55 Insanely Useful Startup Blogs: VCs, Sales, Marketing & Design (2017) – Process Street

55 Insanely Useful Startup Blogs: VCs, Sales, Marketing & Design (2017)

At Process Street, a lot of startup blogs are required reading for our team.

It makes sense, because your startup will be informed and improved by what it reads, and every team needs to stay on top of what’s being spoken about.

In this post, I’ve compiled the 55 best blogs for startups (plus one recommended article from each) in these categories:

  • Venture capitalist blogs
  • Marketing blogs
  • Sales blogs
  • UX & design blogs
  • Customer success & support blogs

… All focused specifically on advice for startups.

Here they are:

Venture Capitalist blogs

There’s no better source of advice for startups than VCs; they’ve worked with so many companies, and many of them are ex-founders themselves.

You’re not just listening to the echo chamber of startups theorizing about what’s worked for them — you’re listening to the combined knowledge of hundreds of successful companies (and cautionary tales from the inevitable failures).

Here are the blogs you should add to your RSS feed:

Feld Thoughts

Feld Thoughts is the blog of Techstars co-founder Brad Feld. Covering everything from education to the future of venture capitalism, Brad often writes bite-sized articles full of other further reading, so you can use his blog as a go-to source on how VCs work, read, and think.

Recommended article: Don’t Play Hurt

Tomasz Tunguz

Tomasz Tunguz‘s blog is highly respected in the SaaS community. He writes daily articles, backed with original data and focused on helping startups succeed. His blog is one of my personal favorites! Check out his research on the software sectors raising the most capital and his analysis on freemium.

Recommended article: The Fundamental Challenge Of Your Startup’s First Hire

Both Sides of the Table

Both Sides of the Table is a Medium publication run by Mark Suster, a serial entrepreneur who sold his last company to Salesforce. A lot of Mark’s articles focus on what you can learn from the recent goings-ons of tech companies. You can keep up to date with the big stories and get unique insight at the same time.

Recommended article: The Snap IPO Happened. What Next LA?

Chris Dixon

While Chris has unfortunately stopped blogging on cdixon.org, there are a ton of useful posts for startups in the archive. He’s moved on to tweeting, podcasting, and writing occasional posts on Medium, but do make sure to check out his posts on the problems AI startups could face, and exponential growth.

Recommended article: Virtual reality: a new creative medium where the default state is belief

For Entrepreneurs

David Skok‘s (Matrix Partners) blog For Entrepreneurs collects the combined learnings of David’s long and successful career as a VC and founder. Unlike the blogs mentioned so far in this list, it has tons of long, actionable guides on everything from customer success to marketing funnels, with a heavy SaaS slant.

Recommended reading: Five Ways to Nail Your Pitch and Win Over Investors

Hunter Walk

Hunter Walk is a partner at Homebrew, a seed fund with Shyp and UpCounsel in its portfolio. He doesn’t blog as frequently as some, but his articles are detailed and walk the line between personal storytelling and data analysis.

Recommended reading: Twitter Trolls Should Lose Ability To Include @Names in Tweets

Open Source Venture Capital

A venture capitalist of 15 years, Frederic Destin is dedicated to helping startups and demystifying the confusing influx of data around the strange, ever-changing world of funding.

Recommended reading: Why Series B is Usually the Hardest

Ben Horowitz

Ben Horowitz is the only VC I’ve ever seen quote obscene Lil Wayne lines as the openings for articles. If that’s not quite enough to get you over to read what he’s writing, he also writes on what makes Medium a success, and publishes regular podcasts (which we already acknowledged here as one of the best business podcasts out there)

Recommended reading: Who Do You Trust?

Om Malik

Om Malik is the founder of Gigaom and a partner at True Ventures. Om (with the kind of Twitter handle the rest of us can only dream of) has a fascinating blog covering topics from the state of Silicon Valley to Dropbox’s insane growth.

He also runs pi.co, an archive of interviews with some of the startup scene’s most interesting figures.

Recommended reading: Why Apple Should Buy Netflix… Again!

Ian Sigalow

Pattern Recognition is the blog of Ian Sigalow, a venture capitalist with NYC/LA seed fund Greycroft. Ian shares stories from his experience investing, and tips for startups on securing funding, social media marketing, and valuations.

