Below is a list of examples of successful blogs. And I don’t mean successful as in they have a niche lifestyle business.
Each blog listed in this article is earning 6 to 7 figures in yearly revenue. Some just make the cut. Some are way past it in the 8 to 9 figure range.
There are a few reasons why I decided to make this.
First, a lot of people are unfamiliar (or unconvinced) that a blog can make a lot of money. And if you take a look at the blogs below, you’ll see that they’re just normal content websites.
Second, I wanted this to help with niche selection. I’ve found from experience that finding a blog niche is easiest when you have examples to look through. It’s not by scrolling through a long list of random words. Instead, it’s by analyzing successful blogs that already exist. Each example shown is one of the biggest and most profitable blogs in their given industries.
A health and fitness blog backed by science.
Greatist is a blog that I’ve followed deeply over the years. Their focus on creating only the highest quality, science-backed health and fitness articles for millennials has paid off greatly. On the surface, they’re a regular health and fitness blog. Behind the scenes, they’re a full-blown media startup with over 10 million visitors per month and an estimated yearly revenue in the 8-figure range. They make this money through ads and by selling sponsored content.
What they do well: Creating reputable, trust-worthy health content backed by science. This is hard to come by in an industry full of misinformation.
2. Nerd Wallet
A giant affiliate site that dominates SEO in the personal finance niche.
To build a website like Nerd Wallet is every affiliate marketer’s dream. They are the leading example of a successful SEO blog that crushes affiliate marketing, and they’re doing so in one of the most profitable (and competitive) industries in the world – personal finance. Nerd Wallet reviews everything from credit cards, mortgages, insurance, and all things finance. The affiliate commissions for financial products like these can get into the hundreds of dollars per referral, which is why they’re worth over $500M.
What they do well: Understanding search intent and creating the best TYPE of content and user experience depending on the keyword.
3. Nomadic Matt
A travel blog with strong personal branding.
There are a ton of travel blogs on the internet. Most are personal blogs. They write about their travels and build up a small audience over time. Nomadic Matt also started as a personal blog about his own travels. Today, he’s built up a HUGE resource with everything you need to know about travelling. What’s crazy is that it’s still a personal blog with only one main author. Even to this day, he writes most of the content himself. And he ranks for nearly every keyword based around travel you can think of. There aren’t many single author blogs out there that grow to this size. It takes an incredible amount of time, focus, and persistence to continue pumping out content like he does.
What they do well: Diversifying income streams by creating and selling their own products. Staying small, lean, and extremely profitable.
4. Nerd Fitness
Health and fitness advice for nerds and ordinary, everyday people.
Steve Kamb started Nerd Fitness nearly 10 years ago when he noticed that there were a ton of health and fitness blogs, but nothing catering specifically to him. So he decided to build it himself. Instead of targeting anyone and everyone, his blog was directly for… nerds! The interesting part is that the definition of the term “nerd” evolved as the site grew. At first, his audience consisted of people like him – nerds who played computer games and just wanted to get fit. Today, his brand has grown into a massive community of regular people who just want to learn how to get fit and have fun doing it.
What they do well: Differentiating themselves from all the other health blogs by going extremely specific in their audience targeting.
5. Art Of Manliness
Honest tips and tutorials for becoming a better, more centered man.
I first heard of The Art Of Manliness after listening to a Mixergy interview. They are a true content site, producing mainly informational blog posts around men’s interests and lifestyle topics. They make money through ads, and they’ve later started selling physical products like mugs, t-shirts, and posters. Usually, branded physical products can only work when you have a loyal audience, which obviously they have because 30% of their traffic comes is direct.
What they do well: Great branding, original design, and sticking to their origin topics of content even a decade after existence.
6. CSS Tricks
A giant design and development resource centered around one big influencer.
