Over the past few days, I’ve looked at hundreds of websites and blog headers. I started with Brankica Underwood’s incredible list of 199 blogs you should be reading and worked my way from there. And as I looked around, the more I realized this sad reality—Most blog headers fail to induce any emotion and connection with the blog, and it’s a shame.

Why is it like this? I’m not sure really. I guess folks think that content will save the day. But with a gabillion blogs out there, each calling for one’s attention, you’re kidding yourself if you think you can take a cheesy header and expect it to help you, your brand, and your website’s success.

Like my friend JK on Hustler’s Notebook once said, ‘Don’t fool yourself. Looks matter.’

And boy is JK right. A blog’s header is the first impression a new visitor gets when coming to a site. From the get-go, it says whether you’re a serious player in your field or simply ‘dipping your toes in the water’.

Shortly after I started TSL in late 2009, I knew I wanted a header that would be different, memorable, and represent my brand. Not being a graphic guy myself, and not having loads of excess money lying around at the time, I bit the bullet and hired a professional designer to create the TSL header that you see today.

Some of you may think the header on this site is great. Other may think it stinks. Either way, I’m OK with diverse opinions, but one thing is for sure—it’s memorable. Oh, and if you’re wondering, it cost me about $300.

Is that a lot of money? To some, yes(it was for me at the time). For others, no. But if your blog is meant to garner money for your business, why in the heck wouldn’t you drop a few dollars to create a more professional and memorable feel?

All About Feelings

You may be wondering what makes a blog header ‘great’. Well that’s a dang good question, and I’ve narrowed it down to this simple question:

How does it make you feel?

Yeah, sure there are many other qualities that are important (some of which I’ll mention below) but when it comes down to it, feelings carry the day. Is it warm? Cold? Professional? Classy? Happy? Boring?

The list of ‘feelings’ go on and on but one critical component is the ‘personal’ feel one gets from a header. And when I say ‘personal’, I mean in particular an image of the blogger.

Stop Hiding

I’m always amazed how bloggers will name a website after themselves and then not even show a personal photo on the home page, much less the header. The way I see if, if someone’s brand is their name and they’re trying to make a living from their site, this age of social media and ‘trust’ requires one’s face to be prevalent. (More on this in the coming weeks)

So that’s what this article is about. It’s a list of the 13 best headers in the blogosphere. And although it goes without saying, this is simply my opinion, and if anyone would like to mention another header/blog worthy of recognition, please do so in the comments section. Here goes:

The 13 Best Blog Headers on the Internet


Ana Hoffman Header






 Ana Hoffman, Traffic Generation Cafe

Why it rocks: Ana’s personal touch and feel to her header are awesome. The image of her face is pensive and professional, and the cup of coffee integrates her goal of ‘community’ and relaxed discussion regarding her topic of internet traffic.


Dave Ursillo Header




Dave Ursillo, Lead Without Followers

Why it rocks: I briefly met Dave at Blog World New York this year and at the time I had no idea who he was or what his blog was all about. But as soon as we met, he gave me one of his business cards and immediately I was impressed with the personal branding of its design, as well as his mission statement. Shortly after this meeting, I took a moment to visit Dave’s site and was struck by his excellent header design– personal, relaxed, and message driven. Dave Ursillo is an excellent example of someone who understands personal branding and the power of simple imaging.


Mark Schaefer Header




 Mark Schaefer’s {GROW}

Why it rocks: Mark’s is one of the few blogs on this list that does not include a personal image on the header but it certainly does leave one with two main impressions: professionalism and creativity.


Adam Baker Header







Adam Baker, Man vs Debt

Why it rocks: Adam has created quite a community around his excellent blog, and his header is a perfect reflection of his style and brand– A happy guy who travels the world with his wonderful family and manages to experience financial peace in the process.


John Aguiar Header









John Aguiar, Money Dummy Blog

Why it rocks: Although John’s could almost be considered a ‘double header’, I think it’s easily one of the best in the business. Not only does it have a professional and sleek feel, but it’s quite personal with John’s photo and loaded with calls to action—from all his social media buttons to his Free Blogging course, this header is an example to anyone trying to do it the right way.


Men with Pens Header






James Chartrand, Men With Pens

Why it rocks: When it comes to a professional design that is simple yet powerful as they come, the Men With Pens header is just that. Ever since entering the blogosphere 2 years ago, this design has always been one of my favorites.


Pam Lawhorne Header






Pam Lawhorne, The Social Maven

Why it rocks: I love Pam’s header. It’s personal, professional, classy, and really represents Pam’s brand well. The color scheme (black and white with the light blue integration) is also a perfect mix and feel.


John Falchetto Header




John Falchetto, Expat Life Coach

Why it rocks: When John Falchetto went to Bonsai Interactive recently for a new site design, I’m not sure he knew how his header would end up, but this much I do know: He’s dang happy. As an expat life coach who has clients literally all over the globe, John’s header shows the vastness of his client geographic reach and also manages to integrate a personal photo that is clean, confident, and representative of a man who knows how to help those that are abroad.


Smart Passive Income Header








Pat Flynn’s Smart Passive Income

Why it rocks: Is there anyone online that doesn’t like Pat Flynn?? 😉 Over the course of a few short years, Pat has developed one of the most successful and profitable blogs in the world, and his header (which is more a ‘double’) does a tremendous job helping new visitors know where to start, know more about Pat, and clearly see what the site is all about.


Jae Baer Header




Jay Baer: Convince and Convert

Why it rocks: Not only does Jay Baer have one of the best social media sites on the web, but his header is top notch as well. It’s great because its message is simple, the personal photo is excellent, and his book offer is a perfect call-to-action that’s impossible to miss.



Pam Slim Header




Pamela Slim’s Escape From Cubicle Nation

Why it rocks: I was first introduced to Pamela Slim when I heard her on BlogcastFM, and since that time I’ve been very, very impressed with her blog. As for her blog’s header, it fits her style perfectly— simple, relaxed, personal, and professional.


Mitch Joel Header





Mitch Joel: Six Pixels of Separation

Why it rocks: Of all the personal images I’ve seen on headers around the blogosphere, Mitch Joel’s is arguably the best. I’ll let you interpret the ‘feelings’ this photo induces, but in my opinion it’s as professional, thoughtful, and creative as anything online.


