My 10 Favorite “How To Start A Blog” Books

Blog Tools, Online Business, Start Your Blog

top-blogging-booksWhen I first heard about blogging, I didn't really see the potential.

In late 2008, my wife started a free Blogger (Google) blog to document our progress in our move to Ecuador. It was private – meaning that only those with an invite could see it. We didn't want to share our life online. How things have changed…

Before moving, we purchased a set of books about writing, blogging and photography. This was part of our plan to make a living in Ecuador. It was all new to us. We thought that maybe we would become writers or photographers. We never expected to do both as bloggers.

Shortly after arriving in Cuenca we started our public blog – which became GringosAbroad. If you're interested, you can read more about our back story.

Some of these books we brought with us to Ecuador –  and some we've bought since arriving. Hopefully you'll find some books that will help you be successful in running your blog.


My 10 Favorite Blogging Books

1. ProBlogger

problogger book

This is the book that opened my eyes to the potential and power of a professional blog. While some of the chapters are overly simplistic and could probably be deleted, the majority of the book is pure content.

Written by two of the world's most successful bloggers (Darren Rowse and Chris Garrett) it's one of the clearest books out there on how to earn an income from your blog.

  • Helps novices choose a blog topic, analyze the market, set up a blog, promote it, and earn revenue
  • Proven techniques and tools needed to succeed in building a business from your blog
  • Reveals 20 key ingredients for a successful blog post
  • Offers solid, step-by-step instruction on how bloggers actually make money, why niches matter, how to use essential blogging tools and take advantage of social media and content aggregators, how to optimize your advertising, and much more
  • Includes techniques for attracting and growing an audience and how to mine new business opportunities beyond your blog

ProBlogger tells you exactly how to launch and maintain a blog that makes money.

Price: $14.98
Number of Pages: 336 pages
The Bottom Line: If you are going to buy any book specifically about blogging, this is the one you need.
Where you can buy it: Amazon

2. Bloggers Boot Camp


I bought this one a few years ago, after we had already been blogging for a few years. Bloggers Boot Camp shows how to build a great blog from the ground up. This isn't a book about technology – it's a book about engaging millions of readers. Starting your blog is easy, but building and maintaining a popular one is hard.

Blogging experts John Biggs and Charlie White (Gizmodo, Mashable and TechCrunch) share their secrets from the frontline showing you how to blog with quality and flair, find the best stories, and attract millions of readers to your blog.

Price: $17.02
Number of Pages: 224 pages
The Bottom Line: This book will give you a bloggers mindset. The authors have run blogs that publish up to a dozen times a day. They talk about how to increase production and how to effectively promote the content.
Where you can buy it: Amazon

3. Blogging Heroes


This book is divided into thirty interviews and offers great insight into some of the top blogs in multiple niches. Among more than 102,000,000 blogs, a few stand out as influential, ground-breaking, and singularly successful.

These thirty bloggers, who write about everything from business trends to parenting, have been featured in Wiredmagazine, Popular Science, and on CNN, NPR, MSNBC, and 20/20.

In one-on-one conversations with Michael A. Banks, these innovative, creative thinkers have shared their tactics, their philosophies, what drives them, how they mine for subject matter, and their personal secrets for success.

Price: $16.65
Number of Pages: 298 pages
The Bottom Line: This book will give ideas on blog monetization, how to niche down into a profitable sub-niche and how to manage the workflow. I've used this book as a reference and idea generator.
Where you can buy it: Amazon

4. Content Rules


If you are just getting started in the content marketing world, this is a good introduction.

Blogs, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and other platforms are giving everyone a “voice,” including organizations and their customers. So how do you create the stories, videos, and blog posts that cultivate fans, arouse passion for your products or services, and ignite your business?

Content Rules equips you for online success as a one-stop source on the art and science of developing content that people care about. This coverage is interwoven with case studies of companies successfully spreading their ideas online—and using them to establish credibility and build a loyal customer base.

Price: $13.96
Number of Pages: 320 pages
The Bottom Line: This is a good overview of the types of content to create and the rules that you should follow as you create it. Great for idea generation.
Where you can buy it: Amazon

5. Attention! This Book Will Make You Money

attention - the book

This is the book that was pivotal in the re-branding of our travel site – and subsequently in the name of this site. Instead of a generic, forgetful name we became GringosAbroad and BloggerAbroad. The attention generated by these names is a definite reason for the success of our sites.

Attention equals revenue. When you direct more attention online to your brand or business, you drive more long-term revenue. Regardless of who you are or how small your business is, you can have a huge impact using free Internet tools…provided you understand and correctly apply the latest techniques.

In three parts, you'll discover everything you need to know to get off the ground and thrive in the social mediasphere, including:

  1. The tools, techniques and tricks to get attention online and turn that attention into profit
  2. The theory behind the importance of making your mark on the Internet
  3. How other businesses and individuals made money from online marketing

Price: $17.76
Number of Pages: 289 pages
The Bottom Line: You should read this book both as you are planning out your blog and again after you have it up and running. I love Jim's style and always generate new ideas from this book.
Where you can buy it: Amazon

6. WordPress 3 SEO


Okay, so SEO can be boring. But this stuff is important.

If you are building a business (or community) with a WordPress site this guide shows you the secrets to SEO – and how to optimize your website for popularity with search engines.

