11 Essential Books to Be a Better Online Writer

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With 98 percent of the United States now wired for high-speed broadband, almost everyone is an online writer these days. Most people may only write an email, Facebook post, or profile on eHarmony, but we can probably all use some help to transform our thoughts and emotions into well-written words and sentences.

Once you learn to stop making these 8 common online writing mistakes and want to learn much more about writing, check out these eleven essential books to be a better online writer.

The Elements of Style: 4th Edition

Written by William Strunk and later edited by E.B. White, The Elements of Style has been a fundamental resource for writers, editors, and students since 1959. This slim work is perhaps the best book to read, reference, and study for anyone wanting to be a better writer.

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

If it’s not enough that Stephen King has written some of the most popular novels in history, he has also written one of the best books on the writing process. Part memoir, part writing class, On Writing offers practical and profound advice such as: “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.”

On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction

Author William Zinsser provides clear, sound advice and fundamental principles for writers of nonfiction across a variety of niches. Topics covered include humor, interviews, science and technology, sports, and travel writing.

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

While focused more on learning to write a fiction novel, Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott can assist any aspiring writer understand the process of tackling a large project. Lamott’s has a casual and funny style with which she describes her life as a struggling fiction writer.

The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles

Can’t find the motivation to sit down and write? In The War of Art novelist Steven Pressfield identifies the obstacles and provides effective strategies to overcome “Resistance” in all forms. A must-read for anyone needing help with the creative process.

Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing

Creator of the exceptional Grammar Girl podcast, Mignon Fogarty dispenses highly accessible and handy tips to wipe out bad grammar and improper word usage. Read it cover-to-cover or simply open to any random page to learn to be a better writer with these quick and dirty tips.

Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer

Easy to read and easy to understand, Roy Peter Clark replaces rules with tools to teach the craft of writing. Whatever your experience level or writing task, Writing Tools can help you be a better writer. Clark’s The Glamour of Grammar is also a wonderfully useful companion guide.

Microstyle: The Art of Writing Little

Most online writing is done in short messages: a quick email, a snarky comment on YouTube, a short Facebook post, or a 140-character tweet. With Microstyle, linguistics expert Christopher Johnson understands this and has created a useful guide to help make these micro-messages more clear and effective.

The Yahoo! Style Guide: Writing and Editing for the Web

The Yahoo! Style Guide is the ultimate sourcebook for writing, editing, and creating online content. Developed using 15 years of internal best practices by Yahoo!’s editorial department, this book covers all types of content, formatting, styles, and tips that are unique to writing for an Internet-based audience.

Web Copy That Sells: The Revolutionary Formula for Creating Killer Copy That Grabs Their Attention and Compels Them to Buy

A significant amount of online writing is intended to sell a product or service. Maria Veloso takes a long, successful career in copywriting and direct-response marketing and transfers that knowledge into teaching you how to write effective web copy. Read Web Copy That Sells if you want to improve your online sales and marketing efforts.

Search Engine Optimization Secrets

When writing for the web you are writing for two audiences: the reader and the search engine. In Search Engine Optimization Secrets authors Danny Dover and Erik Dafforn provide expert advice to help you optimize your code and content to reach maximum online visibility. In truth, there are many useful books to learn SEO, but this one is pretty good.