Chris Coyier is one of the most well-known designers on the internet. And it’s all thanks to his wildly popular design blog, CSS Tricks. Like Nomadic Matt, a large percentage of the articles are written by Chris. He started the website in 2007. At the time, it was purely about CSS – hence the name. Today, it’s grown into a huge resource for all things web design and development. I visit this site several times a month myself, mainly to copy and paste in CSS lines that he shares in his blog posts.
What they do well: Using his existing audience to launch new products/companies. For example, his website CodePen now has 1M users and traffic is double that of CSS-Tricks.
7. The Penny Hoarder
A finance content site that teaches people how to put more money in their pockets.
The Penny Hoarder is a blog around money. Their mission is to teach people tons of ways to make more money. It started out as the personal blog of founder, Kyle Taylor. Once it started to take off, he started to bring on new writers, and transition into more of a media company. The most fascinating thing about The Penny Hoarder is the amount of money they make, and how they make it. Last year, they generated close to $40M. And unlike other media companies, they did it without any advertising. Instead, they use affilaite marketing by forming partnerships with the right companies.
What they do well: Using storytelling to write their content to make it more engaging and relatable. They’ll feature or interview interesting people on their site and share how they’re making money. They also do a great job at not coming off as scammy, which is very easy to fall into in the “make money” niche.
The leading cryptocurrency blog.
CoinDesk is a website I visit at least 3 times a week. It’s the most successful cryptocurrency blog in the world, getting over 10 million visitors per month. It was started in 2013 by Shakil Kha, and then acquired by Digital Currency Group in 2016 for an amount rumored to be around $500,000. Today, they’re the go-to source for all news and updates in the blockchain world. They make money through advertising, publishing paid reports, and selling tickets to their conferences.
What they do well: Establishing themselves as a leader in a new industry.
A tech blog that people trust.
When I’m really interested in new tech (like new MacBooks being released), I’m always happy to see Ars Technica do a piece about it. It was founded a long time ago, in 1998. Ten years later, in 2008, it was sold to Conde Naste for $25M. Although they’ve lost readers’ trust a few years back when they attempted to block any visitors using an ad blocker, they’ve rebuilt their reputation by hiring smart writers (most of whom are post-graduates) and writing in-depth pieces of information in the tech world.
What they do well: Writing really detailed news stories. While most tech blogs merely “report” the news, Ars Technica analyzes it.
A women’s publication about everything.
The Bustle is a site that I study constantly. It was founded by Bryan Goldberg after he built and sold Bleacher Report (a sports blog) for $175M. The reason I’m so interested in Bustle is because of Bryan’s infamous announcement before starting the company. He claimed that he would build something that’s never been done before: A women’s site that not only talked about fashion but news and pop culture as well. This brought on a fury of haters (which brought in a ton of free links and press coverage 🙂 ), who wrote about the dozens of companies that are already doing just that. Another thing that’s interesting is the reason WHY Bryan decided to create this site. After running Bleacher Report, he realized that a female audience attracted the most advertisers. So he received funding, hired a bunch of people, and created one of the biggest women’s blogs in the world.
What they do well: Covering every aspect of every story that people are interested in.
11. Wellness Mama
A health and wellness blog for mothers.
There are a ton of health and wellness blogs out there. But Wellness Mama stood out from the pack by being one of the first ones in the space to cater their content specifically to mothers. Going ultra targeted with your audience targeting is a very effective way to make your blog unique and develop a strong following. Katie Wells is someone who used this laser targeting strategy perfectly. Although her blog isn’t for everybody, there are a lot of moms out there who agree with Wellness Mama’s mission of getting the best information for healthier families.
What they do well: Going ultra targeted with their audience targeting.
12. Thought Catalog
A deeper, emotional blog written by college students.
I don’t know if Chris Lavergne, founder of Thought Catalog, will appreciate the description above but it’s what I personally think of this blog. Thought Catalog is like BuzzFeed for hipster college students. You’ll mainly see articles about heart break, relationships, and being a stronger person. The coolest thing about Thought Catalog is how they developed their content. As anyone who blogs will know, it’s difficult to source good content. Thought Catalog attracts college students, mostly writing majors, to write on their site for free as a way to build their portfolio. It’s “cool” to be published on Thought Catalog. And as a result, they have hundreds of submissions every single day from some of the deepest, brightest minds all over the world. That’s amazing.
