If you love writing poetry and dream of making a living writing, you’ve come to the right place.
Poetry is beautiful. It can be funny and powerful, carrying massive impact in a few carefully chosen words. The distillation of this literary form is considered by many to be a sign of a writer of the utmost talent.
According to a report from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), 11.7% of US adults read poetry. That’s over 28 million adults! With numbers like that, it’s clear that there’s never been a better time than now to start a poetry blog.
A poetry blog will allow you to reach a large audience so you can showcase your work and create a community of friends and followers who love poetry.
This article will take you step-by-step through the process so you can discover how to start a poetry blog in 2020 – and make money.
This guide is extremely DETAILED and explains everything you need to start a Poetry blog. I’ve been at this blogging stuff for over 8 years and have built a business making $20,000 per month, so I have a lot of helpful advice for you newbies out there.
If you get stuck or need advice, please contact me directly and I’ll help you out for free.
How to Start a Poetry Blog in 10 Steps:
Below is a table of contents to help you navigate this guide. If you just need someone to walk you through the process of setting up your blog quickly and easily, check out step 5.
Starting a poetry blog allows you to represent yourself in the world of blogging, which gives you the opportunity to attract the perfect audience who will appreciate your work.
Whether you want to discuss your favorite poet, share your own work, or sell some chapbooks, a blog lets you do it all.
But before we dive into the 10 steps to start your own poetry blog, let’s take a look at the reasons why people should start one.
Reason #1: Let Your Voice Be Heard
Blogs, in general, are a great place for like-minded individuals to connect and share their passions, knowledge, and experiences. A poetry blog, in particular, gives writers the opportunity to express their passion, share their thoughts, and discuss a myriad of subtopics, such as popular collections, style, and the impact of poetry on the modern world.
Reason #2: Improve Your Writing Skills
As a poet, having a blog can also help you to improve your writing skills. Poetry is efficient, which means that your words have to be carefully chosen and placed. This is demonstrated by Mark Twain who famously said to a correspondent: “I wrote a long letter because I lacked the time to write a short one”.
As you continue to tell your story and provide your readers with valuable content, you will be improving your writing at the same time.
Reason #3: Make Money
A blog allows you to transform your passion into profit. As a poet, you can make money selling your poetry. There are also a ton of other ways you can make money from your poetry blog, some of which we will look at below.
It is the dream of most people to make money doing something that they love, and starting a poetry blog will help you create a consistent source of income for yourself from your writing endeavors.
Those are just a few of the most compelling reasons why you might want to start a poetry blog. Now, let’s dive into the 10 steps so you can get started right away.
1. Decide the Focus of Your Poetry Blog
The first step in starting a successful poetry blog is to decide on its focus or direction. There are many different routes that you can take, depending on your goals and desires.
To get started brainstorming the direction of your new blog, ask yourself questions such as:
Which are the main topics that you want to discuss on your blog?
Do you want to include interviews, guest posts, etc.?
What about modern and classic poetry?
What’s the overall aesthetic or tone that you want for your blog?
By thinking about these things, it will help you capture the essence of exactly what you want your new poetry blog to be.
Take the time to brainstorm and try to come up with ideas that will accomplish that for you. Think through each of the questions so you can conceptualize your blog and give it a strong foundation.
Listed below are just a few ideas that are possible ways for you to position your blog.
Go through the list to get some inspiration for the direction you want to take your new poetry blog.
- Poetry Recommendations: If you have a vast knowledge of some amazing must-read poetry collections, you can use your blog as a platform to share that knowledge with an audience of other poetry lovers.
- Poetry Reviews: Although poetry reviewing can be a controversial topic, it can also make for one interesting poetry blog. If you love doing poetry reviews, you can choose this as the focus of your blog.
- Writing Poetry: As you will find out below, it’s possible to make money selling your poetry. You can follow in the footsteps of poets like Rupi Kaur, who has 2.7 million Instagram followers and has sold over 1 million books and tickets to her famous speaking tours.
- Criticizing Poetry: If you are great at understanding the meaning of poems, analyzing them, and offering suggestions from the reader’s point of view, then the focus of your blog can be criticizing poetry.
By visualizing what you want your poetry blog to be, you will be able to make a choice that is best to ensure the success of your blog in the long term.
