If you aspire to be one of the best then you need to learn from the best. With that in mind I’ve rounded up twelve of the world’s most successful bloggers who are helping others to create and prosper with their own blogs.
So whether you’re just starting out on your blogging journey, or stuck and seeking motivation to continue, here are their stories to encourage and inspire you!
1. Ryan Biddulph Blogging From Paradise
Ryan in his own words is “a former security guard turned pro blogger who helps people build successful blogs.” As the name of his blog implies, he blogs while moving from place to place in Fiji, Bali, Costa Rica and India.
He has been dubbed the “Comment King” for his regular commenting on other bloggers’ sites, although he has reduced this greatly recently due to other commitments. He has also been famous for guest posting.
His output of eBooks has been massive, publishing 126 so far on Amazon. As he says, “If you realize for a second that Amazon is basically the Google of products you know how oodles of blog traffic can find you through your self-published eBooks on the network.”
Ryan is rumored to have done very well financially, but hasn’t gone down the road of producing ‘Income Reports’ as so many other successful bloggers have done. As he said in a comment recently, “As for me, I teach, versus proving. I help, versus convincing. My readers want help, not claims, so I have lived a cool life without sharing results.”
In this video Ryan Biddulph and Alonzo Pichardo Discuss what they feel will be the new Marketing and Blogging Trends for 2018:
2. Darren Rowse ProBlogger
Darren lives with his family in Melbourne Australia. Before starting his blogs he worked as a casual laborer, a custodian in a department store, and as a part-time minister. His first blog started in 2002 was LivingRoom.org.au, which chronicled life in Australia, religion, and politics etc.
He then started the blog he’s famous for, ProBlogger, in 2004 to record his income from blogging as well as to connect with bloggers writing about similar things.
Darren still blogs full-time and makes money from advertising deals, sponsorships, a ‘Job Board‘, speaking, courses, affiliate programs, Adsense, e-books etc. As with many of the top bloggers, he has many streams of income. Darren has become quite famous online and was named to the Forbes Internet Celebrity list in 2007.
He hasn’t published any income reports for many years, but naturally is presumed to be a multi-millionaire.
Update: I’ve since published a much more comprehensive bio of Darren here.
ProBlogger founder Darren Rowse talks business blogging tips with Kate Volman. Darren discusses blog content creation, small business blogging mistakes, blog traffic strategies, and more.
3. Michelle Schroeder-Gardner Making Sense of Cents
Michelle is a 28 year old university graduate who earned two undergraduate degrees and a Master’s in finance. She then went to work as a financial analyst at a valuation and investment banking company before starting her blog in 2011.
Michelle blogs about personal finance and lifestyle, as well as tips, articles and courses on blogging.
Thanks to her hugely successful blogging activities, she and her husband Wes now spend their time travelling around North America blogging from their RV. They have no mortgage since they sold their Missouri house in 2015.
Two years after starting her blog (which she says she started for fun) Michelle was able to quit her day job and start blogging full time. According to her published income reports she now regularly makes over $100,000 a month. In 2017 she made over $1.5 million dollars.
Since in December 2017 alone she reported an income of $126,000 it would seem a fairly safe bet she can crack $2 million in 2018 if she wants, which would easily make her one of the world’s most successful bloggers.
Of course since so few bloggers actually publish their income stats, judging her actual position on the blogging ladder would only be speculation. With Michelle’s record she could hardly be blamed if she renamed her blog to ‘Making Sense of Gigabucks’ and started blogging about Hermes handbags and Gucci shoes.
According to her income report Michelle makes the vast majority of her profits from affiliate income from Bluehost.com on this blog page, and from her own famous ‘Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing’ course. I’ve recently completed this course which I reviewed here (an excellent course for anyone new to affiliate marketing.)
How to Become a Millionaire Blogger – Michelle Schroeder-Gardner:
4. Harsh Agrawal ShoutMeLoud
Harsh is an Indian blogger who writes variously about social media, blogging, SEO and finance. He started blogging in 2008, like Michelle previously, for fun. He graduated with an engineering degree that same year from Sharda University. He then joined a call center while waiting to start work with Accenture.
With his blog ShoutMeLoud Harsh was soon earning about 35,000 rupees/month (about $560USD at the current rate of exchange.) That sort of money goes a long way in India, and he earned most of it using affiliate marketing and AdSense.
Harsh decided to start blogging full time in June 2009 when he had to make the choice of starting work at Accenture or continue blogging. According to his income reports his income has grown steadily from that initial $560 to the latest reported figure of over $52,000 in July 2017.
When not blogging, Harsh also conducts workshops and seminars.
For traffic generation he depends mainly on SEO, “for traffic SEO is a requisite”, but is also doing well targeting social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook.
Harsh also owns several other sites:
- ShoutMeHindi: A blog to teach blogging.
- CoinSutra: A Cryptocurrency Site.
- WordPress Sutra: A WordPress training site.
