For small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs, the web is a wellspring of information, insight, and advice. But like everything the Internet has to offer, you need to know where to go to find what you need. Here is my list of essential small business blogs divided into several, broad categories:
General Small Business Info, Advice, and Trends:
1. All Business. This site is a great resource for practical, straightforward information pertinent to small businesses. It boasts several business-related blogs that are browseable by categories, such as Business Planning, E-commerce and Internet, and Marketing and Advertising.
2. Fresh Inc. Fresh Inc. offers a bold and smart look at general issues and trends effecting the business world. Be sure to check out the resource center blogs for posts on basic topics such as Business Travel, Global Business, and Office and Operations.
3. Small Business Trends. This blog, founded in 2002 by Anita Campbell, delves into the international news, trends, and issues effecting small businesses today. Its versatile content targets a wide range of businesses and industries.
4. Small Business Brief. In Small Business Brief, editor Linda Kiley brings together an extensive collection of links to small-business related articles posted across the web. The blog is easy to navigate and informative, providing entrepreneurs with the knowhow to successfully create, start, and operate a small business. Check out the Small Business Ideas Forum for a dynamic discussion on topics related to e-commerce.
5. Economist.com: Gulliver. Gulliver is an excellent business travel blog. Written by various journalists from the Economist newspaper, Economist.com, and the Economist Intelligence Unit, the site is a valuable source of business travel news, service reviews, and thoughtful discussion.
Marketing, Advertising, and Public Relations:
6. Duct Tape Marketing. This site focuses on marketing techniques and methodology for small businesses operating on a shoe string. The blog itself contains insightful articles and commentary by several small business marketing gurus. John Jantsch, the founder of Duct Tape Marketing, himself comes with over 20 years of marketing experience and specializes in helping small businesses create and implement effective marketing plans.
7. Church of the Customer. Operated by Ben McConnell and Jackie Huba, authors of Creating Customer Evangelists, this blog artfully examines the successes and blunders made by companies big and small when dealing with their customers. Through example readers learn how to effectively manage their customers and develop customer loyalty.
8. Seth Godin’s Blog. This blog written by marketing expert, author, and entrepreneur Seth Godin, is in itself a lesson in branding and image development. Whether you agree with his views or not, it will definitely challenge the way you think about marketing yourself or your business.
9. Marketing Experiments Blog. This blog, supported by Dr. Flint McGlaughlin and his research team at marketingexperiments.com, provides detailed information and research about Internet Marketing.
10. Flyte: Web Marketing Strategies for Small Business. Flyte features Rich Brooks, a tech smart website developer who writes about Web marketing issues effecting budding entrepreneurs and established small businesses. The blog is updated three to four times a week on a variety of topics including: e-mail marketing, social media, search engine optimization, Website design, blog writing, and small business news.
11. The Retail Email Blog. This innovative blog, written by Chad White, the Director of Retail Insights and Editor-at-Large at the Email Experience Council, monitors the email marketing campaigns of the largest online retailers. Each showcased campaign is then critiqued to reveal best and worst practices and trends in email marketing.
12. Copyblogger. This site offers a wealth of useful tips and information on copywriting for online marketing.
13. Dim Bulb. Author and advertising critic Jonathan Salem Baskin picks apart ads and marketing campaigns, then offers advice on how to make them better.
14. Techcrunch. This group-edited blog is focused on profiling and reviewing Tech start-ups and products. Make sure to also check out the Tech Crunch Network.
15. Informationweek. This collection of blogs is a good all-arounder for up-to-date tech news, product and service reviews, and other information.
16. Silicon Alley Insider. This blog offers a collection of insightful news and product reviews on the ever-changing digital industry.
17. The Entrepreneurial Mind. Hosted by Jeff Cornwall, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship at Nashville’s Belmont University, this blog discusses various topics in entrepreneurism. Posts are categorized by subject. To do a search, scroll down to the bottom of the site to the drop-down bar labeled “Flag Sticks.” You will find subjects such as, Bootstrapping, Global Entrepreneurship, and Learning from Failure.
18. Toilet Paper Entrepreneur. Mike Michalowicz offers a “get real” approach to starting and running a new business with a collection of helpful tips and resources.