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40 Bloggers to Watch in 2011

Welcome to the 2011 list of bloggers to watch. A few caveats before we launch into the list:

  • This is my own list of the people I’m watching. I was approached to do this list because of my work as a professional connector. These are the people that have stood out to me, or my network.
  • Your niche is different from mine, and that’s a given. My goal was to find the people whose tips and stories can be applied to your own niche.
  • Like last year, we will be creating a post collecting all of the watch lists ProBlogger readers create. The details for this appear at the end of this post.

Many thanks to Ali Luke, Jonathan Wondrusch, Allison Boyer, Andy Dolph, and Srinivas Rao for their help with background research.

Discovered at BlogWorld

BlogWorld is the social hub of this industry. It was where thousands of the world’s best bloggers met to network and learn. I recommend that bloggers of any niche attend conferences such as this to check out the rising stars. Based on many conversations over coffee, fries, and ice-cream, I was able to ascertain that the following people will have a lot to contribute to the wider blogging community.

Jaime Tardy

Blog |  Twitter

I almost missed meeting Jaime Tardy. She was this lovely, quiet girl that I met just a few times, which I sincerely regretted when I checked visited Eventual Millionare. Jaime is a fiercely talented blogger, but what I liked was how she approached the topic of personal finance.

Most people tend to go one of two ways: they blog about their journey to riches, or blog about their frugal lifestyle. Jamie was well on her way to becoming a millionaire; she was earning six figures at just 22. However, she decided that “instead of just a million dollars, I wanted to find work I loved, and the life I loved, and THEN make my million.”

I’m a huge fan of her because she has an authentic blogging persona, despite her recent success. She has been able to leverage her blog to get significant media attention—a goal most of us dream of. I think she’ll be taking her efforts up a notch this year.

Matt Kimberley

Blog |  Twitter

Matt Kimberley is just like his blog: suave, intriguing, and powerful with words. He is a fascinating case study of how you can leverage your blog to achieve personal and business goals.

He blogs at How to Get a Grip, which is “largely a rehashing of common sense, with a couple of practical tips for manning up and getting things done.” Biography jargon aside, he is one of my favorite examples of someone that combines personality marketing and no-nonsense advice to create a compelling blog.

His story is one that fascinated me, and many of my peers. He:

Blog lessons aside, I believe that How to Get a Grip should be required reading for everyone wanting to focus on the important stuff in 2011.

Jordan Cooper

Blog |  Twitter

Jordan Cooper is a blogger that I highly respect. He positions himself as a comedian who has an irreverent outlook at blogging, social media, and marketing. While he acts like the comedic anti-hero, he is this incredibly savvy guy who intuitively gets this industry. I love him because he is modest about his talents and success.

Last year, he became community manager of the Beyond Blogging Project and moderated the Treating Your Blog Like a Business panel at BlogWorld. He also has enjoyed considerable success with two video game-related fan sites he manages: FM-Britain and Gameworld One.

I suspect that he may be the silent success story of this year. He’s gotten the trust and attention of the many top bloggers he has worked with. He has all the resources at his disposal. He just has to choose his path.

Matt Gartland

Blog |  Twitter

I count Matt Gartland among one of my closest blogging friends. He has spent most of this year focusing on his Healthy Lifestyle Design blog. After meeting at BlogWorld, I got him on the phone and we chatted about his 2011 plans. Boy, is this guy going to shake things up. There are two things that I’m really looking forward to:

  • Modern Audacity. This is his blog “about bold ideas for brave adventurers hell-bent on living above expectations.” His content is looking to be challenging in a similar vein to Matthew Kimberly’s and is something that I’m really looking forward to reading.
  • Random Acts of Greatness. This blog aims to chronicle 10,000 acts of greatness over a five-year period. One trend that I’ve noticed is how many bloggers are leveraging their audience to deliver widespread social good. Johnny B Truant was among with first with his Bad Ass Project. I can see Matt’s project having a much wider reach.

His blog has gotten so many of my friends excited. His branding is something that many people, including myself, can learn from. His theme is inspired by comic books, which he leverages to tell a story. It is impractical for most bloggers to replicate this, however everyone is capable of telling a story via their words and visual elements. Excelsior!