What they do well: Getting their content for free in an ethical way. Coming up with a unique content strategy and executing it perfectly.
A parenting blog for fathers.
Fatherly is a blog that I researched heavily. It was started in 2015 by Mike Rothman, one of the co-founders of Thrillist. He helped grow Thrillist from zero to $100M before leaving to start Fatherly. There are a lot of parenting blogs out there, but Mike realized that almost all of them are heavily targeted towards moms. Furthermore, they often portrayed dads as the goofy one who didn’t know what they were doing. He aimed to change that with Fatherly. And he grew it into one of the fastest growing media companies out there growing to $5M in revenue in just two years.
What they do well: Doing niche and audience research really, really well. Have a listen to this podcast and you’ll realize that he takes niche and audience research to a whole new level.
14. Apartment Therapy
A blog about home design and decor.
Apartment Therapy is one of the leading blogs about home design. It was started in 2004 by Maxwell and Oliver Ryan, brothers. Maxwell was an interior designer who started an email list to send out design advice to his clients. Oliver, who was experienced in media, convinced him he should turn it into a blog instead. And Apartment Therapy was born. Today, their blogs make roughly $20M in revenue. I saw blog(S) because they have another brand as well, which I’ll talk about next.
What they do well: Scale. Seriously, these guys know how to scale a blog really well. Check out this report.
A blog about food.
Maxwell Ryan, mentioned above in Apartment Therapy’s description, started another blog with his then-wife, Sara Kate Gillingham-Ryan, just a year after Apartment Therapy was born. Sara was a food blogger, and Maxwell took the lessons learned from growing Apartment Therapy into growing Kitchn. Today, Kitchn gets roughly 20M visitors per month to its site and is one of the largest food and recipe blogs in the world.
What they do well: Use what they know and apply it over to a new blog.
16. Digital Spy
A blog about movies, tv, and entertainment news.
Do you want to know the blog responsible for all the #1 rankings for just about any movie or tv show? It’s Digital Spy. Although the blog started way back in 1999, it wasn’t until 2011 when Hearst Magazines UK purchased it, that it started to dominate the search engines. It’s seriously fascinating to see a single blog dominate every movie or tv show like that. Just search for a tv show or movie and they’ll pop up #1. And if you take a look at their title tag, you’ll notice they’ve crafted it perfectly to include every variation of their keyword – each of which gets hundreds of thousands of searches every month.
What they do well: Dominating the search engines as the #1 authority on all keyword variations for every single movie, tv show. Here’s an example of such a page. Again, look at that finely crafted title tag 😍
17. Peta Pixel
A blog to keep you in the loop of everything photography.
Ranked as one of the top leading photography blogs on the internet, PetaPixel is sure to keep you in the loop about everything photography. With a variety of sections including industry news, tutorials, equipment and archives, this site is sure to help some of you bloom into professionals by teaching you everything including the fine details of many cameras. They are active on social media with 500K Facebook followers and 1M twitter followers. PetaPixel makes money through ads on their website and by selling mentor photography sessions.
What they do well: They dominate the photography industry by covering every category and subject around it.
18. College Info Geek
A blog to help the average college student gain what it takes to succeed in college and beyond.
College Info Geek is offers resources to help college students and others alike win at college or other studious activities. Their resources center around study hacks and tactics that will help you cut your study time down, increase recall, and actually help develop your brain. It was founded in 2013 by Thomas Frank, who graduated Iowa State University. They are doing well today with around 800,000 visitors per month considering this blog is extra niche.
What they do well in: Attracting a very specific target audience.
Formally known as Gentleman’s Quarterly.
