This is the eighth part in my Start a Blog series about blogging. This post is relevant whether you’ve started your blog or not, but you might want to check out my other posts if you haven’t seen them since they lay the groundwork for starting your money-making blog journey. Also, keep in mind that some brands won’t work with you unless you have a dot com and you’re self-hosting (both easy things to do!!) so check out my post about setting up a hosted blog if you aren’t there yet.
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At this point, I’m hoping that those of you who have been following along have started blogs or are very close to breaking ground. These books are helpful either way, but I’ll be speaking for the rest of the post as if you’ve already been blogging for a few months.
I think keeping momentum for an existing blog is even harder than starting a fresh blog. Even if you have some great posts and you get a good response, there’s always that lull period where you start to be a little too busy to blog, you can’t think of anything to write about, you get frustrated that you aren’t growing as quickly as you’d like, etc. I’m a book nerd so I go back to the book shelf whenever I feel stuck. These five books (writing guide included!) usually motivate me to get something of quality up on the blog. I also think they’re a good starting point for people who still feel new to blogging.
The Creative Entrepreneur: This book isn’t designed for bloggers, but I’ve found it to be very helpful. It’s a series of tasks and exercises that ask you serious questions about your business plan (in your case – your blogging plan) so that you can form a clear picture of what it is that you’re doing. The questions can be a little stiff/annoying since it isn’t always fun to think out business-y stuff, but the answer format (journaling, using pictures from magazines, etc.) keeps these interesting. Even though I’ve done all of the exercises, I keep coming back to this one for fresh focus and inspiration.
The Yahoo! Style Guide: This is a nuts and bolts guide for anyone who is writing online. The fun thing about this book is that it brings up things you never thought of (how to properly format certain kinds of links or speech, etc.) and I’ve actually gotten a lot of inspiration just from looking at the examples. Of all the books on this list, this is the one every blogger should have for sure.
Problogger: This book (focused almost entirely on monetizing your blog) promises a six figure income. Alas, I read the book four years ago and I’m still not making six figures. That being said, there are tons of great tips on formatting posts and creating titles to grab the reader’s attention, so you can get a lot of ideas from this one.
The Unforgettable Photograph: Photography books are very personal, in my experience, so I would encourage you to browse around at a local bookstore to find inspiration that fits your personal style. I’ve downsized and gotten rid of most of my photography books and this is the only one that gets constant use. It’s basically just a book of images, each with a different pose or angle or light source, etc. This is great for shaking up blog photography if you feel a little stale and you might even try something that spurs a post. I know that I’ve gotten an unexpected photo of the kids that turned into a whole article I didn’t know I wanted to write.
Blog Inc.: This one is last but in a lot of ways it could be first. It’s a gentle introduction to blogging from the amazing Joy Cho and although it’s almost a little too broad to be really useful it does have the good energy that makes you want to sit down at your computer and put something out into the universe. When I’m burnt out on the business of blogging, this is the book I grab.