blog Traffic

Book reviews have become increasingly unpopular in book blogging during the last two  years or so as bloggers have noticed they often attract less traffic than other types of posts.  This trend has resulted in some bloggers cutting back on the reviews they write while others lament the loss of a type of post they still enjoy reading.  It is notable that in these discussions I have never seen any blogger provide exact numbers or any type of detailed evidence to support their statements.  However, I assume that the statement, “Book reviews attract less traffic” often means something like, “Book reviews attract less traffic the day they are posted.”  This fact alone may be not enough reason to scrap book reviews altogether.

Book blogs seem unique among blogs in that their primary audience is other book bloggers.  While food and lifestyle blogs seem to find more followers from Internet searches, book bloggers work hard to find and comment on other book blogs to grow their audience.  This means that their followers, the ones most likely to click on a post the same day it is published, are a niche audience who will often click most on posts about how to improve their own blog.  Or they may prefer tags, memes, and other other posts they can skim quickly so they can comment quickly and go on blog hopping.  Reviews are mainly of interest to those who have already read or heard of the book, so the number of followers who click on them the same day is often lower.  However, the types of posts most likely to attract clicks from fellow book bloggers are not necessarily the types of posts that will rank high in search engines.

Book reviews can provide your blog with a steady stream of traffic from outside sources, preventing the need to publish a high-interest post every single day in the hopes of attracting transient clicks from other bloggers.  The initial popularity of a review may not even matter when you begin to think of attracting traffic over the long term.  For example, Briana’s review of Nerve, published on the blog on Sept. 10, 2012, initially received only 13 views by the end of the year.  Stats were a bit stagnant after that with nine people viewing it in 2013 and three people in 2014.  But the numbers climbed to 53 and then 1,791 for 2014 and 2016.  In 2017, the post had 726 views.  In this case, no one read the initial review because Nerve was not a big title in the book blogosphere.  However, when Nerve became a movie in 2016, Briana’s review was there waiting for search hits--because apparently very few others had reviewed it.

As increasingly more bloggers choose not to review books in the pursuit of stats, reviewing books may ironically become a very effective way to gain views from search engines.  While it is true that not all of these views may result in comments (the searchers not having WordPress or Blogger accounts), simply knowing that others are still reading their content can be very cheering for bloggers.  It is disheartening to write a blog post that lasts one day–it makes writing seem disposable and can tempt bloggers to write trendy content with little lasting value. So if you still love writing book reviews, rest assured.  There are people out there who are still reading them.  And they may be only a search away.

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69 thoughts on “How Book Reviews Could Boost Your Blog Traffic

    • Krysta says:

      Yeah, that is true for us. Not all the book reviews will get large numbers of views like Nerve does, but, when you add up all the search terms, a good portion of our daily traffic comes from people searching specific titles.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Angelica (TheBookCoverGirl) says:

    Wonderful post! I always notice how my book reviews rarely get any views but I still love doing reviews so I always try to put them up. Reviews are after all the main reason why I started blogging. And I’m loving your blog! I’m so glad I found it!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jheelam says:

    Shared this post on twitter. Such a great content. As someone who loves writing book reviews (and thinking of late why I’m totally inept in lifestyle blogging), your words were music to my ears.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Krysta says:

      Yeah, it’s a conversation that I know has been around since at least 2016. But a lot of bloggers still enjoy reading and writing reviews, so they’ve stuck around!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Milliebot says:

    I find it funny (odd) that book reviews are so polarizing. Many bloggers and those on YouTube don’t like to post them cuz initial views are low or whatever, or they just don’t like them. But I don’t only want to see hauls and memes. I want to know what people think of what they’re reading! And those who don’t blog seem to like to as well. I’m the first to admit I’m not the best at conning up with topics because my main goal is to chat with people about the books I read. Hmm…not sure where I was going with his lol

    Liked by 3 people

    • Briana | Pages Unbound says:

      Yeah, I actually think that’s an interesting side point. Presumably someone running a book blog is reading anyway, so book reviews are pretty easy content, which is great because it’s kind of difficult to come up with unique discussions posts three times a week or whatever. So, if someone needs content, reviews are a good way to go unless they really hate writing them (which apparently some people do).

