I’ve been blogging for a veeeeeeery long time, and I’m here to tell you: you never stop doing research. Like, ever. I can remember spending hours at night googling any and everything related to blogging to help me figure things out because back then (2010), there wasn’t a lot of info out there that was really helpful. Even now, if you google “how to blog” or “how to start a blog” 9 times out of 10 it’s going to be a post on how to set up your website (which is important, but completely different from how to blog). Yes, you need to know how to get your blog up and running, but there’s so much more to know beyond that (which is why I started teaching blogging workshops in 2015 but that’s a whole ‘nother story).
Anywho, I wanted to gather a list of books that I’ve added to my library over the years that have helped me in the areas that really matter with blogging: content creation + idea planning, digital marketing, social media, photography, time management, niche identification, monetization, and more.
You can always hire someone to help you with branding, SEO/web optimization, site layout, etc, but if you don’t have a clue about your niche or how to create the best content for your blog, you’re screwed and may give up on blogging before even having a real go at it. What I’ve learned from my workshops + one on one consultations is that the areas listed above are what bloggers struggle with the most, so if you’ve found yourself stuck in a rut (or haven’t gotten on the blogging train yet), think about adding the books I’ve rounded up to your (creative) bag.
Blog, Inc.: Blogging for Passion, Profit, and to Create Community
If you’re just getting into blogging, this is a good book to learn a few basics. Most of it is very much blogging 101, so if you’ve been in the game for a while you can probably skip it, but it does have a few interesting case studies included.
Influencer: Building Your Personal Brand in the Age of Social Media
If you’ve been blogging a while and ready to move to the next level, this is a great option for that. It shares a lot about social media (which can have a huge impact on your blogging career) and is written from the perspective of an insider that has worked with/for brands that do influencer marketing.
A Beautiful Mess Photo Idea Book: 95 Inspiring Ideas for Photographing Your Friends, Your World, and Yourself
Emma + Elsa are OG bloggers, and their blog (A Beautiful Mess) has always been an amazing resource for both content ideas, and photography tips for bloggers. It’s an easy read, and a reflection of what great, evergreen content is.
InstaStyle: Curate Your Life, Create Stunning Photos, and Elevate Your Instagram Influence
This book is for any and every blogger, but it is especially for the blogger that wants to step outside of the box with their content creation and also do this thing full time. Tezza is like the queen of bloggers/influencers (if you don’t follow her on IG, do it now), and if you get this book for no other reason besides photography/content creation ideas, you will be glad that you did.
Cupcakes and Cashmere: A Guide for Defining Your Style, Reinventing Your Space, and Entertaining with Ease, and Cupcakes and Cashmere at Home
Emily Schuman’s blog is the reason I felt comfortable enough to finally dive into blogging (she launched hers in March 2008 + her site was recommended to me a month before I finally launched in September 2010). She is the queen of relatable lifestyle content, and while her blog has changed a bit over the last 3 years because she brought on contributors due to launching a full scale lifestyle brand, her books are still a resource for me for content, copywriting ideas/tone of voice, and overall inspiration.
I mean, you honestly just need this book in your bag for motivation to be your own (blogging) boss. If you aren’t familiar with Sophia Amoruso, she was the mastermind behind retail site NastyGal. While she’s no longer over the company, her story on how it began is amazing (and shows the power of social media and building a strong voice for your brand). It looks good in pictures too.
You Are a Badass®: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life, and You Are a Badass at Making Money: Master the Mindset of Wealth
More motivation/real talk to help you get your sh*t together with life, your finances and everything in between. The freelance life isn’t the easiest thing to manage (and blogging full-time IS freelance), so tips that will help you find balance are always needed.
MANAGE YOUR DAY-TO-DAY
Staying on schedule with blogging can be hard because you still have to balance life, BUT you also have to get it together and stop procrastinating with it (trust me, we ALL do it, so no need to explain). This is a great tool to help you figure out how to do it.
photos: Amanda Writesman
This is not meant to be a definitive list because there are a ton of books on blogging out there, but these are all books that have helped me over the years. The tips are not super generic or vague (a LOT of blogging books are just copy/pasted google searches with so much vagueness that you will still be confused after reading), so you should be able to find value in some form or fashion from each title listed above. Happy reading!