This is a really exciting list of books to curate. Internet entrepreneurship encompasses so many different topics including SEO, web design, copywriting, and marketing. If you want to create an online business that lasts for decades you need to have different skills and be able to adjust to the internet as it evolves. The internet is one of the most dynamic marketplaces at people that don’t keep up with the changes often don’t last more than a few years. People used to make money off of spam, now not so much. It’s a dynamic field, and you don’t need to know everything but you should try to become an expert in at least one area.
1)Persuasive Copywriting: Using Psychology to Influence, Engage and Sell by Andy Maslen
Copywriting is both an art and a science – it is the use of written word to get people to undertake a certain action, for example signing up for a newsletter or buying a product. Persuasive copywriting by Andy Maslen is a great introduction to a subject everyone running an online business needs to know. If you own a website you will almost always have some form of copy written on it. Copywriting is a great skill to develop, it can add a ton of value to your online business, and freelance copywriters can make great money.
2) Ultimate Guide to Link Building: How to Build Backlinks, Authority and Credibility for Your Website, and Increase Click Traffic and Search Ranking by Eric Ward & Garett French
Linkbuilding is one of the most important (probably the most) aspect of SEO (search engine optimization). Generally speaking when your website has more links to it from sites that search engines deem relevant to the topic of your site they will award you a better position in search results and therefore more traffic. This book provides a great introduction to linkbuilding, and is the only book you will ever need to read on the subject. Linkbuilding is something that is learned best by doing it.
4) Trust Me, I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator by Ryan HolidayThis book explores the dark arts of marketing. Ryan Holiday was a media buyer and the director of marketing at American Apparel., in Trust Me, I’m Lying he shares his experiences manipulating the media, journalists, and bloggers to get free attention for American Apparel. This book will show you another perspective of the marketing world that most people would rather pretend doesn’t exist.
5) Scientific Advertising by Claude Hopkins
Scientific Advertising is a great example of how the principles of advertising are fundamental and do not change, since they are based on human psychology. This book was published in 1923 and it is still one of the most highly recommended books about advertising techniques.
Ca$hvertising is a goldmine of advertising and copywriting tips. You can read this book and get a ton of tips for improving your copywriting and advertising. It has a focus on applicable content and includes checklists, fundamental principles, and actionable content rather than advertising theory.
7) Dotcom Secrets: The Underground Playbook for Growing Your Company Online by Russell Brunson
Russell Brunson is an incredibly successful internet entrepreneur and the creator of Clickfunnels. In Dotcom Secrets he shares what he has learned as an incredibly successful entrepreneur. There are a ton of different principles covered in this book, and it’s probably the closest thing to a “page-turner” on this list.
8) Don’t Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability by Steve Krug
Don’t Make Me Think is a must-read for anyone that owns a website. It’s way too easy to build a website with the information we want to present without consider how a user will experience the site. Websites need to be easy to navigate, and a visitor should be able to intuitively find whatever they need. This book outlines the principles of user experience that can take your website to the next level.
9) The Boron Letters by Gary C. Halbert
This is a collection of letters from the legendary copywriter Gary Halbert to his son. It’s a short read at 150 pages, and the letters have the warmth of a father writing to his son while sharing advice about the importance of work ethic, and deep insights about the nature of great advertising.
10) Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini
To be a successful entrepreneur you need to understand psychology and be able to influence people. The exact same principles of influence and human psychology that exist offline are relevant online. If you build a more persuasive website you will be able to make more money, and Influence will help you understand persuasion better.
11) Ogilvy on Advertising by David Ogilvy
David Ogilvy is considered one of the best advertising men of all time. In Ogilvy on Advertising he shares the principles and ideas that have helped him to become so successful. The insights and advice in this book is still relevant, but some of the content also feels a bit dated. Still a great book you can learn a lot from.
