7 Most Successful Bloggers We Should Learn
The internet is an opportunity of a lifetime, but not many Africans appreciate this fact well enough. In this article, you’ll discover some successful bloggers Africans can learn from.
Although we constantly celebrate successful African bloggers like Linda Ikeji and Bella Naija on Smallstarter, the non-African bloggers you are about to see will completely blow your mind away. They provide a huge inspiration and serve as proof that we have barely scratched the surface of money that can be made from blogging by Africans.
The bloggers in this article are by no means the highest earners in their countries or blog categories. We have selected these individuals because many of us – Africans – can relate to their stories.
Some of them are stay-at-home moms and some others have suffered the pains of unemployment, disability and financial hardship. We’ve primarily chosen them because they succeeded in spite of all the excuses we think are reasonable.
Their experiences provide further proof that blogging is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to achieve financial freedom while doing the things you love the most. The best part is, as you will soon find out, you don’t even need to be an expert at writing. Just write from your heart! It’s a formula that always works!
Let’s meet them… *drumroll*
1 – Dooce.com
Monthly income – $40,000
Owner: Heather B. Armstrong
Heather is a stay-at-home professional blogger. She launched Dooce.com as a place to write about pop culture, music, and her life as a single woman.
According to her, she never expected more than a couple of dozen people to read her blog. She was shocked at the outcome.
Heather writes about everything on her blog which serves as some sort of personal diary. She narrates all of her experiences including the everyday mundane activities of a mom raising her two kids and two dogs.
She was working as a website designer in Los Angeles when she started blogging as a hobby. Her blog posts recount how she got fired from her job and her experience as an unemployed drunk. She shared stories about how she met her husband, the whole dating period, her pregnancy, post-birth depression and finally, how she ended up in a psyche ward.
By 2005, she was making enough money from her blog that her husband was able to quit his day job and join her blog business.
Everyday, she wakes up and tells a story (while still in her pajamas). Her interesting sense of humour and creative writing are some of the qualities that have won her blog such a huge following.
Her blog makes money through adverts from private advertisers and Google Adsense. In her own words, her success as a blogger is a fine example of just how awesome and life altering the internet can be.
Heather doesn’t write as an expert on any one particular thing. She just writes. And her blog posts are built from life’s little experiences, sweet and bitter events, and all the other petty things we hardly take the time to notice in our everyday lives. Heather makes her living and a lot of dollars from these. You can do it too!
2 – Smartpassiveincome.com
Monthly income – $75,000
Owner: Pat Flynn
Pat Flynn used to work for an architectural firm before he suffered the unfortunate ordeal of being laid off during the economic meltdown of 2008-2010 that forced many companies to shrink their workforce in order to remain afloat.
Losing his 9 to 5 job turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to him.
Pat started his first blog, Green Exam Academy, by accident while he was preparing for a tough exam in building design. He was using the blog to keep notes and hold himself accountable to his study timetable.
Little did he know that many other people were searching the internet for study materials and help to prepare for the same tough exam that was notorious for its 30 percent pass rate.
When he noticed the traffic coming to his site and the questions and comments visitors were leaving behind, Pat decided to write a short study guide eBook to help other people preparing for the exams.
On the day he released the book on the blog, he sold 10 copies for $199.90! That was when he knew he was on to something.
Today, Pat makes over $50,000 every month through Google adverts, affiliate commissions and selling his own products from a couple of blogs and websites he owns. More than 75 percent of his monthly income comes from commissions he earns by promoting products and services he used along the way to become successful online.
In 2012, he started a Security Guard training blog (an area he had no previous training or experience in) to prove to his blog followers that it was possible to create a successful blog from scratch by focusing on providing unique content for niche topics. Less than a year later, that blog alone started to earn him up to $4,000 every month.
Since then, he has launched several other businesses including FoodTruckr, a comprehensive online resource for food truck service entrepreneurs.
3 – IncomeDiary.com, RetireAt21.com
Monthly income – $20,000
Owner: Michael Dunlop
Michael Dunlop suffers from dyslexia, a learning disorder which is marked by very poor writing and reading skills.
Against these odds, this young man, who school teachers thought would amount to little, has become a financially successful blogger.
Hear Michael narrate his ordeal with dyslexia:
‘I sometimes think that if my school teachers knew I now write for a living they would tell you it was a lie, impossible! I really was that bad, I remember reading to my mum when I was like 12 and she would fall asleep, I was just that slow and boring, and when I do finally come to the end of a page, I would have to read it again because I completely forgot what it was about.’
Michael launched RetireAt21 and IncomeDiary to teach and inspire young entrepreneurs who are interested in making a living online.