Danny Brown Header






 Danny Brown

Why it rocks: Along with Mitch Joel’s personal image, none are better in my opinion than Danny Brown’s on his header. Along with an incredible tag line, his image(and the rest of the header) induces a very professional, thoughtful, and trustworthy appeal to viewers.


So there are my top 13 blog headers folks. As I mentioned above, I’m sure there are a many that I’ve missed, so I’d invite you to mention them below, but the main thing I hope readers will take away from this article is this:

  • Don’t go cheap on your header, it’s your brand, so represent yourself well.
  • Be real. Be personal. And don’t be afraid to show the world who you are.

Your Turn:

What are your thoughts on blog headers? What qualities do you like in a header and what qualities turn you off? Also, if you haven’t made a serious investment in your header yet, why not? As always, I’d strongly invite everyone to share their thoughts, questions, and comments below.

Have a great week!! :-)



153 thoughts on “The 13 Best and Most Powerful Blog Header Designs on the Internet

  1. Interesting take, Marcus. Me, I actually prefer blog headers that don’t have a photo/headshot in them (though I do like cartoons/caricatures). I do want to see/learn about the blogger on the “about” page, but for me, the blog isn’t about the blogger per se; it’s about the content that s/he creates (or a team creates). “Get Rich Slowly,” for example – now, there’s a great header.

    At the end of the day, the content is what’s important. I agree with you that “looks” are too (that’s why I did a “how does your business look?” post a while back, but then that brings me back to the old cliche, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.”

    Just my $0.02.

    • That’s an interesting point, Shonali. But aren’t the two intricately entwined?

      A blog is essentially the blogger, since it’s their thoughts and creative process that makes the blog what it is. So, say you took the name away from the header of a brand new blog from someone, but you left the image of the person whose blog you like and subscribe to religiously – would you read because you knew who they were instantly?

      Obviously this dynamic changes with a multi-author blog where you might have preferred authors. But for single author blogs, does recognizing the person add to the desire to read?

      • Well, your blog header with that photo is so darn good, anyway, Danny. It’s that unusually humble look you managed to capture. Just how many takes did it require to perfect that one, by the way?

        • Haha, thanks Neicole – funnily enough, it was a single take as it was one of a bunch that were taken, and that was one of the “outtakes” that wasn’t posed for. Then Lisa just did some of her usual magic. :)

          • I hope you’re paying that Lisa of yours some good money DB ;-)….better hope she doesn’t read this post today!

        • What’s so funny about his header Neicole is the first time I saw Danny I thought, “This guy is a little shorter than I thought” and then all of the sudden it hit me: He’s been looking down on me for the past year on his website, of course he looks tall!!! :-)

          • LOL. That’s funny. Never occurred to me that one might get an impression of someone’s height from a photo in their header–especially one with nobody else around the person for context.

          • In truth, I’m actually three foot six. I used to get a great gig playing R2-D2 at Star Wars conventions, but then the Imperial Empire Union low-balled contractors, so I had to give it up.

            Now I just wear platforms when out in public. :)

            • Danny Brown in platforms…Hahahaha, that would make Gini proud 😉

            • Jeez Danny!!!
              I’m starting to worry – between the platforms, the kilt and the wig…Hmmmm 😉 LOL!

      • Really, really great point there DB about image branding. An image’s ability to have a crossover effect is truly powerful, and in my opinion one’s face online is no different than the golden arches when driving down the highway.

        • Its’ funny this whole height thing and online image. I always thought Gini D and Marcus were very tall.
          Then I went to Blogworld NY.

          • I’m actually 6’3″ John…I just didn’t want you to feel short amongst ‘The Lion’ 😉

      • Hey, Danny, not for me. Add to this that most of the time, I’m reading blogs in my Reader, where the header doesn’t even show up. So it really is the content that does it for me, and decides whether or not that blog stays in my Reader, etc.

        • That’s a fair point, miss. :)

          Yet that’s for a blog that’s already established in your reader. What about brand new blogs you’ve never visited before – does the visual appeal (or lack of) sway you thinking when you open their site?

          Or are you straight to the content? 😉

          • Visual appeal definitely plays a big part for me, Danny… and not just in the header, but the way the blog is laid out, how readable it is, whether it looks cluttered, etc. When I find a new blog, though, it’s usually because someone has referenced a post either on their own blog, or through one of my socnets, so I typically click through to that post and read it first.

            If I like it, then I might click around some more, and if the visual impact is really great, then I’ll clip it to Evernote to add to my “clip book” of what I want my blog to look like when it grows up. :) But if I don’t find more content that appeals to me, it’s usually a one-hit wonder, regardless of how “pretty” it might be.

        • In my opinion Shonali (not to pick on you my dear 😉 ) I’d venture to say the majority of people still do not read their blogs in a reader, especially paying customers (at least that’s the case for me). That being said, I think we’ve got to be careful to remember the things we see and feel from the way we read is often very different from the way others experience the blog reading process.

      • I agree,, I am the blog… so why shouldn’t I be front and center so you know who your talking to, learning from?

        • “I am the blog, and the blog is me…we are one”—-Ironman :-)

    • I agree that a personal photo isn’t necessary on blogs where the author is not the key brand or in the business name, but otherwise it simply makes little sense to me. For the majority of personal blogs, the ‘about’ page is one of the most heavily viewed. And why is this? Because people want to ‘know’ the author. My question is why do we wait for ‘about’ pages? Why not build our brand from the beginning?

      Either way, I agree that we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but this doesn’t mean we won’t. In other words, whether I try not to judge someone’s blog or not before having read anything, I know the second I click on that page for the first time I’ve already started either consciously or unconsciously to makes snap judgements.

      Thanks so much for your input Shonali, it’s so nice to have someone come right out the gate and not agree!! :-)


      • Considering that about 85% of first time visitors will never scroll down, your header is extremely important and a blogger’s photo makes an immediate personal connection with the reader.

        I know it’s just your personal opinion, Nicole, and you already received some feedback on that – LOL, but this is another good reason to do it. Your readers want to see it.


          • A sub-comment especially for me? Kewl! :)

        • That’s a really powerful stat Ana, and one I think most folks are likely unaware of…and I remember the first time I went to your site, your image made an immediate impression on me, and motivated me to hang around to check the place out.

        • Unless… that person is reading the blog article on a syndicated site in which case the header is irrelevant as you don’t control it.

