Most Inspirational Bloggers
The internet is filled to the brim with bloggers. There are millions, even tens of millions, of bloggers on the web today. If you go out looking for people blogging on the internet, you will find more than you can ever sort through or read.
If you Google search something like "income report" you can filter down to just those bloggers who are generating an income from their writing. Based on the website statistic reports linked to above, around 400 million blogs are hosted on Tumblr. I have not used Tumblr myself, but I have seen some of their pages, and to me, Tumblr blogs seem very hobbyist and amateur. There is nothing wrong with that, but they seem more like people using Twitter for fun than they do serious bloggers trying to write for and grow an audience. Tumblr seems even less like an avenue to grow a profitable blogging business.
But even cutting out all of those less-than-serious Tumblr blogs, there seem to be over 60 million Wordpress blogs. Wordpress blogs can be hobbyist as well, but they do tend to be the CMS used by most of the profitable blog businesses that I come across.
These numbers of bloggers are so huge that it seems like everyone should know someone who blogs. Everyone should have a blogger friend or family member. Maybe lots of people do, but I don't know anyone who blogs. It's just me in my family and friend group.
It can help to get started blogging or to continue writing articles when you can look to someone who has already done it and had success. You can look to more established bloggers to find motivation. There are so many great bloggers out there that you can look to for inspiration, but I have a list of ones that helped me most by sharing with me a vision of what blogging can do for your life.
I want this post to share with you my favorite bloggers.
Sean Ogle runs a blog called Location Rebel. I've listened to Sean tell his blogging story on a few different podcasts he was interviewed on. Sean was working as a financial analyst after graduating college. He hated his job. He wanted to be free and travel. He wanted to have the freedom to spend his time doing things he enjoyed.
He ended up leaving that job to spend some time in an Asian country where he learned about internet marketing and blogging. He started Location 180 (the original name for the site) and simply wrote about what he was thinking and doing. He just wrote whatever he felt like writing and saw what got ranked in Google and what attracted an audience.
He had pretty huge success by writing an epic bucket list post that is ranked highly and earns him steady organic traffic.
Sean evolved from writing from the hip to writing about starting lifestyle blogging businesses that would help people to achieve the freedom he found. He was able to make money using his laptop and his blog and that bought him the kind of freedom he wanted. He wanted to use his blog to help other people to create that same freedom for themselves.
Sean has a course that he sells called Location Rebel Academy (LRA - I have not taken this course) where he teaches that one of the best ways to earn an income online that will allow you to quit your 9-5 job is to sell your marketing skills through freelancing. He believes that you should start a freelancing business selling your skills to businesses until you are making enough money that you can quit your job. Once you quit your job, you should have the time to work on building a blog that attracts an audience and generates revenue. Once the blog makes enough money to support your lifestyle, you have the freedom to stop freelancing if you want to and just live off the money the blog earns.
This strategy seems very reasonable and not at all a get-rich-quick scheme type of blueprint.
Sean offers a ton of very useful content for free on his blog. I have read a lot of the articles he has posted and I have learned a lot from him. He has provided me inspiration to build this blog. You should join his email list as well. He sends out a newsletter where he shares a tip on how to build a successful online business, shares what he has been reading and working on, and shares info on where he has recently travelled to. His newsletter is something I am always excited to get.
In addition to Location Rebel, Sean has a couple other niche/hobby blogs that he works on. One is a blog called Breaking Eighty where he is on a mission to play golf at the 100 best golf courses in the world. He reviews golf courses and golfing gear. He also has a membership portion of the site where people can talk in a forum and share guest passes to exclusive golf courses. This is a side business for Sean, but it seems like it takes him full time work to put out as much content as he does. Sean is a content creating machine.
Two sites that are regularly updated seems like more than enough to keep anyone busy, but Sean has actually started a third blog. This one is a cocktail themed blog called Slightly Pretentious. In addition to giving instructions on how to make various popular and more obscure cocktails, Sean visits and reviews top ranked bars around the world. Similar to his Breaking Eighty goal of reviewing the top 100 golf courses, with Slightly Pretentious he is trying to review the top 100 bars. He also reviews cocktail related products and instructional materials.
Sean Ogle also does this thing where he sets up a desk to do work in lots of the places he travels to. He is showing that he can run his blogging business from anywhere and that his desk can be wherever he is. He compiled all of the footage into a really cool video.