Recommended reading: The Seven Deadly Sins for Raising Venture Capital

SaaStr

One of the best SaaS blogs (and events) out there, SaaStr has been described as “the undisputed thought leader in how to build SaaS businesses”, and was founded celebrity SaaS star Jason Lemkin. The SaaStr newsletter is required reading for Process Street employees.

Recommended reading: The 48 Types of VP Sales. Make Deadly Sure You Hire the Right One

Bowery Capital

Bowery Capital is a VC fund out of NYC/LA with great companies like bit.ly and TrackMaven in its portfolio. Its blog is a respected voice in the field, and publishes data-backed articles that help startups get the knowledge they need to grow.

Recommended reading: The 2017 Startup Sales Stack Report

Andrew Chen

Another personal favorite of mine, I can’t remember the amount of times I’ve needed to reference Andrew Chen’s unique and interesting data in my articles. Some of his articles have been the basis for entire new ways of thinking in the startup community, throwing light on the true state of growth, innovation, and tech.

Recommended reading: How to Create a Profitable Freemium Startup (and his newsletter!)

Sam Altman

As the president of Y Combinator, there are few people in the world with more experience working with and advising startups than Sam Altman. He regularly publishes thoughtful pieces on everything from the ideal co-founder to the post-funding slump.

It’s worth mentioning that Sam’s essays are often looong. They’re some of the best startup writing out there, but make sure to sit comfortably with a coffee before diving in.

Recommended reading: Don’t Read the Comments

Paul Graham

Paul Graham is the founder of Y Combinator — e.g. the true OG of startups. It doesn’t even need to be said that you should read his blog, and all of his past essays. They’re one of a few things that are required reading for Process Street employees!

Recommended reading: Everything he’s ever written, right now. 

Kellblog

Dave Kellogg is an investor and startup advisor with previous long-standing management roles at Salesforce and MarkLogic. Right now, he’s the CEO of Host Analytics and an active blogger on Kellblog. His writing covers management, customer relationships, analytics and venture capital, ranging from opinion pieces to actionable guides.

Recommended reading: The Evolution of Marketing Thanks to SaaS

Marketing blogs

While venture capitalist blogs cover the high-level overview of startup success, it’s necessary to have some up-to-date news and guides on the inner workings of marketing from the field’s experts.

Here are some of the most vital sources to add to your RSS feed:

Backlinko

Not only is Brian Dean the foremost authority on data-driven SEO content, every one of his posts is a masterclass in copywriting. That’s two big reasons you should be hungrily reading everything he’s ever written today. He’s often the first to introduce new SEO tactics alongside hard data showing they work. While he doesn’t write very regularly, you can see how just one post of his takes months of work and research.

Recommended reading: 16 Powerful SEO Copywriting Secrets (That Work Fast)

GrowthHackers Growth Studies

You know GrowthHackers as the reddit of growth hacking content, but you might not have read their excellent library of growth studies. The studies dissect the growth of various incredible companies — Etsy, Slack, Stripe, Spotify — from their founding moments to the present day.

Recommended reading: How BuzzFeed Makes the World Go OMG, LOL, and Win Every Day

Sumo

Sumo’s Sumo-Sized Guides are acclaimed as insanely detailed, definitive resources on the common problems startups have while getting their marketing departments off the ground. Their marketing content is what Buffer is to social content, meaning every post is a masterclass of how to write an incredible article.

Recommended reading: Why Your Website NEEDS an Email List: A Sumo-Sized Guide

Social Triggers

Derek Halpern is a social media expert with a hard psychological approach to marketing. If you want an example of how effective his strategies are, you don’t need to look any further than his own landing page, which is tightly optimized with compelling calls-to-action and offers. For data-backed posts, case studies, and advice from his own experiences, check the blog.

Recommended reading: How to Write the Perfect Blog Post

Neil Patel

Neil Patel — the co-founder of Crazy Egg, Hello Bar and KISSmetrics — has established himself as an authority on high-converting marketing strategies over a period of 12 years since he founded his first wildly successful internet business with Hiten Shah. Neil writes on social media marketing, SEO tactics, building your email list, and everything you’d expect from a packed resource on internet marketing.

Recommended reading: We Analyzed 11,541 Viral Articles from 2016 to Uncover the Secret Formula

Inbound.org Originals

Inbound.org is mostly an aggregated feed of the industry’s best marketing articles, but also publishes their own blog in the form of Inbound.org Originals. Expect in-depth analysis on Facebook ads, freelance writing, customer support and content marketing formulas.