      • You’re welcome, Marcus. I thought I’d be your contrarian for the day. 😉

        • Trying not to comment bomb.. this is a reply for Danny, Ana and everyone else too. I’m with Shonali as I read content … written or curated by someone I trust. That’s what makes my Reader or Twitter feeds on a regular basis. Now for a new blog, it’s probably a combination of the overall look and feel of the site and the post, not just the header as I quickly scan it looking for what brought me there. And FWIW Ana I am in the 15% who immediately scroll down away from the promotional stuff at the top, to see if the actual content is worth my time. If that beautiful header is immediately obscured by a giant popup wanting my email, I almost always click away.

    • That’s why my header is a cartoon figure Shonali :)

      • Same here my last comment was for Shonali.

        Marcus, Livefyre?

        • I think it’s about time I wrote the article “10 Reasons why you should stop asking why TSL is NOT on Livefyre” 😉

          • I will be your first commenter on that one. Gini was picking on me today about LF. We’re going to need a non-Livefyre tribe soon. :)

    • If you never judge a book by its cover, then how do you react to covers with images — considering images speak 1,000 words? Do you prefer imageless covers?

      • Personally, I judge every book by it’s cover. Impossible not to at least to some degree.

      • Ari, I didn’t say *I* never judge a book by its cover. In fact, I specifically said that I agreed “looks” are important, but at the end of it all, I could visit a very “pretty” blog, but if the content doesn’t impress me, I’m unlikely to come back.

        When I’m shopping for “real” books, of course covers can make a difference, because they’re usually the first thing you see, if it’s a new book, or not one that you’re specifically looking for. With blogs, though, my experience is that I usually go to a new blog because someone has referenced it, or it comes up when I’m searching for something. So the content, or its potential relevance, is what draws me in in the first place. Quite different from being in a bookstore and having the cover as one’s first reference point.

        • Not to belabor the point, Shonali, but since you brought it up, you mention you visit blogs “because someone has referenced it or it comes up when I’m searching.”

          Do you visit books differently?

          • Sometimes, Ari. I do rely a lot on referrals (which includes looking for books I may have heard referenced on a show, for example – for me, it’s usually an NPR show). If I’m looking for a specific genre, then I take a lot of time browsing, and the inside jacket, reading through a little bit, etc., will influence me more than the cover.

  2. Headlines can really grab the readers attention and keep them coming back for more..first impressions is everything.

    “Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”

  3. I obviously agree with you on this Marcus. Since my blog, zero to 60 and beyond, is basically the prelude to the memoir I felt it was important to not only show my face but take it through the years. The other important part to me was that it showed me as the happy and positive woman I am today despite the obstacles I’ve overcome.

    I don’t have a personal photo on my art blog, Petals, Palettes and Parties, but I think the header addresses all the elements the blog is about.

    What bothers me more is when people put photos of their pets instead of themselves on their social network sites like fb or twitter. If I’m going to friend you or your page I want to see who you are 1st and then I’ll decide.
    Thanks for bringing this up.

    • Yeah, I love your header Barbara, I really do. And that’s exactly what I felt the first time I saw it, you do a terrific job of symbolizing with those photos what life has taught you over the years, and how you’ve changed and developed.

      Thanks so much for stopping by Barbara and I hope you have a GREAT week!!


  4. Glad you shared this, Marcus. Although I didn’t feel that all 13 ‘rocked’, I did find the majority of these headers engaging. It certainly looks like a customized, personalized header separates the pro blogger from the generic one. It gives the impression that this person has made an investment in their site and inspires me to give them the investment of my time in return. I was surprised you liked some of the darker designs with the white font as I’ve been counseled against that. Loved my blog w/ the chocolate background and I miss it. (I have two) What are your thoughts?

    • Really great point Tracy– They’ve made an investment and so you’re willing to give more yourself. Exactly.

      As far as darker designs, I don’t think that’s a big deal unless the text of the blog articles is done in the same manner. For example, if you look at JP Aguiar’s site, although the header is a dark background, the actual are different, and so in my opinion, it’s not hard on the eyes, but I do see where you’re coming from though.

      Thanks so very much for dropping by Tracy, hope we’ll chat again! :-)


  5. Hey there mate,

    Thanks for the kind double shout. Well, okay, thanks for the kind double shout-out to Lisa Kalandjian, our graphic and web whizz at Bonsai :)

    I’ve always liked the Men with Pen header, too – it just makes a really strong statement of intent.

    It’s funny – I used to hear a lot of people say that if your content is below the fold, you’ll lose a huge piece of your audience. But I disagree – I feel if your content is introduced by a really strong, appealing logo, then that does more to attract than the first couple of sentences that a blog post will.

    Especially if your logo gives an instant idea as to what your blog will be about.

    Cheers, mate, nice collection :)

    • Really interesting point about content being below the fold Danny. I think you and I could have a long conversation about this one. More and more, companies that specialize in conversions and A/B split testing are making the argument for content and calls to action to come below the fold. It’s a wildly interesting science, one that I’m really planning on embracing in the coming year.

      Cheers mate!!


      • Always up for blogging discussions, dude – name the place and let’s make it happen. :)

  6. Hey,

    Loved the assortment of headers, but personally I don’t like face shoots, I really don’t know why. But I love John’s expat header…but then I am always partial to pyramids!

    I love Brankica’s header.. the girl with the green eyes, it is a recent change and I totally love the feel it gives to the blog. And the laptop has a star! :)

    I think if you have a brand to establish then you definitely need the header! And if it gives a good feel, the reader just might come back more often.

    Have a lovely day! Keep roaring! :)

    • Are you saying you don’t like my ugly head up in the header Hajra? What???!!! 😉

      Nahh, I’m just playing with you lady. I understand where you’re coming from, but would be really, really curious to know why you prefer the ‘less personable’ look.

      As I mentioned in a reply to Shonali, I can understand it if the blog isn’t built around a person’s name and brand, but otherwise it’s kinda crazy not to IMO. To me, it’s no different than the general rule of thumb with a twitter photo or facebook as well.

      But thanks so much for coming by and expressing your thoughts Hajra!!


    • Pyramids are very important to me, I lived in Cairo for 3 years and there is something about pyramids that really stuck with me.