Nat Eliason runs a blog called NatEliason.com. This blog is a bit of a general purpose blog. He writes about anything that he feels like writing about. In that way it is a lifestyle blog. He doesn't restrict himself to a few specific topics which define his niche. That being said, he does tend to write a lot about productivity, digital marketing, entrepreneurship, and health.
I fell into a very enjoyable rabbit hole for a few weeks when I first discovered his blog. He does a great job of interlinking his related articles, so as I was reading one article, I would open referenced articles in new tabs and have those ready to read when I got finished with the one I was on. I very quickly amassed a large number of tabs that were waiting for me to read them.
Nat is a smart guy who gives good advice. He loves to read and is a very prolific note taker. He reads a ton of books, takes notes about the best parts and most actionable advice from the books, then publishes those to something he calls the "Brain".
Nat started his blog as a way to practice digital marketing skills and as a type of portfolio or resume for getting marketing jobs. He wrote on his blog, then used that blog to get an internship, then a full time job, and then another job. His blog was at least partially responsible for the success he's had in the marketing world. He did work at Sumo for a while. He wrote about how his blog changed his life, opened up massive opportunities for him, and how he believes other people should start life changing blogs too.
All of what Nat has done has been an inspiration to me to create a blog and to keep writing articles. I hope to have this blog change my life like how Nat's blog changed his.
Nat began working with clients, doing marketing for businesses that needed help with their content marketing and growing of a blogging audience. I am not sure of all of the companies he has worked with, but I remember one of them being Kettle & Fire.
At some point he had more clients wanting to work with him than he had time for, so he started a content marketing agency called Growth Machine. It seems like a very high quality marketing agency. They are a fully remote company, but is somewhat based out of Texas because that is where Nat lives.
The final thing I want to mention about Nat Eliason is that he writes a fantastic email newsletter called "Monday Medley". This is definitely something you should join. I love getting the Monday Medley. As the name would have you believe, it comes out on Mondays. Nat reads a lot of stuff on a lot of different topics. Each newsletter is a collection of things he has read about or learned in the previous week, all sorted by category and filled with clever emojis. Each email is filled with links to great content all around the web. While I don't follow every link and read each articles he recommends, I love reading his summaries and his take on the primary sources. I always look forward to that newsletter. It has got to be one of the highest quality free newsletters out there.
I consider Nat to be a great inspiration and he is a big part of why I started blogging.
Glen Allsopp founded and ran the blog ViperChill. There he blogged about SEO, content marketing, and blogging. I learned a lot from him there about how to get a blog to rank better in the search engines.
It seems that he has stopped blogging at Viper Chill and has instead started two new projects (new compared to Viper Chill, but they've actually been around for a while now).
He started a website called Detailed where in addition to traditional blogging about SEO, he compiles top 50 lists of blogs in different niche categories. You can use that information however you like, but it is good information that you might otherwise need to pay for by using premium SEO tools. Very cool of him to release that information for free. And the information is always fresh, being updated every 24 hours.
The other project Glen has started is called Gaps. This blog is all about looking at the internet for gaps in the market. He finds businesses that should exist and could make tons of money and then he just shares that insight with the public for free. He is so busy with his own successful projects that he doesn't have the time to pursue every great idea he has, so he just turns them into content. This website is filled with business idea gold. It's every entrepreneur's dream.
Glen has, at least in the past, talked about some more black hat SEO tactics. While this is very useful information and is sought by lots of readers, it is a little sketchy. He has written about Private Blog Networks and Link Schemes. It seems like he chooses what to write about based on what works. If it doesn't work he doesn't cover it.
Glen Allsopp found blogging success pretty young and so was quite an inspiration for my blogging efforts.
Matt Giovanisci runs a website and podcast called Money Lab. The content of Money Lab is about Matt doing experiments and running case studies related to online business and then sharing the results. He comes up with some hypothesis of what will work to attract an audience, grow a website, or increase revenue, and then he runs the experiment and reports the results to his readers/listeners. He co-hosts the podcast with his friend Andrew Fiebert. The pair had earlier created a personal finance brand and podcast called Listen Money Matters.
Money Lab is one of my favorite podcasts and I always enjoy learning how to blog better from a blogging expert and veteran like Matt.
I learned about Matt from some appearances he made in some of Sean Ogle's content. The two are friends and sometimes work together. Sean has been interviewed on the Money Lab podcast about building hobby sites that are monetized and profitable and can allow you to live your desired lifestyle without a traditional job. Pretty on message for Sean.
