If you’re running an online business on your own, chances are you’ll struggle with certain areas more than others—after all, no one is good at everything. Here are some companies and blogs to look to for inspiration when …

Choosing What Your Business Will Do


Creating a personal blog with ads, sponsored posts, and merchandise is one of the oldest and most successful business models for online entrepreneurs. The most successful blogs tend to focus on one or several topics or areas of interest, such as music, video games, or vegan recipes. Whatever you’re interested in, you’re bound to find others willing to check out your content.


If you’re not interested in writing and would rather jump headfirst into an online business, e-commerce is the way to go. Online suppliers like Amazon and Zappos have completely changed how we think about shopping, while smaller-scale suppliers like Etsy and Supermarket allow you to sell handmade goods on a person-by-person basis. Services like OpenCart can help you get your own shop up and running in no time.

Something Stranger

While blogs and e-commerce tend to be the most popular avenues for those looking to start an online business, they aren’t the only ones. You can build a review site, a web design company, or even an online auction site à la Ebay. If you march to the beat of your own drum, check out our post on the 10 Weird Online Companies You’ll Wish You Thought of First.

Making a Website That Looks Great

Virgin America

If you want an example of a website that focuses on simplicity and an intuitive user interface, you could do a lot worse than Virgin America. Their homepage consists primarily of three drop-down menus, asking you where you are, where you’d like to go, and how many guests you want to send. Considering how frustrating most airline websites are, Virgin’s is a breath of fresh air. (Sorry.)


This popular music blog recently redesigned their site, and the results are stellar. Pitchfork‘s clean, consistent design ethos coupled with an actually functional search bar and plenty of high-quality photos leave most other music and culture blogs in the dust.

No One Belongs Here More Than You

If you’d rather make a splash with a creative and unique site design, Miranda July’s webpage for her book of short stories is a great source of inspiration. I won’t go into details, since I don’t want to spoil it. Just go check it out.

Building an Engaging Social Media Presence


Seriously. The breakfast restaurant’s Twitter feed and Tumblr blog are among some of the most unique and engaging of any company. Their secret? Ad agency Erwin Penland, who writes posts in the language of a social media–savvy teen. It must be working, since their fan growth increased by 150% between 2013 and 2015.


Like Denny’s, Oreo has focused its social media presence on a younger customer base, taking advantage of Twitter hashtags and pop culture moments. But the cookie company has also gained plenty of followers for its political stances, such as their now-infamous multicolored cookie they posted in favor of LGBT rights.


This beauty product company knows its target audience, and it knows how to use Twitter and Facebook to further solidify that audience. Using Twitter hashtags like #SpeakBeautiful and #LoveYourHair, the company has been promoting supportive messages and body-positive imagery. And it’s worked—Dove’s campaigns have made them leaders in the market and have gained them respect, even from those who don’t use their products.

We hope that sparked some great ideas in your head! Feeling inspired, but having trouble writing it all down? Check out our tips to beat writer’s block.

Feature Photo: Unsplash