      • I love the pyramid touch John :). Much like you – I spent 10 year in Cairo – but they’re important to me because I actually graduated on the pyramid – got my diploma standing on it and my high school class picture is on it too. And if that’s not enough – I climbed to the very top one night ;). Needless to say that I obviously have the best of memories – between the Sphinx and the Pyramids.

        Oh yeah – I used to go horseback riding around them as well – every couple of months.

        Okay #thatisall haha.

        • Oh Griddy, there you go bragging again getting us all jealous!!

          #UrATard 😉

          • Noooooooooo you know I didn’t mean it like that croc ;).
            Heck – it certainly wasn’t my choice to grow up in Cairo lol.
            OOoooo there’s that other thing I did on the pyramid too hahaha – forgot to mention that one.


            • Hey what’s wrong with Cairo?
              Love that place, and I never rode the horses from the stables there. I always felt ridding horses was dangerous.

              The pyramids are tombs, they wanted the pharaohs to be remembered for ever. It worked. The rest of us will have to find something else :)

  7. You made a great point with this post Marcus!

    When a site is branded by a personal name…a personal photo should be present too. If not, there’s something missing in the branding message. That makes sense, simply. And beyond the personal photo, a website’s header is what we see first. With so much to do and so many sites to visit, if we cross a new site and find that it may not meet our professional standards, we click-back. Not to be rude – but many of us don’ t have time to waste.

    You’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover – but most people do it naturally without thought (including me). That being said, you better make sure your book looks good if you want people to pick it up and read it.

    In headers, I like to see professional work or plain text. Nothing, to me, looks worse when someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing tries to create their own headers. I applaud the attempt..but that doesn’t change the negative impact. I think if people can’t pay for or do professional work themselves, they should just use plain text and not try to get fancy.

    I’m no digital art professional, but I understand enough about it that I can dib and dab. I enjoy it and work at it to get better. This post has inspired me big time. You don’t know how bad I want to pull up Photoshop (which I’ve installed on my work laptop (wink!)) and get to work. I have a feeling that in the next month or two, you just might see Hustler’s Notebook with a new look!

    I was going to pick which of the headers were my fav…but I couldn’t…they are all good. Great headers is all I can say. I’ve always been a fan of yours as well. Has a lion’s cave feel to it!

    Have a good week man.


    • I thought about you a lot as I wrote this post JK (it took about 5 hours…yikes..so I had the time). I think you’re one of the best on the web with branding and imaging, and I’ve always felt that it would be awesome if you could integrate your image in the background of your header. You have such a gift for that kind of thing, I honestly think you could do something incredibly original and down-right memorable.

      As far as judging a book by it’s cover, you’re exactly right. Whether we realize it or not, we do it, and we do it all the time….and as we get busier and busier, we do it more and more, which means these ‘little things’ like headers aren’t that little at all—they’re a big stinking deal.

      Thanks for your insights brother, I always appreciate it bud.


      • After seeing these headers…I was thinking – “how could I work myself in my own header?”. With a few shots of Gatorade followed by some orange juice on the rocks (I don’t drink alcohol), I’m sure the ideas will come to mind! LOL

        Hey – I forgot to say thanks for the mention. Thank you buddy!

  8. I know this is where I am weak. I have no idea how to even go about dealing with this. I am not good with computers, and may really need some handholding to get something better than the default picture that I have now.

    I do thing I have a good tagline, but have no idea at all how to even begin to brand myself. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

    • Trust me Nancy, I suck at imaging stuff too. One thing I’d strongly suggest is that you go to http://www.fiverr.com . I’ve had quite a few clients get headers off of there and they’re only $5, which is chicken feed. Just give the designer your tagline, blog title, and a good image of yourself, and they will likely blow you away, and you’ll be off to the races. And if you need help with what I just explained to you, don’t hesitate to give me a call, OK?!!

      Have a wonderful week Nancy, keep smiling! :-)


  9. ‘a great blog header will make up for low quality content’ – Confucius 810BC

    Seriously my favorite quote by him.

    Which is why my header is just plain crappy. I figure if they get past it and don’t lose their lunch it has to be win win for me right? I mean who eats a Tootsie Roll for the candy coated lolipop outside. It is all about the inside my friend. Ironically my header fits my image. One day when I have an employee I will seriously migrate to a better platform than Blogger. Until then my 27…wait….29 dedicated readers are just fine with my header of low rez block letters.

    I am thinking of a header with an alien relaxing with a space daiquiri floating in a tube in one of your pools with laser beams and disco music playing in the background. And every 20 seconds or so mermaids pop up and ‘Alien’s are so sexy’

    See Marcus this is what happens when anyone blogs about blogs. I get ornery.

    • Ahhh, that Confucius was something Howie, wasn’t he!! 😉

      You may be ornery Howie, but you make me laugh and always bring your best with every comment, which is why I appreciate the heck out of you man.

      Thanks so much for stopping by and offering smiles out to the entire gang brother. 😉


  10. Nice roundup, Marcus! I like many of these as well – especially Pam Slim’s new design. I think it fits her to a “t”. I also really like Mitch’s design – I’ve always thought it’s so sharp and classy.

    Another one I’d add to the list is Jeff Goins (goinswriter.com). He’s a writer and I love the typewriter image in his header. It’s a nice throwback and I think it fits his personality also.

    For me, I don’t have my image in my header because my blog is part of my larger website for my business. So, my header features my company’s logo. My logo and overall website was created by a professional designer and I think that’s SO important. Like you said, there are tons of blogs to choose from, and if yous isn’t visually appealing, why will folks stick around? While looks aren’t everything, I do think they distinguish between the good blogs and great ones.

    • Yes, yes, yes Laura! Thanks so much for mentioning Jeff’s blog, wow, it’s GREAT! Love the feel to that one as I’d never seen it before. :-)

      And regarding what you said about how looks distinguish good from great blogs, you’re right. I think too many folks have looked at Seth Godin’s blog (and others that are oldies but goodies) and thought, “Hey, that’s plain and look how successful they are, then why can’t mine look the same?”

      Great stuff Laura, and thanks so very much for dropping in,


      • Glad to introduce you to Jeff’s site. He’s got great content too – definitely worth the read.

  11. Thanks so much for the mention! I really appreciate it. I have to give props to Out:think Group who did my site redesign — they created something that feels very comfortable to me, and inviting to my readers (or so they say! :)

    I am a fan of a photo in the blog header, perhaps because I am such a people person. I like to instantly make a connection with the human behind the ideas.

