I read recently that the human brain is about as large as your two fists put together.
That in mind, I started out my morning today by sitting at my desk and staring down at my own hands pressed up against each other.
I couldn’t help but think that my apparent brain size looked a little on the small side.
It didn’t make me upset, or even worried, it’s just that I really thought this big head of mine might be home to something a little more physically robust.
I smiled and moved on to starting up my laptop, but not before thinking about the fact that every idea that has ever changed the world has been thought up within the confines of something the size of a couple of clenched fists.
Specifically, I was moved by the notion that some of the most brilliant people I’ve read, listened to, and interacted with on a daily basis have probably had about the same amount of grey matter to work with as I do.
And they create some really, really incredible stuff with it.
At Responster, our biggest lessons have come largely from two places:
1) Our own trial and error
and, more importantly:
2) The blogs, videos, podcasts, tweets, emails, and speeches of those who have been generous enough to share their own learning experiences with us.
Running a business in 2015 is amazing because every single one of us has this overlapping cycle in which we not only learn from what we’ve done, but also from those who have generously shared what they’ve done before us.
In turn, our own failures and triumphs can become the basis for someone else’s growth.
This is probably thanks to a fundamentally different approach to building businesses in recent years:
The companies of our parents and grandparents’ generations said “We’ve found our secret sauce, now keep it quiet.”
As businesses in a social, online space, we say “screw that, let’s all be awesome together, because there’s enough room for all of us!”
Why exactly this mindset developed is an entire MBA thesis waiting to happen – or at least a lengthy blog post for another time – but the bottom line is that it’s a beautiful thing, and it’s what makes this blog post both possible and relevant.
Every day, I scour through some of my favorite blogs in the industry to learn, find great content to share with our Responster followers on social media, and get inspiration to trod ahead in the largely unknown journey that is working within a startup.
For any and all of those needs, I want to share some of my favorite business learning spaces with you.
In order to keep the span of sites more diversified, our CEO Alex also dropped me a couple of hints for this list – so some of the blogs are my own regular reads, some are his, and most all of them we have a mutual appreciation for.
In any event, we hope you find all of these watering holes of information, and the amazing (two-fist-sized) minds behind them, as useful as we do.
Our Top 5 Stellar Blogs For Entrepreneurs And Businesses:
#1 – The Journey to $500k Per Month by
If there’s one blog right now that goes above and beyond to epitomize the sharing economy I’ve just talked about, it’s Groove founder Alex Turnbull’s blog on the ‘Journey to 500k Per Month’ in revenue.
Just the name lets you know you’re in for some high-caliber goodness, and transparency is going to be a focus.
The blog is a journey, which has a great “come learn with us” connotation and the content Alex and his team publish each week is of real value to just about any reader who could hit the page.
Great design and user experience. Easy reading. Powerful, researched, data-driven lessons.
A Great Post Out This Week: How I Stopped Getting Jealous of Other People’s Success
A Must-Read From The Archives: How We Increased Our Traffic by 12,024% with Zero Advertising
What We’ve Learned From Alex/Groove: There’s too much to list, but some key takeaways in my own development have been learning to cut ties with strategies that are sucking up time without great return, what it means to craft true value, and how to balance decisions made from the gut vs. those made based on data.
Oh yeah, Alex is also the the one who turned me on to the technique of opening blog posts just like this one with a story or abstract-yet-connected thought to help keep things more interesting for readers.
#2 – The Daily Egg by
The Daily Egg is a wonderful, statistics-driven blog on conversion optimizations of all sorts.
Landing pages, email series’ – you name it, someone on there has tracked and written about best practices for it in detail.
Even when posts focus on other topics, you can bet anything that’s said will be backed up by case studies, which will in turn be backed up by numbers.
Plus, a primary contributor to The Daily Egg is none other than Crazy Egg’s founder, Neil Patel.
If you haven’t heard of Neil, well, I’m actually not quite sure how that’s even possible.
I’m just kidding, but he is a recognizable name in the content marketing and SaaS space, and is one of the most prolific, smart, and productive bloggers I’ve ever run across. He writes around 17,000 words per week for various blogs and publications.