GQ is a men’s lifestyle style blog based in New York. It was founded in 1931, ages ago, so as you can imagine they have had a fair bit of time to build a brand, strong reputation, and large audience. GQ is a massive media company that publishes content around everything for men from grooming to face cleaning routines, fitness, style, and even productivity and work. They also have a magazine line and a newsletter! They make the majority of their income through affiliate links to online stores. They also make a healthy profit money from their magazine subscriptions which is an add on to their site.
What they do well in: Persistence, longevity, and adapting to change. This publication was founded almost a century ago!
20. Tree Hugger
A blog about making sustainability a trend.
Treehugger is the leading media outlet for news on sustainability. They are pushing to make sustainability a mainstream topic and they are doing well at it considering they receive over 3M visitors per month. They offer amazing articles on sustainable design, technology, business, clean living and transportation. Other than their amazing articles, they also have weekly podcasts on current news conspiracies and new ideas about sustainability around the world. They have a pretty solid team built up of 9 writers all with backgrounds in writing and some kind of education related to environmental sustainability. Treehugger makes revenue by putting ads on their blog and was last reported to make approximately $10.4M in annual revenue.
What they do well in: Staying true to their mission. Many blogs in this industry have been guilty of writing about things based on what’s trending – oftentimes publishing things that have nothing to do with their mission. Not Tree Hugger.
A blog about inspiring home owners to be “fresh” with their designs and architecture.
Freshome is a blog built around delivering new and fresh ideas on design and architecture. If you need any inspiration, and I mean ANY inspiration for your home, this blog has it all. Select from a variety of ideas for you kitchen, bathroom, living room, bedroom and even recommendations on designers in your area. Wait, It doesn’t end there; they also have a “reviews” section where you can be sure to make the right decision when buying things like furniture, coffee makers, and basically any household item. Freshome makes money by putting ads on their site, selling products through Amazon affiliate links and even through some other affiliate programs, like Disney. Freshome receives approximately 1.47M visitors each month, making it one of the leading home design blogs in the world.
What they do well in: Being the leader in content that inspires. They do this by publishing a LOT of image-heavy content.
22. Tiny Buddha
A blog around spreading good vibes.
Tiny Buddha is an important resource for millions of people around the world. In 2009, they emerged as the leading resource for peace and happiness with over 3M visitors each month. Today, they get 4M visitors per month and have grown a giant, vibrant community. They publish daily content around minimalism, happiness, relationships, self love, letting go, and much more. What’s really cool is that you can submit your experiences with any of these related topics and your writing could be shared amongst the growing community of subscribers (currently 100,000 emails). Tiny Buddha makes most of its income through ads, and by selling their own products like apparel, phone cases, books, and even screensavers.
What they do well in: Building a giant blog and focusing on community rather than just blind page views.
23. Smashing Magazine
The largest online resource for designers and developers.
It’s rare to meet any person in a creative field who hasn’t heard of Smashing Magazine. Their site literally has every form content available: Articles, ebooks, job postings, and of course, paid memberships. Smashing magazine was created in 2009 and started off quite small. They now have a team of 19 staff and get approximately 3M page views per month.
What they do good in: Ignoring trends and fads, and writing content that creatives are looking for.
24. Making Sense of Cents
A blog to make you smarter with money and to teach you how to make income from a blog.
Making Sense Of Cents is a blog created by a woman named Michelle, an expert at paying off debts (and growing a personal blog). She started the site in hopes of sharing her struggles with student loan debt. teaches us different ways of making income through blogging including advice on how to get started. She also has created courses on topics like affiliate marketing and information on sponsored posts. On the financial side, she has written many resources on how to save more and how to make extra money. It seems that her blog is popular amongst the crowd that is interested in earning and saving more money with 300,000 subscribers and many mentions on other sites and in podcasts.
What they do good in: Tying in her blogging business as a topic on her blog and making it seem together with her main topic of personal finance.
The business and personal blog of writer and entrepreneur, Paul Jarvis.
Paul Jarvis’ blog is one of the few that I read every single week. I feel like he’s speaking directly to me. Although he writes about a variety of different topics, his core philosophy is about building a smaller and better, not bigger business. I feel like this is why most bloggers enjoy his content, since they’re usually run by a single person or with a small team of less than 10 people.