2. Choose Your Poetry Niche
Your next step is to choose your poetry niche. There are many different types of poems, formats, and forms that you can focus on with your poetry blog, and these include:
- Ballad: This is a poem that tells a story. Ballads are usually sung.
- Free Verse: This type of poem has a poetic technique/form where the poet doesn’t follow the conventions of rhyme. Free verse is not to be confused with blank verse.
- Blank Verse: This is a poem that doesn’t rhyme. It’s commonly written in iambic pentameter, but it can also follow a different meter.
- Haiku: This is a 3-line poem that typically has 5 syllables in the first and last lines, and 7 syllables in the middle.
- Limerick: At its core, a limerick is a 5-line poem that follows a strict meter with an AABBA rhyme scheme.
- Lyric Poem: A lyric poem is one that expresses the writer’s feelings or thoughts and leaves the reader with a single, imaginative impression. Ballads, odes, and sonnets fall under this category.
- Narrative Poem: This is a poem that outlines a story’s sequence of events.
- Acrostic: This relatively new poetry form uses the up and down letters of a poem to spell a word.
You can choose from these and many other types of poems so you can get more into the genre. If you are still not sure about the right niche for you, take some time to check out some of these popular poets so you can gain some inspiration.
- Warsan Shire
- Kaveh Akbar
- Clint Smith
- Morgan Parker
- Danez Smith
- Sarah Kay
- Hanif Abdurraqib
- Safia Elhillo
- Lang Leav
- Maggie Smith
- Aimee Nezhukumatathil
You can also visit some poetry blogs to get an idea of the different niches and categories that are available to choose from. Here is a list of the 100 top poetry blogs online right now.
When you visit PoemShape, for instance, you will find that it is a poetry blog created by a New England poet whose niche is:
“Writing poetry, fables, haiku, and criticism.”
Once you’ve chosen your niche, you can move on to the next stage in the process of starting your poetry blog.
Don’t worry if you’re not 100% sure about your niche because you can always change it or expand it later. Just do the best you can right now and move on to the next step.
3. Choose Your Blogging Platform
Now that you know what direction you want to take your poetry blog, it’s time to choose your blogging platform.
Your poetry blog needs a home on the Internet. That’s what your blogging platform is. There are free and paid blogging platforms, both of which come with their own set of pros and cons.
And while you can “rent” a home for your blog by using some of the free blogging platforms like Blogger, Wix, and Squarespace, it’s always a better alternative to actually “build” your own house by using a self-hosted blogging platform.
The reason for this is that free blogging options often come with a host of drawbacks, such as:
- Poor customization abilities
- Unprofessional look
- Limited capabilities
- Low monetization potential
- Lack of Control over your site
Also, they can delete your account without warning, which means that you’d lose all the content on your site, as well.
As you can see, using free blogging platforms may seem attractive at first, but it comes with a lot of drawbacks that will prevent you from achieving real success with your blog.
However, if you choose a self-hosted blogging platform like WordPress, then you will be able to build a website that you can grow and monetize effectively. Here are some of the main benefits of using WordPress:
Benefits of Self-Hosted WordPress Over Free Blogging Alternatives
- WordPress is free and easy for anyone to download and use
- Simple to install and great for beginners with no coding experience
- Tons of free and paid plugins to extend site functionality
- Affordable themes to customize your website easily
- WordPress integrates with countless other apps and services
- Flexibility in monetizing your poetry blog
- Great support from a massive community of developers and users
If you’re still not convinced, take a look at some of these recent WordPress statistics:
- WordPress powers over 60% of all sites built on CMS
- The number of WordPress websites grows by 4% every year
- WordPress sites get at least 400 million visitors every month
- 660 WordPress websites are built every day
- WordPress has over 50,000 plugins to choose from
4. Decide Your Domain Name
1. Purchase a.com Domain Name: There are tons of different extensions to choose from for your poetry blog, but it’s always a good idea to stick to the .com extension. There are many reasons for this, the main one being that “.com” is what the Internet was built on, so it’s easier for most people to remember.
2. Choose a Broad Name: Don’t get too specific with your poetry blog name as that will make it hard for you to grow and expand in the future. For instance, a name like “The Poetry Hub” is much better than “Limericks For Life”. But, make sure you still choose a unique and memorable name.