Farnoosh Brock

Blog |  Twitter

Farnoosh impressed many with her positive energy during Blogworld. She was constantly engaging with people and showed how to make a solid impression in a short period of time. What was surprising is that she is just as active on social media and her blog.

  • She uses only images that she takes on her blog. This, along with her video and podcasts, allows her readers to join her on her journey.
  • She wrote an ebook about her BlogWorld 2010 experience. This was a great way to get more exposure, as she was subsequently featured on the BlogWorld blog.

Her blog aims to teach you smart habits for rich living. However, I feel that she has a lot of potential and that she has so much more to bring to her audience. I’m genuinely excited to see how she grows this year.

Srinivas Rao

Blog |  Twitter

I truly believe that Srini is going to become one of the major success stories of 2011. He is constantly applying what he has learned through the interviews he has conducted on BlogcastFM.

I was friends with Srini long before we went to BlogWorld, and meeting him only increased my admiration. He genuinely cares about improving his blog and connecting with others. He leveraged his connections to successfully launch BlogcastFM Premium, grow his personal blog, and expand Flightster’s social media presence.

If there is someone you think should be on this list, tell him. It’s likely they’ll be interviewed on a future podcast.

Karol Gadja

Blog |  Twitter

Karol got the attention of everyone at Blogworld. Part of it was due to his height—he was considerably taller most people he spoke to—but mostly it was because of his friendliness.

It was such an honor to get to know him because he was so laid back and genuinely interested in his community. He was incredibly generous with his knowledge despite the massive success of the past year.

His blog, Ridiculously Extraordinary, is an example of how to stand out in a crowded niche. He also showed how you can run a successful blog and leverage that to support business ventures. He has been able to grow his business so much in the last quarter thanks to the 72 hour niche sales he runs with Adam Baker.

I believe that he will continue to impact people in 2011.

Benny

Blog |  Twitter

I barely talked to Benny at BlogWorld. I had just enough time to ascertain his Irish accent before he got whisked away to a neighboring table. Fortunately, I hung out with some of the most connected people in the industry, who quickly informed me that Benny is someone worth paying attention to.

He is the Irish Polyglot behind Fluent In 3 Months: a how-to guide and story of becoming fluent in any language quickly. His story has attracted many but what I love is how the story extends to all facets of his blog. He:

  • encourages his readers to comment in the languages he is fluent in, and will respond in the same language
  • posts his videos in multiple languages—including his welcome video—to demonstrate his skills
  • maintains multiple Twitter accounts for his followers in other languages.

I believe that having your content available in multiple languages will become more relevant in 2011, and Benny is in the prime position to help people do this.

Heather Solos

Blog |  Twitter

I never met Heather. I came across her thanks to the recommendation of several friends and, after checking out her main blog, I could see why. See, she doesn’t fit the profile of your typical successful blogger. Her bio states that she is a “32-year-old professional blogger and author”. I see her as a master of leveraging communities.

Her profile has grown organically over the course of five years. She co-founded Home-Ec101.com, “a site designed to teach real people, real skills, as they apply to real lives.” In addition to this, she has gotten a book deal, leveraged in-person meetings to get great results, and has achieved multiple writing spots in newspapers. You can learn more about how she did this in her interview on BlogcastFM.

What I like about her is how she is shaping her content to her audience. In her sidebar she has a link to a feedback form to get more information about her readers, a note saying that her articles are print-friendly, and a phone number for questions that may get featured on her podcast. She is inviting audience engagement before readers even view her content, rather than taking the path of most bloggers and just targeting social media users. I’m fascinated to see where she takes this in 2011.

Pace Smith

Blog |  Twitter

Pace Smith is one of my favourite BlogWorld buddies. She is an extremely talented individual who brings a lot to the social media community. She is an amazing collaborator and business mind, but is very down to earth and friendly. She has tried to avoid the expert/guru scene and, by doing so, has enriched the wider community.

What’s resonated with me is how she’s evolved over the past year. Pace and her business-and-life-partner Kyeli rebranded “The Freak Revolution” to “The Connection Revolution”—a change that I believe suits them better. They wrote about the reasons why. They’ve also intentionally tried to avoid creating metablogging products and instead released two useful courses: 52 Weeks to Awesome and Engaging ECourses.

