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Recommended reading for web site owners

The JoshCanHelp Recommended Reading list

This post is because you don’t have enough to read. Scratch that… you don’t have enough useful stuff to read. These are must-reads for anyone who has or thinks they should have a website out there and gathering eyeballs.

I’m a firm believer in understanding why things are done. I also believe that anyone can understand anything if it’s important to them to understand it. People love to tell me “I’m not technical so I’m not going to understand it” but that’s a cop out. If you find value in what you’re learning, you’ll learn it.

Having a website without knowing what goes into it is like having a car and not understanding your gas tank or oil changes or tire pressure. You can go from here to there but, one of these days, that car is going to break and you’re going to be stuck. With that in mind, I strongly suggest you understand the basics. These should help. Best way to go about getting through these is to read the parts that pertain to what you’re doing, absorb the parts you get, and look up the parts you don’t.

First, of course, a couple posts by me.


Google’s Starter Guide to SEO

google_gAnyone who knows me knows that I love Google and what it does for people. Their free applications are priceless to me and their geeky nature appeals to me greatly. I also love that they would go out of their way to write a guide like this. For people who know little to nothing about search engines, this is the place to start.

Search engine optimization is often about making small modifications to parts of your website. When viewed individually, these changes might seem like incremental improvements, but when combined with other optimizations, they could have a noticeable impact on your site’s user experience and performance in organic search results.

MailChimp’s Guide to Email marketing

new-mailchimp-logoI am consistently impressed with how much free information is produced from MailChimp. I have not used their product once but I’m still their biggest fan. This awesome guide gives you all the information you need to design, build, and send an email campaign the RIGHT way. A must read for ANYONE doing bulk HTML mailing.

First, we’ll cover all the basics, like how HTML emails work (and why it always seems to break when you try to send it yourself). Then, we’ll get into technical stuff, like how to design and code them. Finally, we’ll run through email marketing best practices, such as for list management, deliverability and measuring performance.

Seth Godin’s Guide to Traffic

moneynothingcoverI am a big Seth Godin fan. His honest, simple delivery of business and internet common sense is unique, refreshing, and insightful. I’ll read his blog as long as he writes it, no doubt about it. This ebook is yet another example of his pure common sense at work. It’s great advice for those that don’t know and a very important remind for those that do. It’s a quick read and an important triad of concepts.

In other words, the best way is the long way. The long way is to create content that is updated, unique and useful. Again and again we see that sites that do all three manage to get more than their fair share of traffic.


Getting Real by 37 Signals

37signals-logoThis is a book written by the folks at 37 signals. It takles about how to build a web application but much of it applies broadly to any bootstrapping operation. This book, available to read for free online, gives you a great mental framework to push your ideas forward.

Underdo your competition; Your passion – or lack of – will shine through; The leaner you are, the easier it is to change; Differentiate yourself from bigger companies by being personal and friendly; Explicitly define the one-point vision; Build something you can manage.

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