    I will check out some of the blogs on the list I have not heard of yet!

    All the best,


    • Pam, you site is looking great. It just keeps getting better and better.

    • You’re very welcome Pam, and it’s great to see you here. I didn’t mention this in the article, but your interview on BlogcastFM was my all time favorite, and I’ve listened to many(and please don’t think I’m kissing up here, I just really lov your communication style and approach to life).

      But the way you described your design is exactly why I think it’s so effective– comfortable, inviting, and makes a human connection. Honestly, I’m not sure why this isn’t the goal of more bloggers. Aren’t we all after more deeper, stronger, and lasting relationships?

      Anyway, thanks again Pam, what a treat to see you here. :-)


  12. Great examples Marcus. I definitely think that a great header can make a blog. I am not sure that you need to put a personal picture, but after seeing all of the great examples you found, maybe I should rethink my position on this. Unfortunately, the mugs in your examples are all better looking than mine :)

    • I know I mentioned this to you already Fred, but your header is great, and in my research was one of the ones I actually made a copy of because I thought it might be on the list. So don’t sweat it man, you’re doing great things, and I think your site design, look, and feel are awesome.

      Cheers brother and have a great week!


  13. Marcus,
    Once again you put me in the company of giants. Thanks for the mention here, all the work was thanks to Lisa and the team at Bonsai led by Danny Brown.

    I agree with Anna putting a face right up there on the header helps to make a connection. When I don’t see a photo on the header the first place I go to is the About page. So maybe not having a photo is a tactic to get people to visit the About page?

    • More than welcome bud. I know people must sometimes think you and I have a conspiracy, but I couldn’t possibly not mention your header in this article!

    • I get what you mean about the connection, but I worry that my “sexy” will distract from the content… such a struggle…

      • Dude, you have no idea how hard I laughed out loud with this one brother—made my night last night. 😉

        • I’m sorry… I’m confused. What’s so funny? :)

  14. Thanks very much for the compliment. I actually struggled with my header. I did not feel comfortable putting myself at the top. Just my style. Even though it horribly under-promotes me, I wanted to send the message that I put the community first. To me, the paint splat represents color, creativity, a place that is not finished … and sends a message that this is a different place. I’m sure not that many people read that into it!! : )

    Thanks for the great article!

    • That’s a really, really interesting take Mark. As for the paint splat, that’s actually exactly what I got out of it, and I think it’s quite fitting. Regarding the lack of face, I think you at least do a great job on the side column with your videos and such, so the personal feel on the homepage still gets addressed.

      Appreciate you stopping by man, hope you week is a great one. :-)


  15. I love a great looking blog header. One day i spent way too much time going to design websites to get an idea for my blog header. After lots of searching I couldn’t get an idea of how I wanted my header. Therefore I went with the simple clean look. That’s why I haven’t upgraded to a shiny header. I just don’t know what I want!

    Sometimes people do go overboard with their header and it actually looks worse cause they’re trying to make it too flashy.

    Since you don’t want to add your own header, I would say add yours to that list! I’d say it’s better than some that you have in the list. :)

    • I can appreciate simplicity Benny, and I think you’ve achieved a nice looking yet simple approach with your current design. Notwithstanding, I think if your ultimate goal is to build a brand around you, then I’d suggest putting that smile of yours up there front and center. Why not? 😉

      Thanks so much for dropping by brother,


  16. Marcus, great post idea man. I follow most of the blogs here and I know they are all successful so it’s nice to see “in your post” all the different header designs. All different yet all work for each blogger.

    Some go just personal, some share, some ask for action etc.. yet they all work.

    and Thank U for including mine.. I’m actually in process of a full redesign lol now you got me rethinking it.

    • Hahaha, that’s funny JP, sorry to mess you up man. I certainly don’t think there is anything wrong with a new header, just remember you’ve already set the bar pretty high. If I was you, you may want to consider sending the new header image out to a few of your trusted friends and get their feedback. Although I know feedback can make things worse, I think in this case it would likely be good to get their thoughts on the old vs the new.

      And great point about how ‘they all work’. That’s exactly right. They certainly do.

      Appreciate you dropping by man,


  17. Hey Marcus. This is real cool. Love the headers you chose. I considered going a more personal route, but when I saw what Jk came up with, after our discussions, I was very pleased. Definitely something to think about down the road.

    Thanks again for another interesting topic and all your support and encouragement.


    • So glad you liked it man, and I think you’ve got a great header to be honest man. Besides, it’s the ‘C.A.R.E’ movement, and that encompasses many things.

      You’re kind words and support are always very much appreciated my friend,


  18. Hi Marcus,

    You’ve definitively added some amazing blog headers. I’ve seen most of them before, but not all. My thoughts about blog headers are that they should be unique, they should reflect the content, and they should be personal. I especially like blog headers that shows the face of the author. For instance, Danny Brown and John Falchetto’s headers are perfect. And so is yours. To me, it’s important that the face is visible. I used to have a blog header like this, but then my blog got hacked, and it felt like I had to start all over again – and here I am :)


    • How did I miss that part about your blog being hacked Jens? Dang bro, I’m really sorry to hear that. And I like your thoughts on headers. We’re certainly on the same page my friend.

      Hope things are going well for you bud and the new college site as well.



  19. It’s funny – looks are so subjective. I would agree with maybe a third of these. But I also have Ed Harris (who, according to Mr. D, is older than crap) on my Top Five list.

    • Well it’s about time you didn’t agree with me lady! :-)

      But you can’t just leave it there, as I’d love to know the ‘why’.

      C’mon now Gini, you’re not the shy type, and your opinion here matters quite a bit, so do tell……

      • Well, we’ve already had this conversation today, but I’ll repeat it here. I might be a female/male thing, but if I don’t know the blogger (you, Danny, John, for instance), I’m a little put off by the photo in the header. It comes across as arrogant to me. That said, I love the three of you and none of you are arrogant. So it’s just my perception.

        I have a completely different strategy for Spin Sucks. In order for Spin Sucks Pro to reach the level of success we have planned, it has to be about more than just me. So there will be no faces in the header.