I’ll be watching to see how Pace develops the connection revolution. She intuitively understands the relationship side of blogging and I believe her impact will grow significantly this year.

Suggested by readers

Last year’s post got a lot of feedback. Many people felt that their niche or passion was excluded. For this edition, we scoured the comments to find the bloggers who you wanted to be highlighted.

Pat Flynn

Blog |  Twitter

I’m blog crushing on Pat. He was suggested so many times in last year’s list that Darren snagged him for an interview shortly after.

He is the type of blogger that everyone can learn from. He loves his readers to death and focuses on providing massive value. You can:

He is someone I believe every ProBlogger reader should watch. He is a talented marketer and mentor, and someone that is passionate about growing his community.

Brett McKay

Blog |  Twitter

Nate, from Practical Manliness, recommended Brett as a blogger to watch in 2010. He said “He did quite a bit in 2009 (book launch, hundreds of thousands of monthly visits, etc.), and I don’t expect him to slow down.”

Brett has shown how you can take your business beyond a blog. He has converted his blog into a community complete with forums and profiles for members, and introduced interesting concepts such as the Library of Random Man Knowledge and the Art of Manliness Trunk. He also created a mobile version of his website. I was part of a mastermind session with some pretty influential bloggers late this year and one thing we all identified was the role smartphones would play with our blogs.

He has also worked to grow his brand off the blog. He has released a book, and has a second out in 2011. He’s released themed posters and calling cards, as well as a t-shirt collection. I expect him to grow his brand further this year.

Lynn Terry

Blog |  Twitter

I included Lynn Terry thanks to the recommendation of Adriana, who said “she always puts out excellent information, and replies to just about every comment on her blog.” I’ve come across Lynn numerous times and loved her classy approach in a crowded and much-hyped niche.

She blogs at Click Newz, which has “internet marketing ideas, tips, and reviews to help you succeed.” She is a super-affiliate, and was involved in Internet marketing before social media became trendy.

One thing that intrigued me was Lynn’s Hot Topics page. Most people have a page, or sidebar plugin, that directs people to the best content. This technique takes the readers to the best tutorials. This is something that may be more useful to readers than a post that received a lot of traffic from social media sites.

Lynn has been in this business for 14 years. Her inclusion wasn’t based on anticipated success this year; rather, she is someone that I believe we all can learn from. If she, or any other person on this list, has helped you, I’d love to read about it in the comments.

Wil Wheaton

Blog |  Twitter

My dad would say that Wil Wheaton’s character Wesley Crusher is one of the most-hated characters in Star Trek. I, along with Slimeface, who recommended him, would disagree. I reckon that he is one of the coolest people I know.

The short version is that most people would consider him to be celebrity—ya know, except for Sheldon Cooper, who’s often mentioned as Wil Wheaton’s nemesis in “Big Bang Theory.” Jokes aside, he is one to watch is because he is a celebrity who’s using social media in the way it was intended.

A lot of bloggers struggle with scalability when it comes to managing relationships. Wil faces that on a much larger scale. His Twitter landing page is truthful and amusing. He doesn’t cater to popular opinion. Instead, he just acts like himself and attracts thousands of readers in the process. His success isn’t replicable for most of us, but his approach is.

In his post celebrating the new year, he said “2010 was easily the best year I’ve had in a decade, and 2011 is looking like it’s going to be pretty amazing, too.” I’m looking forward to following his journey.

Henri Juntilla

Blog |  Twitter

Henri first attracted widespread attention when he got over 1000 subscribers in three months. He was able to achieve this via two main methods: article marketing and guest posting. His content on Wake Up Cloud is mixture of metablogging and personal development.

Henri is currently in the transition stage. During 2010, he was able to gain a lot of attention for his work. The thing is, social proof doesn’t necessarily equal a successful business. Henri has earned a nice income from his affiliate efforts and product sales but is yet to turn his blog into a true business.

I believe he is one to watch as he makes this transition from blogger to entrepreneur. I’ve watched many people give up their blog or get burnt out. I think Henri will shine as he progresses on his entrepreneurial journey.