12) Hey Whipple, Squeeze This: The Classic Guide to Creating Great Ads by Luke Sullivan and Sam Bennett
This book is named after the “Mr. Whipple” ads by the Charmin toilet paper company, which was both ridiculed and highly successful. In Hey Whipple Luke Sullivan, a top copywriter, explains life working at an ad agency, a history of significant developments and campaigns in advertising, and why some of the most hated ads are the most successful and some of the most loved ads fail at sell products – and how to create great ads that sell.
13) Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy by Martin Lindstrom
Buyology is a study of the psychology of the consumer mind, and what really influences us to make the decisions we make. Every decision we make has a combination of emotional and logical factors. Martin Lindstrom’s writings are based on his findings from a three year marketing study with thousands of participants, if you want to understand consumer decision making this is the book to read.
14) How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie
I know what you may be thinking, “this book isn’t about online business”, which is true at least at face value. But this is a social psychology and self-help book as well and some of the most successful people in the world swear by it and even read it yearly. Understanding people and how to work with them will always help an entrepreneur, even if they do most of their work behind a computer screen they still need to be able to write convincingly to their customer as well as be able to do outreach campaigns for SEO, etc.
15) The Design of Everyday Things by Dan Norman
Anyone that has spent a day on the internet knows how many poorly designed and hard to navigate websites there are. Unfortunately the website owners of these properties have no idea or else they would obviously change the design. The Design of Everyday Things will help you understand the experience and communication between object (website) and user (visitor) and with this understanding be able to design a better and more intuitive website.
16) The Millionaire Fastlane: Crack the Code to Wealth and Live Rich for a Lifetime by M.J. Demarco
The Millionaire Fastlane is one of the highly recommended books about entrepreneurship. It was written by M.J. Demarco, online entrepreneur and creator of The Fastlane Forum. This book will teach you about the principles of entrepreneurship as well as fire you up to do the work needed to create a real business that can fund a life of freedom.
17) Unscripted: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Entrepreneurship by M.J. Demarco
Unscripted is M.J. Demarco’s second book about entrepreneurship, and is less frequently recommended that The Millionaire Fastlane, but is more highly rated by people that have read it. This book is more profound, and is based on an idea that slavery still exists but in a much different variety than the past. Instead it is in the form of the script – good grades in high school, pick a good college, find a job, climb corporate ladder, save in retirement account, retire at 65 with no time left to enjoy. You can guess the alternative M.J. suggests – go the Unscripted route on entrepreneurship.
18) The Digital Marketing Handbook: A Step-By-Step Guide to Creating Websites That Sell by Robert W. Bly
The Digital Marketing Handbook is a great outline of how to build a website with principles that will help it actually make money. Written by the highly revered copywriter and marketer Robert W. Bly, this book outlines a ton of different ideas that help websites increase revenue including methods that can increase conversions, build a better email list, drive more traffic, create awareness through different social media websites, and create high performing landing pages. There are also a ton of recommended external resources at the back of the book.
19) Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers into Friends and Friends into Customers by Seth Godin
Permission Marketing is a complete paradigm shift from how most people think about marketing. Legendary marketer Seth Godin explains that sometimes it’s better to deliver relevant and anticipated messages to people that actually want to receive them. This can help you build deeper connections with your customers instead of borderline or completely spamming them with messages. A must read book in an era where consumers have much more power to ignore any marketing they don’t want to see.
Sometimes the best thing an online business owner can do is revamp their mindset and take their business more seriously. It doesn’t matter whether you have an affiliate marketing website, an eCommerce store, or have a SaaS app – you are running a startup. The Lean Startup will teach you the principle of building and operating a startup that you can use in your online venture.
21) The Art of SEO: Mastering Search Engine Optimization by Eric Enge, Stephan Spencer and Jessie Stricchiola
Of course, it wouldn’t be an internet entrepreneurship book list without a book about SEO. This is an O’Reilly textbook about SEO and is the only book you will need to get a very in depth understanding of SEO (the rest can be learned online from blogs, podcasts, and forums). This is a great book to buy, read through once, and keep on your bookshelf for reference purposes.