  20. Damn you and your uncanny ability to peer into my brain. Been struggling with this one myself as I know I’m doing it wrong, but I don’t want to do it the “right way” either. Right now the blog domain is name, but I’m not a fan of throwing my picture up on it. Hell, I don’t even have an about page anymore. Not that I’m not a handsome beast or anything, but it just don’t see it as necessary for what I am writing about. Actually been thinking about changing it from my own name to CodeFreeGeekery.com or something along those lines…

    I get why the pic and the personalization goes a long way, but many of my favorite blogs take a far more parred down approach and that aesthetic appeals to me. Besides, it’s obvious that Danny is hiding something… just look at the way he won’t look at you and only stares at the ground… says something about him… :)

    • I think it all comes down to your goals Michael. If you’re looking to build your personal brand through your blog, and stronger relationships with others as well, then I think you’d be nuts to take the ‘Michael’ out of the site. Besides, you have such a witty way of writing and giving opinion that screams ‘this dude is real’. In my opinion you should spend the money and get something with your goofy mug up there on the header…but hey, I’m just a Lion 😉


      • It’s true… guess I really need to hone in on my goals. While I’m enjoying a bit of the personal branding stuff, if I am really being honest it is 1 part figuring out my thoughts and 1 part helping anyone who may be struggling with the same crap that I am.

        I don’t know about the header… just don’t think that will ever be me, but I like the advice to keep the name in. May have to compromise and go for the sideboard :) Thanks as always for the encouragement.

  21. First of all, great roundup of headers. I like them all.

    I think I’ve got to come down on the side of having the picture (if it is at all relevant). Maybe, like in the case of {grow}, as long as you have a pic above the fold it doesn’t necessarily have to be in the header, but I think there’s a decent bit of literature out there that we subconsciously respond to the human face — we’re just hard wired to do so.

    Though about the medical field, this was an interesting study I ran across: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/07/health/07pati.html

    Good stuff Marcus! And I appreciate the huge effort it took to put all these graphics and links together.

    • Adam, wow man, absolutely loved the article. Only wish I had it when I write this!!

      Great talking with you yesterday bud, take care and talk again soon…


  22. Marcus! Thanks buddy for sharing this with us! It’s a very great information!

  23. Change is good, new directions are good right? lol

  24. Who doesn’t love “The Lion”?

    Another excellent lesson on how to share Marcus. The blogs listed here that I haven’t checked out yet are worthy of a look, I’m sure. Thanks for all the extra reading! :)

    Blog design is something I will work on in the coming months. I do agree that a pic is especially important on a personal blog, since I am “the brand”. I would always hope the content would trump any design, but I understand sometimes that would not be the case.

    I like a spare look for my blog, and I read a lot of sites that have simple layouts. May be just a personal preference.

    • Joe, great to hear from you brother, as always. I’m not sure if you read my comment above, but one very, very inexpensive way to get a header with some decent design and your photo is by trying http://www.fiverr.com. Basically, they’re like the internet’s version of the dollar store and for $5, some person in another country with graphic skills can hook you up with something decent. I’ve used this with my clients and had great success.

      Always so grateful for your support my friend,


  25. I always find headers a difficult call – because they take up valuable real estate, so I completely agree that you need to put them to good use. Some headers are just plain awful, but I’m not sure I can think of any right now that I would mark up on a “best in class” list. Maybe I should start paying more attention as it would help me develop my own headers.

    • Hey Clare! Not sure I’ve seen you here before so it’s a pleasure to have you stop by. Thank you!

      Regarding headers, here is a quick a good way in my opinion to judge how effectiveness:

      If someone is not on your site, could they describe to you in detail as to what your header looks like?

      If they can, the branding is there, and that’s what really matters in my opinion.


      • That’s a good challenge – I’ll think of that when designing headers – make them memorable!

  26. Hi, Marcus.

    I am one of those who don’t really care if there is an image on the blog header or not, as long as I get good content. I have always been drawn to Mark Schaefer’s paint splatters and Danny’s humble look, so I can say that with image or not, it didn’t really matter much to me.

    But, looking at the blog headers you featured today, I can see what you mean about using mugs to make your blogs more personable and relate-able, especially if you are using your name as your brand in the first place. I, for one, am unable to have my mug on our c0mpany blog’s header, it had to be a 3D rendering there. But, if I’d have a personal blog in the future, I’d probably make use of my face, too. :)

    Enjoy your week!

  27. Hey Mufasa,
    I love the examples you have here. Danny’s has been a favorite of mine forever – especially his tagline which I think is by far one of the best I’ve seen.

    Men with Pens – I love as well. I find it so sleek and classy in a round-about sort of way. I also like Mitch Joel’s a lot.

    I think Falchetto’s is really representative what he is and does and I just love what Lisa and the Bonsai Boys did with that.

    Anyhow – I could go on and give my take on each (and why I like them – because for the most part I agree with your selection here) but instead I’d like to share a few other headlines which I think are pretty cool. Some are simple or less creative than others but they say something about the blog and the author and that’s what matters most to me when I open a site. Like Ana said – we often only go that far. And as I’ve said many times – unfortunately we sometimes if not most times judge on appearances.

    These are a few more:

    Erika Napoletano from RedHead Writing – I actually love the entire home page and not just the header. Very creative.

    New Biz Blogger (Michele Welch) – it might be a cartoon but it’s pretty cute.
    The Art of Non-Conformity (Chris Guilebeau)
    Dan Zarrella – very simple but represents exactly what Dan is and does.
    Think Traffic (Corbett Barr)
    Social Media Examiner – I have a weakness for that cute little Examiner dude lol
    The Middle Finger Project – I think that one rocks!

    Did I say The Sales Lion yet? Well – I love that one too! :)

    I’m sure I’m missing a lot more but that’s what I can remember for now.

    • Yo pretty lady, loved this….but I’m biased to weird friends with part-time electricity and internet 😉

      Really appreciate you pointing out some of these other bloggers. Erika’s photo of herself in black and white with the red hair bursting out is simply epic.

      In fact, I think I considered adding to this list 4 of the ones you mentioned.. (great minds think alike, ehhh? 😉 )

      ttyl goof ball,


  28. Wow Marcus! Great list you have here… and I agree 100% on all counts. Although many people say you should worry more about your content and the value you provide, and you should, you can’t negate the value of a very good design.

    First impressions do count and it’s in your best interest to put your best foot forward on ALL aspects of your business.