Daniel Scocco

Blog |  Twitter

Daniel Scocco has been someone I’ve been learning from for a while. I didn’t include him in the previous list because I assumed his prominence didn’t need mentioning, but you guys corrected me pretty quickly!

2010 saw Daniel reopen his membership site Online Profits. He offered the course for free (with the caveat that members need to sign up for an $8.95/month hosting plan with HostGator), posting Online Profits Is Open, And Now It Is Free!

This membership site has made for a fascinating case study. He was able to leverage the content of others to create a comprehensive product that covers more information than just blogging. He was one of the first people to make money from a course via affiliate commissions for other products. This is an underutilized technique and it will be fascinating to see if other people apply it to their own niche.

I know that he will keep challenging the status quo in 2011 and continuing to create useful content. I can’t say too much, but I can share that there are rumors of a new product released via Daily Writing Tips in early 2011.

Jean-Baptiste Jung

Blog |  Twitter

Jean-Baptiste Jung is “a 27-year-old blogger, web developer and web designer from the French-speaking part of Belgium”. He started out with a successful blog, Cats Who Code, and soon grew his business to include a portfolio of web development-related websites.

The past few years have seen him launched additional sites such as WpRecipes, PsdVibe and Cats Who Blog. In addition he has written for WpHacks, ProBlogDesign and Smashing Magazine, and released his first book, WordPress CookBook.

I’ll be frank—I’m not familiar enough with the WordPress community to discuss why Jean-Baptiste is worth watching. I’m relying on the many readers and friends who told me of his talents. However, I can tell you that his portfolio of WordPress and blogging sites will be a valuable resource for ProBlogger readers over the coming year.

Potts Weinstein

Blog |  Twitter

Elizabeth’s bio states that “I’m a woman who is on a continuing adventure of living my truth. And I’m inviting you to come along.” A consistent theme with many people on this list is that they have created a blog that is a natural expression of who they are. Elizabeth is no exception.

She explains, “Living your truth finds the nexus of your passions, your skills, everything that is unique and amazing about you, with practical, smart, efficient business strategies and systems and marketing and relationship building.” She has been a mentor to many of my good friends and accomplished a lot despite a tumultuous 2010.

Her personal and business theme for 2011 is “Creating Space for Ecstasy via Boundaries and Self Care.” This is a theme that a lot of people will resonate with in the coming year. It may take longer than one year for her to achieve true greatness but hers is such a fascinating journey to watch.

Chris Owyoung

Blog |  Twitter

Chris is a freelance music photographer based in New York City. He was included thanks to the recommendation of Greg Taylor. Chris blogs in a niche that most wouldn’t pay attention to. His target readers are potential clients rather than tutorial seekers. He approaches his blog differently from most ProBlogger readers.

A lot of the focus is on the visual experience. His sidebar comprises images rather than text—a technique that compliments his photography. He also invites the readers to view images from a shoot by telling a story and capturing the reader’s attention. Both techniques are common, but it’s worth seeing how it’s applied to a different niche.

His blog is a solid case study and it will be interesting to check if he changes his approach over the course of the year. I think he’s onto a winning formula.

Jade Craven

Blog |  Twitter

Yeah, I’m totally cheating by putting myself on this list. I was going to include Anne Jackson from Flowerdust.net, but she recently wrote a post discussing the end of her blogging. Long story short, I went through the comments again and after going through the joke suggestions, my name came up twice. So I snagged rising star Allison Boyer to write a bio for me:

Even if you don’t know Jade Craven yet, it’s pretty much guaranteed that you’ve been affected by her work. Jade is of course the author of this list, but she’s everywhere, working with people such as Dave Navarro, Jonathan Fields, and Johnny B. Truant. Regardless of her work with high-profile people, Jade always also has time for interesting up-and-comers who haven’t yet made a name for themselves. If you’re someone with passion and dedication, Jade wants to know you—and she will make good things happen for you without asking for anything in return.

I’m officially dubbing 2011 “The Year of Jade Craven”—she’s got some super-exciting secret plans for awesomeness that you don’t want to miss. Get Jade Craven on your radar if she’s not already, and you can be part of that awesomeness.