What they do well in: Creating content that is relatable on a personal level for people building online businesses.
26. Adventure Junkies
A resource for all things outdoors and adventurous.
A little different from the ones mentioned above, Adventure Junkies is a pure affiliate blog. They have a page for 6 different sports including diving, hiking, paddling, scuba diving, snow sports and mountain biking. Each section contains a Facebook forum and information about gear, clothing, techniques, training, and more. They make money by selling tangibles like clothing and gear through affiliate links, mainly with Amazon.
What they do well in: Categorizing their site cleanly under one umbrella theme of “adventure”.
27. Bark Post
A blog created to help you get in the mood to spoil your furry best friend.
Do you like to read about all things dogs? I do! Barkpost is a blog created specifically for your fur baby. On their website, they have various sections with many articles about some curiosities dog owners may have, news on latest pet trends, and even advice on travelling with or without your pet. BarkPost is actually just a giant content marketing play to get traffic and promote their main business – BarkBox. The BarkBox is a monthly subscription in which the subscriber (lucky dog) will receive a box each month with themed items such as toys, treats, chews and more. They have currently served just over 600K furry friends and over 2.4M followers on social media platforms.
What they do well in: Creating a giant blog purely to promote their main business, BarkBox.
28. Brain Pickings
A blog about dictating context literature.
Many of us these days have trouble reading complex pieces of writing. No matter how good it is, it can be extremely frustrating trying to pick the words apart and digest them without truly knowing what they mean. Luckily, there’s Brain Pickings. The solo blogger, Maria Popova will spend hours reading, listening and rewriting complex topics into easily digestible language. You will find no ads on this website as it is funded solely through donations. Readers can decide to donate monthly or just one time.
What they do well in: Keeping a website afloat based off of donations and consistently pumping out content as a solo writer. She publishes 3 posts per day for her 150,000 email subscribers.
29. Pinch Of Yum
A blog about food and how to blog about food.
As the name suggests, Pinch of Yum is a recipe blog. On their website you will find all sorts of mouth watering recipes created by Lindsay, the food scientist and creator of the blog. What differentiates this blog from most other food blogs is that there is a whole section dedicated to this site’s previous income reports. In 2011, Lindsay started an experiment called the “Food Blog Making Money Experiment” where she would track all income and expenses of the blog to see if a food blog could actually be profitable. This got a ton of attention from online marketers and bloggers looking to make money from a food blog.
What they do well in: Being the first to be so public about their business numbers and what goes on behind the scenes of their business.
30. Hair Romance
A blog where a hair enthusiast turned her passion into her business.
Most people will just search how to do a braid on YouTube, but Hair Romance is far better than any YouTube tutorial. This blog is a huge guide on different things to do with women’s hair of all shapes, textures, and cuts. What’s amazing is that this blog has gained an audience of 5M within just 18 months. She has turned her passion into profession and now has 2 e-books and one print book which was a New York Times best seller and is available around the world. With a lot of presence of social media platforms like instagram and Pinterest, Hair Romance is capturing the eyes of many women (and men). They make money from the e-books, ads on their site, sponsored posts, and working with brands.
What they do well in: Growing traffic at a super human level.
This list will be ever growing, meaning I’ll continue to add more examples of successful blogs when I stumble upon them during my own research.
Hopefully by analyzing the examples shared above, you got to see what six and seven figure blogs look like, how they’re monetizing, what kind of content they publish, etc. But most importantly, I hope it helps spark some niche ideas for your own blogging projects.
Most of the blog niche ideas I get myself are from analyzing and researching other successful blogs.
Yes, it’s true that most of the blogs shared in this list have a huge editorial staff and a ginormous budget to work with, making it impossible for a single-person to compete with directly. But that’s not the point. The point isn’t to copy them directly. The point is to identify what you can build for yourself based around what others are doing successfully.