In a world of digital marketing, ads, discounts, and overstimulation of brands in your face, it’s rare to find good websites these days that aren’t force-feeding you things you don’t need. I scroll through countless sites a day, scouring the web for good content that our social friends may find value in. I remember the days when you could happily read an article without it being cut off by a mid-paragraph banner or by those assaultive, embedded videos sitting in the corner of site that just start playing at full volume unless you mute your computer beforehand. Ok, vent over. We all share a similar struggle with our online experience. However, through the sea of subpar content, there are some gems out there. Here are 3 that I just can’t get enough of. Their content is simply magical.
@zenofwuwei on Twitter
Holy Sh*t. This site is epic. If you are an entrepreneur or a startup thinking out of the box, you will appreciate this content. The site’s topics range from culture and design to entrepreneurship, finance, growth, legal issue, and marketing - just to name a few. The design of this blog is what really gets me. It is seamless, beautiful, simple, and stylish.
Here is a little bit more about them, in their own words:
ZEN OF WUWEI brings it all together in a simple, unified, and legible space to help you more efficiently learn, adapt and grow as an entrepreneur. Each article provides a step-by-step guide covering a specific subject within a variety of topics. The articles are intentionally written as manuals, or "how to" texts with as much complementary content as possible, and together form a insightful handbook entrepreneurs can depend on to guide them along their journey towards actualizing their vision. (About)
This site is a unicorn. They have no ads (no banners, no pop-ups, no digital confetti bursting on the screen), and it’s the most refreshing site I visit on a daily basis. They do have 2 PDF’s for sale in their discrete footer under “Store,” but guess what? What’s for sale is something of actual value to you as a business owner, not a t-shirt or coaster that many sites have to push their “brand.” Zen of Wuwei’s “brand” is all about pushing YOU and pushing you to be a better and more informed version of you. This ladies and gentlemen is why they are top in the three featured sites. Zen of Wuwei is an industry leader for content websites in style and value in my opinion, and for that, we thank you!
@Medium on Twitter
Talk about a space where TONS of experts are contributing to solid content on a daily basis. From a designer at Basecamp to the CEO of Vaynermedia, you will find contributors from the top startups here. . Authors aren’t afraid to drop the F-bomb for emphasis and often give you the solid truth so straightforwardly that it can leave you in the fetal position after reading because you’ve come to the realization you’ve been doing something all wrong. This site is open to contributors and creates a seamless contribution experience where the writer can just write and not have to worry about font or stylistic issues. Medium covers business, current events, art, future, and more, therefore you can brush up on business during the week and expand your mind on the topics of art and future on the weekend.
Here is their story:
Read Medium, get smarter. Every day, thousands of people turn to Medium to publish their ideas and perspectives. Leaders. Artists. Thinkers. And ordinary citizens who have a story to tell. Posts range from scrutinies of world affairs to deeply personal essays. Medium sifts the best of these for you and delivers them directly onto your home page.
Medium connects you with voices and perspectives that matter. (About)
This site is not “ad-y” at all. It’s a refreshing haven for those who, like me, are overexposed to banner ads and “buy now” jargon. However, Medium CEO Ev Williams announced that they will be switching over to a subscription model soon. But hey, I can’t be mad at them. Their stuff is damn good with no ads, and I’ll pay for some good content to make me smarter. I’m sure not everyone will agree on this, but this is the trend that solid content sources will move towards as the ever-expanding sea of content becomes too vast. Keep doing your thing Medium; we’ve got your back.
@brainpickings on Twitter
Work Better’s CEO, Harsh Mehta, introduced me to this site, and I’ve had it bookmarked in Chrome ever since. This site is not necessarily business related, but rather just really interesting reads that, like their name implies, pick your brain. Brainpickings has taken topics that I know about and flipped them on their head. They have also introduced me to people or topics I couldn’t believe I wasn’t previously informed on until then. Here are a couple of the article titles you may come across: “Leisure, the Basis of Culture: An Obscure German Philosopher’s Timely 1948 Manifesto for Reclaiming Our Human Dignity in a Culture of Workaholism” and The Great Indian Poet and Philosopher Tagore on Truth, Human Nature, and the Interdependence of Existence.” So yeah, you catch the drift of the articles. They will pull you deep into a subject and spit you out with a warm and fuzzy feeling in your brain.
Brainpickings is a one-woman show run by Maria Popova, and it all started out as a newsletter in 2006 and was added to the Library of Congress permanent web archive in 2012.
Here is what she has to say about it:
The core ethos behind Brain Pickings is that creativity is a combinatorial force: it’s our ability to tap into our mental pool of resources — knowledge, insight, information, inspiration, and all the fragments populating our minds — that we’ve accumulated over the years just by being present and alive and awake to the world, and to combine them in extraordinary new ways. In order for us to truly create and contribute to the world, we have to be able to connect countless dots, to cross-pollinate ideas from a wealth of disciplines, to combine and recombine these pieces and build new ideas. (About)
Brainpickings is free and will continue to be free and ad free, but there is a donation bar on the lefthand side to help accomplish this. You can make a single donation or a recurring donation. She states that donating = loving, and I think that is a fair comparison. No pressure to give. Just check it out, and see what you think. This is my favorite Sunday mobile read in my local coffee shop. Cheers!
These 3 site are not guilty, but these are website attributes that we are ALL sick of:
If you have any of these, just please stop..
- Automatic, embedded video with sound
- Pop-ups that cover the whole page before you can even take a glimpse at the article (*cough* @forbes and @addictedtosuccess)
- A banner so big at the top that it takes up half the page (ehem @mashable)
- Ads WITHIN the article
- Distracting and weird clickable photos of weird stories
- Titles like “At first you thought he was dead, then what happened next shocked the crowd.”
- Pop-ups mid page, mid read
- ‘How are we doing’ survey pop-ups
Am I missing any phenomenal sites? Let us know!