New talent

Sometimes it seems like a success story comes from nowhere. You’ll briefly see someone on Twitter, and then Bang! Their work is everywhere. This section deals with some of the success stories of the past year. These are the people who will be profoundly growing their profile in the coming months.

Jonathan Wondrusch

Blog |  Twitter

Jonathan is a paragon of blogging awesomeness. He is co-founder of By Bloggers and is working with Lavonne Ellis on the upcoming Customer Love Challenge. His profile has grown quickly over the four months—and for good reason.

His stand-out resource is By Bloggers, which is a site for ambitions webpreneurs creating incredible eproducts. His content is very high quality—Epic Ebook Creation is one of the best free books I’ve read—and has been able to attract a lot of attention in a short period of time.

I’m confident that he will rock it in 2011. He’s found a gap in a market targeting infoproduct creators, and has some some killer plans to help bloggers. You can see them taking shape with the new Blogging Bootstrappers community, along with the continually growing Bootstrapper’s Toolkit—a resource that adds new free worksheets and ebooklets every month.

Johnathan also is a talented relationship marketer and it’ll be worth watching to see where he takes his audience. It’s most likely to be silly (this man sported a half beard—a beard on one side of his face, but not the other—for a week), nerdy, and absolutely inspiring.

Peter Shallard

Blog |  Twitter

Peter is an example of someone who launched with a bang. See, Peter isn’t like us bloggers. He has a strong corporate background and he’s one of the people who understands relationship marketing and sales—something that many people find difficult.

He launched strongly by making a number of smart decisions, such as hiring 2010-blogger-to-watch James Chartrand for website design and copywriting. This allowed him to focus on what he did best: engaging with people via social media and empowering his clients.

He is a fascinating example of how a suit can dive into the world of social media and enjoy massive success. He is also someone that is laid back and a lot of fun to get to know. Even if you aren’t interested in his blog, hit him up on Twitter. Tell him Jade sent you!

Scott McIntyre

Blog |  Twitter

Scott McIntyre got on my radar before he had even launched his blog, Vivid Ways. He contacted me because he had been regularly guest posting on Liz Strauss’s blog and didn’t have a blog, nor much of a social media presence.

I believe he is one to watch because he made a conscious choice to focus his effort on developing relationships and learning as much as possible. Most people are busy sucking up to the big names, rather than finding ways they can contribute to the community.

Lavonne Ellis

Blog |  Twitter

Lavonne has spent most of 2010 in the transition phase. I met her via a paid program where she impressed me with her tenacity and willingness to learn. She launched her first blog, the Complete Flake, and was willing to admit her business had evolved.

What really put Lavonne on my radar was the community she developed around the Customer Love challenge. She’s run two Customer Love challenges, helping people to love their audiences and launch products. She’ll be co-leading her next challenge in February and launching a paid product at that time.

I think the customer love challenge will be something to watch in 2011. Lavonne is brilliant and smart, and she intuitively knows what bloggers want. She knows how to empower a community and is an example of how you can enjoy viral success just by being useful.

Jean Sarauer

Blog

In October, Jean decided to quit blogging to pursue her fiction writing. She handed her flagship blog over to Mary Jaksch, who has continued to develop it as a “safe, supportive space for bloggers to learn, grow, and enjoy their online journey.”

Despite that, I believe she is someone to watch. She contributed a lot to the blogging community during 2010 and has the potential to do so again during 2011.

Lynn Fang

Blog |  Twitter

Lynn Fang has garnered a lot of attention for her minimalist/environmentalist blog, Upcycled Love. She has built her blog with interviews and DIY tutorials on how to follow a green-friendly lifestyle and still achieve your dreams. She also happens to be a pretty amazing designer, redesigning Sam Spurlin’s first ebook.

I believe Lynn is one to watch because she’s empowering her community to achieve social change. She has accomplished so much in a relatively short period of time and I’ll be intrigued to see how she develops her brand and website this year.

Tyler Tervooren

Blog |  Twitter

Tyler Tervooren shot to fame so quickly that I didn’t have time to watch him. Seriously. I’d heard his name, but he’s included here because so many people recommended him.

Tyler is the type of person that I want to be like. He has incredible plans, such accomplishing goals that only 1% of humanity ever does. He aims to promote better living through uncertainty, which is something that really resonates with me.

