One Year, 13 Books: My 2017 Reading List
Near the end of 2016, I made a conscious decision to learn more – not just about design, development and best practices, but about myself and my business goals, my family and keeping all of the balls in the air moving. I’m not what you’d refer to as a “fast” reader either, particularly if the subject matter is technical or dry. But, I did manage to get in some great books for anyone that is thinking about a career in web design, content marketing and search engine optimization. I also found some great personal growth and work/life balance books as well. All of them were great reads and I’d recommend trying any of them. So, without further ado, here is my 2017 reading list:
Web Design for ROI: Turning Browsers Into Buyers & Prospects Into Leads, by Lance Loveday and Sandra Niehaus, 2007. I started with Web Design for ROI – why? Well, we can call do something better – and I was interested in seeing what I may have been missing in my website design and development. While the book may have been first published in 2007, it’s principles are pretty sound. It’s got some great basics, for someone starting out and some decent nuggets of wisdom for seasoned pros.
Conversion Optimization: The Art and Science of Converting Prospects to Customers, by Khalid Saleh and Ayat Shukairy, 2010. Conversion optimization is the overall goal of any website – converting a visitor or potential customer into a paying client. This book goes in-depth into how, why and what makes people convert. If you want to optimize your site to earn you new customers, then give this book a read.
Convert! Designing Web Sites to Increase Traffic and Conversion, by Benjamin Hunt, 2011. The whole purpose of your website is to help convert potential customers – people who aren’t yet clients into paying customers. This book details the 5 stages of awareness and the steps to take to design your website to increase traffic to your site and convert visitors into customers.
Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, Ebooks, Webinars (and More) That Engage Customers and Ignite Your Business, by Ann Handley and C.C. Chapman, 2010. This book is, perhaps, just as relevant today as it was when it was written – content is king. Without good quality content, your hope of converting visitors into customers is pretty dim. With real world examples of businesses using content to their advantage, this is a must read for anyone sharing content online.
Launch: How to Quickly Propel Your Business Beyond the Competition, by Michael A. Stelzner, 2011. Launch, like Content Rules, shows the importance of content and sharing content to increase traffic and, ultimately, business. With real world/industry examples about how others have used content to promote their business, this is a great addition to your content marketing resources.
Don’t Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability, by Steven Krug, 3rd Edition, 2014. This book highlights the importance of website usability – that is, if a visitor to your site can’t navigate and take the necessary actions to convert, then your website is failing the usability test. The author cites several examples and provides tips on keeping things usable.
Start With Why, by Simon Sinek, 2009. Start with Why is a great book about finding your why – it’s just as important, if not more, to know why you’re doing something as it is about what you’re doing. Sinek maintains that people don’t buy into “WHAT” or “HOW” a business does things, they buy into “WHY”. Checkout our review on this here.
Next Generation Leader: 5 Essentials for Those Who Will Shape the Future, by Andy Stanley, 2006.Leadership and training those will lead the next generation is no small task. Andy Stanley covers the 5 characteristics that next generation leaders must have and why they are important: competence, courage, clarity, coaching and character. Andy Stanley was featured this year in the Global Leadership Summit sponsored by the Willow Creek Association.
Choosing to Cheat: Who Wins When Family and Work Collide?, by Andy Stanley, 2012. Being self-employed and owning a business, I was quickly getting tot he point where I was choosing between work and family – and, I knew something had to change. I found this book to put things in perspective; both spiritually and realistically and help satisfy the demands of work and the devotion to family.
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen Covey, 25th Anniversary Edition, 2014. I have to admit, until now, I had not read this book until now. However, ironically, none of these ideas are new. In fact, the seven habits are timeless and are still relevant today. Sure, the application of them may vary, in your life, but the habits themselves – the theories behind why they are effective are still intact.
The ONE Thing, by Gary W. Keller and Jay Papasan, 2013. This book was probably my favorite book that I read this year – another good read that helped me gain perspective – ultimately leading to some changes I’ve made with DPi Graphics, my professional and personal life. Once you figure out your “one” thing – and coincidently, you can have more than one thing depending on the area of your life that you want to change, adopting the “ONE Thing” mentality can lead to extraordinary results.
StandOut 2.0: Assess Your Strengths, Find Your Edge, Win at Work, by Marcus Buckingham, 2015. I was given this book by a friend of mine (it was also on my reading list) to help an organization we belong to by determine what our strengths are. I am an Advisor/Provider, according to the StandOut assessment, which came as no surprise since I enjoy solving problems and helping people. This book goes through the 9 strength roles and goes hand-in-hand with the assessment done online.
Liminal Thinking: Create the Change You Want by Changing the Way You Think, by Dave Gray, 2016. Liminal Thinking was literally the last book I finished this year – ironically though, it opened the door to the idea about what kind of reality we live in (which is one of infinite realities possible) and that if you’re unhappy with your current reality, change it, thus creating the change you want. Such a great book to end the year with and to start a New Year out with as well!
So, these are the books I read this year – I’m hoping you might consider one (or all) of them for yourself. Did you read any great books this year? Are there any I should read? Let me know! Best wishes to you and yours for a happy, healthy New Year.