Recommended reading: Adopt Personalization While You’re Still the Person to Do It

Hitenism

Hitenism is the blog of SaaS veteran/celebrity Hiten Shah. This is another blog where every post is required reading for Process Street employees, especially for employees on the marketing and product teams. Hiten shares how he grew KISSmetrics, writes lists of the best SaaS content, and publishes in-depth marketing guides.

Recommended reading: Why Less Isn’t Always More for SaaS Sites

ConversionXL

ConversionXL is a blog on website optimization, UX, and conversion-focused marketing. It’s run by Peep Laja, a UX and analytics genius with 15 years of experience in senior marketing and co-founder positions. For the science behind why people click, ConversionXL is one of the best sources there is.

Recommended reading: Ancient Rhetoric for the Modern Persuader: How to Argue for Conversions

Kissmetrics

Kissmetrics creates analytics software for businesses, and writes about growth, UX, customer support, email marketing, and everything relevant to optimizing and growing your online business. The beauty of being an analytics company means Kissmetrics has a lot of data and customer stories to use as the basis for their posts, like this one about how MailChimp uses data science to improve conversions.

Recommended reading: No More Hacks: Why Tired, Old, Boring Processes Can Make You a Better Marketer

Ahrefs

Ahrefs constantly pumps out huge, insightful studies on SEO and internet marketing. This makes it an excellent source for original data that can inform your marketing strategy, as well as in-depth posts like this one on keyword research, this one on asking for tweets, and this one on evergreen content.

Recommended reading: Rethinking Long Tail Keywords: how to get TONS of traffic from ‘unpopular’ search queries

Buffer

Buffer is well-known for pioneering long-form, evergreen content. Their posts are always hugely detailed and backed up with extensive research. Even if you’re not interested in social media content, their content is worth checking out solely as a model for what a great blog post looks like.

Recommended reading: The Best Time to Tweet and Why

Unbounce

Unbounce create software for building and optimizing landing pages, and their content is all about how to tighten up your marketing material. Like many marketing blogs, conversion rate optimization is the main theme. They get right into the nuts and bolts of every element of your landing page, answering the tiny questions you didn’t know you should ask, ‘like should I launch this overlay?‘.

Recommended reading: 26 Beautiful Landing Page Designs Critiqued with A/B Testing Tips

Zapier

Writing on marketing, productivity, integrations, business software and creativity, Zapier’s blog is a goldmine of useful information for small businesses and entrepreneurs. Zapier themselves have an insanely interesting product, and some of their blog is focused on how you can use it to save time, stress, and clicks.

Recommended reading: Stress-Free Productivity: How to Make To-do Lists Work For You

Sales blogs

While optimizing sales isn’t the primary concern of early-stage startups, it gets more vital as time goes on. Keep up to date with these B2B startup sales and learn how to build a sales team, tighten up your sales process, and become profitable.

Close.io

Close.io — our CRM of choice — has a great blog that focuses on sales, startup advice, recruiting, and other key areas for startups. The CEO, Steli Efti, is co-host of The Startup Chat: the best podcast out there for startup advice. He also regularly writes for the Close.io blog, liberally sharing his B2B outbound sales wisdom.

Recommended reading: 24 B2B cold calling tips for sales success in 2017

Pipedrive

Should you use a sales script? Which sales metrics are the most important to improve? Pipedrive’s blog is packed full of sales tips for small businesses and also shares startup success stories you can learn from.

Recommended reading: Sales Metrics That Matter

Sales Hacker

Sales Hacker covers B2B sales tips and strategies and features articles from some of the most experience sales writers out there. Find out about proven sales hiring strategies, how to sell more with email, and recruit an efficient team.

Recommended reading: I Asked 74 Sales Leaders For Their Best Sales Advice. Here’s What I Learned.

Datanyze

Datanyze’s blog focuses of B2B SaaS sales, using data and psychological research to create content aimed at SMB sales managers.

Recommended reading: Can Data Improve Empathy in Sales?

InsightSquared

InsightSquared’s blog is another SaaS sales-focused one, covering how to use data to improve your sales process. Read InsightSquared’s blog to optimize your sales operations and leadership skills, and learn more about the science of selling SaaS.