If you don’t like his blogging style, that’s cool. You can still learn a lot from him. He rocketed to 2000 subscribers in three months. He is extremely talented at word-of-mouth marketing and taking care of his community.

This sentiment is echoed in multiple niches. Jonathan Woodrush said that Tyler “released hands down one of the best free and useful e-books I’ve seen when it comes to quitting your job: Take This Job and Shove It.” I agree. His first information product, the Guerilla Influence Formula, is a must-read if you want to create a blog that people naturally want to talk about. I believe he’ll be raising the bar on his paid content this year.

Kelly Diels

Blog |  Twitter

Kelly is no stranger to the ProBlogger audience. She had a regular column early last year and impressed many with her unique writing style. She has become notable for her continuing popularity, as well as her incredible writing. Her authenticity and presence really shine through every time she posts, as does her love of helping others.

She has done a lot since her stint at ProBlogger. For example, she launched The League of Extraordinary Bloggers with Dave Doolin to help people rock their blogs and their copywriting.

I believe she is one to watch because of her raw talent. She hasn’t tried to take over the blogosphere like many of her caliber. Instead, she’s worked on growing Cleavage, and developing her audience. Her work ethic and blog savvy make her one to watch for a long time.

Robert Hickman

Blog |  Twitter

Robert Hickman suffers from Aspergers Syndrome and writes about giving your disability a kick in the you-know-what. His blog is new, but it challenges readers to reframe their thinking and leverage their problems to their own advantage.

I believe he is one to watch because he’s offering a unique perspective in an overcrowded niche. He is writing about how popular concepts, such as minimalism, can have a positive influence when it comes to managing a disability. He isn’t blogging to be the most popular, nor for the social proof; he is blogging out of pure motivation for his project. This makes him truly stand apart.

Everett Bogue

Blog |  Twitter

Everett Bogue carved a name for himself, and his blog Far Beyond the Stars, rather quickly in 2010. He become known as someone who was applying minimalist principles to his life, and business, and having great success. He quit his job at New York Magazine to pursue a minimalist, location-independent life and has turned his blog into a work of art.

He has some pretty heavy plans for his content in 2011. Topics include:

I’m not sure what to expect business-wise from him, other than a new ebook shipping early in February. I do know that he will be exploring some vital topics that most bloggers wouldn’t even think about. I believe he is destined to grow rapidly beyond his blog and become a thought leader in relation to the ways in which our digital selves interact with our physical selves.

Inspiring blogs

Sometimes you find a blog that just makes you feel good about yourself. It could be because the blogger is a creative genius. With others, they just inspire you to be a better person.

The following people are the ones that inspired me over the past year and will continue to do so in 2011.

Jess Van Den

Blog |  Twitter

Jess is a rising star in the Australian creative scene. She creates jewelry under the brand, Epheriell, but I believe her real talent is her blog. She intuitively understands how to develop a community surrounding her blog.

2010 saw her create a popular craft zine, Bespoke. She created Crafting A Business for those like her who were developing a business online. She also wrote the book Etsy Success Stories in addition to maintaining her own popular blog.

I think Jessica will really shine in 2011. This year has seen her set up the foundation for success. The crafting scene is built on community and it has been so inspired by watching Jess grow hers.

Nathalie Lussier

Blog |  Twitter

Nathalie is a tech-savvy wellness-minded entrepreneur who writes about the intersection of technology, health, and business. She shot to fame as the creator of Raw Foods Witch and has developed a brand as a successful entrepreneur in her own right.

Late in 2009, she chose the word “confidence” as the one that would guide her through 2010. The past year has seen her accomplish great things. She has spoken at many conferences, including a much-praised presentation at BlogWorld, and has launched her own business website.

Nathalie is one of the true hidden gems. She instinctively knows how to empower her audience and help people. I’m hoping that 2011 is the year where she combines her many talents to create a world-changing business.

Danielle Laporte

Blog |  Twitter

Danielle is one of my favorite discoveries this past year. She blogs at White Hot Truth and is a continual source of small business leadership and inspiration. Her blog is a guilty indulgence. Just check out her shop. She combines aesthetics with her artistic soul and incredible writing style. She rocked the year hard with her Firestarter Sessions product and shows no sign of slowing down in 2011.