      Like

  4. Alexia Cambaling says:

    Thank you for this! Most of my content are book reviews and I was starting to get worried that I should write more discussion posts. But honestly, I love writing book reviews, especially since I’m reading a lot of self-published books lately along with some big series.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Krysta says:

      I think a lot of bloggers enjoy writing and reading reviews because it allows them to discuss books. It’s more difficult to do that with tags and memes!

      Like

  5. hannah @ peanutbutter&books says:

    This post warms my heart. ❤ Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for writing this! I've also noticed book reviews going down in popularity lately, at least in the blogosphere. I know from personal experience that it's very tempting to get lost in the numbers, but book reviews, given time, can be very rewarding! They help other bookworms find out more about a novel they're interested in and, as with the review of "Nerve", may eventually rack up a considerable amount of views. It sucks that smaller bloggers don't get as many opportunities from publishers to review ARCs, but I guess audience reach is what matters most. It's basically advertising, except instead of getting paid with actual money, the bloggers/YouTubers are paid with books, if you get what I mean :'')

    Even though I do enjoy reading through haul posts/memes/awards, I think book reviews will always be a classic favorite of mine! ✨

    Liked by 2 people

    • Krysta says:

      I like book reviews because they’re one of the main ways to discuss actual books. Tags and memes don’t inspire the same level of discussion!

      I’ve found that ARC reviews don’t get more views than other book reviews–sometimes they get fewer views because people want to read the book first. And I think ARCs are handed out semi-randomly as plenty of bloggers receive ARCs they never read or review. I doubt anyone is spending time actually reading book blogs to find the perfect fit. So, at any rate, I don’t think not receiving ARCs means anything significant.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Annemieke says:

    This is true. My review of Hex posted in 2015 when I just started, before the book was translated to English, was initially not that well viewed at all. Until people started getting arcs for it and it actually came out in English, and it is now my most viewed post. I still get a few views on it every month.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. H.P. says:

    This has certainly been my experience. These days I get a healthy chunk of traffic every day from search engine hits on a wide variety of posts–almost all reviews. And even though I started a blog in part because I was feeling confined by just writing Amazon reviews, I still write more book reviews than anything else.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Krysta says:

      I think a lot of book bloggers still love book reviews! I hope people don’t stop writing them just for stats. It’s one thing to stop if you don’t enjoy it. But I do enjoy writing reviews and discussing specific books, so I plan to keep reviewing!

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Grab the Lapels says:

    I wrote a review/comparison of Hidden Figures the book and movie, and I can’t get people to stop looking at it! I did end up changing the title of the post because I would notice the numbers shoot up at the end of every semester… I also added a work cited entry at the top and a note to students, lol.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Briana | Pages Unbound says:

      I love that you did that! I am SO tempted to do that sometimes, like “I can SEE you trying to steal my work for your middle school book report! Please don’t! And I hope your teacher catches you!!!” Except our views for apparently plagiarism are so spread out. It’s a lot of the middle grade books with people Googling “What is the theme of [insert book]?”

      Like

      • Grab the Lapels says:

        LoL! Yes! They Google the most simplistic thing, which is exactly what I titled my review 😀 I’m glad I changed it. The hits on that post have gone down dramatically. I’m okay with that. I’ll consider it semi-retired.

        Like

    • Krysta says:

      Oh my goodness! That’s fantastic! Now they have no reason not to cite you! XD

      The funny thing is, students think they’re being sneaky. But if they’re clicking on the first five Google results, it’s hardly difficult for their teachers to find the real source.

      Like

  9. Tarissa says:

    This is wonderful inspirational to a book reviewer like me. Sometimes I’ll get random comments on a really old review I wrote years ago… and when that happens (however they found me, I don’t know!), but I’m happy to know that something I wrote about a while back is still relevant to someone out there right now.

    Thank you for the encouragement!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Krysta says:

      Yes! They must find your through search engines? Or maybe if you have a list of books reviewed on your site? It’s great that they’re still eager to talk about a book they read! And I’m sure they’re happy they found someone to talk to!

      Like

  10. Jane Lawson says:

    Reviews fall under the “concrete content” types, also commonly referred to as “timeless” or “evergreen”. It’s long-lasting content that remains relevant over time.