3. Keep the Name Short and Sweet: Shorter domain names are easier for people to remember. Try to avoid using too many, long, or complex words or words that are hard to spell.
Ideally, keep your domain name to under 3 or 4 words. For instance, a name like “ShareYourBeautifulPoetryOnline.com” is too long and will be hard for your audience to type into their browsers.
4. Make Use of Alliteration: Alliteration refers to two or more words that start with the same letter or sound. For instance, you could name your poetry blog, “Photo Poetry”, or “The Poetry Pro” or something like that.
5. Get creative: If you find that the name you want for your poetry blog is already taken, you can try to get a similar name by getting creative with synonyms. Synonyms are words that have the same or similar meaning. So, if you wanted a name like Poetry Hub, you might settle instead for Poetry Web, or Poetry Net.
6. Add Extra Words: If all else fails, you can try adding words like “the” “club” or “hub” to your name. For example, the name “Poetry Online” might become “Poetry Club Online”. This is a great way of ensuring that you can still get the name you wanted for your new blog.
7. Brainstorm a Concept: One of the best things to help you come up with unique ideas for your new poetry blog is to think of the concept around your blog, and what it could be branded as. Think about how it could be bigger in the future, and where it could go. This will help you come up with some ideas for what you might call your blog.
8. Use Name Generation Tools: If you are still stuck trying to come up with the right name for your new blog, try tools like Instant Domain Search, Name Mesh, and Lean Domain Search. They will help you come up with a lot of different ideas for naming your poetry blog.
9. Don’t Buy an Expensive Domain Name: When you are just starting out, it can be tempting to purchase an expensive domain name if the one you want is already taken. But, instead of wasting money on a costly domain name, rather get a standard name and use the money to create content and build your new business. When your business starts generating an income, you can then purchase any name you want.
10. Don’t Get Stuck at This Stage: You’d be surprised just how many people never make it past the step. Choosing a name for your blog should be a reasonably fast decision. Resolve to spend just a couple of hours following the steps outlined above to help you choose the right name, and then move on to the next step.
Examples of Popular Poetry Blog Names (and why they make sense)
- The New Verse: This poetry blog name is simple, short, and easy to remember, thanks to its clever play on words.
- Eat This Poem: This poet combines her love of two things: Poetry and Food, to create a unique name.
- Poetry Pages: This poet made use of alliteration to come up with a great name for her blog.
- Ritter’s Rhyme and Reason: As with the example above, this poetry blog name also uses alliteration to make it more memorable.
Here are 10 ideas for poetry blog names for even more inspiration:
- Social Ballad
- Green Poetry
- The Shared Pen
- Online Poetry
- All Poetry
- Smart Poetry
- New Line Poetry
- Poetry Team
- Super Poetry
- Simple Verses
5. Buy Your Domain Name and Hosting
Once you’ve decided on a name that you like, the next step of the process is to actually buy the domain and hosting.
If your website is like your poetry blog’s home on the Internet, your domain name is the home address.
So, if you choose a name like “Poetry Global”, your blog address would be www.PoetryGlobal.com.
The hosting can be likened to the real estate that your poetry blog will be built on.
So, when someone types in your website URL, then Bluehost will show your blog to the individual who searched for it.
I’ve created a step-by-step tutorial to walk you through the entire process of buying your domain name and hosting. The first thing you need to do is click on this link to visit Bluehost and follow along with the tutorials below.
Below is a YouTube video and screenshots showing you the exact step-by-step process, choose whatever tutorial that works best for you.
Step 1: If you haven’t yet, click on this link and you’ll be brought to the WordPress Hosting page that you see below.
Step 2: Next, you’ll be brought to the hosting plan page. You could choose to get a “Plus” or “Choice Plus” plan, but honestly, that’s not a requirement.
The Startup plan is the cheapest at $3.95/month through my link vs. the normal $8.99/month.
This plan has everything you need including 50GB of webspace (plenty of room for your files), a free domain for a year, plus other standard features like a free SSL and a secure WordPress install. Feel free to browse a bit to decide the right plan for you, but rest assured that Basic will work just fine if you want to minimize your investment.
Step 3: After clicking into the plan, you’ll be brought to the next page where you will type-in your new domain, or you can just choose “I’ll create my domain later” if you haven’t decided on one yet. The domain is the URL people will type into a browser to view your website in the future.
