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15 Bloggers to Watch in 2013

Welcome to the 2013 edition of Bloggers to Watch. My work has changed a lot over the past year—I’ve been focused a lot on the Australian blogger community, and on curators—so this post is very centered on those communities. This is the last time I’ll be writing this yearly round-up. It has been a blast exploring this project over the past four years.

So! Here are the 15 people that I’ll be keeping an eye on this year.

Tina Roth Eisenberg

Tina started swissmiss in 2005 as her “personal visual archive.” It eventually grew into a popular design journal with an average of 1 million unique visitors a month. I love that she was experimenting with visual curation before such a term even existed.

Many of you will argue that Tina shouldn´t be on such a list. She has been around for years and most of her projects don´t concern the blogging industry. Well, I disagree. I believe her archives have a lot to offer beginner bloggers. She is extremely talented at curation, and combines her community-building skills with a keen sense of strategy. She shows what you can achieve with your blog, and your life, if you step outside of the echo-chamber and pursue creative projects.

I also recommend that you check out Creative Mornings.

Jenny Lawson

This is the fourth year I have written this post. Every time, multiple people tell me that I should have included The Bloggess. I had read and devoured her blog, but didn´t know whether posts about taxidermied mice necessarily made someone worth watching. You guys would rather read about a hidden gem, right?

This year, after reading her book, I was able to realize why it is important that her blog gets acknowledged in this list. She helps normalize some of the icky stuff associated with mental illness. I have an anxiety disorder and, at times, it can consume my life. Jenny shows that brilliance can shine through, despite you feeling at your lowest. She shows that you can still leverage your power to amuse or help others despite feeling powerless.

We bloggers have a lot more power then we give ourselves credit for. Especially when convincing actors to post pictures of themselves holding cutlery and/or twine.

Gavin Aung Than

In early 2012, Gavin decided that he wanted to give cartooning a real chance. He quit his job, sold his house, and started “working on Zen Pencils to try to inspire myself and others.” (Source: The Viewspaper.)

Since then, he’s been able to attract the attention of many key influencers and mainstream media. I think he is really talented and that his story shows what you can achieve if you combine quality content with social media outreach.

I was at the ProBlogger Event when he told that story and I swear the room when silent. After six months, he reported that he was getting around 400,000 unique visitors a month, and had nearly 15,000 Facebook fans. I know so many people who would love those statistics. But few would sacrifice as much as Gavin has to achieve them.

Christina Butcher

Christina Butcher started Hair Romance as a side project but, in only 18 months, has turned her blog into her full-time job. She gets over 120, 000 visitors monthly and is very intuitive when it comes to trends. She has had a lot of success with the “31 days” ebook concept, tapping into the trend for her second ebook, too.

She is awesome because she serves as a guide to those who don´t understand the world of hairstyles. She is like a translator. She makes a complicated topic incredibly easy to understand and, frankly, is one of the nicest bloggers I´ve had the pleasure of talking to.

She has recently launched two new sites: Nail romance and Mr and Mrs Romance.

Jennifer Schmidt

Jennifer is another person whose blog started out as a personal project and has grown into a popular resource in her community. She is the blogger behind Beauty and Bedlam, which she describes as an authentic look at intentional living through strengthening family ties,  encouraging meal time memories,  food/meal planning, couponing, personal finance, home decor and frugal fashion. Late in 2012, she launched her food blog 10 Minute Dinners.

I believe that both sites have a lot of potential, and that her profile will be growing a lot in 2013.

Emily Winters

I discovered Emily thanks to a recommendation by Pete Fazio on the 2012 list. He said:

She is a DIY blogger who started a blog a year ago for family and friends, was discovered by DIYNetwork, and is now their featured blogger. Amazing stuff.

I thought it was an awesome suggestion and immediately decided that she would go on this year’s list.

Her blog, Merrypad, started as a personal project that evolved into a source of inspiration for those wanting to embrace a DIY lifestyle. It is another example of someone acting as a translator for a topic that could seem overwhelming. In this case, however, she is differentiating her site by targeting a gender that may not necessarily consider DIY projects.

It´s a really solid case study about how to make it easy for people to connect with your blog. Her before and after page is a really user-friendly way of taking the reader through her DIY journey without manually going through her archives.

If you want to learn more about Emily, I recommend you check out her BlogStar Interview.

Ramit Sethi

Ramit Sethi is one of my favourite people to learn from. He runs the site I Will Teach You To Be Rich and has written a bestselling book of the same name. He is incredibly strategic and practical. I´ve spent hours going through his archives and consistently return for inspiration. I love how usable his site is—look at how his blog headings lead to landing pages instead of categories.