Danielle made a number of huge decisions in 2010. She turned off comments on her blog to make room for her art. This caused a huge discussion and many successful bloggers have followed suit.

Danielle is on the cusp of greatness. This is fact. She is already extremely successful but she will be taking her work to a new level this year. She recently got (another) book deal. Every part of her blog and social media presence tells a story. I can’t wait to see what story she tells this year.

Natalie Peluso

Blog | Twitter

The first half of 2010 saw Natalie rebrand herself a couple of times as she was discovering her blogging identity. She has a lot of success, such as the launch of Action Studio and the release of her Fearless Karaoke video—until she discovered that her true calling was helping creative entrepreneurs develop their presence.

She’ll be relaunching Action Studio early this year. Sources have told me that that’s just a taste of what’s to come. She has been working for a long time to get to her current level of success and, now that she’s found the right message, will enjoy rapid blog growth over the coming year.

Rachel Hills

Blog | Twitter

Rachel is more than just a blogger—she is a journalist, author and “digital media professional.” I discovered her when she featured me in a newspaper article about getting paid to play. I was impressed with her industry knowledge, so I investigated further. I was impressed with what I found.

She is a successful blogger in her own right. Her blog, Musings of an Inappropriate Woman, is considered to be the best Australian feminist blog. Her posts aren’t as conversational as many bloggers, myself included, but I found myself drawn further and further into her archives. She is one of the rare journalists that have been able to carve a name for themselves in digital media while staying true to her writing style.

I think she is incredibly talented and will get up to great things this year. That may be impacted by her other commitments, such as her forthcoming book, but I’d love to see her profile grow in 2011.

Ashley Ambirge

Blog |  Twitter

Ashley  has been described as one of the most unique and inspiring voices in the blogosphere. She’s truly in a class of her own with a writing style that leaves readers hanging on her every word and challenging them to think beyond where they’re at today.

She writes at the Middle Finger Project and has recently launched a new product: You Don’t Need A Job, You Need Guts. I love her content. My personal favorites are her Fear, Exposed series and her post The 67 Emotions of Online Success: My Story. She is one of the most unapologetically-herself bloggers out there right now, and loves both her life and audience.

I think she will be accomplishing great things in 2011. She has the audience and the raw talent. It will be interesting to see what direction she chooses to go in.

Willie Hewes

Blog

Willie Hewes is the freelance illustrator behind Itch Illustration. She is also a comic book publisher and launched the Monster Journals in August 2010. I started following her because I was a fan of her work, and because she was skilled at connecting with other bloggers.

Her main blog is Mad Science, where she blogs about mindfulness tactics for practical people. For those that are unfamiliar with the concept, mindfulness is a technique that is increasingly recognized as a useful way to reduce stress and anxiety. She takes a topic that is normally dry and technical, and makes it fun.

I love her because she has turned her blog and her work into an experience. Her friendly writing style and relationship marketing skills make it a pleasure to interact with her and her blog. I look forward to watching how she grows her business this year.

Catherine Caine

Blog |  Twitter

I hesitated about including Catherine on this list. She is a close friend and I’d been singing her praises for a while now. Then she launched her new site, Cash and Joy.

Catherine is an example of someone who evolved with her business, rather than her blog. She realized that why she loved the work she was doing at Be Awesome Online, the readers weren’t the type who could afford the services she’d been gravitating towards. She went on hiatus, restructured her current site (which included stopping a course mid-way), and then launched her current site. This is admirable because most people wouldn’t have the guts to launch something completely new or, if they did, they would have been torn between both brands.

I think she has barely started with her plans for Cash and Joy. She’s found her blogging groove and has gone past the struggling phase of her business. She has so much brilliance and a knack for helping people find their target audience. It will be interesting to see what she does on her own blog, and how she helps her clients achieve their potential.

David Crandall

Blog |  Twitter

David Crandall is a rising star in the blogosphere. In the short time since he started his blog, he’s become a master at building effective relationships. This year has seen him launch a product with Srinivas Rao titled How to Grow Your Blog Through Interviews and co-lead the first Customer Love challenge with LaVonne Ellis.

