20 Popular Blogs And What They Are Doing Right
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There are hundreds of thousands of popular blogs out there, but here are 20 that I think are doing really well.
By ‘really well,' I mean that they appear to be doing several things right:
- creating/publishing good content in their niche
- the site is well designed and attractive to the target audience
- the site is monetized well
- their SEO game is on point
They are not all HUGE websites (though some are), but they are popular in their own niche and are getting a reasonable amount of traffic. You can check them out and copy what they are doing right!
- Popular Website Examples
- 1. Sally's Baking Addiction
- 2. Switch Back Travel
- 3. Tankarium
- 4. Love & Lemons
- 5. The Everygirl
- 6. Farmhouse On Boone
- 7. Challis.com
- 8. Boutique Japan
- 9. Million Mile Secrets
- 10. Two Wandering Soles
- 11. Acoustic Guitar
- 12. La Passion Voutee
- 13. The Humbled Homemaker
- 14. Mom Dot
- 15. Wood And Shop
- 16. Travel Fashion Girl
- 17. Mr. Money Mustache
- 18. Modern Teen
- 19. The Art Of Manliness
- 20. Prrrs & Wags
- Best Blogs
Popular Website Examples
For each of these popular blogs, I'll share the theme, how the site is being monetized, and some of the metrics from Ahrefs (which will change daily, of course).
For those who are unfamiliar, the Ahrefs metrics I'm sharing are:
- The DR or Domain Rating – a number between 0 – 100 that shows the strength of a websites backlink profile
- Organic Traffic – An estimate of how much monthly traffic a website gets
I have no idea how much money the sites are making, but we can see how they're making it. Whether that's through display ads, affiliate offers, courses, an e-commerce store, sponsorships, or something else.
One thing basically all of these website examples have in common is that they are actively building their email list.
They regularly use CTAs on the home page, in the sidebars, and/or in the footers to encourage people to sign up. They also make the most of pop-ups, either after you've spent a certain amount of time on a page (such as 20 seconds) or as an exit-intent capture.
If all of these popular sites are capturing emails, so should you! Check out these email marketing plugins if you need to get started today.
Lastly, before we get into it, almost all of these sites use the blogging platform WordPress with a premium WordPress theme. It's easy to use and there's plenty of support out there for it, which is what makes it so great.
Here are our 20 popular website examples.
1. Sally's Baking Addiction
Sally's Baking Addiction is a wildly popular website in the baking niche, getting an estimated 8 million+ organic search monthly visitors.
Sally is a cookbook author, blogger, and photographer – and the photos are fantastic. Good photography is a must in the food blogging space, along with an attractive theme and good color design.
Sally has stayed ‘on-niche' and continues to create content that only falls within the baking category. There's always the temptation to branch out and go into other niches, even if you're a little limited by your domain name, but she has avoided doing this. The site metrics seem to support her!
The blog is also linked to a YouTube channel, and while the videos are well-produced, they don't get a ton of views. Engagement on Facebook and Pinterest seems to be better, but the blog itself is the focus for this brand.
Traffic: 8.6 million
Theme: Custom WordPress theme
Monetized by: Display and banner ads, sponsorshipsBest Food Affiliate Programs
2. Switch Back Travel
Switch Back Travel is in the outdoor niche, focusing on hiking, camping, cycling, skiing, and other outdoor pursuits.
They have a lot of pure affiliate content such as ‘the best camping tents' pictured above, but they also create a lot of quality info articles. The info posts include hiking guides to specific areas or tracks, interviews with prominent outdoors people, and opinion pieces on climate change, and that sort of thing.
They seem to actually buy or receive most of the products they review and have experts test and trial the product before writing the content. This means they are able to get capture great images, share unique insights into the products, and make recommendations that are more reliable and trustworthy.
Their bike reviews, for example, are extremely thorough and would really help someone make a buying decision. The content is a lot better than the average niche site which re-writes the Amazon product description page. It's no wonder why it's one of the most popular outdoor blogs.
Surprisingly, this site does not run display ads.
Theme: Custom WordPress theme
Monetized by: Sponsorships and affiliate marketingMake Money Writing About Squirrels
Tankarium is a popular blog in the fish-keeping niche.
It's not hard to see why as it ticks all the boxes. The site looks great with an eye-catching hero image on the homepage, an appropriate color scheme, easy navigation, and excellent custom graphics.