Step 4: Once you submit, the next page will ask for all of your information. That will start with your account information, which is self-explanatory.
Step 5: Next, you’ll have to input your Package Information. This is to choose how long you want the plan to go for. My advice is that you choose 24 months to get the discount and save some money, but you can go as low 12 months if you want.
Step 6: Next you’ll have to choose what “Package Extras” you want. You can scroll over “More Information” to understand what each of these items are, but here is my own advice.
I would get the “Domain Privacy + Protection”, this makes it so that no one can tie your name to the domain name you create. To me, the only other one worth considering is “Codeguard Basic”. The other two I wouldn’t personally get. But choose what is best for you.
Step 7: The next step is Payment Information, which is self-explanatory.
Step 8: And the last step of signup is to confirm that you read and understand the Bluehost Terms of Service, Cancellation Policy, and Privacy Notice. Click the check button and then click “Submit”.
Step 9: Next you’ll be prompted to create an account and password. This is the information that you’ll use to login to the Bluehost platform to manage your site and account info.
Step 10: At this point Bluehost puts you through a short questionnaire to better understand your scenario. You can answer all of these questions, or click “Skip this Step” on the bottom. If you’re a newbie, I advise you to answer the questions as it’ll help your onboarding experience.
Step 11: After you’re done with that you’ll be advised to choose a theme. For now, you can just choose to use a free theme. You can always replace the theme later if you’d like.
Step 12: From there, you’ll be brought into the backend of WordPress in the admin panel. This is where you’ll manage your site from. You can add posts/pages as you see fit, but when you’re ready click on the blue button that says “Launch Your Site”.
Step 13 (Final): Your blog is LIVE. Just go to a browser and type in your domain name. Once you do this, you’ll be able to access your website!
Congrats! You officially have a website.
If you’re wondering how to edit things on the website, all you have to do from here is go to your website URL with /wp-admin at the end in a browser and login.
And don’t worry, we cover how to edit things more in the rest of this guide as well. So please continue reading.
6. Choose and Install a Theme For Your Poetry Blog
A theme is simply a piece of software that dictates how your new blog is going to look and read. It’s the look you give your website. You might think of it as its “skin”.
The theme dictates the layout of your website and makes it easy for you to swap out photos and text with your own. This means you get to have a professionally-designed website without having to learn a single line of code.
As with most other website building tools, there are free themes and premium options. I suggest going with a premium WordPress theme for a number of reasons:
Benefits of Paid Themes over Free Alternatives
- Unique Designs: Premium WordPress themes have unique, sleek, professional-looking designs.
- User-Friendly: It’s easy to make changes to your site to make it look the way you want without having to learn HTML.
- Mobile-Friendly: All WordPress themes are mobile-responsive and look perfect on all devices.
- SEO Friendly: Premium WordPress themes are designed to enhance your SEO for a high-ranking website.
- Customer Support: Paid WordPress themes also come with reliable tech support, making them ideal for tech-challenged bloggers.
- Enhanced Security: WordPress premium themes have built-in security to fight off any malicious code.
Now that you know all the reasons why you need to pick a good premium WordPress theme for your blog, Let’s take a look at some examples of themes that are great for poetry blogs.
Personally, I always recommend Thrive Theme Builder to people. Why? Because it’s completely customizable and you can adjust your blog to look exactly how you want by pointing/clicking as opposed to hiring a developer.
In fact, this blog was build using Thrive Theme Builder and I’m absolutely thrilled with the result. Long term? I think this is the most cost-effective theme you’ll find.
Click the image below to watch a video and learn more about Thrive Theme Builder.
And, if you’d like to watch an extremely detailed tutorial you can watch this playlist on YouTube.
If you feel Thrive Theme Builder isn’t for you, here are some other theme options that are perfect for a Poetry blog.
This insanely popular theme is designed for writers and poets. It’s simple, elegant, and typography-oriented. It has a plethora of features to choose from, allowing you to create a distinctive poetry blog.
The sense theme boasts a content-focused, clean, and sleek design. It has excellent typography, advanced theme options, and high readability. You will be able to easily customize this theme to match your needs.