  • Discover the SEO secrets you need to get your WordPress site to the top of the search engines
  • Learn everything from keyword research and link building to customer conversions in this complete guide
  • Packed with real-word examples to help get your site get noticed by Google, Yahoo, and Bing
  • How to employ WordPress' built-in community building features
  • How to extend WordPress' functionality to harness social media to build your site
  • This easy-to-read guide takes you step-by-step through the process of building a search engine-friendly WordPress site

Price: $40.49
Number of Pages: 344 pages
The Bottom Line: Great content will only take you so far. Proper formating and optimization can take even mediocre content to the top of Google. When you combine great content with effective SEO then you have the recipe for a successful and profitable blog.
Where you can buy it: Amazon

7. WordPress 24-Hour Trainer


There are really only two options for running your blog: Hire an expert or become one. 

This book makes it easy to get a solid basis of how WordPress works and how to fix common problems.

As an open source content management system, WordPress allows users to easily build feature-rich web sites with no programming experience. This unique book-and-video package is a friendly, self-paced beginners guide to the latest release of WordPress. Lessons are focused on practical, everyday tasks that users will need to create and maintain their sites: entering new content, creating new pages, managing menus, making content search-engine friendly. Plus you'll find lots of tips based on years of experience teaching people to use WordPress.

You'll also learn how to extend the functionality of WordPress by using the thousands of plugins available. Connecting to social media, creating membership and e-commerce sites, setting up events calendars, making your site mobile-friendly—these are just some of the plugins you'll be introduced to. Each lesson in the book is supplemented by an instructional video intended to enhance your learning experience. Plus, a trouble-shooting appendix addresses various issues to help you solve any challenges you may face.

Price: $20.94
Number of Pages: 408 pages
The Bottom Line: I like the style of the book and how it is broken into 39 individual lessons. A useful resource.
Where you can buy it: Amazon

8. The Little Red Writing Book


I know that I'm due to read this one again. It is all about improving structure, style and readability. This is the book for all of us who aren't really writers – but who love to write.

The Little Red Writing Book is designed for visual appeal and ease of use. Elegant yet practical, it will be an intriguing, inviting reference you'll turn to again and again.

Author Brandon Royal offers clear explanations and non-intimidating instruction based on the four pillars of sound writing – structure, style, readability, and grammar. His discussion centers on 20 immutable writing principles as well as 30 commonly encountered rules of grammar. A wealth of examples, charts, and engaging exercises make The Little Red Writing Book an invaluable guide for anyone who wants to master those skills that will make a good writer even better.

Price: $7.98
Number of Pages: 160 pages
The Bottom Line: This is the most readable book on improving writing that I have ever seen. It covers almost every aspect of writing, including structure, style and readability. A must for every blogger.
Where you can buy it: Amazon


On My Reading List

  1. Spunk & Bite: I've read the first half twice, but something keeps coming up and I've yet to finish this one. The title is a play on the names of the authors of The Elements of Style: Strunk & White. The book teaches contemporary, bold writing style – the opposite of the original book by Strunk & White. It is an enjoyable read and it helps me loosen up and add life to my writing. I plan on finishing this over the next month.
  2. On Writing Well: This came recommended by a number of bloggers so I thought I would check it out. Like Spunk & Bite, I haven't finished this one either. It is a bit of a dry read. It's slogan is: “The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction.” I guess that about sums it up. Stuff you need to know, but isn't all that fun to learn. I plan to finish this one by the end of November. I guess with more than a million copies sold, it can't be all that bad.

Another book that came highly recommended by another blogger is Bird by Bird. I was excited to check it out. It is a national bestseller and carries the slogan: “Some instructions on writing and life.” But this book was a disappointment. First of all, it doesn't have anything to do with blogging. It is for writing fiction. Bloggers write nonfiction – at least that's what most of us write. After a few chapters, I gave up on this one and threw it away. Maybe you can save yourself the time and money and avoid it too.

So that's it. These are the blogging and writing books in my library. What books have you found helpful? Have you read any of these?


Hi, I'm the Author!

Bryan Haines is a travel blogger, photographer and content marketer. He is co-founder of Storyteller Media (content marketing for travel brands). Bryan also runs two authority blogs with his wife, Dena: ClickLikeThis (GoPro tutorials) and GringosAbroad (Ecuador travel).

12 comments… add one
  • Katherine White Jan 7, 2018, 8:01 am

    On Writing Well is “a bit of a dry read?” I found it clever and engaging. Perhaps you’re missing some of Zinsser’s plays on words and humor? Thank you for your recommendations.

  • Stella James Nov 16, 2015, 10:06 am

    Thank you for sharing those books.

    • Bryan Haines Nov 16, 2015, 11:36 am

      Of course – I hope you get the same good from them that I did.

  • GutterCurator Aug 29, 2015, 10:16 pm

    Is a book like Blogging Heroes still relevant since it was published in 2007?

    • Bryan Haines Sep 4, 2015, 11:43 am

      While technology changes, the business of blogging has changed little. I feel that it is a solid value to see the varying business models for an online business.

  • The Sustainabilitist Feb 16, 2015, 5:10 pm

    Just want to say that the also provides countless useful information on blogging in general. And that’s free – just lots of time to dig through.

  • Shella Gardezi Nov 22, 2014, 11:07 pm

    I’m glad you included some classics on here. The Elements of Style is essential for anyone interested in any kind of writing.

  • Nicola Oct 16, 2014, 10:05 am

    Thanks for the list! I’m definitely going to give at least one of these a go.

  • Cristina Jul 19, 2014, 9:31 am

    Hi Bryan! Thank you so much for the article. These books look super helpful. I’m going to start reading them ASAP.

  • Jim Bob Howard Oct 15, 2013, 12:24 pm

    Thanks for this post, Bryan. At your suggestion, I’ve already started reading several of these (ProBlogger, Bloggers Boot Camp, and Attention!) I’ll be adding the rest to my reading list.

    • Bryan Haines Oct 15, 2013, 12:28 pm

      Glad to hear it. They are the reason for much of our success online.

      All the best!

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