I love reading great blogs–blogs that inspire, challenge, and encourage me. You probably like to do the same. But here’s the thing: with so many blogs and websites out there, which ones should we read? I like a hilarious Buzzfeed article just as much as the next guy, but I find myself asking this question: is this the kind of content that’s going to sharpen me–intellectually, emotionally, spiritually?
Time is one of our most precious commodities. Therefore, we should seek to be good stewards of our time by being selective about the content we take in. This blog post is a call to reading better content.
Disclaimer: The following list represents the blogs and websites that have been the most inspiring, challenging, and encouraging to me. It is by no means a prescriptive or exhaustive list. Please do not feel like you HAVE to read ALL of these blogs ALL of the time. This is not about keeping up with the Joneses of the online world. It’s about sharing and reading rich, thoughtful content.
It’s my sincere hope that at least one of these blogs will be helpful to you in some way. Also, don’t forget to share your favorite blogs in the comments section below.
Blogs on Creativity, Design and All Things Interesting
Writing-Art-History-Philosophy-Culture-All Things Interesting
Brain Pickings is the brainchild of Maria Popova–reader, writer, interestingness hunter-gatherer, and curious mind at large. Maria is an acclaimed writer and journalist who’s previously written for Wired UK, The Atlantic, and The New York Times, among others.
Founded in 2006 as a weekly email that went out to seven friends and eventually brought online, the site is a “cross-disciplinary treasure chest, full of pieces spanning art, science, psychology, design, philosophy, history, politics, anthropology, and more.”
Basically, Maria will read a book (she reads voraciously) and then post some of her favorite quotes and gleanings from it. If you’re a curious person who loves learning new things, I highly recommend it.
Not sure where to start? Try these:
- Famous Advice on Writing: The Collected Wisdom of Great Writers
- Seven Things I Learned in Seven Years of Reading, Writing, and Living
- How to Find Your Purpose and Do What You Love
Think of it as a high-quality Pinterest meets Dribble. I use it all the time for graphic design inspiration. For artists, designers, creative types, and those who love beauty and great design, I highly recommend it.
Not sure where to start?
Click here to see my saved boards.
Blogs on Business, Platform Building, Leadership, Marketing, and Writing
Hyatt, former CEO of Thomas Nelson publishing, has probably the best blog on platform building, leadership,and publishing. Folks, this guy is legit. According to Forbes magazine, if you only have time to follow one guy, Michael Hyatt is your man.
Hyatt’s site offers a slew of awesome, free content and some amazing content at a great value. Hyatt’s blogs, podcasts, and free webinars have been instrumental in the creation of this blog. I highly recommend this site to anyone who is trying to build a platform online, get published, be more productive, or succeed at work.
Not sure where to start? Click here for a list of Hyatt’s top posts by category. Also, try these personal favorites of mine:
- How to Launch a Self-Hosted WordPress Blog in 20 Minutes or Less
- Do You Make These 10 Mistakes When You Blog?
- Advice to First Time Authors
Bonus: If you sign up for Hyatt’s email newsletter, you’ll get his free eBook: Shave 10 Hours Off Your Workweek: 4 Proven Strategies to Create More Margin for the Things That Matter Most.
4. Jeff Goins
Writing-Platform Building-Finding Your Calling-Pursuing Your Art
Believe me when I say that Jeff’s blog and podcasts have been one of the most encouraging things in my creative/work life in the past few months. Goins, a former musician turned nonprofit communications director (he worked for Adventures in Missions, the organization behind WorldRace) turned professional author-speaker-blogger, makes his living by helping others find their calling and pursue their art.
No matter what industry you’re in (especially if you’re interested in writing or if you’re in your 20s) I would highly recommend his blog. Jeff’s philosophy on calling and pursuing work that matters has been incredibly encouraging and energizing for me. Like Hyatt, his site contains a bunch of awesome free content and some amazing content at a great value.
Not sure where to start?
- The Seven Stages of Finding Your Calling [podcast]
- Three Myths We Believe About Finding A Calling [podcast]
- Seven Tips for Effective Writing [blog post]
Bonus: If you sign up for his email newsletter, you’ll get a free eBook: The Beginner’s Guide to Building an Audience: Get the Attention Your Work Deserves with these Free Tips on Writing and Creativity.
5. Story Brand
Most of you have probably heard of Donald Miller, author of Blue Like Jazz, A Million Miles and a Thousand Years fame (among others). But perhaps you don’t know that over the past few years Miller has found his way into the marketing and branding business.
Miller, a student of story, has created a story framework that not only works for Star Wars, Hunger Games, presidential candidates, and fortune-500 companies–it could also work for you and your small business. Intrigued? You should be. Similar to Goins and Hyatt, StoryBrand puts out solid free content in addition to incredible but not-free workshops.
Bonus: Sign up for their email newsletter and get the free eBook: 5 Things Your Website Should Include.
Blogs on News/Current Events
Ok, so you’ve probably heard of this little-known newspaper. But if you’re anything like me, you don’t keep up with the news as much as you should. You want to stay informed, but you just don’t have the time to read news sites or the money to spend on buying a paper subscription.
If any of those things are true for you, I have good news. New York Times Now Morning Briefing was created for people just like you. If you sign up for this service, everyday you get an email with the latest and most important stories in a super brief but extremely informative email. I highly recommend it to everyone. The best part? It’s totally free.
Charlotte friends, if you haven’t heard of this wonderful site, you gotta check it out. Agenda covers all things related to the Queen City: news stories, careers, things to do, real estate, travel, startups, food+drink, philanthropy, development and children.
They also have their own daily email (similar to the NY Times Now, but much more casual) called the Charlotte Five. If you live in Charlotte, this is a must-read.
Blogs on Faith and Spirituality
Simply put, there is no other source of Christian content that is more gospel-centered, relevant, and thoughtful than TGC. If you’re a Christian or simply someone who’s interested in learning more about the Christian faith, this is a must-follow website.
Not sure where to start? Check out some of my favorite sections from the site.
- Every Square Inch (a series on faith and work)
- On My Shelf: Life and Books with Tim Keller (a series of interviews with pastors on their reading lives)
- Church Directory (Moving to a new city? Not sure where to start when it comes to finding a church? Use this tool to quickly find and get plugged into a solid, gospel-centered church)
- Free Media from TGC Conference [videos and audio recordings]
- 8 Lessons Learned from a Long Battle with Spiritual Depression [blog post]
9. Desiring God
DG is the hub of John Piper’s ministry. It’s similar to TGC, but on a smaller scale: they publish timely articles and videos on theology, Christian living, evangelism, etc.
Not sure where to start? Check out my favorite components of the site:
- Ask Pastor John [app] Listen to Piper answer tough theological and pastoral questions.
- Look at the Book [videos] Watch Piper mark up a text and learn to read the Bible for yourself.
- Free Books [downloadable pdfs] Amazingly, DG offers all of John Pipers books for free. This doesn’t seem that impressive until you realize how many books he’s written (over 100 and still counting). I would start with Desiring God (Piper’s seminal work) and When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy
That was a long (but hopefully helpful) blog post. Feel free to share it with anyone you think might benefit from it. Now, I would love to know–what are your favorite blogs and websites? Leave your response in the comments below.