This theme is perfect for poets and comes with a large number of design layouts to choose from. There are also unlimited color options, as well as tons of other features that will help you create a totally unique poetry blog.
Writer is a great theme for poets. Although it’s not a design that is exclusively for poetry blogs, it’s a classy and elegant theme that is very easy to customize to your needs.
This is a pretty niche offering, which means that you are not likely to find many designs that are related exclusively to publishing poetry. However, a lot of themes, like this one from theme Forest make it easy to customize and create suitable designs for your poetry blog.
Follow the criteria below to help you choose the best theme for your new blog.
What to Look for in a Great WordPress Theme:
- Speed: The theme should be fast
- Responsive: It should be mobile responsive
- Customization: The theme must be easy to customize
- Support: It should offer great support
- Ratings: It should have great ratings and reviews online
- Brand: The theme should come from an established and reliable brand
7. Create Essential Pages & Logo
This is undoubtedly the most important page on your poetry blog. That’s because a lot of people who will read your work are going to want to get to know you a little better.
On this page, you must include information about yourself, who you are, and what you’re all about. Share why you started a poetry blog, and what people can expect on your blog.
Make it friendly and fun, and don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through. You can also include a photograph of yourself on this page.
Since a lot of your audience will be checking this page out, you might also use it as an opportunity to encourage them to connect with you on other platforms, such as social media, or signing up for your email newsletter.
This page should have all the information your readers might need to get in touch with you. Ideally, you must have a variety of ways for your audience to connect with you, including:
- An email address
- A form that they can fill out right on the contact page
- Social media buttons
- A telephone number
- An address
Make sure that you monitor all of the channels that you include on this page so that you can give your audience timely responses to their questions, comments, and feedback.
These legal pages are extremely important, and if you are not sure how to craft them, it’s best to get the help of a professional. There are also free online tools that you can use for drafting these documents.
Create a Logo
It’s also a good time to focus on creating a logo for your poetry blog. There are a LOT of different ways to do this, but I’m a big fan of using this logo maker.
To get started, you can click here to create a blog logo. I think it’s a good idea to create a logo at this point now that your blog is all setup.
This platform will provide you with a free logo for your blog and if you need the high-resolution logo files, you can pay a very minimal amount for access to those files and a few other things.
Once these basic elements are added to your poetry blog, you can then start creating your content.
8. Begin Blogging
As a writer, this is probably going to be the most fun step for you. But, before creating your first post, you must first choose a category for it.
Depending on the niche you chose for your poetry blog, you can divide your main topic into various subcategories.
For your first post, you may consider writing a simple announcement way you set the scene for your blog readers. In the post, you can talk about why you’re starting your blog, what you’re hoping to accomplish, who your influences are, and the different things that your poetry will cover.
Writing poetry is hard work, but if you only post once in a while, you will have a hard time attracting a following.
That’s why it’s important to publish regularly to keep your blog interesting. Use the topic ideas below to ensure that you always have something that you can write about on your blog:
Ideas for Poetry Blog Topics
- Use writing prompts to get inspiration, such as these from Poets and Writers
- Choose a monthly theme that you can write poems around
- Use the National Poetry Month as an anchor for your writing
- Write reviews of some of your favorite poetry books
- Craft responses to some of the great works of other poets that you are reading
You can also look for inspiration on other poetry blogs. Read their posts to find trending topics and ideas for your own blog.
Some of the more popular blogs that regularly publish interesting content include:
- All Poetry
- Pixie Poetry
- Kavita Kosh
- Hello Poetry
- Write out Loud
- Poem Shape
- The Poetry Project
- Eat This Poem
A Few Poetry-Specific Tips
When you begin sharing your poems, be sure to focus on keywords as part of your marketing strategy.
For instance, you will find that most people search for terms like “narrative poetry“, or “haiku poems” neither of which will occur naturally in the body of your poems. This means that Google won’t see these terms, which will make it hard for your poems to rank high.
So what should you do?
The solution is to introduce your poems. For each one that you publish on your site, write a short intro paragraph that doesn’t over-explain your poem or take anything away from it. This is where you can add your keywords.
This book from Czeslaw Milosz is a perfect example of how to use intros to include important keywords on your pages.
Important Note: Before you begin promoting your new blog, make sure that you have at least 10 posts published on it. When you invite people to check out your blog, you want them to arrive at a populated, professional-looking blog as opposed to one that screams “amateur”.
