I was recently asked what my hobbies are and answered ‘reading the internet’. It is how I spend a lot of my free time and I love filling my brain up with new things to ponder (as well as the less highbrow stuff I read!) so I thought I’d share some of my favourite blogs and ask you for your suggestions of other blogs to try.
I read my blogs via an RSS reader which brings everything into one place so I don’t have to remember to visit lots of websites. I use Feedly as it has lots of keyboard shortcuts so I can blitz through my feeds on my computer and a great iPhone app so I can read anywhere. I sort most of these into categories (including one helpfully called ‘blogs’) to help me find particular things or focus on particular topics.
These are just some of the blogs I read regularly. Feedly makes it easy to skip through the headlines of my ridiculously large blog collection so I don’t read every post from every blog but I pretty much read the ones below from cover to cover (there doesn’t seem to be a digital equivalent for that term!)
Why so many blogs? Why so much reading? When I run training sessions about writing for the web I tell people one of the best ways to write better is to read a lot. Reading good (and bad!) stuff online has taught me so much about how to structure my writing, what makes something compelling and the importance of having a clear and consistent voice.
I also love reading and learning new things. Growing up I’d read a book a day (and still can if I have enough time) and would turn the cereal box round on the table so I had something to read while I ate breakfast.
What else should I be reading? I’d love to hear your suggestions in the comments or on Twitter where I’m @jowalters
Content marketing blogs
Copyblogger – @copyblogger – “Solutions for smarter content marketing – Since January 2006, Copyblogger has been teaching people how to create killer online content. Not bland corporate crap created to fill up a company webpage.Valuable information that attracts attention, drives traffic, and builds your business.” – A good focus on the writing side of communications.
Econsultancy – @econsultancy – Do you know what is a good idea if your business is about selling content marketing services? Doing content marketing. These guys do it really well with lots of really useful stuff including posts by and featuring my good friend Kelvin Newman.
Email Marketing Tips – @aweber – Another example of people who sell stuff for content marketers (in this case, a newsletter system which I’ve blogged about using) using content marketing to sell their stuff. They’ve also featured a post written by me (lucky them!)
The Guardian: Blogging – This feed picks out all Guardian articles tagged with ‘blogging’ so it is a good mix of techie geek stuff and current affairs.
HubSpot’s Inbound Hub – @hubspot – Practising what they preach these guys post all the time so you have to sift through to find the stuff that is relevant to you but their posts are really useful, use a mix of formats and are really easy to read (as you’d expect when you describe yourselves as pioneers of inbound marketing!)
Men With Pens – @menwithpens – “World class websites and copywriting – Enjoy 1,000+ articles geared to your content-marketing, writing, freelancing or small business endeavors” – More writing stuff including writing books.
ProBlogger – @problogger – “Blog Tips to Help You Make Money Blogging – In 2002 I stumbled upon an article about ‘Blogging’. I didn’t know it at the time but that moment changed my life.” Frequent posts on a variety of blogging topics focused on making money from blogging. My favourite posts are by site founder, Darren.
Unmarketing – @unmarketing – “Scott Stratten is the President of Un-Marketing. He is an expert in Viral, Social, and Authentic Marketing which he calls Un-Marketing. It’s all about positioning yourself as a trusted expert in front of your target market, so when they have the need, they choose you.” – Sometimes snarky, always useful. I’ve blogged previously about his book of the same name which I totally love.
Charity communications blogs
Charity Chap – @charitychap – “I help charities use the internet to change the world through social media coaching and training, digital campaigning, and writing inspiring words”
comms2point0 – @comms2point0 – “comms2point0 is a free online resource for creative communicators in public, private, third sector and HE comms & PR” – Focuses on local government stuff but is really transferable to charities and students’ unions. Definitely worth following on Twitter as they share lots of good stuff from around the web. Also use fabulous vintage images to illustrate their posts.
The Democratic Society – @demsoc – “The Democratic Society is an independent membership organisation. We promote democracy and new forms of governance through citizen participation, debate and building bridges between those who ‘know’ and those who ‘do’” – Whilst not directly relevant for every charity (though definitely useful for people working in students’ unions) there are some interesting themes relating to engagement and participation which are broadly transferable.
Higher Education Network: The Guardian – @@GdnHigherEd – “Ideas, insight and debate from the global higher education community” – Obviously this one is for a fairly specific sector but the Guardian’s networks highlight the benefits of having a clearly identified niche and of pulling together lots of different contributors.