Interview with Harsh Agrawal during Affiliate Summit 2017:
5. Gary Vaynerchuk #askgaryvee
Gary first came to fame in the late 90’s after starting one of the first online wine sites, WineLibrary, helping his father to grow the business from $4 million to $60 million in sales. Apart from his other ventures, he used some of his profits to be an early investor in companies such as Twitter, Tumblr, Venmo, Snapchat and Uber.
Gary is also famous for his mastery of social media and his penchant for hard work, “The reason that I’m speaking to you is that I’ve worked harder than you.” That statement is from one of his multitude of training videos, and the benefits of hard work appears to be a central belief in his life.
Gary says he works, “15 to 16 hours a day, every day, working every minute, and there’s no down time. Every minute is accounted for.”
In 2010 he started VaynerMedia, a digital agency which focuses on storytelling across platforms. It is now a $100 million company with a staff of over 600.
Gary has also written several books, the most recent being ‘#AskGaryVee: One Entrepreneur’s Take on Leadership, Social Media, and Self-Awareness‘, where he gives, “always useful and honest answers to everything you’ve ever wanted to know—and more—about navigating the new business world.” This book was based on his YouTube series, #AskGaryVee. (I read it myself recently and found it fascinating, full of insights and examples from Gary’s experiences building up his businesses.) (Update: Since I wrote the above Gary has now put out another book “Crushing It!: How Great Entrepreneurs Build Their Business and Influence—and How You Can, Too.“)
His net worth, according to Wikipedia, is somewhere between $50-160 million.
BEING AN ENTREPRENEUR: Gary Vaynerchuk With Larry King:
6. Neil Patel neilpatel.com
Neil is 32, and started his first website at the age of sixteen, a copy of the jobs website monster.com. That didn’t fare well as he knew little about marketing, but his failure spurred him on to become proficient at it. These days he’s well known for his site hellobar.com and two SAS companies, Kissmetrics and Crazy Egg.
He has also earned accolades and recognition from prestigious institutions and organizations in the United States, including the White House.
After his first website attempt Neil got into consulting, blogging and speaking at conferences. He is also an analytics expert and advises companies such as Amazon, HP and NBC on business and marketing techniques.
These days Neil is a website traffic and SEO expert, as well as training people in methods of expanding their customer base. On his blog he gives tips and strategies on digital marketing, SEO and general blogging advice.
He also hosts a podcast which acts as an online marketing school, and has been dubbed a Top 100 Entrepreneur by both ex-President Obama and the United Nations.
Neil Patel’s Top 10 Rules For Success:
7. Pat Flynn SmartPassiveIncome
Pat started his website smartpassiveincome.com as a means of tracking the income he was making from websites and other internet projects he was undertaking. His website now trains people to build online businesses, “that take advantage of systems of automation that allow transactions, cash flow, and growth to happen without requiring a real-time presence.”
Over the years he has built a huge following and blog readership due to the transparency and honesty of his writing. He is also one of the few top bloggers to publish a regular income report – his December 2017 report showed a net profit for the last twelve months of just over $1.5 million dollars.
Recently Pat was named by Forbes magazine as “one of the ten most transparent leaders in business.” And he has been profiled by the New York Times as a case study in smart online business building.
Since 2014 he has been active in philanthropy, mainly in education. He is on the advisory board for Pencils of Promise, and has given aid to build schools in Ghana, Africa.
Today Pat spends his time writing books, speaking at conferences, working on his well-received business podcast and learning more about how he can help improve the future of education for children.
Update: I’ve since written a review of Pat’s book ‘Let Go’ and a fuller bio here.
Pat Flynn: How to Write the Perfect Blog Post:
8. Tim Ferriss fourhourworkweek
Forty year old Tim Ferriss is the author of the well-known bestselling book ‘The 4-Hour Work Week’ and more recently ‘Tribe of Mentors’. He graduated with a degree in East Asian Studies from Princeton in 2000. Upon graduation he worked as a salesman at a data storage company. While working for the company he created his own online business BrainQUICKEN.
His experiences at BrainQUICKEN, which he sold in 2010, formed the basis of ‘The 4-Hour Work Week’. His startup, which sold sports nutrition drugs and did pharmaceutical design was very successful, but Tim found he had no free time and was working 80-90 hours a week.
His solution to the problem was to find multiple ways to save time, such as drastically cutting down the time he spent viewing email, and outsourcing and automating as many tasks as he could to other people.
The video here of his talk from 2009 is an interesting presentation of his blogging methodology.
His book ‘The 4-Hour Work Week’ is an interesting read but the part about only working four hours is basically false – Tim describes any work that he enjoys doing as not actually being work! So basically it’s a matter of semantics. The information on outsourcing and various ways to do it successfully were intriguing however, and could probably be put to good use by many.