The content is very well written. It is informative and answers the questions that visitors are looking for, has quality images and embedded video content, and appears very well researched and accurate.
It looks like both the on-page and off-page SEO are being done well. Their keyword-targeted posts are well structured with good headings, have author bios (or like these author byline examples), and have appropriate internal links. The site has many links from very high DR sites and other relevant popular pet blogs.
While the Tankarium team mostly links out to Amazon for its affiliate offers, they also regularly link to other pet affiliate programs as well.
Monetized by: Affiliate links, display ads, paid e-booksHobbies That Make Money
4. Love & Lemons
Love and Lemons is a vegetarian food and cooking website.
With an estimated 5 million+ unique organic visitors, they are certainly doing a lot right. The main thing with a cooking site like this is to have amazing content.
They cook or create all the meals and take vibrant, well-staged images of them. The recipes obviously taste well and can be implemented easily enough as well!
This site does very well on social media and they have huge followings on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook. This is helped in large part of course by their attractive photography.
As with most food and recipe blogs, the main moneymaker is likely display ads. However, Love and Lemons put together their own recipe books which are no doubt doing very well with this level of traffic as well.
Traffic: 5.2 million
Theme: Custom WordPress theme
Monetized by: Sponsored posts, display ads, affiliate links, products (cookbooks)How To Start A Food Blog
5. The Everygirl
The Everygirl covers a wide range of women's niches on their popular blog.
They cover topics like career and finance, fashion, beauty, wellness, relationship, culture, and so on.
The site is very well designed with a custom theme. The imagery and graphics are colorful, attention-grabbing, and on-brand. The layout of the site is very tidy and navigation makes sense and is easy to use. All important things for their target audience.
It doesn't appear as though there is a lot of intentional link building being done, other than that they create very linkable content. Because of the size and popularity of the blog, it now picks up a lot of natural links from other high DR sites.
The Everygirl is a popular blog because they know their market and give them what they want.
Theme: Custom WordPress theme
Monetized by: Sponsorships, display ads, affiliate marketingTop Health And Wellness Affiliate Programs
6. Farmhouse On Boone
Farmhouse On Boone by Lisa is another popular food and lifestyle blog among women.
The blog is full of recipes, sewing content, DIY home projects, and other home-making activities.
One of the biggest drivers of traffic to the blog is YouTube. The Farmhouse On Boone channel has about 300,000 subscribers. Lisa posts 2 new videos a week (usually to do with cooking, renovations, or hobby farm life), and each video gets between 50 – 100K views.
She is good about referring viewers back to her blog to get her recipes etc, where she has plenty of affiliate links for them to click through. She is also a pro at adding affiliate offers to her YouTube description box.
Because the content on the blog is well done with excellent images, ideas, and tutorials, she picks up a lot of natural links. Being a YouTuber helps too as it is another way for people to wind up on the blog itself.
Theme: Genesis theme (Magnolia)
Monetized by: Sponsorships, affiliate marketing, selling courses, YouTubeYouTube Affiliate Marketing
Challis.com is an example of a very popular Christian blog.
This blog is run by Tim Challis, who started it as a site to post pictures of his kids for the benefit of his family. However, this evolved into writing articles and doing book reviews, and more and more people began showing up.
The theme design and layout are very simple (and not all that attractive), but that is not always the important thing, especially in some niches. Often, if your content is original and well thought out, people won't mind a plain design theme.
Tim spends a lot of time reading all the books he reviews, so they are thoughtful, helpful, and ultimately reliable reviews for those looking for good Christian books.
Monetized by: Amazon affiliate links, other book site affiliate links, sponsored posts and ads, PatreonHow To Start A Christian Blog
8. Boutique Japan
Boutique Japan is a popular Japan-focused travel blog.
It's a bit different from most of the other popular blogs we've got here because the blog is more of a lead magnet for their primary business. Boutique Japan arranges and organizes trips for people through Japan.
The blog answers a ton of questions about Japan, what you can do there, the Japanese culture, Japanese food, and so much more. However, it's not monetized with affiliate offers or ads because it's all about getting people to book travel experiences through their agency.
It's a good example of content marketing. Some of the content is obviously targeting specific keywords, while other pieces are very sharable on social.