Ramit shows what you can achieve as a result of in-depth research. He doesn´t write posts with the aim to go viral. He researches the heck out of his target audience and writes posts that answer their problems.

Rachel MacDonald

In Spaces Between is a shiny online space for bright sparks seeking inspiration and words on living a big, beautiful life. In little over a year, In Spaces Between has become the go-to blog for juicy inspiration, confidence building, fear fighting, and mindset shifting.

I think Rachel’s blog is pretty cool. What really intrigues me, though, is her attention to detail. Look at this custom graphic that was created for her interview with Nikki Parkinson. Her free ebook,
20 Ways to Create Your Best Life Ever

Antonia Murphy

I’d read anything she writes. She’s hilarious and very, very honest. She has a son who may have global developmental delay. She refers to him as a “tard” and an “alien,” which sounds harsh, but she does it in a way that works. I believe she’s taking the taboo away from these words; she’s making them powerless. She’s what I’d call a fearless writer.

I’ve fallen in love with her writing. She blogged about her sailing adventures at s/v Sereia and now writes about her land-based adventures in New Zealand at AntoniaMurphy.com. Hopefully we’ll see more writing from her in 2013.

Eden Riley

Eden is one of the coolest bloggers that I´ve had the pleasure of reading. She is tenacious and brilliant. Best of all, her logo is based on the mural in her office. She writes at Edenland.com

I admire her because she is a person that has gone through a lot of negative stuff—especially in the past year.  Despite her personal challenges, she continues to try and leverage her blog for good. This has included two overseas trips where she blogged about the food crisis in Niger and the slums of India. She also tries to challenge our perceptions—check out Ladies, It’s Time We Got Real About Being Beautiful.

Jen Gresham

Jen writes about career design at Everyday Bright. She encourages her readers to dare to shine:

…to define success on your own terms, to muster the courage to pursue your happiness, to create a life you love.

I love her blog because she sees career design as a process rather then something that can be solved with a quick fix. She follows the A-listers but doesn’t use the “trendy” techniques unless they are right for her blog. She is incredibly strategic and someone I think will be around for a long time in this community.

Tom Ewer

Tom Ewer got a lot of attention in early 2012 with his article, The 100 Blogs You Need In Your Life. He was able to leverage the momentum to grow Leaving Work Behind to the point where he was making a decent income from freelance writing and ebook sales.

Now, I´m not putting Tom on here because of his list post efforts. I try not to focus on the blogging/marketing niche anymore as it can be incredibly formulaic. I think Tom is worth watching purely because of his networking and outreach efforts. He is incredibly skilled, and I’d love to see what he could accomplish in a different niche or platform.

Alex Beadon

 I discovered Alex Beadon Photography when pinning images for the Digital Photography School Pinterest account. I fell in love with the Pinterest-friendly graphics she had created to promote her post and lost myself for hours checking out her archives.

I love the attention she has put into the branding and design of her blog. Look at the images she created to promote her FAQ page. It´s a great example of how you can infuse your personality into what might otherwise be a boring subject.

Tip: Look at the graphics in the sidebar that link to the categories of her blog. Could you create something like that to spice up your design?

Cheryl Lin

Cheryl runs Business Chic, a fashion blog featuring photos of professionals and their workwear style in Melbourne, Australia. She is a great example of how you can create a quality local niche blog.

I´ve been watching Cheryl grow Business Chic over the past three years. It has been in the past 12 months that she has really hit her stride. She strives to go beyond a fashion/streetstyle blog. In 2012, she experimented with a year-long little black dress project. This year, she´ll be turning that project into a book and an exhibition at a popular fashion festival.

She is an extremely hard worker and attends a lot of events, despite her day job. I know that her dedication will really pay off this year and that it will be an enjoyable journey to watch.  I think that she´ll be enjoying a lot of momentum in 2013.

Sarah Von Bargen

Sarah runs the lifestyle blog Yes and Yes. She couldn’t find a blog “that addressed the many, many aspects of modern life and didn’t pigeon-hole women into different camps” so she created one herself. It’s a really fun blog and one that I enjoy reading.

I’ve become captivated by her recently launched small business blog and I believe that she will make a real impact in her community.

Over to you

I’ve had a lot of fun with this blogging series and always enjoy reading about who you guys are watching. Who do you think is worth watching over the coming you? Who knows—the people you recommend just may get featured on here in the future!

