If you’ve been blogging for any length of time you know there’s a huge amount you need to learn – so where do you start?
Well two of the most important topics for any blogger are content creation and blog traffic, so that’s what I’ve focussed on in compiling this list of 8 books every blogger should read.
Since my time is limited I make sure I study reviews by excellent reviewers to only select top rated books by the best authors, so you can be sure that the following selection is all first class material to help guide you on your blogging journey.
The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris
It’s beginning to show it’s age a bit now, but ‘The 4-Hour Workweek’ by Tim Ferris, published in 2011, contains so many useful tips and strategies for budding online entrepreneurs that if you take the time to read it carefully you’ll still find most of it’s content relevant and useful in 2018.
Apart from a ten-minute speed reading course and a comprehensive PR strategy to establish yourself as an expert, there are loads of tips and tricks such as:
- How to improve your efficiency with email
- How to use a virtual assistant effectively
- Ways to reduce clutter
- The art of ‘non-finishing’
- Why a written ‘to-do’ list is better than one on your computer
- Geographic arbitrage as a way of increasing your income
- Why relative income is more important than absolute income
That’s just a small sample of the tips and lessons that Tim’s managed to distill into his book, which though not without it’s flaws, is certainly worth a read to glean a few pearls of wisdom or actionable information from one of the more controversial self-help books of recent years.
Read more reviews of ‘The 4-Hour Workweek’ by Tim Ferris at Amazon.
Let Go: Expanded Edition by Pat Flynn
Few top bloggers are unfamiliar with Pat Flynn’s inspiring story – that of a young architect who decides to keep his exam notes on a blog to refer to in his travels. Upon successfully passing the exam he forgot about his blog for a few months, only to return and find it unexpectedly swarming with thousands of daily visitors. How he turned all that traffic into a multi-million dollar fortune makes for a fascinating and educational read.
This new expanded edition gives an update of what happened after his early success in 2008-09, with eight new chapters. Read my full review of the book here.
Pinteresting Strategies by Carly Campbell
Carly Campbell’s ‘Pinteresting Strategies’ is a Pinterest ebook that recommends a different strategy to the majority of the Pinterest systems being touted online, namely ‘manual pinning’ as opposed to automated pinning with programs such as Tailwind or Boardbooster. Carly claims considerable success with her system (you can view some of her income reports on her website), and it comes highly recommended by many other experienced bloggers.
I decided I had to give it a go myself after reading several glowing reviews (price was $32) and you can read my full review here.
I found the ebook to contain very useful information not mentioned in any of the many free articles on Pinterest I’ve read, and my Pinterest traffic has rapidly grown to become my number one traffic source as a result.
How To Gain 100,000 Twitter Followers by M LeMont
M LeMont (no I don’t know his first name, it may well be a pseudonym) aka @MisterSalesman on Twitter, wrote this book with the somewhat spammy-sounding title in 2015, though it’s strategies still appear to work similarly today.
The basic strategy as detailed in the book is known as the ‘follow/unfollow’ strategy, using a site called Crowdfire to regularly follow certain twitter accounts, then unfollow some days later if not followed back. Then simply rinse and repeat on a regular basis.
I’ve personally used his strategy to grow my Twitter following from zero to over 3000 in just over two months, and you can read my full review of his book here.
Naturally I highly recommend it!
How To Gain 100,000 Twitter Followers at Amazon.
The Million Dollar Blog by Natasha Courtenay-Smith
Did you know that an email list converts at 40x Facebook and Twitter combined? Neither did I! This is just one of the many interesting tidbits you’ll discover reading through Natasha Courtenay-Smith’s ‘The Million Dollar Blog’.
Aimed at less experienced bloggers, the book focuses on covering a majority of the information they’ll want to know about blogging in general.
Included is lots of practical advice on creating content, creating your own brand, driving traffic, working with social media and monetizing your blog.
Also included are lots of interviews with bloggers who made it big, giving all kinds of interesting and useful advice as to how they achieved their ambitions.
Read my full review of Natasha’s book here.
Content Machine by Dan Norris
With ‘Content Machine’, Dan Norris has written an excellent and highly readable book about how to build a business using content marketing.
