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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. Jacob King says:

    Matthew Woodward from:

    http://www.matthewwoodward.co.uk/

    Guy is a beast. Teaching so much about link building some of his stuff I don’t even want to share.

  2. Mike says:

    Nice post…some great bloggers I had not heard of.

  3. JamesW says:

    Great list, I knew about Tom, and I’m his regular reader, other bloggers are on my daily visit list now.

    thanks for sharing :)

  4. Therese says:

    Hi Jade,

    Thanks for this! Tom is a friend of mine, and I’ve been learning from Ramit Sethi for years. I also mentioned Jenny Lawson re: normalizing the stigma of mental illness: http://www.theunlost.com/life-in-general/shattering-the-illusion-of-all-alone/

    Who else is worth watching? My favorites are Nicole Antoinette & Ashley Ambirge. Both are smart, witty, and– well, funny.

    http://www.nicoleisbetter.com
    http://www.middlefingerproject.org

    And if you want someone who’s doing things that are new and different, then, well– not to self promote, but I am. All my products are payable– in full or in part– with “Move-lah,” the world’s newest form of currency, which is designed to help people move and take action on the concepts they’re learning:

    http://www.theunlost.com/move-lah

    Thanks again for this great list and happy new year!

    • Jade Craven says:

      Thank you, Therese! Really appreciate the recommendations. I put Ashley on a previous list but hadn’t heard of Nicole until just now. I also appreciate you telling me about what you are doing with your blog. I’ve made a note to look at it again during my free time :-)

      - Jade

    • Ashley is AWESOME! I second that nomination! She’s actually the blogger who inspired me to take it up myself. I also nominate Gretchen Rubin of The Happiness Project. I even wrote up a post of my own about some of the absolute best “she-bloggers” who’ve inspired me on my blogging path too:

      http://elizabethsebastian.blogspot.com/2013/01/hey-soul-sister-5-great-female-bloggers.html

      “Love and kisses and a slap on the arse” XD

      (Edited for content since Ash’s blog can sometimes be PG13 for language. That’s her slogan… abridged.)

  5. MK says:

    I am speaking at Alt Summit in a few weeks on the panel called, “It’s Not Too Late to Start a Blog.” Three women, including myself, were asked to speak as we’ve each had great success in less than two years. We’d love for you to check us out:

    Mara from A BLOG ABOUT LOVE (www.ablogaboutlove.com)
    Steph from Modern Parents, Messy Kids (www.modernparentsmessykids.com)
    Erin from My Thirty Spot (www.mythirtyspot.com)
    Kirsten from Kirsten Krason Interiors (www.kirstenkrasoninteriors.com)

    • Jade Craven says:

      Thank you for all of those links :-) A couple of the people on this years list spoke at the Australian Problogger conference. Conferences and events are always a great way to discover who the fascinating people are. I really appreciate you linking to your blogs. Also, if you guys do anything interesting let me know :-)

  6. mohit says:

    I am a newbie blogger and working hard on it and its my dream to see my name in this type of lists and hope to see it there in next few years. :) :) :)

  7. Jason says:

    One of the best articles on ProBlogger yet!

  8. klopi says:

    really helpful! thx for sharing this list!! :)

  9. qadar says:

    Thanks for giving great info on great blogs. I will definitely will look up the web to find inspiration.

  10. Alex Beadon says:

    Wow, I am so honoured and humbled to be featured on this list. It has made my day, as one of my dreams has always been to be featured here on ProBlogger – so THANK YOU! :) I can’t wait to check out all of these other bloggers, and I look forward to making connections with them and getting to know them better. Again, thank you so much! I hope you have a beautiful day :)

    Big hugs
    xoxo
    Alex Beadon

  11. Julie says:

    Good pick–Alex Beadon’s post are always so inspiring and full of resources!

  12. Claire says:

    Thank you for a great article. I am a new blogger, so I enjoy reading about other blogs to read.

