What should you be reading?
When you’re trying to get your own business going, you'll hear a lot of different advice from different people that it can feel overwhelming. Even a quick search for “startup blogs” will turn up dozens of recommendations and lists, often with completely different suggestions. How do you sift through all those to find the gems of wisdom you need?
So here’s the important thing to remember, first off: reading any startup blog will help you.
Even if they’re not meant to provide advice for your own startup? Even if it’s not in the same industry? Even if you don’t agree with their marketing techniques? Even if they’re not actually that successful?
Yes. Everything you read can feed into how you run your own business. You can learn as much from someone else’s mistakes as you can from their successes. You can read a success story about viral marketing, but realize that either that method won't work for your business, or you don’t like the kind of work involved in making it successful. That is just as important as finding a method that will work for your business—because now you’ve saved yourself some time. Alternatively, you might find the perfect marketing idea that didn’t work for someone else’s business, but fits perfectly with your demographic.
It’s a good idea to explore any and all startup blogs you come across, even those that might not be useful enough to follow or revisit in the future. How are they marketing themselves? How are they talking to potential clients and customers? Are they getting any engagement in terms of comments? This kind of education is invaluable, and you can get it for free by browsing through other people’s blogs and taking notes.
That said, some blogs are going to be more useful than others. Especially when you’re looking for up-to-date information, you need to be looking at startup blogs that are either close or just above your level or planned business size. It doesn’t matter how successful a company is: if they were a startup five years ago, then their advice is probably no longer as relevant as a company that just started their operations in the current business environment. Just consider the boom in startups as the Internet continues to expand and become a part of everyone’s lives.
The best advice comes from people who’ve made it, and recently. They know the market, they know what you’re going through, and you can learn from their experiences.
That being said, you’ve probably come to this post looking for recommendations. I went through various lists trying to find a handful of great blogs. I'll also let you know why I think they’re so great, including highlighting posts you should check out. I haven’t limited the list to a particular industry or topic; rather, I’ve looked for blogs that discuss issues you’re probably going to have to deal with yourselves, and which do so clearly and concisely.
- Vero.Vero specializes in handling emails for businesses, including personalizing emails based on gathered data. Even if you don’t want to pay for their product, which is a little pricey, they have free advice available on their blog which you don’t want to miss if you’re going to do any marketing of your own.
o 40 Tips for Dramatically Better Emails – A more or less exhaustive guide into how to write effective emails to your clients and customers.
o A Guide to Triggering Personal Emails – Automation makes things easier, but on this post, Vero’s experts cover how and when to keep the human touch.
o 3 Campaigns to Re-engage Your Current Customers – Worrying how to keep people engaged in the long term? Vero’s got you covered.
- WPCurve.Wordpress blogs can be notoriously difficult to manage for someone who knows nothing about coding, because there are just so many options and plugins available. This is where WPCurve comes in. They’ve built a business around providing professional services, and they also have a blog which explains some of the reasons for their success, as well as some of the issues they’ve faced as a startup company.
o Our exact hands-off process for hiring developers – Every startup is going to have to hire more people at some point, and this blog post explains how WPCurve goes about it.
o How to use Instagram ads to grow your startup – Advertising is something everyone needs to think about, and this post discusses one of the more popular options currently available.
- Nose Graze. I have to admit that I’m not sure why that’s the name of the site, which might be something to avoid with your own startup, but it’s well known among the book blogging community particularly because the owner advocates finding a way to make a business out of your passion. Her email tips are great and she has some blog posts that cover the ins and outs of owning your own business and making it take off. If you’re planning to use Wordpress to run your blog, she has dozens of tips on the best way to “make it your b****”!
o 5 Things I Need To Change About My Business – A recent post that discusses the fatigue you can experience as you try to get your business off the ground.
o Why Do I Use the Plural When I Talk About My Business? – An excellent post on using the right language when you talk about your business.
o Create Business Cards Which Actually Mean Something – Nose Graze does a lot of design work, and this shows in this post covering effective business cards!
- Buffer. Buffer’s blog has a ton of experience-based advice on managing social media and marketing. Their product automates a lot of the social and marketing processes a startup needs to use, and they’ve got it down to an art. Their blog includes tons of invaluable information for free, and is well worth following.
o The Best 5 Minutes We Spend on Ads – If you want to learn how to run ads on Facebook and Twitter effectively without spending a lot of money, this post is an amazing resource – and Buffer’s success proves the quality of their methods.
o The Anatomy of a Perfect Blog Post – Based on metrics and analysis, Buffer have figured out the formula for writing the perfect blog post to engage your viewers and drive interest.
o How to Craft Content People Love – As you can tell, Buffer are experts on this topic, and this post gives advice on how to stand out and really make your content worth reading.
- Joel.is. Joel Gascoigne is a co-founder of Buffer, and in his blog he discusses some of the setbacks as well. The posts I’ve selected discuss moments of bad news and failure, because as a startup, you’re going to have to know how to deal with those as well.
o Founders: failure comes with the territory – Not all startups will succeed, and Joel discusses how that happens and how to deal with it.
o Why I don’t shield my team from bad news – Again, there’s always going to be bad news at times, no matter how well your company grows. Joel discusses the best way to deal with it as a team, realistically.
- Freelancer. You might not know that Freelancer itself has a blog section full of tips, but it's well worth checking out.
o Case study: Contest Gives Risk Management Company An Edge - You can leverage existing tools on sites like Freelancer for your benefit, as this case study shows.
o Media Personality Crowdsources Her Own Business Card Design - You've probably heard about crowdsourcing, but how much do you know about it? This article gives some insight.
Write About Your Own Journey
What does that mean? Well, it’s one thing to follow the successes and failures of other startups, and another thing to pay attention to what’s going on with your own company. Your own startup blog is a great big opportunity for you: this is how you can track your own progress; engage with users, customers and clients; communicate with your team; start building your brand,; so on and so forth.
If you run your own blog, it gives you an opportunity to reflect on what you’re doing right and wrong, and record the growth of your company. This might be useful if you’re looking for partners or investors, or to get people interested in using their talent for your company. Being honest, analytical and thorough reflects well on your business, and you could be in the next wave of blogs being recommended for their information on how to run a startup. You can always share your own expertise for your particular area as well, getting good SEO in place so that people can discover your startup.
It doesn’t even take that much to set up a blog – you can start by using Wordpress’ free hosting if you’re just beginning to explore your options! Having a record of your startup and your process from very early days could prove to be very valuable – and very educational for you as you look back on how far you’ve come.
Do you have recommendations for startup blogs you think everyone should be reading? Leave them in the comments to share with the community! If you have your own startup blog, why not share the link here as well?