When you first create and start your blog, you might work out of a basic template layout with some standard elements. A great way to give your blog a custom look that fits your style and target audience is to study the best elements of other blogs and use them as inspiration. We’ve put together a list of 14 of the best blogs to showcase elements that work well for a variety of blog types. You can take these elements and implement them into your blog using the tips below.
1. Best Blog for Theme
Your blog’s theme can make or break a reader’s experience reading your content. We’re pretty obsessed with the Divi WordPress theme that How to Beast uses. The theme focuses the blog design elements as CTA questions divided up on the screen—do you want to get jacked, or do you want to get confident?
If you find yourself fawning over another bloggers’ theme, you can use a tool like WordPress Theme Detector to see which theme the blog uses. You can also see each of the plugins installed on the blog and decide which ones may work for your blog.
2. Blog With the Best Menu
The Blonde Abroad blog shows up a lot as an example of a blog doing things right, and its menu layout is no exception. This blog has a ton of content, and it’s easily organized under appropriate categories like destinations, type of trip, and resources. For readers unsure of where to start, there’s even a start here section. This section takes readers through five different steps to achieving their travel dreams.
To create a user-friendly menu, try to organize your blog so that it fits neatly into topics or categories. You can also add a “start here” section to your blog, which is particularly helpful when you’re a blog that teaches its readers how to do something.
3. Blog With Incredible Storytelling
Sometimes you’ll stumble on a blog post that gives you chills and you find yourself clinging to every word, eager to see how the story ends? That’s great blog storytelling. Will Hatton at The Broke Backpacker has fueled me with wanderlust, wonder, and laughter more times than I can count. My favorite story is about how he hitchhiked 300 miles, converted to Islam, and married a woman he fell in love with on the road. Will has mastered the art of blog storytelling by using his voice and sharing his experiences.
To become a better storyteller, you need to find your voice. If you aren’t quite sure what that voice is, read our article on how to build a personal brand. In it, you’ll find advice on storytelling and leveraging your personal experiences so you can get media attention.
4. Blog With the Best Photography
The best photos tell a story through lighting, composition, and the subject. Landscape photography, in particular, should make it feel as though you’re in the photograph. Stuck in Customs documents his travels and also teaches workshops all over the world. These workshops fetch upward of $20,000 and they sell out each time.
We chose Stuck in Customs because he’s great at displaying his photographic work and teaching others how to do photography too. If you also want to make money blogging, consider creating your own workshop or online course like he did. Or, if you’re also a great photographer, you can sell your stories and photographs to online and print publications.
5. Best Blog for Its Community
With close to 70,000 members in her Facebook group, blogger Kumiko Love of The Budget Mom shares ways for her readers to save money and pay down debt. Readers watch each other share their debt payoff milestones and cheer each other on. The community is one of the most well-maintained Facebook groups I’ve ever experienced, all thanks to Kumiko’s admin support team. The group has a no-tolerance policy for bullying, spam, and self-promotion, which makes it a friendly place to learn from others.
Managing a large online community is a lot of work. You have to moderate posts, accept or decline new member requests, and handle inquiries from group members. If blogging keeps you busy, you might consider hiring help if you want to set up your own online community. A great place to find community support staff is to use a freelancer platform like Upwork.
6. Blog With the Best Tutorials
Ever want to know how to draw a landscape, paint with Egg Tempera, or draw a portrait of your dear Aunt Agatha? Now you can, thanks to The Virtual Instructor. On this blog, you can find all kinds of free art tutorials. When you’re done with the free tutorials, you can join his membership to get premium art tutorials.
You can study how the tutorials are delivered in his membership so that if you want to create your own tutorials on your blog, consider a mixture of both written and video tutorials. This way, you cater to two types of learning styles. When you’re ready, you can also set up your own membership platform using a service like Teachable.
7. Blog With the Strongest Brand
Stray Curls is one of the most easily recognizable blogs thanks to its illustrations of little characters with wild hair. The artist behind these illustrations is Angela from Bangalore, India. Angela created this blog to show others how to blog. She also offers custom illustrations in case you want a new logo, portrait, or avatar to use for your own blog.
The reason Stray Curls has so much success as a blogger is because she has a strong brand. If you come across a Pinterest pin from her blog, you know it’s hers without even looking at the URL. Keep your illustrations uniform with the same look, colors, and feel to help solidify your own brand.
8. Best Blog for Its Social Impact
The organization Thorn is dedicated to combating online child sex abuse, trafficking, and exploitation. This blog launched after co-founders Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore watched a documentary about child sex trafficking in Cambodia. Each of the blog posts written on this blog is designed to serve its social purpose: to combat sex trafficking. Each call to action is about how you can get involved.