A Great Post From This Week: How To Turn Boring Case Studies Into Gripping Stories That Sell
A Must-Read From The Archives: 20 Copywriting Lessons From Stephen King (full disclosure: This post isn’t even that old, but the copywriter in me freakin’ loves it!)
What We’ve Learned From Neil (and The Daily Egg contributors): Which SaaS metrics to pay attention to and which to dump, how to make the content/pages promoting our SaaS product more appealing.
#3 – The Swift Branding Blog
Swift branding is probably going to be the least-known blog on this list, and its reach certainly isn’t as large as the two I’ve mentioned so far.
That said, Swift Branding is the brainchild of George Karboulonis and is a great way to bring yourself up to speed on a diverse range of business-building topics in no-time flat.
Plus, the author is cultivating shares and engagement with an upward trend, so the popularity of his blog might just be on a few more radars before long here.
Not to mention, George is a nice guy and takes the time to write back to me when I blow him up with comments and tweets.
While the formatting of some of the posts will make you wade through walls of text from time to time, the value of every post is evident, and I consider this recent find to be a real diamond in the rough.
Of his objectives for the blog, George told me in an email:
I want to be able to deliver true value to my audience whether there are 2 people reading my blog or 2 million. I believe in total transparency when it comes to online content and completely sharing everything I learn: all my mistakes, my successes and my failures. If I find a way to make $2 in a day online somehow, I will make a post on how I managed it with the title “how to make $2 dollar in a day” and not “hot to make tons of money online”
Seems like a good attitude to have, if you ask me (but here’s to hoping he makes a lot more than $2!).
A Great Post From This Week: How To Consistently Come Up With Great Content Ideas
A Must-Read From The Archives: Content Marketing: B2B vs B2C Differences
What We’ve Learned From George/Swift Branding: Where to source great stock images, the importance of clear brand identity, and how to set up our pesky landing page we’re working on.
#4 – The Quick Sprout Blog
Remeber that Neil Patel guy? Well, dammit, he’s made it into another blog on the list! It’s Quick Sprout, and it’s an excellent resource for business and brand growth.
It’s particularly useful if you’re interested in boosting the effectiveness of content marketing, which is a major reason I read it regularly.
One of the other huge benefits to spending some time over on Quick Sprout is that certain topics have evolved from blog posts into full-blown definitive guides.
These are highly designed, multi-chapter, free writeups that tackle topics like building a blog audience, approaching social media, becoming an expert content creator, and much more.
When I started doing research on how I wanted to format and approach the blog you’re reading right now, one of my very first stops was a Quick Sprout guide.
A Great Post From This Week: 4 Clever Ways Videos Can Help You Attract More Customers
A Must-Read From The Archives: How To Double Your Writing Speed Without Lowering Your Quality
What We’ve Learned From Quick Sprout: How to organize content marketing efforts, how to plan your strategy for attracting a brand audience, and how to be a more effective writer for online readers.
#5 – Copyblogger
Copyblogger has been one of the standout resources for internet marketers and businesses alike for nearly a decade now.
In fact, the post I’ve pulled out as “from the archives” at the end of this section is from 2006.
Whereas Copyblogger’s early iteration more commonly focused on the specifics of selling and persuading with words, and dug into the psychology of copywriting, it is now a much more diversified beast.
It was a smart move, and one that’s extended their reach enormously.
Now, the blog is populated by a throng of talented contributors, many of which have regular segments with recurring themes, allowing you to quickly pick out an author whose content is of relevance to your needs/position/business model.
A Great Post From This Week: Why Not Being A Techie May Be A Benefit To Starting a Technology Company
A Must-Read From The Archives: The Greatest Sales Letter Of All Time
What We’ve Learned From Copyblogger: How to write good. Ha. But seriously, articles from this site have informed my own writing many times. Writing well is still an essential part of effective content creation for many businesses, so a regular read through CB is of benefit to just about anyone.
What are your favorite blogs? Where have you learned some of your most valuable lessons?
Let me know in the comments below.
Brandon is the Chief Customer Success Wizard and Community Manager for Responster, a cross-platform survey tool that helps businesses collect and act on feedback that improves customer relationships and employee engagement.