As Dan points out, too many bloggers see themselves as ‘content creators’ instead of marketers, “You have asumed that your job is to create content, when really your job is to market a business.”
“Like Neil Patel, I eventually worked out that one spectacularly successful piece of content was infinitely more valuable than 100 pieces of content that go unnoticed.” Dan talks about how he discovered that what really worked for him was writing long (thousands of words) actionable blog posts. The content however he says needs to be well written, useful and shareable.
He also discusses other factors such as how often to post, information on best SEO practice, guest posting on other sites, persuading other bloggers to help promote you, what content you should be focussing on, how aggressively you should be pitching your products and much more.
According to Dan, there are three components to building a business with content marketing:
1. Great Content – this is vital to grab the attention of your audience and build their trust.
2. A Great Business – “Without a great business, you are sending attention to something that is broken (or non-existent).
3. Monetization Logic – This is a logical link between the two.
Overall I found this book to be chock full of great content writing and marketing tips and strategies, and thoroughly recommend it to any blogger, entrepreneur or copywriter.
How to Find Your Writing Voice by Ryan Biddulph
Apart from his regular blogging, podcasting and commenting, Ryan is also famous for having created an amazing 126+ ebooks, mostly on blogging and blogging advice, which he sells on Amazon.
I decided to have a look at ‘How to Find Your Writing Voice‘ as I’d noticed it had five stars from 49 reviews, and was interested anyway to see one of Ryan’s creations since I’m contemplating an ebook of my own.
The book is certainly short (28 pages, nearly half of which is a list of Ryan’s other ebooks) and could more realistically be called an extended blog post. You can read it for free with Kindle Unlimited however, or download to Kindle for $3.99.
Ryan advocates a writing system of “write the way you speak”, “write daily” and “write in your voice.” Other recommendations are to not write more than a second draft, ignore critics and write at least 1000 words a day. He says that despite trying for years, he wasn’t successful until he stopped writing mechanically and found his true writing voice by the methods he talks about in this book.
As a motivational book for writers it works quite well as the exercises Ryan recommends are quite useful for breaking the dreaded ‘Writer’s Block’ syndrome. The main thesis that Ryan promotes is to release your consciousness from a traditional writing mindset, ignore negative reviews and just write as if you were having a conversation with one other person.
I found it to be quite inspirational and it certainly had me thinking about writing in ways I hadn’t done before.
One Hour Content Plan by Meera Kothand
If you never struggle coming up with new ideas for content then you can safely ignore this book, however for the other 99% of bloggers it may just be the book you’re looking for.
Meera Kothand from MeeraKothand.Com has packed a lot of great content ideas into the 108 pages of ‘The One Hour Content Plan’ (only $2.99 on Amazon.)
In the first section she gives some good advice about finding your best blogging niche, and then understanding the type of posts that your potential audience wants to read and various ways to seek out this information.
She then discusses ‘lead magnets’ and ideas to convert email subscribers to paying customers, which is useful information as it’s been well documented that email subscribers are also usually a blogger’s best and most loyal customers.
Section 3, ‘Content Ideation‘ is the real meat of the book, where Meera proposes various methods of coming up with content generating ideas. She begins by discussing various platforms such as Pinterest, Facebook Groups, Buzzsumo etc and how they can be used to generate ideas. She then comes up with suggestions regarding breaking down the ideas into categories and sub-categories, which if used as suggested can give you a good list of blog post ideas.
Meera then comes up with some useful lists of heading ideas and examples. Headings are of course extremely important, as studies show that 80% of readers only read your headline (and often share a post based on that alone.) There’s little point creating great content if hardly anyone sees it because you wrote a bland or boring headline.
(I’ve also covered the important subject of headlines fairly exhaustively myself – see the end of this post to download my free PDF ‘How to Write Great Headlines That Get More Blog Traffic‘.)
There’s plenty more, including a discussion of the different parts of a blog post, ‘trigger words’, keyword selection, Calls to Action, SEO, social media images, promoting your post after publication, and creating an Editorial Calendar.
Overall I highly recommend the book for anyone looking for help and ideas to generate new content for their blog.
Ok I realize this is a far from complete list and there’s plenty more great books out there. Do you have any suggestions for books every blogger should read? Let me know in the comments!
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