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Comments

  1. Eric says:

    This list is incredible and will take me a good while to be clicking and checking out all these top bloggers! But, know that I have a ball checking this list of 15 bloggers. The best part is I don’t know if I have heard of to many on this list so it’s all fresh and I can not wait to dive into all these great links you provided! Lastly, I can appreciate you keeping it down under within your Australia community…and maybe that’s why I have not heard of them.

    Great list of bloggers indeed, thanks again for sharing!

    • Jade Craven says:

      Thank you :-) I’ll be regularly interviewing bloggers here at Problogger, focusing on stories of people that we normally wouldn’t hear about. I’m a good researching/curator so I think you’ll definitely be interested in some of the case studies :-)

      Are there any that you’d recommend?

    • I second this – a big THANK YOU for putting this list together. I’m always looking for people who are genuinely interested in building and supporting the growth of others. Me and my team are young but ready to hit the ground running – and it’s always nice to connect with others. Thanks :)

  2. Trevor says:

    This article was worth reading just for the discovery of the pipe tobacco candle alone. Awesome!

    Cheers!

  3. Vikas says:

    They are awesome.

  4. sheshnath says:

    Nice post Didn’t knew many of them but now I know them thanks will follow some of them thanks for sharing.

  5. Menulis Tips says:

    This article really inspired me, I have a lot to learn from them!

  6. I spent over two hours on this page. By the time I went through each of the 15 bloggers and read a little about each, two hours were gone. Amazing post. Very engaging. My favourite has to be Ramit Sethi. I have added his blog to my RSS reader and will be keeping up to date with his postings. Thanks.

  7. Thanks, I took all the RSS feeds and I put them all together in my “Inspiring” folder.

  8. What struck me is that 10 out of these 15 people are women. Do most men think they are “too smart” not to blog or start a website to help others?

    Joe

    • Jade Craven says:

      I don’t think so. I know a lot of really interesting male bloggers. This year, I relaxed my ‘rules’ for this post and didn’t do as much research as I’d normally do. Because of that, there are very few male bloggers simply because I don’t read many blogs by males.

      I think you could find lots of cool ones if you ask the right people. I’m probably not the right person to ask :) Unless you want blogs by guys that do a lot of hiking – I could give you several of those!

  9. Jatin Sharma says:

    Actually there are 16. Darren Rowse should be also in this list. I don’t know why people didn’t mention him in a post like this.

  10. Mike says:

    Nice post! I have never heard of any of these people!

  11. This is a good list, but any such list can not be conclusive. There are many Asian blogger who are putting great content and also have huge traffic. Thanks for sharing this list.

    • Jade Craven says:

      Agreed. It is incredibly hard to focus on all of the good bloggers around the world. Would love to know what Asian bloggers you think are worth watching. :-)

  12. This is an inspirational list! I’m into my 2nd year of Keep the Tail Wagging and I’ve set some amazing goals for myself. I’m looking forward to learning from these giants.

  13. Kristie says:

    Great list! I love Jen and her blog Beauty and Bedlam and was so happy to see her on the list!

  14. Ali Luke says:

    Fantastic list, Jade, as ever! A few of these are bloggers I already know (Tom Ewer, in particular), but there are also plenty of bloggers here who are new to me — I’ve definitely got some reading to do! Thanks for putting this together. :-)

  15. Justin says:

    I know many of the bloggers on your list but there are some on there I have not read yet. I am looking forward to checking them out. Thanks for sharing.

  16. Lisa says:

    I love a list where you don’t know many of them, I know Tom only. (his blog is great by the way too) This will give me more blogging reading in the coming days, thank you Jade!

  17. Wow. Jen Schmidt is such a wonderful person, and I’m excited to see her on the list. If I were making this list, I’d also include Tsh Oxenrider of Simple Mom. She’s been around a while, but I’m always eager to see where she goes next.

  18. sarah says:

    Most All bloggers were by idealist feminist women, article written by a women, that figures.

    • Jade Craven says:

      It does.

      This is the fourth year I have written this post. In the past, I made an effort to be incredibly balanced. I tried to make sure that both genders were equally represented and that I included people from a wide variety of niches and countries. This year, I decided to include blogs that I personally enjoy reading. So yes, there is a strong female slant. All of their blogs are worth checking out to see what you can learn from them :-)

  19. Darren,

    What I appreciate most is how you go about this list; the way you take time to survey each blog and share personal insight into why you’d include them. That takes time and thought, and it seems this is neither a popularity contest nor driven by your personal relationships with these writers/bloggers; instead by the talent and contribution you see within each.

