Sometimes I’m asked for recommendations on what to read to get an idea of what’s needed for a well-performing site. So here’s my list.
What makes a website usable, how users think
Don’t Make Me Think, by Steve Krug.
This is almost always my first recommendation. It’s quick to read, it’s easily digested, and drives home the fact that even you are not a careful, thorough, and patient reader/consumer online. It’s hard to believe the author hates to write.
Writing for the Web, content strategy
Yes, it’s different. We’ve probably all heard that and how content is king. Ginny Redish provides excellent example of how its different and how you can make your words work in Letting Go of the Words. It’s a great resource for any writer.
Can’t get enough? Want a little more from the strategic angle? The read Content Strategy for the Web by Kristina Halvorson. If you want only ten minutes of good advice, read her article “The Discipline of Content Strategy.”
Once it comes out, go give this one a try: Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, Ebooks, Webinars (and More) That Engage Customers and Ignite Your Business. I’m hoping it’s easier to read than its title, but just as thorough.
Want to follow a blog instead? Then try subscribing to Gerry McGovern’s “New Thinking” newsletter and blog.
How a redesign happens, what to expect
Website redesigns always seem to take more time and a lot more work than many people expect. It’s sort of like remodeling your bathroom, living room, and kitchen at the same time. Read Web ReDesign 2.0 by Kelly Goto and Emily Cotler, or at least give it a very good scan, if you want to feel more knowledgeable and in control of the process even as you trust other professionals to do all the technical and heavy work.
All sorts of useful stuff to watch
UIE Bookclub looks promising. You can watch the first episode with Kristina Halvorson. So before, during, or after you’ve read her book, you can watch the interview and call-in show.
I’ve always found Google Webmaster Central Channel and Google Business Channel on YouTube to have quality and bite-sized videos. It’s not always just about the search engine (although you better know how to work with Google if you’re doing an online marketing); it covers a few general online marketing tactics, too.
If you’re looking for a little humor, try HubSpot’s YouTube channel. They’ve been trying a few comics on their website and some silly, but informative, videos here with the introduction of Captain Inbound.
These are books, blogs, and video resources that came to the top of my mind this morning. Tomorrow I might decide to add a few more. What have I missed?