Recommended reading: Take Control Of Your Sales Pipeline With Data

On Startups

Dharmesh Shah‘s blog, On Startups, contains advice for entrepreneurs, marketers, salespeople, and (of course) startups. Dharmesh is a serial entrepreneur and experienced programmer. Right now, he’s the founder and CTO of HubSpot, but has previously founded other tech companies.

Recommended reading: Secret To SaaS Success: Recognize That You’re Not Selling Software

UX & Design Blogs

UX is often overlooked for startups, but can have as much of an effect on conversion rate as marketing. If your site is badly designed or your software is difficult to use, it’s going to hurt your image and hurt customer retention. Here’s the best resources for learning how to tighten that up:

Hacking UI

Hacking UI — a community for designers, developers and creative entrepreneurs — is of my favorites sources of high-quality articles on product design and UX. Created by Sagi Shrieber and David Tintner (a designer and a developer), Hacking UI also has a podcast that’s well worth checking out.

Recommended reading: How I built my side-project

UsabilityGeek

Founded by web development consultant Justin Mifsud, UsabilityGeek is a weekly-updated UX and usability blog with valuable advice for designers, developers, and product researchers.

Recommended reading: The Traffic Lights Of UX: Staying Smart With Color

NNGroup

NNGroup, founded by Jakob Nielsen and Don Norman, is the single source of truth for everything related to user experience. UX plays an extremely important part in marketing, and can make the difference between a high and low conversion rate, or whether anyone makes it past the first few words in your blog posts. It’s less of a blog and more a source of academic user experience research, but it’s framed in an easily readable way (of course!)

Recommended reading: F-Shaped Pattern for Reading Web Content

InVision

InVision is a prototyping tool for design teams, but also runs one of the best design blogs out there. It covers everything from why developers should be designers, SaaS branding, and the UX of doors.

Recommended reading: The Step-by-Step Guide to an Effective UX Audit

Customer success & support blogs

As soon as your startup gets traction, you’ll need to be equipped with a way to deal with existing customers, both for supporting them and ensuring they get the most out of your product. Here are the best resources to learn that:

Chargebee

As well as sending one of my favorite newsletters, Chargebee also create great content on everything from product marketing to SaaS pricing models.

Recommended reading: What Alan Turing Can Teach Us About Product Management

Gainsight

Gainsight’s blog is all about customer success: the process that happens post-sale. Customer success has repeatedly been proven as a vital function of subscription businesses like SaaS providers, and Gainsight is here to tell you everything they know about it with original data, charts, and opinion pieces.

Recommended reading: Why You Need Customer Success Early

Sixteen Ventures

Sixteen Ventures is Lincoln Murphy‘s blog, demystifying customer success backed by over a decade of direct experience. Lincoln Murphy has been a customer success evangelist at Gainsight, and a customer success mentor at Storm Ventures. Lincoln’s blog is as much a complete archive of customer success material as you’ll find on the web.

Recommended reading: The Definitive Guide to Customer Success

Groove

Groove’s blogging is split in two parts: customer support, and the startup journey. The customer support section contains content on emailing customers, upselling, and hiring agents. The startup journey part documents Groove’s progression from the very start to $10m in ARR.

Recommended reading: The Deadly Mistake That Kills Too Many Startups

Help Scout

Besides boasting one of the most beautifully designed blogs you’ll ever see, Help Scout is a fantastic resource for customer support content, with a sprinkling of articles on product, growth, and company culture, too. Check it out, even if you only go to gaze at the perfect layout and article images.

Recommended reading: How to Become a Data-Driven Support Pro

Chargify

Chargify create software to manage recurring billing, and maintain a great blog aimed at SaaS startups who want to improve their customer success, sales, and remote team management.

Recommended reading: 8 Actionable Ways to Get Your Startup’s First 100 Customers

Which are your favorite startup blogs?

We’ve listed our 55 top picks, but what about you?

Let me know in the comments, and we might add it in the list.

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Benjamin Brandall

Benjamin Brandall is a content marketer at Process Street, and runs Secret Cave on the side. Find him on Twitter here.


6 Comments

I don’t see a section for blogs dedicated to branding, something every startup should be cognizant of in the early stages of their development (it’s not the same as marketing!)

Check out The Juice, the Herman-Scheer blog.


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