One of the first times I learned about Matt was in a video put out by Location Rebel about how to build an affiliate niche site in just 72 hours. It was packed full of great information and you should definitely watch the whole thing for yourself. One of the biggest things Matt talked about in this video was the idea that you don't need to worry about building backlinks.
A very common Search Engine Optimization tactic to help you rank your websites and blog posts is to build backlinks. People build backlinks in lots of different ways, but just a couple of them can include guest posting and blogger outreach. However people choose to do it, building backlinks can be extremely time consuming. It can be nearly a full time job in itself, and the blogger doing it also has to be producing content, managing monetization, and possibly even working a day job.
Many, possibly most, bloggers feel that they need to be working on building backlinks because backlinks do honestly help rank content better in the search engines. If your content has more backlinks than your competition, it can expect a much better chance of being ranked number one in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Page). There is a strong correlation between the number of backlinks to a page and its ranking position. It is one of the ranking factors that Google looks at to decide how to rank a piece of content.
Despite the common wisdom that tells bloggers to get more backlinks to get better rankings, Matt says that you don't actually need to work to get backlinks. He said that he has never really actively built backlinks for any of his sites, and he makes hundreds of thousands of dollars per year from them in affiliate sales commissions. Clearly it isn't necessary to build backlinks if you want your online business to succeed.
According to Matt, Google used to be a dumb algorithm that totally relied on the power of backlinks acting as votes to help determine which content was good and which sucked. Without backlinks as a metric, Google couldn't tell. He says that Google is getting really smart now thanks to their work with machine learning and Artificial Intelligence. He said that Google is a lot like a real person now in being able to read and judge a piece of content. It can crawl your website and understand what it is about and approximately how useful it will be to users.
If Google crawls your content and thinks it will benefit its users, then it will rank your content even if it is brand new and has no backlinks. In practice, it seems like Google is fairly cautious in ranking new content with no backlinks (it takes at least a few weeks or months), but it can happen. Google also seems to rank new pages better if the blog it is on has lots of pages.
Matt says that if you just focus on writing lots of great content, not only will you naturally start to rank for some key terms in Google, but that people will naturally link to the content as they find it. You do not need to actively pursue link building. It will just happen. This advice was something I was very excited to hear. I have always felt like I needed to be doing more to build backlinks, but I also didn't have enough time to even create all the content I had ideas for. Matt's advice let me put backlinks aside so that I could focus on content.
Matt's first online project was a blog all about pools and pool maintenance. It is called Swim University. Matt had worked in a pool supply retail store for a long time, so he knew the information and just had to write the articles to build the traffic and the business. It seems to have turned into quite the success.
Matt built another site, this one about coffee. This one is called Roasty. He ran the site until Amazon Affiliate program's significant rate cuts made the site far less profitable, at which point he sold it.
Another site Matt built is Brew Cabin. This is a site that he built around one of his true passions, home brewing and beer. Matt says he has a lot of fun doing the research involved with this site, because it gives him an excuse to play with beer brewing.
Matt is prolific in creating random projects and businesses to test out different ideas. He even produced a rap album called "Entreprenuer" (intentionally misspelled).
Matt Giovanisci is a very impressive, tenacious online entrepreneur and I am grateful to have found his stuff so that I could learn from him.
Yaro Starak is a big time blogger from Australia. Yaro has a storied blogging upbringing that involves a blog about Magic The Gathering the card game and an essay writing service for college students.
His big success came, though, when he started to blog about whatever he wanted on a sort of personal blog. It turns out that when he was free to write about anything he wanted to, he usually ended up writing about entrepreneurship.
Yaro went to college and when he graduated he didn't know what he wanted to do with his life. All he knew for sure was that he did not want to get a traditional job and he wanted freedom. Getting a job meant that he would be guaranteed to do something he didn't want to do for the majority of his waking life, all while making someone else rich. His income would not grow, but his value to an employer would continuously grow. He wanted to find a way to make money doing something he loved that would allow him the time freedom to stop when he wanted to travel or spend time with friends.
He discovered blogging and online marketing were the keys to building a successful business he could run from anywhere and that would make him more than enough money to live his dream life.