    THAT makes me want to spend time checking out your links. Thank you.

    :)

  20. Shea says:

    This is a great list. Definitely found some great new reads to check out. One blogger I really enjoy is Katie from http://www.WellnessMama.com. She’s a health and nutrition blogger, but does a great job of getting readers involved with her posts.

    • Jade Craven says:

      Oooh – thanks for the awesome recommendation! I’m childless so don’t really know many bloggers in the parenting niche.

      You have good taste. Are there any other bloggers you’d recommend?

      :)

  21. John says:

    Hi,

    Excellent bloggers, I know few of them and I am already following them. But i think that no one can could go ahead of pro blogger :)
    Thank you

  22. thanks for listing these great blogs. i love finding new gems and have already found some great ones in this list. jen is someone i’ve known a long time as a blogger and i love to see how her blog has grown.

  23. Alexis Grant says:

    Awesome job with this, Jade! Lots of new ones for me to follow…

  24. Kimberley M says:

    I love the diversity of this list. Agree that any such list has to be non-conclusive, but what a brilliant platform to jump off!

  25. Fantastic list – it’s so refreshing to read about successful bloggers that aren’t in the “blogging niche”!

  26. Julie Gozali says:

    Great list, a couple of familiar names and some others that I’d love to get to know. And if you haven’t already, check out Zen Pencils (he’s on the list above), inspiring illustrations.

  27. Jawad Bakhar says:

    Just watch an interview of Ramit Sethi with Fox news, he was like “If you work hard, you’ll get more money”. Is it not kind of understood thing?

    • Jade Craven says:

      It is. It was probably because he was talking to a general audience – and sometimes people need to hear the obvious. His blog posts are generally much more detailed :)

  28. Radhika says:

    Awesome! I know one name – Alex Beadon, discovered her blog a few daysback snd instantly started liking her. She is full of positivity and her outlook shines through her advices

  29. Rosie says:

    How about a blog list directed at over 60′s? The senior generation has the time – so how about it? Perhaps there are none. Edenland is a powerful read always.

    • Jade Craven says:

      That’s very good feedback. I don’t think I’ve included a blog targeted at the senior generation in the last four years. Part of the reason is that I’m 25 and read blogs targeted towards my life and interests. I do rely on the comments section here to find new people, though :) Are there any that you’d recommend?

    • Dave Rowley says:

      Hi Rosie,

      Christopher Foster is an older blogger who is an accomplished and wise writer. He blogs regularly at http://www.thehappyseeker.com/ I highly recommend checking him out!

      Thanks for the great list, Jade! I have a great time going through your new finds each year.

  30. Mike Loomis says:

    Thank you! … and here I thought I knew everybody… Great list

  31. I’ve been reading Sarah Von Bargen since waaaay back. I don’t know how she does it and probably 30% of her posts aren’t ones I’d read on any other blog, but I still type in her URL first thing every morning.

  32. Sarah Von says:

    Well, holy wow. My month has been made :) I’m so, so flattered to be included in such great company!

  33. Bargain Babe says:

    I love Jen and am so pleased she made your list! I also noticed most of the bloggers on your list are women. Aren’t there more female bloggers overall?

    Perhaps next in 2013 you’ll check out my money-saving blog, BargainBabe.com. Freebies, DIY, pictures of my baby Lucy, and an occasional toe dip into high finance.

  34. Lisa says:

    Awesome to see Yes and Yes on here! She is inspiring and it’s been great to watch her grow over the years, definitely one of the blogs I read most often.

  35. ElizOF says:

    Jade, I appreciate your comment: “I decided to include blogs that I personally enjoy reading.” As I read the list, I kept saying to myself that there are so many terrific blogs out there and it’s impossible to truly aggregate them into a short list of 15. If we find blogs we enjoy and learn from, we can create our own list. These are all great blogs and while I only know a handful on the list, it’s always good to learn about other terrific blogs… but the list doesn’t end here. Thank you for the effort you’ve made for the last four years. Problogger is always at the top of my list. :-)
    Elizabeth

  36. News Media says:

    The article is very inspiring me, I Like this article and posting. Good blog. Good luck! and congratulation

  37. Stacie says:

    Jen is amazing! I was able to meet her at my first blogging conference in 2011 and loved her instantly.

    Thanks for taking time to share this list. There are quite a few I haven’t heard of, and it’s always fun to take a look at other blogs!

  38. Kim says:

    Thanks for this. I’ve been devouring Alex Beadon’s blog all day. It’s fab!