    Timeless pieces are my favorite, because I can share them over and over again and not have to update them to remain relevant. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Introvert@Work says:

    I just created a blog myself to cater my book reviews but I haven’t really thought much about traffic and all that. This is insightful, though. Makes me want to think about my long-term plans for my blog! Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Izzi @ Izzi Reads says:

    What an encouraging post!! I love writing book reviews and have pretty much limited my blog to them at this point. The comments and community interaction have visibly decreased, but it’s definitely true that I get some surprising views on older posts every now and then. x

    Liked by 2 people

    • Krysta says:

      Yeah, we definitely get fewer views and comments on reviews, but I still love to write them! And there aren’t many other ways to discuss specific books. Discussion posts usually are not related to books but to reading in general or blogging. Awhile ago I suggested people could write discussion posts about books and more than one person commented asking if anyone would read such a thing.

      I admit I don’t really get it. I began blogging to discuss books in particular and in depth. I wouldn’t want to give that up for more views. Or same-day views.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Izzi @ Izzi Reads says:

        Discussion posts that relate to a specific book actually sound pretty cool? Authors often write articles about something related to a book they wrote for publicity, I feel like this would work in a similar way.

        Like

        • Krysta says:

          Our book discussions usually get more views if they are more popular/widely read books. But I imagine most people would assume that. Still, I don’t see why someone couldn’t write on a less-known work and explain why they think it is interesting or why people should read it!

          Like

  13. Elley @ Elley the Book Otter says:

    Great insight! I also will keep writing book reviews on my blog because it’s a book blog. In my mind, that means reviews. I do try not to review the same super-hyped new release as a billion other blogs are doing, though. I’m always interested to find lesser known gems on the book blogs I follow, and am much more likely to read (and comment on) a book review post for a book I’ve never heard of, or have heard a bit about but want to hear more of, than a review of the latest hype machine novel. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Greg Hill says:

    Great post! I just discovered this and you make a great point about the long term viability of reviews, something that I think a lot of us don’t always consider. I like doing reviews and wouldn’t give it up, even if no one’s reading them lol, but you’re right- reviews are probably the most interesting thing for many non- book blogger readers.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Krysta says:

      Yes, I love writing reviews! And I don’t see why I would stop since I started a book blog to discuss…books. The idea that we shouldn’t review specific titles or even write discussion posts about specific posts because of traffic concerns is baffling to me. I find discussion far more interesting when it’s in-depth. A tag featuring 10 books normally gets less engaged comments, in my experience, just comments saying, “I like X book!” because the commenter hasn’t read the other nine and there’s not enough content in the post to engage with.

      Like

  15. Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction says:

    I think there’s lots of value to reviews and I definitely still read them. My problem is that I’ve gotten just a little bit burnt out on writing them after so many years of book blogging. I’ve changed to a mostly bite-sized review format, and that’s working well for me for now. Maybe I’ll eventually get my mojo back and I’ll want to do more of the longer reviews again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Krysta says:

      I think bite-sized reviews can work! I’ve noticed many people don’t read our full posts, anyway, but simply assume what we wrote based on the title of the post.

      Like

  16. thebookwormdrinketh says:

    I find that book reviews may indeed get less traffic than other posts (I’ve definitely seen it on my blog), but, I think it’s because of two reasons:
    Reason the 1st: (and I don’t say this in a mean way) people are lazy. When you have so much liking and commenting to do all the time, what’s the easiest thing to comment on?? Fluff posts. All the awards, and tags, and other things. I feel like people want to skim, comment, and be done (not to say they’re not interesting posts, because they ALSO usually give you some new insight into people you follow).
    Reason the 2nd: They entice new readers to your blog. There are many people out there who seem to specifically troll for these different types of posts, so it SEEMS like you are getting more traffic, but you are just getting people (who are probably also lazy, ha ha!) who found an easy way to like blog posts to entice you over to check out their blog.
    ….Can you see that I have a problem with lazy people?? Ha ha!! I LOVE reading other people’s blogs. It teaches me so much about my own. Stats are a joke. Most followers are dormant and just followed you to try to get you to do the leg work for them, they’ll never be back!
    Anyways, SORRY ABOUT MY RANT/NOVEL!!
    P.S. Nice to meet you!

    Liked by 1 person

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