The nature of a blog is that it’s a forum to air an opinion, updated on a regular basis to show the evolution of the blogger’s psyche in light of the changing circumstances in the world. From the overtly dogmatic to the subtly persuasive, blogs entertain, inform and instruct. But given the personal nature of the modern blog, blogs are notoriously niche; most successful bloggers have an angle, a defining feature that appeals to a subculture but fails to reach the masses, due to consciously selective themes. Whether for food lovers, people who want ‘fitspiration’, political commentators or new mommies, there’s a little corner of the blogosphere for everyone. But what are the most universally-loved blogs? The blogs that are by people for people, about wide-ranging issues? We’ve selected a shortlist for everyone here; the blogs featured on this list have a broad appeal and are wildly successful because they somehow touch on themes that are widely applicable, almost universal. Likely, you’ve read one or more of these blogs – or if not you’ve at least heard of them. Here’s our pick of 6 blogs for everyone.
6. Humans of New York: 57,905 Global Ranking
Humans of New York, or HONY as it’s fondly known by its fans, does what it says on the tin. It’s a blog of portraits of people from the streets of New York accompanied by quotations from conversations the photographer and blogger, Brandon Stanton, has with them. If it can be said to have an overarching theme it’s undoubtedly that of acceptance; HONY is about everyone, for everyone. The photographs are simple and their subjects are from all walks of life, the quotations range from profound truisms – “I learned at an early age that the bad things that happen to you are rarely the ones that you’re worrying about” – to the adorably banal: “I hate fractions.” Stanton also runs a good line in photos of dogs and children which, true to the nature of internet culture, are hugely popular. A particular highlight are his photos entitled “today in microfashion”, which feature kids in fashion and fads. Whilst the blog itself gets a significant amount of traffic, ranking at 57,905 globally and around 20,000 in the U.S., it’s on Facebook where its real influence can be seen, with 2,605,274 likes – more than any other blog on this list.
5. Hyperbole and a Half: 50,932 Global Ranking
This is a blog that’s great for blue days – in the style of a comic strip, it’s an illustrated story blog, with anecdotes and musings portraying the writer’s unique outlook on life. The illustrations – drawn with Mac’s simple ‘paintbrush’ function – are what some might call crude, but fans might say they’re filled with childlike whimsy. The stories are sometimes about things that happened to the blog’s creator, Allie Brosh, as a mischievous, sugar-addicted child growing up in “the backwoods of North Idaho”. Then there are stories about her mad dogs and her inability to grow up, her coping mechanisms for awkward social situations and how she tolerates all the terrible grammar that’s around on the internet (it involves an imaginary creature). Brosh’s humour is self-deprecating and although, as the blog’s title suggests, it’s hyperbolic the subjects are universal and instantly relatable. Give it a read; it’ll save your Mondays.
4. Dooce.com: 31,602 Global Ranking
An odd title you might think. Dooce is what’s termed a “personal blog” whatever that means; the name itself doesn’t really mean anything at all but it originated from a typo of ‘dude’. Heather Armstrong started writing dooce in 2001 and it’s now so popular that she’s able to support her family with the income it generates. Her first posts were about her job at a dot com start-up – but it was her blogposts which lost Heather her job. Nowadays she’s a family gal so her posts tend to be about dogs and kids and all that family stuff. Don’t be fooled though, this is no “mommyblog”. Heather Armstrong is the anti-mommyblogger, talking about her children in a frank, sometimes unimpressed way. She doesn’t shy away from confronting the large amount of bodily fluids you have to clear up as a parent and she’s not afraid to write about it! Her blog is about the everyday, the little things and brief moments that make up all of our lives, which is perhaps why she’s so popular both in the U.S. and worldwide.
3. Kottke.org: 25,299 Global Ranking on Alexa.com
The fact that you’re reading this suggests that you like the internet, so you’ll probably like this blog. It’s creator, Jason Kottke, has been blogging since 1998 and essentially blogs about stuff he’s found online that he likes. He’s an everyman web hound, and he blogs about anything from how to season a cast iron pan, to an interview of Kanye West conducted by Steve McQueen. There are posts about art exhibitions, food trends and good Vines. If it’s on the internet, Kottke’s reading it and he’ll post it if it’s good. He’s won a lifetime achievement award at the Bloggies and is listed on numerous blog power lists. Kottke.org is ranked 25,299 globally by Alexa.com but at 9118 in the US.
2. The Sartorialist : 16,332 Global Ranking
Here is it, the fashion blog – there had to be one in the list didn’t there? The exquisite beauty of Scott Schuman’s blog, and what makes it ‘for everyone’, is the way in which it encompasses and connects high fashion and everyday style. This was always Schuman’s vision for the blog, and it reminds us that fashion and style are all around us – we just need to pay better attention. The blog’s global ranking is impressive currently standing at 16,332, remarkably close to its national ranking in America at 16,417. Considering the subject matter of the blog, this is no surprise; Schuman travels all over the world taking photos of everyone from the fash pack to scruffy students to little kids on the street in Bali. This is a blog for everyone because we all (more or less!) wear clothes and because great style needs no translation.
1. Smitten Kitchen: 16,212 Global Ranking
This is a beautifully written and produced blog about cooking in a tiny kitchen in New York. Its creator Deb Perelmans’s family might get the odd mention in a witty aside but primarily, this blog is concerned with the experience of cooking and eating. This is food writing at its very best, filled with the joy of creating something that tastes wonderful. Perelman contextualises her recipes in a wonderfully down-to-earth way. For example, in the recent polar vortex that swept the U.S. Perelman made soup – chicken pho, to be exact – because “it’s the ideal too-cold-to-go-outside afternoon project”. Her enthusiasm for her subject shines through every line. Another strength is that the recipes are always achievable and whilst there might be the option of using a more gourmet ingredient, they’re never a prerequisite. Perelman subscribes to an accessible art of cookery with recipes from a multitude of different traditions with varied nutritional virtue. Whether you’re a pudding lover, salad fanatic or curry nut, there will be something for you in this popular, universally-loved food blog.