By the time your blog goes live, make sure there’s enough content to attract different segments of your audience and keep them engaged on your blog for longer.
9. Promoting Your Poetry Blog
Some people believe that you can’t be a creative and a marketer at the same time, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. As a poet, you are your own marketer. In fact, some would argue that you are the very best marketer in the world as you will be marketing the thing that YOU have created.
By following the steps listed below, you will be able to promote your blog and build a strong following.
Friends and Family: The first thing to do as soon as your blog goes live is to share it with your family and friends. These are the people that are most likely to want to support you.
They will be happy to check out your blog and give you feedback and advice if any improvements are necessary. Also, you can ask them to share your blog with their own network of friends, thereby growing your exposure significantly.
Social Media: If you are already active on social media, then you should share your new blog on your social profiles. Post the link and ask your followers and fans to check out your poetry blog.
Social media is a great place to attract targeted readers, particularly if you can go where they are already gathered, such as in poetry-focused groups or forums. When you publish new posts on your blog, always share them on these social spaces to drive even more traffic to your blog.
Poetry Clubs: Poetry clubs are where groups of poetry lovers hang out. You can join these communities to meet local poets or connect with other poets worldwide.
Just make sure you don’t spam the group with your link, but rather connect, and interact with others, and provide real value. In exchange, the group or forum members will be happy to check out your poetry blog.
These are just some of the most effective blog promotion methods.
However, if you want your poetry to be recognized, you can never stop promoting. This means that you must promote your blog every way that you can.
Include social media share buttons on your blog so that your readers can share your work with their friends. Also, invite everyone in your email contacts to visit your blog, and add your blog link to your email signature.
10. Start Making Money
There are some who believe that a poet’s main source of income is the money he makes in his or her day job. But, by following the steps below, you can join the ranks of the many financially successful poets like Rupi Kaur.
Implement some of these monetization methods on your website and continue to work on them consistently, and before long you will have a reliable source of income from your poetry blog.
Affiliate Marketing: Affiliate marketing is great for a new poetry blog. It doesn’t require that you amass a huge audience in order to start making money. Even with a small following of poetry fans, you can still monetize your blog using this technique.
All you have to do is sign up with an affiliate network like Amazon or Click2Sell and you can begin recommending their products (eg, Poetry Books, Writing Courses, etc.) to your audience and earn a commission each time a sale is made.
Magazines and Anthologies: A lot of poets make money by regularly submitting poems to poetry magazines and literary journals, as well as anthologies and paying websites that welcome poetry. You can do the same. This not only helps you create an additional source of income, but it also helps to generate even more awareness for your work.
Information Products: As a poet, you can publish your own books or collections of your poetry. Traditional publishing deals are rare, but self-published books are becoming more and more popular, and they can bring in a surprisingly huge amount of money.
Although this may require an investment of time, effort, and a bit of money at the beginning, it’s a reliable way to create a stream of passive income for yourself.
Google Adsense: This is among the easiest ways for beginner poetry bloggers to make money from their blogs. Signing up for Google AdSense is quick and easy, and this monetization method requires very little maintenance once it’s up and running.
Once you sign up, Google starts showing ads on your blog, and you will be paid a small amount for every visitor who views the ads. Over time, this can add up to a nice stream of income. Also, as your traffic grows, you can add different ad networks to maximize earnings from your blog.
Teach Poetry: Teaching is a great way for talented poets to make money. There are a lot of community programs, schools, and colleges that like to offer poetry classes. If you are a qualified poet, you may be able to take advantage of these opportunities to create another stream of income while doing engaging and rewarding work.
How to Start a Poetry Blog: The Final Word
Now you know how poets make money. In addition to the income sources listed above, there are many other poetry adjacent activities that you can employ to create even more streams of revenue, including booking speaking engagements and signing up for poetry readings where you can sell your books afterward.
So if you ever hear anyone say that poets can’t make money, you know that they either don’t know about all the different ways to monetize a poetry blog, or they simply don’t know how to take advantage of the resources at their disposal.
Either way, you now possess the knowledge to start a successful poetry blog and turn it into a profitable revenue stream.
All you have to do is follow the steps in this article and you will be able to start making money doing something that you absolutely love.