The Non-Profit Marketing Blog – @Network4Good – “The Nonprofit Marketing Blog is managed by the nonprofit marketing and advisory teams at Network for Good. Our goal is to bring you the best in nonprofit marketing trends, fundraising techniques, technology developments and amazing nonprofit examples to help, encourage and inspire the do-gooders of the world. We’re here to help you effectively engage your communities and win hearts and minds—and donations.”
Voluntary Sector Network: The Guardian – @GdnVoluntary – “Insight, advice and best practice from the community”
Feministe – @Feministe – “In defense of the sanctimonious women’s studies set – Feministe is one of the oldest feminist blogs online designed by and run by women from the ground up.”
Feministing – @Feministing – “Young feminists blogging, organising, kicking ass”
Jezebel – @Jezebel – “Celebrity, Sex, Fashion for Women. Without Airbrushing” – Definitely one of my favourite sites due to the range of topics they cover and high sarcasm content (and the fact they talked about the random bus thing I was involved in). Their headlines are some of my favourite on the internet. They also post cute animal pics which scores points with me.
Lifestyle & interiors blogs
Apartment Therapy – @AptTherapy – “Helping people make their homes more beautiful, organized and healthy by connecting them to a wealth of resources, ideas and community online” – Beautiful beautiful houses, DIY and design things.
Carolina Charm – @C_Marcellino – Christina blogs about her life, house, dog, family, parties and holidays.
House*Tweaking – @housetweaking – “Because home doesn’t happen overnight” – One of my top three not work-related blogs (along with Young House Love & Manhattan Nest). Dana writes about doing up her house, blogging and her super cute family.
Manhattan Nest – @danielkanter – Daniel blogs (amongst other things) about doing up his newly purchased old house and his dogs with a healthy dose of friendly sarcasm. Essentially the trifecta for my recreational blog-reading.
The Planned Adventure – @ruthlgarner – my friend Ruth writes about her adventures and beautiful things.
RedneckModern – “a mid-century modern restoration resource” – I love mid-century modern style and these guys share some amazing houses, interiors and furniture.
Young House Love – @younghouselove – “Wut up. We’re Sherry & John. Just your average married couple with a lively three year old, a moody chihuahua, and a love of all things home. Here’s where we chat about transforming our house, living in it, and all the random bits in between.” – YHL ooooooozes Sherry & John. I’ve never met them but feel like I know them as their site has such a consistent and distinct tone that feels completely authentic. They also share family stuff at Young House Life.
The first blogs I really got into were about productivity stuff, largely Getting Things Done, but these days they are just part of my sprawling feed collection.
Lifehacker – @lifehacker – “Tips, tricks, and downloads for getting things done” – I love Lifehacker’s mix of topics which ranges from DIY to tech stuff and their concise writing style. A tip I emailed in even featured in one of their round-ups. Basically a productivity expert.
Unclutterer – @unclutterer – “Unclutterer is the blog about getting and staying organized. A place for everything, and everything in its place is our gospel” – Appeals to my organising/list-making side.
Various Google blogs including Google Analytics, Gmail, Google for non-profits for updates on the Google things I use. I also read blogs for other tools I use including Remember the Milk.
Mind Your Language – @guardianstyle – The blog of the Guardian’s style guide editors. A must for grammar and writing nerds and particularly great on Twitter
The Obvious by Euan Semple – @euan – “I called it The Obvious? when I wrote anonymously and chose the name to reflect the fact I have to overcome my inhibitions about stating the obvious!” – One of the most recent additions to my collection after reading Euan’s great book, ‘Organizations Don’t Tweet, People Do‘. Euan writes about the power of digital and social tools for people and organisations.
This column will change your life – @oliverburkeman– “Oliver Burkeman investigates routes to mental wellbeing” – Interesting and funny insights into psychology and lifestyle theories.
I’ve also subscribed to the Guardian feeds for David Mitchell, Laurie Penny, Charlie Brooker, Rebecca Front and Mark Thomas as they write funny and/or interesting and/or thought-provoking stuff.
Some of the more random stuff I follow…
ANIMALS TALKING IN ALL CAPS – “It’s just what it sounds like” – Yes it is.
BuzzFeed – @BuzzFeed – I pretend I read this so I can be up to date on youth culture and internet trends for work purposes. Really I just like lists of animal gifs. Actually though I’ve been experimenting with Buzzfeed style ‘list posts’ in my writing for Sussex Students’ Union which seem to be going down well.
Clients From Hell – @clientsfh – “A collection of anonymously contributed client horror stories from designers”
What have I missed out?
Don’t forget to let me know what else I should be reading online in the comments or on Twitter – @jowalters