He has interviewed more than 100 top internet entrepreneurs and millionaires and uses their success stories to inspire aspiring and startup bloggers. Today, his blogs attract more than 100,000 visitors and ranks among the top 20,000 websites in the world.
This is how Michael recounts his experience starting his blogs:
‘I started out small, and I even remember getting excited when I started to make $10 a day with Google Adsense a few years ago – fortunately these days, the numbers are quite a bit higher and I am[even] starting to experience some $1,000 days of earnings. ‘
If someone like Michael whose natural disability ‘was supposed to’ make it impossible for him to become a blogger, what are you, with your full abilities, waiting for?
4 – Perezhilton.com
Monthly income – $100,000
Owner: Mario Lavandeira
Mario blogs under the nickname Perez Hilton and is acclaimed to be the internet’s most notorious gossip blog on Hollywood.
Fresh from school, he started a blog ‘because it seemed easy.’
What he does is simple: He follows the controversies, events and rumours that unravel in the lives of Hollywood celebrities and blogs about them in ways that are sarcastic, funny and very often ridiculous! And when there’s no controversy, he takes a lot of delight in making things up!
His views and gossip on the blog were so strong that it was dubbed ‘Hollywood’s Most Hated Website’ in 2007 – just six months after he started blogging.
This ‘negative’ publicity won his blog so much publicity that it crashed due to heavy traffic. More than 8 million people got on his blog in one day!
His blog has become the leading site for celebrity news and gossip and gets more than 300 million visitors every month! His income is from the advertising banners and promotions he runs on his blog.
5 – Caradvice.com.au
Monthly income – $70,000
Owner: Alborz Fallah
From a childhood love for cars, Alborz has carved a niche for himself that has set him up for life and lets him live his dream.
Nowadays, he is invited by big car companies across the world to test-drive everything from Lamborghinis to Aston Martins, which he reviews on his blog.
While working at a full-time job, he followed his passion and started blogging about cars (focusing on Australia as his niche). He gave tips, wrote reviews about cars and kept on writing passionately on the subject.
His blog started making $10 a day from Google adverts and this gradually grew to $100 in a few months. As his blog income grew, he left his day job to focus on his passion for cars. Today, Car Advice is staffed by a team of 20 people dedicated to publishing new car reviews and news from Australia and around the globe.
Do you have a burning passion, a childhood hobby or a natural interest and knowledge in anything? You may just be ignoring something inside you that could change your life forever.
6 – Shoemoney.com
Monthly income – $30,000
Owner: Jeremy Schoemaker
Jeremy started with online gaming sites while at college and was getting calls from large companies who wanted to get adverts on his site.
He started shoemoney.com in 2003 and was sharing internet marketing tips and advice with people who wanted to succeed and make money online.
The paper he holds (in the picture) is a $132,994 cheque he received from Google for ads he served on his blog.
More than 30,000 people visit his blog everyday to benefit from the valuable knowledge he shares. His success strategy has been to embrace and exploit new trends and opportunities, focus on what he knows how to do best and make small changes that can lead to huge revenues.
Jeremy suffered a string of experiences in his life – being a fat young man and getting fired at all the jobs he ever worked. However, he was able to use these experiences to become successful online.
It’s amazing that a regular guy who couldn’t keep a job was able to turn his life around with his fingers, an internet-enabled laptop and words that come straight from the heart. Anyone should be able to achieve this. Especially YOU!
6 – Stevepavlina.com
Monthly income – $45,000
Owner: Steve Pavlina
Steve blogs on motivation and personal development and covers all sorts of topics from ‘Self Discipline’ to ‘How to cook brown rice.’
Many of his writings come from his personal life experience. He came very close to spending a large part of his life in prison before he started working on himself and finally found change.
Ever since, Steve has used this experience to help people improve themselves, and has become very popular (and makes a lot of money) doing it.
Steve has written more than 1,000 articles to date, many of which are up to 3,000 words in length!
He basically goes against all the traditional rules of writing for search engines and writes straight from his heart. His frankness is unbelievable and you can literally see the passion in everything he writes.
His blog attracts more than 2 million page views every month and makes money from per-per-click advertising and donations (yes, you read that right).
His straightforward attitude, simple teaching methods and quirky sense of humour has won his blog a huge following. Not very long ago, he gave up his copyrights on all his articles as a contribution to humanity.
It’s amazing how these regular people turned their natural knowledge, successes, failures and ordinary life experiences into spectacular online businesses. This goes to show how much people on the internet appreciate ORIGINAL content.
Many of us reading this article right now have enough good, bad and ugly experiences to fill up the pages of a blog that will turn out to be very useful to others.
What are you doing about it?
To learn more about starting an online business, check out: How to make money online – the open secrets many Africans do not yet know