Theme: Custom theme
Monetized by: Driving traffic to their travel agencyThe Importance Of Content Marketing
9. Million Mile Secrets
Million Mile Secrets is a very popular travel blog that shares a lot of tips on how to best use air points and miles, credit cards for travel, and travel deals.
This is a very competitive niche and those who are successful in it are usually doing everything right. The content is pretty good (though could be better) and the site looks fairly decent. However, it's likely the huge range of very high DR links that they have which keeps them on top. For example, they have 50+ DR90 links from the top sites in the world.
Million Mile Secrets is in a lucrative niche and so they are not doing any display advertising. The only obvious monetization method is affiliate links to credit card offers and other high-paying affiliate programs.
Theme: Custom theme
Monetized by: Affiliate linksBest Hotel Affiliate Programs
10. Two Wandering Soles
Two Wandering Soles is more what I think of as the traditional travel blog.
Katie and Ben are traveling the world as digital nomads and creating content about the places they visit along the way. They visit the most interesting places around the world and take amazing photos to share on the blog.
Up until recently, they also shared income reports and other detailed website stats like traffic, email subscriber numbers, and traffic sources. It's always interesting to see how much a website is making and what programs they're generating it through!
The website is popular because Katie and Ben share all the details of their travel, and because they are great at creating engaging content. They also have a YouTube channel and have a large following on social media.
Monetized by: Affiliate links (Amazon, and many travel affiliate programs), display adsWhat Is A Digital Nomad?
11. Acoustic Guitar
Acoustic Guitar is a popular music blog creating a mixture of content for guitar lovers.
This is one of those niches where the content needs to be created by true experts. Imagine ordering general content writers to write about ‘how to play E Major 7'!
This is one of the areas that this site excels in, as they do have their content being produced by those who know what they are talking about. A lot of their content is supplemented by video content published on YouTube, where they have a 100K subscriber base.
An interesting and unique blog monetization strategy they use is running auctions. They run a large auction of acoustic guitars once or twice a year that raises money for the site and for charitable organizations.
Monetized by: Advertising, affiliate links, Patreon, running auctionsBest Music Affiliate Programs
12. La Passion Voutee
La Passion Voutee is a popular fashion and beauty blog, and as with all of these popular website examples, it's not hard to guess why.
Louisa, the owner and face of the blog, tries out and tests most of what she reviews or writes about. She writes honestly about her experiences and thoughts on different products and isn't afraid to say if there are problems with a product or brand.
The photography is very good, the tone of the writing is very engaging, and the look of the site is great.
The content is mostly targeting specific keywords and ranks well for both high and low keyword difficulty search terms.
Monetized by: Ads and affiliate links
13. The Humbled Homemaker
The Humbled Homemaker is a popular home and lifestyle blog sharing how to ‘create a healthier home.'
Erin, a wife, mom, homeschool teacher, and blogger, shares her tips on how to run a household more effectively. She's been featured in some of those large publications we all want links from like Parents.com and The Wall Street Journal.
The content comes from her experiences and so it's authentic and applicable to her readers. The site is designed well and is easy to navigate around. There are plenty of well-placed CTAs for email lists and affiliate offers.
Monetized by: Display ads and affiliate linksHow To Start A Mom Blog
14. Mom Dot
MomDot is a popular craft and lifestyle blog with a ton of great craft tutorials and ideas.
With a lot of links from sites like the New York Times, Buzzfeed, MSN, CNN, and so on, it looks like the owner has done a bit of HARO link building. However, because Stephanie, the site owner, creates helpful, useful, and easy-to-implement craft tutorials, the site picks up a lot of natural links in round-up posts around the web.
The content is quite varied, creating recipes, how to make slime, printables, craft tutorials, and so on, but it stills seems to do well on social – especially Pinterest. Ultimately, it's a typical mom blog that is doing well creating content for its target audience.
Monetized by: Display ads and affiliate linksThe Best Side Hustles For Moms
15. Wood And Shop
Wood and Shop is a popular woodworking blog and YouTube channel.
It is run by Joshua Farnsworth who is a genuinely skilled woodworker. Therefore the content is accurate and helpful, and it's full of unique pictures and videos of him creating things with wood.
There are custom ads running on the site, but it is also making money by selling training materials. He even sells in-person classes through the website.