    Awesome. :-)

    • Exactly Michele, first impressions are huge, whether we want to admit them or not. I think often times people say ‘Oh, I don’t pay attention to that’, but in reality they do–just on a subconscious level.

      BTW, your header is great to Michele. I had it in my top 20 as I prepared this list.

      Have a wonderful day and thanks so much for dropping by,


      • Wow Marcus, I truly appreciate that! You’ve just made my day with this comment. 😀

  29. Marcus:

    I am so entirely honored that you like my blog and even decided to feature among such great blogs.

    It touched me; that’s all I can say.


    • That’s kind of you to say Ana, but it’s well deserved. As I mentioned in comments above, your header was literally one of the first I truly noticed when I started blogging and thought ‘wow, that’s awesome’.

      Have a great week!


  30. Thanks much for the inclusion here. Credit goes to Rafal Tomal and the guys at Copyblogger, who do my design.

    • My pleasure Jay, Rafal did an excellent job with it.

      Have a great one, and I’m sure we’ll be running in to each other soon.



  31. BTW you get bonus points for introducing me to some new people, hadn’t read Pam Lawhorne or much Pamela Slim. h/t :-)

    As a designer I get your point Marcus. These show some nice work, graphically. As a marketer and communicator, I think they’re on target for branding, esp. if the blog IS the business or at least, the cornerstone. As a reader and just me… I am with Confucius 2.0, our friend Howie with his cocktails. Here’s why: it’s packaging.

    Don’t misunderstand me, I’m a sucker for pretty wrapping when done well, but it’s the present that I like, the gift of a good read. I like the content well-presented with nice section breaks and maybe some good pictures, but the site’s ‘header’ is not a deal-breaker for me. As I assess an entire blog site, if I see too much promotion all over the place, it’s a turn off. Now I may get to know people better and see past that, but that’s relationship 101.

    Does my blog (and website) need an overhaul? Hell yes. Will it include my smiling mug? Hell to the no. It’s not me, not my style. Which is part 2 of why I’m being contrarian: it’s a one-time impact. I totally like Mitch Joel’s look always have, I like a lot of these… but what keeps me coming back isn’t to look at the site. There are plenty of pretty sites out there but what makes me take notice is A) quality content and B) engaged community which go hand-in-hand. If a site has only A, I am more likely to RT w/out a comment; if it’s B then comment sans RT. Whenever I do get around to my extreme site makeover, I am hoping my blog does both. FWIW.

  32. Great timing as usual my friend. Just the other day I realized I need to change up my blog a bit and now guess what’s going on the list? Yep…a new and improved blog header. Creating a bold header for personal blogs seems so much easier than creating one for a business blog. With a personal blog you can usually add an image of the author and some cool graphics. Would you recommend adding a personal touch even for corporate blogs (ie image of the founder)?

  33. I think Marcus Sheridan of The Sales Lion has a pretty cool header.

    I have to admit that I’m slacking in this department. I’ve been debating sticking my photo into the header for a while now, but have never gotten around to it. I guess I’ll have to put more priority on it than before (especially after Ana’s stat…geez!).

    • Thanks Eugene, I’d like to think it’s cool as well 😉

      Dude, you should give Fiverr a whirl and see if a few designers can come up with something that makes you happier. Heck, $25 bucks will get you 5 completely unique and quality designs.

      Hope you’re doing well brother, thanks so much for making a pit stop over here. 😉


      • Oh yeaaaa….don’t know why I didn’t think of that. I love Fiverr. Greatest invention since soft toilet paper :)

  34. WoW… Thank you Marcus!

    Like most of you, I spend a lot of time working on my site so it feels good to know that others are actually looking at it too! ;o)

    Thanks again for the mention!


    • Hi Pam, a pleasure to meet you :-)

      Great job on your site. You’ve done very well for yourself and your brand. As I’ve already stated, I was very impressed.


      • Thanks Marcus! That means the sleepless night are not in vain! ;o)


        • Yep, they are certainly worth it Pam….You’re doing a wonderful job! (and you have a great smile too 😉 )


  35. I actually got into professional header graphic design for just these reasons — it is SO important to have a header graphic that looks good and evokes a “mood.” And I published a variety of sites and wanted them to look sharper and more, well, stylish.

    I don’t think blog headers need to be fancy, neither do they need to have the person’s photo. But something that sort of evokes a feeling — going back to things like the psychology of texture, shape, and color — is really helpful in building your brand, attracting repeat traffic, and establishing a sense of “fun” with your site.

    Personally, the world of black, red, white, and blue websites with one of those stock photos of a cross-eyed blonde or smarmy looking guy looking at a briefcase full of money, trying to sell you something — can I just say, “KILL THEM ALREADY!” (Kill the sites, that is.) It’s definitely time for people to pretty up their websites and move out of that monochromatic, boring, mode.

    *end rant*

    • I completely agree with your thought here Jennifer in that the header needs to evoke a mood—something that the majority certainly fall short of.

      And regarding those stock photos we see out there– amen to that girl. They’ve got to go!

      Loved this Jennifer and so glad you dropped in to share a little. Please come again :-)


  36. Haven’t really thought about it much, but wanted to create more of a jazzy, easy-going, and artsy feel to mine. I have gotten many compliments on the actual look of my site…but have not taken a poll on it or anything either. I think overall it represents me. But the content is where I want to keep people coming back…Most of my traffic has been from the networking I do and the different mediums I use in regards to promoting my site.

    • I like your goals Kenya. As long as you feel the site is true to who you are and represents your style, that’s what really matters. I think the main problem arises when we simply forget about our imaging though, and thus never quite reach our potential because of the ‘curse of first impressions’.

      Thanks so much for dropping by Kenya, I really do appreciate it. :-)


  37. What a great post Marcus. I always look for the photo of the person if there name is in the URL. i dont know why. I’m also more apt to trust the site if the photo is there.

    I debated putting my photo up on my blog because i thought people would think i was arrogant. But in the end, i used my photo and it feels right to me. It’s goofy, i’m goofy.

    I hope my header doesn’t turn people away.

  38. These are some great examples – I especially like John’s because he lives near me and has visited my studio at times to discuss strategies!

    When I created mine, I set out to have more of a flexible branding so that I could be more dynamic. I didn’t want to super brand myself up there, but allow it to grow as my site did. Chris Brogan said, one of his biggest regrets is branding his site Chris Brogan.

