I’ll confess to something today.
I am a read-a-holic!
I read 2-3 books every week.
Yes, you read it right – every single week.
I have a big pile of books that sits right next to my bed. After everything has been said and done, I tuck in with a book.
Usually, I am reading 4-5 books at the same time. I make fairly limited choices and stick to my favourite subjects like web writing, content marketing, micro-business, freelancing and human mind/ behaviour. Occasionally I will pick up some fiction. (I do like to mix business and pleasure sometimes.)
Here is my top 7 that every business blogger and content creator should read. And why.
#1 Clout: The Art and Science of Highly Influential Web Content by Colleen Jones
On the web, everybody is after results.
You as a business blogger, want to attract lots of targeted traffic. You want more people to get onto your list, more people to buy your product or service.
You want to influence people on the web, but how are you going to do that? This book will show you how. It will give you new perspective on how people read and react to content on the web. It talks about the rhetoric and psychology of what makes content influential.
It teaches you the power of content and gives you practical advice that you can put to use immediately. Must read.
#2 Convert: Designing Websites to Increase Traffic and Conversion by Ben Hunt
Don’t be put off by the title of the book.
This book is not for designers or webmasters. Anybody with a website will benefit from reading it. And you can apply the same principles to your blog.
It teaches you about the essentials; your ideal reader and your value proposition. It gives you advice on how you can create a fantastic user experience for people visiting your blog. It dives into the world of testing and search engine optimization, using language that we all can understand easily.
And last but not the least, it teaches you simple and effective methods of building traffic. His concept of ‘awareness ladder’ is nothing short of brilliant. He explains how every single person coming into contact with your site is on a different level of understanding regarding their problems and your products as the solution. And how best to cater to their needs.
It is a must read for all of us.
#3 Content Strategy for the Web by Christina Halvorson
Good content increases web traffic, improves your SEO, creates highly satisfying user experience and engagement, and establishes your brand. But do you know what good content really is?
It asks you to consider this question: Do you know what is the purpose of each and every piece of content that you publish?
All content must be created to satisfy either a business need or meet a user objective. The rest must be discarded.
This is a must read for all small business owners who have blogs or are looking into starting one.
#4 Don’t Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability by Steve Krug
Are you thinking you can skip this book because you are not a designer?
Not so fast, mate.
As a blogger, you still have to be on top of usability issues. You still have to make navigation easy for your readers.
Sometimes, a site or blog is so cluttered that the first time reader leaves within a few seconds. They rather look elsewhere than figure out what’s what on your blog. And this is the whole premise of the book.
Don’t make your reader’s think. Make everything clear and easy to understand at a glance. Name your tabs, menus, categories accordingly. Make breadcrumbs available so the reader knows where he is, at all times.
The book is highly accessible and lots of pictures make understanding every concept a breeze. You would only be adding to your knowledge. Don’t hesitate.
#5 Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, ebooks, Webinars and More that Engage Customers and Ignite Your Business by Ann Handley
After this long, self explanatory title, is there anything left for me to say?
Only that, it should be made mandatory to read this book for every serious blogger out there.
Run, don’t walk.
#6 Blogging Heroes by Michael A. Banks
This one is an oldie worth picking for its inspirational message alone, especially useful if you are just starting out or haven’t been blogging for a long time.
Plenty of insights from thirty highly influential blogging rock stars such as Christian Anderson of The Long Tail, Gina Tripani of Lifehacker, Robert Scoble of Scobleizer, Richard McManus of Read Write Web are presented for your reading pleasure.
Some of my favourite quotes:
“Don’t write anything in a blog that you wouldn’t say to someone face to face.” Scott McNulty, The Unofficial Apple Weblog
“Write descriptive headlines to your posts, especially important for people who subscribe to your feeds.” Mark Frauenfelder, Boingboing.net.
“It does help to post regularly, this way people are likely to return.” Frank Warren, PostSecret.
You will leave with plenty of advice and motivation and a solid list of what to do and what not to.
#7 Web Copy that Sells by Maria Veloso
Have you noticed that best bloggers pepper their prose with copywriting techniques? They use tricks of trade from the world of copywriting to engage and entice us.
Does that mean we should start reading up on copywriting? Not a bad idea, if you have endless hours of free time. If you have only limited hours available, you will benefit from reading Web Copy that Sells.
It will tell you how to write irresistible copy on your website and compose highly compelling and effective email messages to send to your list. It talks about psychological tactics that you can use in their messages that will gently prod your readers to buy. She reminds you to keep your messages simple and aim with emotional connection with your readers.
A word of caution though, some people have complained that the some of the examples presented in the book are a bit sleazy, and that they don’t do this sort of writing. The point is that you decide how you are going to use the information. Ultimately it is up to you.
Maybe grab a copy from the local library. Just saying. I don’t want you to hate me in case it doesn’t turn out to be your cup of tea.
So here it is. Anything you want to add to the list? Have you say in the comments below.
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