  13. Dustin says:

    Nice lists! These guys will motivate me more to work hard

  14. Catherine says:

    Great list Jade! Love discovering bloggers I’ve not heard of …. Thanks for putting them on my radar.
    C

  15. Heche says:

    Thank you very much for this very informative post. I am a beginner in blogging and I find the blogs mentioned here to be very good. In particular, I like the Bloggess. Jenny Lawson has a very unique sense of humour! :-) I am going to be spending time reading the blogs mentioned to learn.

  16. Ayesha Rizvi says:

    Great post indeed…we have to follow these great probloggers for success in the blogging sphere.

  17. Thanks for compiling this list. It’s always fun to get introduced to new blogs!

    I really like Brooke Castillo’s blog. http://brookecastillo.com/blog-3/ She doesn’t post super regularly, but her simple, direct posts remind me of this quote.

    “In a room where
    people unanimously maintain
    a conspiracy of silence,
    one word of truth
    sounds like a pistol shot.” -Czeslaw Milosz

    I’m also a fan of Jenny Shih’s blog. http://jennyshih.com/blog/ She has thoughtful posts and tips for being an entrepreneur. She’s an excellent teacher because she walks you through new ideas step by step.

  18. If you want to read a genuinely very funny Dad blogger then you can’t beat Mark Richards at http://www.bestdadicanbe.com The blog has only been live for about three months but it is fast getting a real following in the UK. It’s a mix of current posts (Mark’s kids are all teenagers now) and flashbacks to when they were younger and the only thing he had to worry about was whether they’d eat their carrots. Highly recommended to all parents.

  19. emily says:

    What a huge surprise this has been, I am so flattered to be included in amongst this group of bloggers. Thank you, thank you, and thank you again for your support.

  20. Emily says:

    Bianca Jade from: http://mizzfit.com/

    She’s a fitness fashion trend expert and women’s active lifestyle blogger. Bianca is the creator of MizzFIT.com where people can find fitness fashion and health & wellness news. She’s truly inspirational and empowers women to work out, feel sexy and how to live an active, and strong life.

    Definitely check her out!

  21. Nominate Slaughterhouse 90210 which is a unique (but very popular) Tumblr blog. It features screenshots of movies and TV shows with a quote from a work of literature as the caption.

    Also, wasn’t Jenny Lawson on Twitter being one of those brave, daring souls who defended Rihanna and got into an e-scuffle with that quasi-fungus of a subhuman, the one and only (thank God) Bad Bad Leroy Chris Brown? If so, she deserves more than a couple of quality backlinks — she deserves a Nobel Peace Prize or something, stripped directly from the POTUS. And maybe a temp stint as POTUS herself.

  22. I didn’t hear most of the names earlier. Thanks for sharing their name. I might keep an eye on them to get some innovative ideas

  23. Chrissy says:

    There are some great UK blogs out there too.

    I recommend The Lazy Girl Blogs- 3 different blogs by the same author, one for Lifestyle on a budget, one for not very good wannabe chefs (hilarious and informative) and the other is a diary and opinion blog.

    http://clairecurran58.wix.com/lazygirlblogs#!home/mainPage

  24. Great post! I’ve been on the blogging scene properly for just under a couple years and have built up my blog as a little side project. It’s great to see others who are out there doing it and making it viable which, of course, serves as inspiration. Keep up the good work!

  25. Andraz Vene says:

    Stumbled on this post in v7 forums and checked it out out of curiosity. Glad I did, as now I have lots of great reading material on my hands!
    Props to all of the bloggers who made this list, unfortunately I don’t know most of you yet, but should soon now ;)

  26. Jessica says:

    Pet blogs are second in popularity to mommy bloggers….which are very popular. Next time it might be nice to see a couple of those on the list.

  27. Jon Poland says:

    Ramit Sethi appears to have a blog with a lot of great content. He is giving away some free reports in order to capture emails, but I did not see an option on his blog to subscribe. I’m not interested in the reports. I just want to subscribe. Interesting strategy.

  28. I can attest to that. Mathew’s series of posts on tiered linking are my favourite link building posts which I refer to time and time again. Tom Ewer deserves his spot too. He runs one of the best freelance writing blogs I’ve come across.