Yaro originally wrote on a blog called Entrepreneurs Journey, sometimes abbreviated as E-J. He eventually rebranded that site as Yaro.blog, the site he runs today. Again, the topic of that blog is overwhelmingly entrepreneurship, online business, blogging, selling membership sites, and selling information/education products.
Yaro wrote a PDF guide that explained all that he knew about growing a blog from zero traffic and no articles to a thriving online business that can make you tens of thousands of dollars per month. That guide, the Blog Profits Blueprint, was extremely popular (it has been downloaded over 200,000 times) and has been the starting point for lots of bloggers who have turned their hobbies into full-time incomes.
Yaro runs a podcast where he interviews people running successful online businesses. They are not all bloggers, but most of his guests are. The overwhelming majority of these episodes are interesting and contain great information for starting and running an online business. There are a few episodes which focus on mindset, motivation, and even the law of attraction. I don't care for those episodes because they are not actionable. But they really are only a few of the episodes, and you might actually like them.
I find a huge amount of value in the content Yaro has put out and I have been very inspired by his story.
Darren Rowse is an old school, long time blogger. He is the creator of the massive blogging resource site ProBlogger. When someone first learns about blogging and the idea that you can make money blogging, people tend to do a lot of research. It is almost inevitable that they will end up reading one of the awesome articles on ProBlogger.
Darren also runs a podcast where he talks about blogging and building an audience. Some of my favorite episodes of the podcast are ones where he features bloggers' stories where they explain how they went from just starting a blog to earning an income blogging.
I recently discovered that Darren has also started a personal blog during COVID-19 where he writes about anything he is moved to write.
Stefan James Pylarinos
Stefan runs a blog called Project Life Mastery. It is a general purpose resource that helps people to improve their lives in every way. I was drawn to Stefan's content because he talked about self-publishing ebooks on Amazon Kindle. He sold a program called Kindle Money Mastery and also shared lots of free content about how to build a successful publishing business where you sold short ebooks on Amazon.
I was very interested in that sort of business and so I consumed a lot of that content. I did not end up pursuing the ebook publishing business very seriously, but it was very educational.
He also talks about his morning routine, general productivity, and financial freedom. He, too, talked a lot about blogging to build an audience and then using that blog to generate an income, allowing you to make money while you slept or spent time on the beach. You could make money passively after you had built up an informational asset.
Stefan has since expanded his business to talk about fitness and supplements and about selling physical products through Amazon. I am not really interested in those topics, but the content he produces in those areas is very high quality.
His recent expansion into spirituality type content is really something I don't care for, but otherwise he is a really great blogger and online entrepreneur that was very influential on me in creating this blog.
The internet is filled with really inspirational stories of people who wanted to make passive income through blogging and worked really hard to make that dream a reality.
I'm sure people could have found similar stories through a totally separate set of people.
This list of bloggers is my list. The group of bloggers that most inspired me.
I think that blogging, marketing, affiliate marketing, and informational assets are the way of the future. I believe that most people will eventually draw some or all of their income from these sorts of activities and products.
As AI and automation become better, more widespread, and cheaper, people won't be very useful in the creation of physical things.
Manufacturing and distribution will be completely taken over by robots.
But using and evaluating products, reviewing them, sharing information about them, and recommending them to people, will remain something humans will be best at.
Running a blog and being able to write about absolutely anything that interests you whenever you want sounds like the most enjoyable sort of business possible. I actually cannot think of a more satisfying business.
In the earlier days of the internet, people actually had not heard of blogging or considered the idea of making money from your writings on the internet. A person had to come across one of these inspirational bloggers to even become aware that it was possible.
I feel like in today's world, most people have heard of bloggers making money from a site they wrote entirely by themselves. They've heard of people making way more from their passive online businesses than they ever could make in a traditional job.
I think everyone is aware enough of the opportunity that they could build a profitable blog if they wanted to. But finding existing success stories can help people take the plunge into the venture.
Blogging takes a lot of work upfront where you make no money at all before anything happens. You can write and write for a long time and not see any results, which can be demotivating. Seeing that it is possible can help you to push through until you finally see results.
And once your blog starts to see results, the results tend to multiply exponentially. When it starts to work, it REALLY works.
I really hope that one day I can serve as a success story to inspire others towards an online business that allows them to live the life of their dreams. Until then, I hope this list of already successful bloggers can help you to start or motivate you to continue in your blogging endeavors.
Who are your favorite bloggers? Had you heard of any of these people before you read this article? Let me know in the comments!