As I was writing Professional Blogging For Dummies, it was clear that nearly every chapter in the book could be a book in itself. In fact, there are books that delve into many of the topics in great depth. After you’ve read my book, if you decide you’d like to dig deeper, I highly recommend you invest in a few.
The For Dummies series has titles that cover just about everything, including Google AdSense for Dummies, Search Engine Optimization for Dummies, Web Marketing for Dummies, Public Relations for Dummies and Social Media for Dummies.
A book about your chosen blogging platform can also be a handy reference. For Dummies can help you here as well, but I’d suggest you also look at more advanced guides, particularly if you want to get into deeper customization of your blog.
Darren Rowse’s ProBlogger website (problogger.net), one of the 10 sites you can learn from simply by reading featured in the book, is an excellent resource for keeping up-to-date on the latest developments in professional blogging. You might also want to invest in Rowse’s book, co-authored with Chris Garrett, ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income (2010, 2d edition,Wiley)
About Audio and Video
If you decide to add a video or a podcast to your blog, you should definitely get some help, whether a book or professional consultant, to get you going.
When I started doing a podcast for a client a few years ago I turned to two books:
- Podcasting: The Do-It-Yourself Guide by Todd Cochrane (Wiley, 2005)
- How to Do Everything with Podcasting by Shel Holtz and Neville Hobson (McGraw Hill, 2007)
I also bought a book to help me use my sound editing software more effectively. I only use about 4-5 pages of it on a regular basis, but I use those pages EVERY TIME I edit a sound file for the Internet, making it worth every penny I spent. I use Sound Forge 8 Power! (Sony, 2005), which of course is only good if you are using Sound Forge 8. I’m certain there’s a book for your software, whatever you are using.
I don’t do much personally with video on my sites. I’m still working on my photo skills. That’s enough of a challenge for now, so when I use video for a client, I leave it to the pros. However, the equipment and software available to amateurs has gotten so good, there’s no reason to not experiment if you have the interest in learning the skill. I crowdsourced a book recommendation for you:
- Get Seen: Online Video Secrets to Building Your Business by Steve Garfield (Wiley, 2010)
I haven’t read it yet (although I plan to), but Garfield has an excellent reputation. You can check out his website at stevegarfield.com
TIP: Don’t buy too many platform or software specific books. Features are constantly changing, and if the book is too tied to a particular version, it may not be as useful when the next version of software is released. Buy books that offer advice on strategy or technique, like Professional Blogging For Dummies and the ones referenced above. They have a longer shelf life because they help you understand the underlying principles. If you do feel you need version-specific help, stick to one or two titles at most, and use online resources like support forums and wikis to fill in what the books don’t offer.
Other Books You Might Enjoy
If you get hooked on social media, here are my top three reads for you. I consider them business classics.
First, if you haven’t already, read The Cluetrain Manifesto by Rick Levine, Christopher Locke, Doc Searls and David Weinberger (10th anniversary edition, 2009, Basic Books). It’s the book often credited with starting the social media revolution, and it’s a good read to boot.
Next, pick up Naked Conversations by Robert Scoble and Shel Israel (2006, Wiley). Social media has changed quite a bit since this book was published. Facebook didn’t open up to the general public until September 2006 and Twitter wouldn’t burst onto the scene until the South by Southwest conference in March 2007. But, the book is very well written, and the underlying principles about engaging with customers and building trust haven’t changed.
Finally, if you really want to dig into to the topic of integrating social media with a business strategy, you can’t go wrong with Groundswell by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff (2008, Harvard Business Press).
Reference Books that should be on your Bookshelf
Blogging is about writing, and every writer should have the following on her desk:
- A dictionary, and if you haven’t replaced yours in more than five years, get a new one. Language changes all the time, no more so than in the last few years.
- A thesaurus
- A book of quotations. I have two, Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations and The Oxford Dictionary of Modern Quotations.
- The AP Style Guide
All are available online as well as in print versions. I prefer using the real books, although I do look up quotations online if the reference I need is very recent. Somehow, the act of physically looking something up inspires me. You may find it easier to use electronic tools. It doesn’t matter. What’s important is using them to give your writing some variety.
Disclosure: Links in this post to books on Amazon.com include my Amazon affiliate link. If you buy a book after following an affiliate link, I’ll earn a few cents. If you’d like to buy my book, there are links to it on Amazon, Borders and Barnes&Noble in my sidebar.