    Thanks for this article!

  39. Wow, great choice.
    I am very glad to see John Falchetto and Danny Brown on your list, they are one of my favorites.

  40. For a blog a header is like the clothes we wear when we meet the world. It DOES say so much about us and, if it catches the eye and has a strong message, it engages, attracts, encourages and intrigues, all in one. It’s the first thing people see and first impressions are everything in business and blogging in such a crowded pool. I once read that when people see a site they instinctively make up their minds whether they like it (or will like it) or not within 3 seconds. Enough said!

  41. I agree, in fact I started out my blog using a theme that allowed through the css a certain format and then I just chose a picture I liked and threw a title on it. I was not happy as it really did not tell a story. My son who is a graphics designer and has a gift for envisioning things came up with a concept that I truly like, but perhaps it may leave people wondering. Since my Blog deals with life and my stories and life issues etc. He cam up with what I now have, many doors to choose from and a person walking through one door. I have also changed the theme to be more clean and easy on the eyes. Now people are coming, returning and enjoying their time with me! Man truly does look on the outward appearance and judgement is dealt swiftly, so make it a good impression!

    Take care and see you soon, love your posts!


  42. Oh this is really good. I never spent much time before thinking about the header but then again I dont blog yet for a long time.
    It is really interesting to see those headers from different blogs and they really are outstanding compared to the average you see everyday.
    This gives me really some ideas towards building up my blog to be more attractive for people

    • Hi Timo, I’m so glad you dropped in to comment here and congrats to you for having started your blog, that’s great. You know, when I first begun my blog I had almost no header at all– just a little bit of text– but since investing in a better image that was attention grabbing it has made a huge difference over all. So good luck with yours and I also hope your blog continues to grow.



  43. Great advice. I think it’s time to radically change the header for the blog that my wife and I run. But exactly how to change it? That’s the million dollar question, especially since I am not the most artistically gifted person in the world.

    • Hey Tony, so glad you stopped by sir. I took a look at your site and I’d suggest you consider integrating an image of you and your wife into the header. You could get a few designed for $5 by simply going to http://www.fiverr.com . I’ve used them before and it’s amazing what you can get for $5. Good luck and thanks for the comment Tony!!


  44. Thanks Marcus. You know, while commenting previously I had exactly the same idea, to use images of both of us in the header. Appreciate the link to fiver.com. $5 is well worth spending to get a more professional banner than I am likely to create.

    • You’re very welcome Tony. I’d suggest you hire 3 different designers on Fiverr. That way, you get more options, but you’ve still only spent $15, which is laughable.

      Good luck!


  45. Hey Marcus,

    What a great article with links to some blogs I hadn’t yet discovered. There are some great headers there – I particularly like the ones that have links to the various social networks as part of the design.

    I need to head to Fiverr and brush up on my HTML skills to get my header updated. I’ve got some vacant space on the right hand side that I need to do something with.

    Thanks again.


    • Hey Allan, so glad you got some ideas out of this my friend. And please do head on over to Fiverr and hire a few designers. It’s so easy and cheap, it should practically be illegal. 😉

      Good luck and I hope to see you around these parts more often.


  46. Thanks for this helpful and inspiring post! It’s hard for me to figure out what works & doesn’t work in a blog header, and these are some great examples. I think Adam Baker’s is my favorite — of course, it doesn’t hurt to have an adorable baby in the picture as well as a rugged male. :-)

    • Hahaha Caroline, yeah, adorable babies sure help. Heck, that’s why I always show mine! 😉


  47. I’ve got to say that one of the things I love AND hate the most is my header image. Honestly. I have a graphic design background and even some award-winning artist days behind me, but put me in charge of a header and suddenly I feel completely not-up-to-the-task. That said, I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback on mine, but I’ve had to play with it, and will continue to play with it as my site continues to grow and develop.

    I love the discussion about a professional site header, though, since that is a project in the works for me. I still have a ways to go on this header before I don’t cringe when I see it (I’m one of *those* perfectionist folks! LOL) but I already knew I wanted something cleaner and more direct for my professional site when I complete it. I anticipated using a photo in it when I begin design work in the next month.

    I have to say, I am SO glad to have stumbled onto your site – I LOVE the community you have building here, and the great posts! I’ve added you to my must-revisit list. :-)

  48. Nice article. I agree headers add to the aesthetics of the website, but what makes a blog a good blog is its content. If it gives good information to it’s readers they will come back if not they will not come solely for the excellent header

    • I am totally agree with you George. Content is always consider as a king and blog design is also important. I have tried so many design with my blog but no one able to engage my reader as my content do.

  49. Hi Marcus,

    Great post & amazing how much debate it has sparked. It was nice to see the Traffic Generation Cafe’s header among the selection you made, I’d agree this is a great example. At the end of the day though it’s probably Ana’s professionalism and great content that makes me return to her blog rather than the header – even though I love the coffee cup (I love tea personally so a nice cup of tea would have been even better but perhaps that’s a UK thing ;-)).

    After reading through all of the comments I’m still 50/50. So far our site has been a bit of an experiment and rather anonymous – more of a meandering jhourney as I learn just how vast the IM world is. One thing I have decided though is that we need to add more personality – i.e. ourselves (there are two of us) into our site so people know who they are talking to – probably a really big mistake not to have done this from the start but we live and learn. In the end I think we’ll probably have a team/about us/bio page something like that, not in the header.

    Great to hear all of the different opinions and hats off to you for provoking such a good dialogue with your post,

    take care & best wishes,
    Alan (aka LTGMOnkey)

  50. Pat Flynn is the only blogger of these I’ve read. And I have to say that was awesome experience.

  51. So crazy coming across a website header I designed a few years ago when I first started designing headers. It’s the Pam Lawhorne, The Social Maven header. Looking at it now, it could do with a retouch but I’m proud that you thought it was good enough to put in your collection. You can check out my recent designs here – http://headervalley.com/

    Thank you


  52. Interesting post. Indeed header’s are the doorway to your content. Keep it great and you’re surely going to attract readers. Ensure your content is equally good!

    Great ideas! Thanks for sharing.

  53. I blog quite often and I genuinely appreciate your content.

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  54. Really very creatively design a Internet blog header. I so impress with your blog and definitely if we design perfectly our site header so, it is good for our website.

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