  39. sajinaku says:

    thats great job. i hope someday, my blog be one of them. i still need time to develop my blog to get awesome brand in indonesia

  40. dorita says:

    what?! no http://thecuriousbrain.com/ on that list??? Disappointed ! You should consider it too, it is one of the most influential blogs on the web

    • Jade Craven says:

      :-) I can’t recommend blogs that I don’t know about – a person can only check out so many blogs! Is there any specific reason you recommend it? Context always help when compiling the list for next year :)

  41. Deny Saputra says:

    I’m a bog fan of Ramit Sethi
    (and Kristi Hines actually) :)

  42. Alexx says:

    Great list. I’ve been at my blog only 9 months, but find inspiration from the incredible writing, diversity and style in blog land. It’s so enjoyable, rewarding and community building and look very much forward to being a successful veteran one day :)

    • Jade Craven says:

      I included Jen Bishop in 2012 when her blog was much younger then yours :) You can be a ‘veteran’ at any stage in your career. It all depends on your mindset and professionalism x

  43. I was thrilled to see Tina (SwissMiss) at the top of your list. Her to-do list application Teux-Deux has literally changed my life and I’m getting stuff done :) What a great example of someone who reaches outside of the norm and uses creativity and design flair in all things. Thanks for including her.

  44. Helen says:

    Great list Darren! I follow around half of these bloggers and agree with you wholeheartedly how amazing and inspiring they are – good to know that I’m not the only one!

  45. Thanks for this Eric..!! They are just awesome and this is a list of great blogger!!
    I am a blog fan Jennifer Schmidt n Alex Beadon..!!

  46. Liz says:

    I’d like to know how these bloggers were chosen. Many of them SHOCKED me! While they are ALL great bloggers, I would not consider some to “watch in 2013″.

    • Jade Craven says:

      I chose them because I thought that

      1) They would be doing interesting and innovative things this year or
      2) I believed that a lot of people could learn from their approach this year

      I chose them based on hunches. My intuition has gotten better over the years when it comes to finding people for this post :) The only difference is that because it was my last list I decided to focus on the blogs that I read and love.

      The next author would probably change the way they structure this post. Is there anything you’d recommend they do to make it an awesome post?

  47. Thank you for this amazing list. I will be looking at all of these people one by one to see where they are going and what they are talking about. I am so excited for my own blog that has built so much momentum over the past two years. I know that it was largely because of your amazing tips and I appreciate that immensely..

  48. If Antonia Murphey is using words like “tard” to describe her child, she is NOT taking away their power. She is reinforcing that other people can use such hateful and insensitive language.

    It is NEVER okay to use that word, NEVER.

    Learn about the history of people with developmental disabilities and how the label of “retard” has caused people to be institutionalized and taken away from their families, it has caused people to be killed, drugged, abused, sterilized, refused school and community opportunities.Even now, the word “retard” is the leading cause of abortion. http://www.mnddc.org/parallels/index.html

    We have worked for years to remove this hateful word from the medical journals, the state and federal laws, my family has personally been forced to sue for the right to go to public school because of that word. It is NEVER acceptable. NEVER.

    Jade, I am disappointed that you would promote such a blog. I am disappointed that Problogger would print such a thing. Darren is a minister and this is just not in line with the values you promote. Would you insult other people? Why is it okay to insult the most vulnerable people in society?

    I and the thousands of people with intellectual disabilities and their families expect an apology.

  49. Jade, you made my week! It’s so great to hear someone actually read those blog posts, and I’m not just tap-tap-tapping into the void! Thank you!

    Er… just one thing? Antonia Murphy with no “e,” please? But I quibble. Thank you!!

  50. Great list! I needed something like this–I feel like I’m trapped in my own world of travel blogging, and don’t get out of that realm enough to read other blogs (is this a common problem? Do, say, fashion bloggers often only read other fashion blogs? Because now that I think about it, that’s terribly limiting). There’s clearly a lot to learn from a huge variety of blogs–and this list is a great starting point! Thanks for what I’m now going to consider my ‘required reading’ for blog inspiration.

    • Jade Craven says:

      People do get trapped in their communities. It can be very, very hard to look outside of them for inspiration.

      My ‘thing’ has always been about watching blogging and social media trends. This means that people often come to me with stories of cool bloggers, which makes things a lot easier. It’s really difficult to uncover cool bloggers unless you have a system like I have in space.

      That’s one of the reasons I write this post, and am going to do a weekly column talking about, and interviewing, cool bloggers. Do you have any recommendations in the travel niche? :-)