Sharpen and Maintain Your Digital Expertise

Own the digital space with these 5 great resources.
The digital world is constantly changing and evolving so keeping up with the latest trends and tactics may seem like a daunting task. There are a myriad of publications, websites and resources out there that keep digital experts in the loop. Below are some of my favorites that I utilize to stay up-to-date and educated about web design, web development, search and marketing.

1) Website Magazine

By far one of the most useful monthly subscriptions I have. Yeah, you do have to pay for this one but the fee is nominal when you consider the great content you receive. Website Magazine’s tagline is “The Magazine for Website Success” and I can honestly say that it lives up to that mantra. From e-commerce to software and analytics to social media just about every digital channel is covered which provides an excellent snap shot of the online world. Not only is the content valuable but it’s also easily accessible as you can get to Website Magazine’s content through a iPhone/iPad app, website and printed magazine.

If you are looking for a good primer on the web industry I highly recommend Website Magazine’s “Web 360” book. It’s a very easy read but covers the basics of all major digital areas that you need to know if you do any sort of communications/PR/marketing/web work.

2) Smashing Magazine

With Website Magazine covering absolutely everything under the sun in the online world I like to have a few resources dedicated to the web design and web development spectrum. Smashing Magazine is one of my favorites and they’ve been around for 7 years and continue to pump out excellent content and tutorials. However, the biggest reason I favor Smashing Magazine is that they too have a print publication. Every year or so they release a “Smashing Book” that covers in-depth practices, trends and tactics in the web design world. Not limited to print but they also offer all of their publications in digital formats as well.

3) A List Apart

For me, A List Apart is the gold standard in website best practices and thought leadership. If you want to “do it the right way” follow the advice and thoughts poised on A List Apart, they’ve never steered me wrong. Even though both Smashing Magazine and A List Apart are similar I seem to gravitate to Smashing Magazine for how-to’s and tutorials and A List Apart for more strategy and higher level thoughts.

To round out A List Apart’s awesomeness even further their contributors are hitting the conference circuit with “An Event Apart.” I have yet to attend but I hear good things and learning in person from the true experts is always a plus.

4) Search Engine Watch/Search Engine Land

To stay up-to-date with everything in the SEO/SEM space and are the leaders. In general I tend to shy away from daily e-mail updates but I do subscribe to both of these site’s daily e-newsletters. With the search industry changing so rapidly I feel that I really need to keep my finger on the pulse of what’s going on to fully understand any Google algorithm changes etc. As with every resource in my list the content is fantastic and truly insightful. I’ve attended both conferences these publications sponsor (SES & SMX) and have been really impressed with presenters and learning opportunities at each conference.

5) ClickZ

My last and probably least visited resource is ClickZ as it’s focus is purely on Digital Marketing (even though they do cover SEO/SEM). I still subscribe via e-mail so all of the latest content is easily accessed but I prefer the design/development and SEO space as that’s primarily what I do. However, without a solid marketing plan or campaign strategy it doesn’t matter how awesome your site and SEO might be (hence the need for a marketing resource). So, to avoid any pitfalls I like to stay up to date on what’s happening in the digital marketing world. ClickZ offers great insights, stats and trends and even though I may not directly utilize the content on the site it’s great to know where things are headed and what marketing trends and tactics are influencing the web.

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