Tim Ferriss Interview: How to Overcome Fear, Practice Self Love & Build a Writing Routine
9. Rand Fishkin Moz
Rand ‘The Wizard of Moz’ Fishkin was born in 1979 and currently resides in Seattle. A University of Washington dropout (he pulled out two credits short of graduating), he got into search marketing in 2002 and created Moz.com in 2004 as a site to share SEO tools, reports and data. He has since built the site into a globally respected brand with a valuation of over $150 million.
Rand runs a popular weekly video and text blog called Whiteboard Fridays, where he explains SEO and website marketing in a non-technical manner. A big reason behind his success is his clear and lucid style of explaining the workings of the mysterious topic of SEO.
He stepped down from his role of CEO of Moz four years ago due to a bout with depression (COO Sarah Bird took his place), and wrote a lengthy article about the experience on his website. His role is now that of an ‘individual contributor’ or blogger to the site.
On being asked about the initial launch of his blog Rand said, “People tell you not to think of the mentality, “build it and they will come”, but if you build it and they’re already there, which is essentially what happened in our case, then you’ll have the right customers for your product. The fact that we already had the audience meant that we didn’t have to get particularly good at marketing to get our first 100 customers or even our first 2,000 customers.”
Rand Fishkin — The Worst Advice Marketing Ever Gave Content
10. Matthew Loomis Build Your Own Blog
Matthew ‘Kaboomis’ Loomis, unlike most of the other featured bloggers, is a professionally trained writer. Having earned B.A.’s from the University of Missouri-Columbia and the University of Missouri-Kansas City, he spent some years with Joyce Meyer Ministries mainly in a staff writing capacity before starting his blog BuildYourOwnBlog.net in 2012. He also has a YouTube course ‘The Blog Chronicles’ on blogging.
Matthew focusses on the ‘How to Blog’ niche since as he says, “Blogging is such a no brainer today for freelancers, today. Even those not in the writing field, like designers, IT, photography–even straight business—should blog.” As a freelance writer he says that he finds LinkedIn and Facebook to be the best for attracting new clients.
He also believes that blogging is important for businesses nowadays, “Blogging today is how most businesses find leads and make sales. Including solopreneurs, freelancers, whatever you call yourself. That’s how I got interested in the “how to blog” niche and why I started Build Your Own Blog.
He hasn’t published any income reports, but in an interview published in September 2015 he said that, “This past June I had my first five figure month (net, not gross) and 2015 is shaping up to be the best year yet.”
How To Start a Blog in Less Than 15 Minutes – Dave Taylor & Matthew Loomis:
11. John Chow JohnChow
John was born in China but moved to Canada with his family at the age of seven. He started blogging in 2005 with his site johnchow.com. Initially only blogging for fun, he wrote about cars, tech, fine dining, business etc.
In September 2006, for a case study (he felt that he needed to prove that it was possible to make money online), he put up some Google ads and made a profit of $353. His blog grew quickly from there so that within a year he was averaging over $12,000 per month. For the first two years of his blog he claims to have written an average of two posts a day.
After one year of blogging (working two hours a day) he had taken his blog to over $25,000 in monthly revenue. These days he averages over $300,000 per month.
Apart from his blog which has made him millions, John also has his own YouTube channel. When a new video goes live it immediately garners thousands of views.
He has a regular video series called “Driving With John Chow” in which he is simply driving in his car and giving advice on blogging. His other video series “Talking With John Chow” has him sitting in front of the camera and giving advice.
His mailing list isn’t neglected, with John regularly providing lots of useful info to his many subscribers.
John Chow: How To Make Money Online Step By Step:
12. Jeff Goins Goins, Writer
Jeff Goins was born in Chicago in 1983. He spent seven years working his way up to the position of marketing director, writing for a non-profit firm before commencing the blog that ultimately made his fortune for him in 2010.
He had previously started several blogs but abandoned them for various reasons after a few weeks. Success with this latest blog didn’t come quickly, and Jeff said that he would have been satisfied to get 250 subscribers in his first two years.
“For the first six months I only had 100 subscribers, and at the end of that six months it jumped from 100 to 1000.” The main reason for the jump was giving away a free ebook in exchange for the reader’s email address (a tactic frequently recommended by other top bloggers.) “By the end of that first year, I had built an online following and had 10,000 email addresses on my mailing list.”
At that stage Jeff had only made $200 from his blog, with a one-off ad. However he surveyed his readers to see if they would pay for an ebook or online course, then created a PDF for which he charged $2.99. In the first two days his ebook made $1500 and Jeff was on his way.
A few months later he launched a second ebook for which he charged $4.99 and made $16,000 in six weeks. Then two months later he released an online course for $99 which made a profit of $25,000 on it’s initial launch. A relaunch a few months later made another $36,000.
As of 2018 Jeff says that, “On average, I publish one new article and one new podcast every week.”
Jeff has published five books including ‘Real Artists Don’t Starve’, a New York Times Bestseller.
‘The Creative Professional’ Jeff Goins:
Which successful bloggers have I neglected to mention?
Let me know in the comments below!
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