What Professional Internet Marketers Read
One of the biggest problems for newcomers to Internet marketing and operations that handle marketing in-house is figuring out what information is accurate and actionable. A LOT of people write about SEO, PPC, web design, affiliate marketing, content marketing, etc., but can you trust them? Do they know what they’re talking about?
These questions become pretty obvious once you realize much of the information you run into is contradictory. Some people say keywords are important, others say keywords are not important. Some people say web page scrolling is bad, others say it’s fine. Over and over, you hear phrases such as “it depends” and “all other things being equal.”
To help companies zero in on useful, valuable, reliable Internet marketing, I surveyed several of our specialists here at Straight North to find out what they read to keep current with best practices and innovative techniques. So, here are websites and blogs professional marketers use. Some of them are a little off the beaten track, which is good. If you’re acting based solely on reading the same stuff everybody else is reading, it won’t necessarily make you successful, and it certainly won’t make you stand out.
- Search Engine Land — SEL handles technical topics in plain English, covering SEO, SEM, mobile, local, retail and social marketing.
- Moz — Moz is widely read and should be, having earned a reputation for data-driven analysis and forward thinking in SEO strategy and execution.
- Search Engine Journal — Lots of SEO tech talk, along with good tips for PPC and content marketing. The contributors are established pros.
- Search Engine Watch — Technical SEO analysis and tips for SEO, PPC, analytics and much more. Probably the broadest coverage of topics of any site listed in this section.
- Search Engine Roundtable — Short, technical overviews of vexing SEO challenges and issues, with links to deeper discussions. A bit more interesting to read than your typical blog post.
- Occam’s Razor — Avinash Kaushik’s newsletter is an important go-to source for our SEO team.
- Eric Ward — Eric Ward’s newsletter is another important source for ideas and analysis regarding linking strategy.
- PPC Hero — Breaks down the complexities of PPC campaign management, from high-level strategy issues to in-the-weeds technical execution.
- Search Engine Watch — Already covered in the SEO section, SEW is great reading for PPC issues as well.
- Inside AdWords — Google’s blog dedicated to AdWords tips, news and other information. It’s hard to imagine running an effective PPC campaign without paying serious attention to Google’s blog!
Web Design Sources
- Web Designer News — The latest ideas and perspective on a multitude of design topics, informative, witty and fun to read.
- Smashing Magazine — In-depth (really in-depth) coverage of coding, design, mobile, graphics, UX, WordPress and more. As a multiple contributor to Smashing, I can personally attest to the rigorous editing and overall professionalism of this publication.
- In Blog — Detailed coverage of technical design issues from authoritative contributors.
- Typewolf — Here’s where you find everything you want to know about web fonts.
- Dribbble — A design community website with a “Shots” section where designers post their work; a great place to find inspiration and develop ideas.
- The Best Designs — Another inspirational site, with a huge library of original web designs, sortable by style, color, industry or genre.
- Brand New — The “Before/After” archive of logos is interesting, as are the comments!
Web Development Sources
- CSS-Tricks — Extremely useful resource for overcoming web development challenges.
- Stack Overflow — The world’s largest developer community, where developers can share ideas and techniques with fellow developers, and search for help on just about any question imaginable.
My inspiration comes mostly from books. Here are my favorites:
- Ogilvy on Advertising, by David Ogilvy
- Confessions of an Advertising Man, by David Ogilvy
- Don’t Make Me Think, by Steve Krug
- Tested Sentences That Sell, by Elmer Wheeler
Brad Shorr is Director of Content Strategy at Straight North, an SEO firm in Chicago. With more than 25 years of sales and marketing experience, Brad has been featured in leading online publications including Entrepreneur, Moz and American Marketing Association.