If you find a mission you believe in, consider supporting an organization with part of your blog’s profits. You can even do fundraisers for it.
9. Best Blog for Its Great Newsletter
Over the years, I’ve subscribed and unsubscribed from probably well-over 1,000 newsletters from bloggers. Now, I’m only subscribed to a handful, but there’s one newsletter I look forward to every Friday like clockwork: Tim Ferriss’ 5-Bullet Friday. The key components of this newsletter is that it’s easily consumable with bite-sized tips and suggestions. Ferriss is a master of personal development, biohacking, and productivity and he communicates it perfectly through his newsletter.
Create your own newsletter using an email provider like Convertkit. To get people to sign up for your newsletter, you want to offer something in return, which is a lead magnet or freebie. These lead magnets are bite-sized, free offerings that provide value in the form of checklists, PDF’s, and cheat sheets. Read 38 lead magnet ideas for bloggers for more lead magnet ideas.
10. Best Blog for Its Online Store
Sarah Titus rose to fame as a blogger for offering hundreds of free printables to her readers. She later created an online store through Shopify that offers printables like planners, wall art, and worksheets. With over $8 million in sales, she also teaches others how to make money through a Shopify store. This store is easy-to-navigate, and often provides coupon codes to shoppers right at the top of the store so no one has to hunt for a code.
To create your own online store for your blog, I suggest using Shopify. You can then integrate your store to Facebook so you can have another selling channel. You can read all about how to create your Facebook Shopify store.
11. Best Online Challenge by a Blogger
Ladyboss Kaelin Tuell-Poulin started an online revolution for women who want to lose weight. Her online challenge is only $1—there’s no hidden fee or monthly charges. The challenge is 28 days long and consists of a workout plan, meal plan, an accountability group, live group coaching, and prizes. By adding prizes to the challenge, it incentivizes more people to participate, which is a great strategy for increasing your sales and email list.
If you want to host your own challenge, you can do so via email or a Facebook group. Other bloggers will even host their challenges through course platforms like Teachable or Thinkific. It’s best to use a course platform for your challenges when a challenge is evergreen or is something you will run for a long time.
12. Blogger With the Best Social Media Graphics
The key to success as a blogger on social media is to post consistently and provide value. The content you post on Instagram is different from something you post on Pinterest, so customize your graphics for each platform. A super-easy way to do this is to use Canva—you can automatically copy and re-size graphics with the touch of a button when you have the Pro version.
A great example of a blog that uses colorful graphics with valuable content is Blogger Color Me Courtney’s Instagram feed does just that. Courtney’s colorful Instagram isn’t just colorful, though—she shares lots of motivating and inspirational positivity. You can also find her Instagram tips every Tuesday by searching the hashtag #colormeclassroom.
13. Top Recipe Blog
You’ve seen Ree Drummond’s The Pioneer Woman on The Food Network, but did you know that she got her start as a blogger? She still updates her blog regularly, despite her TV success. Drummond shares her country-living recipes, giveaways, and all about life on a cattle ranch. What makes this food blog the best is not only are the recipes delicious, but she takes step-by-step photos so you know exactly how your recipe should look at each step.
Let’s say that you’re a food blogger but you aren’t the best at taking photos or creating recipes. There are entire Facebook groups full of freelancers who do this for a living. In fact, it’s not just for the food industry—you can purchase ghostwritten blog content for just about any niche.
14. Best Blog for Its App
Mr. Money Mustache (MMM) is a personal finance blog focused on intense frugality—so much so that the blogger retired at 30. Through his app, you can view all of his blog posts, and there is a calculator to tell you how long until you reach financial independence. You can also get advice for saving money by plugging in your family size, household expenses, income, and spending habits.
The MMM app adds value to readers by not only providing all of his blog posts, but by supplementing with content you can’t find anywhere else on his site. If you want to start your own app, you will need to hire a mobile app developer. You can find developers using freelancer platforms like Fiverr and Upwork.
Your blog will evolve over time as you learn new skills and discover other blogs you like. Think of your blog as a quilt that grows with you. You take bits and pieces of it, make changes, and improve it through the years.
As you grow as a blogger, you will find that blogging can eat up a lot of time. You don’t have to do all of the work yourself, though. You can delegate tasks to freelancers using platforms like Fiverr. For as little as $5, your freelancer can create graphics, troubleshoot HTML, or even help you strategize your marketing. Get started today.