The site isn't the most attractive blog like many of the lifestyle, cooking, and travel blogs we've featured here, but it doesn't need to be. It's all about knowing your audience and focusing on what's most important to them. I imagine the woodworking community is most concerned about learning some practical skills rather than having the flashiest website.
Monetized by: Display ads and affiliate linksSuccessful Niche Websites
16. Travel Fashion Girl
Travel Fashion Girl mixes up two big niches into this one popular blog – travel and fashion!
The team on this site helps visitors to plan for a trip when they have no idea what to pack – and I'm assuming it's mostly for women! Shorts and t-shirts are all I need on holiday, so it's not too complicated.
It's yet another website example that has really focused on creating a strong brand with excellent imagery, very well-written content, and a thoughtful user experience when they're on the site.
For example, you can navigate to the type of trip you're going on, like backpacking, beach, snow, and so on. Or, you can choose by what country/state and what time of the year you're going traveling. It's really easy to use the site to find what you're looking for.
Monetized by: Display ads, affiliate links, e-books, and some physical productsHow To Start A Travel Blog
17. Mr. Money Mustache
Mr. Money Mustache is a popular personal finance blog with great content and ancient website design!
The site certainly looks and feels very dated (because it is), but it seems like Mr. MM has been able to build a strong and loyal following who aren't too worried about that!
Popular posts include ‘Killing your $1000 grocery bill,' ‘Getting Rich: from zero to hero,' and '50 jobs over $100K without a degree.' He shares a lot of practical advice on how to improve your financial situation, particularly for those wanting financial freedom.
Because he has branded the site well and become a popular personality, there is no longer the need to spend time on link building and that sort of thing. This site picks up plenty of high DR sites simply because the content is worthwhile reading and because he is now a prominent voice in this space.
Theme: Custom WordPress Theme
Monetized by: Display ads and affiliate linksThe Truth About The FIRE Movement
18. Modern Teen
Modern Teen is a popular blog for teenagers and covers topics from health and fitness to life hacks (how to focus on school work)!
This niche can be more difficult to monetize and you have to go through some extra hoops for some affiliate programs if your audience is under 18. However, this site seems to be making a good go of it.
A lot of their content is targeting keywords in organic search, and they are doing really well for a low DR site. However, it's obvious from some of their click-baity titles that their content is also designed to do well on social media. A quick look at their Pinterest account reveals they're doing well there as well!
Monetized by: Display ads and affiliate marketingHow To Make Money Online For Teens
19. The Art Of Manliness
The Art Of Manliness is a very well-established and popular man blog.
With an estimated half a million visitors per month, it covers a broad range of topics from parenting and product reviews, to camping, RVing, health, and fitness.
They are not really targeting a specific age group of men, but rather all men! They create content for men of all ages.
As you'd expect with a site of this caliber, the content is well researched and likely vetted by experts. It's helpful and accurate and often contains custom graphics. It's obvious that they invest heavily in their content, and are rewarded with great traffic numbers.
Monetized by: Book sales, advertising, affiliate links, sponsored contentHow To Start A Man Blog
20. Prrrs & Wags
Prrrs and Wags is the blog of a pet insurance company, but it's another good example of using SEO and content marketing to drive traffic to your main offer.
The company has invested in a great-looking modern theme, good content, and acquiring backlinks.
The interesting thing is that they are also adding Amazon affiliate offers in their content and targeting review keywords. It's not just info content, but they also have the ‘best dog collar' type of content as well.
I wonder if they started off with the goal of creating affiliate content, or if the blog content just started doing so well that it made sense?
Monetized by: Affiliate offers and selling pet insuranceHow To Make Money Online For Teens
Those are some of the best blogs in a range of inches that you can imitate or learn from.
We also have this post with 14 of the best personal blog examples, which I also recommend you check out. Those 14 sites are built around a person or personality and are also doing really well.
Here are the main things I think all of these successful sites are doing correctly:
- Creating unique, helpful, authentic content – at the end of the day, this is most important if you are to succeed long term
- Building or attracting high DR links – it's important to gain links, one way or another, from other high authority sites
- Good site design, layout, and structure – most of these sites look really good and are have a good site structure
All of the things that go into building a successful and popular blog are easily replicable.
It takes time, hard work, and some financial investment. However, as I stated at the start of this list of website examples, there are hundreds of thousands of blogs that can be considered popular. There's plenty of room for you to start and grow a blog too!
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