lessons from the blogs that failed

What I Learned from the Blogs That Failed

I don’t tend to talk about this much, but I have no less than 5 failed blogs to my name.

I’ll just let that sink in for a moment, shall I?

Over the years I’ve started – and then ditched –  blogs about:

[icon size=”18″ icon=”icon-circle-outline” display=”true” ][/icon] Wedddings

[icon size=”18″ icon=”icon-circle-outline” display=”true” ][/icon]  Makeup

[icon size=”18″ icon=”icon-circle-outline” display=”true” ][/icon]  Freelance writing

[icon size=”18″ icon=”icon-circle-outline” display=”true” ][/icon]  Reality TV (specifically Big Brother, which I used to watch, back in the day. Yes, really.)

[icon size=”18″ icon=”icon-circle-outline” display=”true” ][/icon]  My dog. Again, yes, really.

I even toyed with the idea of starting a blog recapping episodes of Neighbours, but then I was like, “Seriously, Amber: have you learned NOTHING from starting up, and then closing down, five different blogs? Nothing at all?”

Well, as it happens, I HAVE learned a few things from all of those attempts at blogging. And while it would be easy to look at all of those attempts as abject failures – a complete waste of my time and money – those lessons have helped me get where I am today: blogging from the deck of my yacht in Cannes, while the butler opens another bottle of champagne, and… no, wait, that’s my IMAGINARY life I’m thinking of, isn’t it? In my real life, I’m writing this from my bedroom, and I’m pretty sure that mug of coffee by my side has gone cold now: oh, the humanity!

I might not be living the dream, then, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t learned a few lessons along the way. Here’s what I learned from the blogs that failed…

What failure taught me about blogging success: what I learned from running four failed blogs, before finally coming up with a formula that works
From my failed wedding blog

… I learned that it’s a mistake to start a blog based around one fleeting moment of your life. When I started it, I had just booked my wedding, and thought it would be the easiest thing in the world to write about wedding dresses, floral arrangements, and all of the other stuff you become interested in when you go full Bridezilla.

Interestingly, though (and somewhat surprisingly, to everyone who knew me), I DIDN’T go full Bridezilla. Actually, I discovered I really wasn’t all that interested in weddings, other than my own – and even that interest wasn’t going to sustain me through a long and fruitful blogging career, was it? It’s not like once you’re married, you just keep on looking at wedding venues and pricing photography packages, after all: or, at least, I didn’t, so it was a mistake to start a blog based on an interest that was only ever going to be a temporary one – it meant the blog could only ever be a temporary one, too.

From my failed beauty blog

… I learned that you can’t expect people to keep on following your blog, when you only update it once every few weeks, before switching back to radio silence again. This blog actually did pretty well when it first started, and it had the potential to do even better, but the fact was, I just didn’t have the time for it. I was already running two other blogs when I launched it, and I soon added a third: no matter how good my intentions were, I never seemed to find the time to keep the beauty blog updated, and its readers soon got pretty sick of the intermittent updates – a fact that some of them didn’t hesitate to tell me.

I gave it up when I realised I was never going to be able to commit myself to it fully, and that those intermittent updates were all I was ever going to be able to do. I transferred most of the posts over to Forever Amber (I got complaints about that too, which really surprised me, because I honestly didn’t think anyone was reading it at that point!), where, as you know, I still blog about beauty, but on an occasional basis, which means the intermittent nature of the posts don’t really matter.

it's not really a lifestyle blog unless there's a photo of a succulent on it somewhere...From my failed freelance writing blog…

… I learned that you really have to be able to bring something new (or at least new-ish) to the party, if you want a blog to succeed. When I started that blog, I was still freelancing myself, so it seemed like a natural subject for me to write about. What I didn’t stop to consider, however, was that there were already tons of blogs covering the subject of freelance writing – and rather than putting my own twist on the subject, I just did the same thing everyone else was doing, because I assumed that was what I was “supposed” to do.

Er, think again, Amber. Why, after all, would someone read MY blog about freelancing, when they could get exactly the same information elsewhere? They wouldn’t obviously: so that was that. The thing is, though, if I’d really thought about it, I’m sure I could have come up with some way to set my blog apart from all of the other ones on the same subject: I didn’t bother trying, though, and so another blog failed. Sob!

From my failed reality TV blog…

… I learned not to just jump into a new project without stopping to think it through first.

Now, the fact is, I’m not particularly interested in reality TV. (Other than the Kardashians, obviously, and that’s mostly because I’m fascinated by their closets. That sounded weird, didn’t it?) I’d been asked to write Big Brother re-caps, though, for one of my clients at the time, and I found I quite enjoyed it. The incident I wrote about in this post, however, left such a bad taste in my mouth that I quit the job. I didn’t really want to quit writing about Big Brother, though, so when the next season started, I quickly threw together my own blog, and started writing about it there.