I believe that you guys can learn a lot from him. In addition to his relationship marketing skills, he is brilliant at polarization. When a good friend was recommending him, he said that he “has a unique voice on his current blog, Heroic Destiny, and loves unicorns and getting his hair done.” That’s referral marketing right there.

In 2011, he’ll be using his business intelligence skills to help bloggers transform knowledge into action. He’s recently launched Business Intelligence Badass and it will be interesting to see where that leads. He’s also worth watching to see how he leverages the relationships he’s worked so hard to build.

El Edwards

Blog

You probably haven’t heard of Eleanor Edwards. She is the founder of UK charity Give A Brick and the hostess of happiness at Heaven and El. Her personal blog has two goals: to make you smile and to support her charity efforts.

I love Eleanor because she isn’t out to be a super-famous blogger. She doesn’t want, or need, anyone’s attention to succeed. She blogs for the pure joy of it and genuinely cares about her readers. She is one of my favorite examples of someone who invests time in building her community rather than building her network.

From a networking perspective, this is the type of person you should emulate. Very busy, and important, people will make time for the friendly person cheering them on. During 2010, I watched her find her writing voice and purpose for her work. It will be fascinating to see where she takes her (accidental) relationship marketing efforts this year.

Which bloggers are you watching?

This list isn’t the definitive list—I accept that. We want to know which bloggers you’re watching, too! I’ll be writing about what’s going on in the ProBlogger community and would love to share your stories. You can contribute in the following ways:

  • Create your own list of bloggers to watch. They will be included in a follow up post.
  • Share specific bloggers you are watching. Go into as much detail as you like.
  • Comment about how you would improve on the list format. Do you want more people? A certain type of information? Tell us and your suggestions may be included in future lists.

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Comments

  1. Sarah says:

    Thanks for such a great line up! I liked the format this time around too. It might be cool for next time to include the general “type” of blog next to their name.

    As far as recommendations, being a shelter blog stalker, I’ve recently found a new-ish blog via Apartment Therapy called, 7th House on the Left (www.7thhouseontheleft.com). They are a husband and wife team and they both have fresh “blogging voices” and a great layout/design to boot.

  2. sewtara says:

    Wow this is great! I have a gazillion tabs open now.
    I’ll be forwarding this onto some people I know.
    Thanks for rounding up all this awesomeness for us all :)

  3. Danny says:

    Some of my favourite blogs for this year so far:

    http://www.motivationalmemo.com – Great motivational material that keeps you motivated every day.
    http://www.Entrepreneurs-Journey.com – I learn how to blog better everytime I visit this site.
    http://www.dailyblogtips.com – Same as above.
    http://www.rockyourguitar.com – A new blog which I’m working on..

  4. Your “caveats” might puncture my argument; anyway, I’ll put it forward.

    The absence of ethnic and racial diversity on this list is glaring. I hope the 2012 list of “bloggers to watch” would be more inclusive.

    Well-written piece. Keep up the good work.

  5. Thomas says:

    Thank you for the list. That should make me busy for a couple of days ;-)

  6. LA Juice says:

    New Goal for 2012: to be on this list!!!

    But seriously, this was a very inspirational article, these people really make you feel like you can- with stellar content and persistence- make headway in this blogging world!

    thanks tons.

    Juice

  7. You have so many awesome recommendations that I’m never going to get to bed tonight! Thanks for all the great reading material!

  8. Aaron says:

    Man, not sure how you missed me! Didn’t you get my check? Just kidding. Great list. Looking forward to watch some of them myself as I seek to emulate and succeed. (Wanting to learn another language? Stop by!)

  9. Robby G says:

    That’s one heck of a list! Great job and having to know some of these bloggers and blogs, I’d like to say that I agree. Darren, it’s fantastic to see you help them get their names out there as well. Great format, too. Cheers!

  10. Hi Jade

    I may be the latest person to come across this great list but man that must have taken some incredible effort to pull together and I’m so excited to see how many of these people I know, follow or have met. Pity we did not connect at BlogWorld last year but if you’re going to be in NYC – which I’m sure you will we should totally meet up.

    Natalie – The Suitcase Entrepreneur

  11. John says:

    Great list it must have taken months.