The problem with that? The next season wasn’t quite as interesting as the previous one had been, and I think by then my brief fascination with watching a bunch of strangers sit around arguing with each other, had burnt itself out. Also, I’ll be honest: I mostly started this blog because we’d managed to buy a great domain name (As a web designer, Terry is always picking up domain names…), and it seemed like a shame to waste it.

It was ALSO a waste (of time) to force myself to write about something I wasn’t really interested in, though, and the relentless schedule of daily re-caps, plus updates whenever something interesting happened (This was back in the days when Big Brother was a pretty big deal, and the contestants were always on the news, or going on to have showbiz careers or whatever), soon started to feel like a chore. And another blog bit the dust!

basic-blogger flatlay, complete with obligatory succulent, and random makeup itemsFrom my failed dog blog

… I learned that no matter how much you love doing something, it doesn’t mean it’s going to work.

So, yeah, I had a blog about my dog. In fact, it wasn’t so much ABOUT my dog, as it was WRITTEN by my dog. (The posts all still exist, actually: you can see them here, if you particularly want to…)  This one actually got really good feedback from the people who read it: the problem was that there just weren’t very many people reading it: I guess the market for blogs written by bichon frise’s (YES, HE TOTALLY WROTE IT HIMSELF) just isn’t that large: who knew?

Ultimately, then, although the blog had a small but loyal following, it was unfortunately too small to justify the hosting fees, domain name, and, of course, the time spent maintaining it: by this stage I had at least three other blogs to take care of too, and it was all just too much. As with my beauty blog, I decided to merge it with Forever Amber: I’d originally intended to keep writing the occasional post – er, I mean to get RUBIN to write the occasional post – but it turns out there’s only so much a small dog has to say for himself, and the posts I did write didn’t get much of a response, so it fizzled out.

To this day, though, I still get comments from people telling me the blog written by dog was better than ALL my other blogs combined, and that’s both flattering and kinda depressing. But anyway!

I filled up this "goals" notebook ages ago, but I keep it around purely because it looks cute...From all of those blogs…

… I learned that one blog is more than enough for anyone. I realise that probably sounds a bit rich coming from someone who currently has three of the things, but seriously: one is more than enough, and not realising that sooner is definitely my biggest blogging regret. I know lots of people who cope just fine with multiple blogs, but for me, it’s been pretty challenging trying to stay on top of everything (and no, merging those ones into this one, as I did with some of the others, just isn’t an option, unfortunately: it only worked in those cases because the traffic /revenue from the failed blogs wasn’t significant enough to matter…), and I’m always left with the feeling that there’s something else I should be doing.

At least I did learn some lessons, though, huh?



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  • Thanks for sharing this! Sometimes successful blogs seem so effortless (which isn’t a bad thing), but it just seems so much more relatable when you know there was some struggle. Which is the main reason why I like your blog, you seem like a real person. But I am going to have to check out those dog posts, cause that is hilarious. I love gifs and videos from a cats perspective (the ennui one specifically).

    June 16, 2016
  • Haha, I couldn’t imagine you being a Big Brother fan! I’m ashamed to say I’ve been watching this season and I’m excited for tonights eviction. Oh dear.

    I loved this post! I have to say I do love the Rubin blogs. They always made me laugh, you should do more if Rubin can think of any more topics. I’ve tried many things and failed, but I guess it’s part of finding out what works for us, right?

    A post about Fred could be interesting, too.

    Have a lovely weekend,
    Corinne x

    June 17, 2016
  • Aliona


    In love with your page girl. Would love to connect with you, check out my latest London lookbook!
    Kisses xo | From Aliona With Love

    Instagram @alionawithlove
    Twitter @alionawithlove

    June 18, 2016
  • Hey Great sharing.
    Love the honesty in every part.

    June 29, 2016
  • Of course as long as you know what your mistakes are and learn from them (which is easier said than done!) – that’s what matters! And I used to love the Kardashian (am I even spelling it right?). It used to be on on the TV in the gym (I didn’t have a working TV at home) and I honestly got through 40 minutes of gym a day thanks to that show! So I will never diss it! I don’t want to be egged but honestly, I was very impressed with how family oriented they are – which was definitely not my general impression of American culture. Happy to have found your blog.


    July 5, 2016
  • I’ve learned so much reading this. My blog is really new and reading your posts have inspired me to make my posts even better. I think the more you try you can gage what the readers flock to liking. Keep up the great work.

    May 3, 2017