purple flowers and a glass of wine on a table in the sun

My blog might be shutting down: here’s what I’m doing to save it…

Up until last week, I wasn’t hugely worried about AI; or I was, but in a vague, Scarlett O’Hara-ish, I’ll think about that tomorrow kind of way. So, I knew it was coming, and I knew it was something I should probably be worrying about, but maybe not THAT much, really, because here’s what Google’s Bard came up with when my husband asked it to write a few paragraphs about me, out of sheer curiosity:

Inaccurate information from Google Bard

It’s a bit like that “Two Truths and a Lie” game Terry’s always trying to get people to play, only in this case it’s more like “One and a-Half Truths and a Whole Lot of LOLs.” So, the first and last points are correct (The last one being the half truth: I would no longer describe myself as a ‘shoe addict’ but that does sound like something I’d have said a few years ago, so I’ll let it go), but… a keen cook and baker? FOOTBALL? FOOTBALL, people?!

For the record, I can’t stand football — or ANY kind of sport, really. I do not give a single shiny shit about Hibernian Football Club, and am pretty sure this is the first time I’ve ever mentioned them ANYWHERE on the Internet; or even thought about them, for that matter. My lack of interest in cooking and baking is legendary amongst my friends and family, and although I do love to travel, I can only dream of visiting 50 countries, so no idea where it got that idea from, either.

(I mean, I obviously AM “a talented and successful woman who is making a positive impact upon the world,” yadda yadda yadda, but we didn’t need an AI to tell us THAT, and, honestly, it was just cruel of Terry and my parents to roll around on the floor laughing when they read that bit. I don’t know why they thought that was funny? AHEM.)

So, I wasn’t all that worried about AI, then. I figured that if it was going to be a threat to me it was probably not going to happen until some distant point in the future — and then last week, Google announced a change to their search engine, and, WHAM, the future was HERE. And, just as we’d all feared, it was, indeed, filled with scary robots, come to steal our jobs and shut down our blogs.

And, okay, NOW I’m scared.

Here comes a boring, vaguely techy bit that you can just scroll past if you like…

Until now, any time you typed something into the Google search, Google would respond with a list of websites it figured might contain the answer you were looking for. Last week, however, they announced an update which means that, at some point in the near future, when you type a query into Google, you’ll get an AI generated answer, instead. Like this:

generative AI results on Google search

So, they’ve basically eliminated the need to visit an actual website, in other words. Which is very, very bad news for those of us with content-based websites — like blogs, for instance — because if no one ever visits our websites, then it’s no longer possible for those websites to survive. It’s as simple as that.

And, of course, it’s not quite as bleak as all that. There are still normal search results underneath this huge, AI-generated response, and there are some (presumably paid) links in the top corner. I’m sure some people will choose to scroll past the AI bit and click on the links underneath (especially if the results are as accurate as the example above…), but a lot won’t. That much is certain.

The figure I keep seeing being bandied around in this discussion is that most publishers can expect to see a drop in traffic of around 50% once this change kicks in. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if it was even more that, but even if it is “only” 50%, losing that much traffic literally overnight will be enough to put many publishers out of business and force them to shutter their sites altogether.

And that’s the situation we’re currently facing.

I should probably add here that this is all conjecture so far. Until it happens, we don’t know for sure exactly how this change will play out for the blogging/content industry. One thing I do know, however, is that, even without this potential spanner in the works, my blog has been struggling for a while now; to the extent that, a couple of years ago, I was forced to start taking on ghostwriting work, and then switch to writing my own books, in order to supplement my income.

I also know that, quite simply, my site will not survive a 50% drop in traffic. It’s already close to the point where it will start costing me more than it makes, and when we reach that point, it’s goodnight Forever Amber, basically.

For the last year or so, I’ve been doing as much as I can to avoid this happening. I know the lack of new content makes it seem like I’ve just let it go, but I’ve actually been working really hard (Or as hard as I can in the very limited time available to me these days) in the background to try to turn things around, by working on the posts in the archive, which is where most of my traffic comes from.

The fact is, there used to be a time when people would read blogs by bookmarking the homepage and visiting every day or so to check for new posts, or by subscribing in a reader of some kind (RIP, Google Reader: gone, but never forgotten…), but those days are long gone, sadly. Nowadays, around 95% of my traffic comes from people typing things like “how to walk in high heels” or “how to sleep in rollers” into Google, and landing on the posts I’ve written on those topics. So I’ve been doing my best to improve those older posts, so they bring in more traffic and therefore more revenue; but now it seems all of those efforts have been in vain, because no matter how good my content is, Google isn’t going to show it to people when it can show them an AI generated answer instead.

Sucks, huh?

I’ll be honest: I’m pretty gutted by all of this.

As some of you know, I launched my blog back in 2006, and it’s been a huge part of my life — not to mention a huge part of my income — ever since. My blog has documented the last 17 years of my life: from my wedding and honeymoon, through numerous house floods and other catastrophes, all the way to my pregnancy with Max, and those first few weeks of parenthood. There’s been random acts of stupidity, a couple of unfortunate eyelash incidents, and even an international man of mystery.

More importantly, the blog has been a huge source of comfort and support to me through my miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy, plus the loss of our dog, Rubin, and Terry’s lovely mum.

Through all of this, the blog has been there for me. I thought it always would be there for me, and the thought that soon it might not be has been… well, it’s been a LOT, let’s just put it that way. A LOT.

But it’s not all bad news. I mean, it IS overwhelmingly bad news, obviously: let’s not kid ourselves here. But with every change comes an opportunity, and that’s how I’m trying to look at this for now. For one thing, this is still, as I said, mostly conjecture. Until it happens, we have no way of knowing how this Google update will shake out, and, who knows — maybe it won’t be as bad as people suspect?

If the worst case scenario does come to pass, though, while it’ll be very bad news for me and my bank balance, I guess the upside is that it will potentially make the websites that do survive a lot more interesting again. Because the posts that bring in the most traffic/revenue to my blog might be the ‘how to’ guides and the product reviews, but those aren’t the posts I most enjoy writing. No, I much prefer writing long, rambling stories about growing up as the ‘Ugly Friend’, or my parents’ ‘Goodie Bowl’: and, let’s face it: no one likes reading or writing sponsored posts, now, do they?

If Google do replace search with AI, though, all of those ‘how to’ guides and product reviews will become obsolete overnight, and sponsored posts will be significantly less profitable. This is all kinds of catastrophic financially, but I do hold out a tiny bit of hope — and it’s a VERY tiny bit of hope — that all of this could herald a return of sorts to the “good old days”, when blogs were just records of people’s lives, or collections of interesting stories, and you didn’t have to scroll past tons of ugly ads to actually read them.

I’d love to be able to go back to that old-style of blogging again; but, with all of that said, I have to face the reality that keeping a blog running, even as a hobby, costs both time and money — and the time investment in particular is one I just can’t afford any more unless I can at least cover my costs.

So, here’s my plan…

First of all, I’m going to keep the blog online for as long as I possibly can.

I’m even going to do my best to start updating it more regularly again — because you better believe I will not go down without a fight.

In order to try to make it possible for me to do that, though, I’m also going to be cross-posting all of my new posts — and re-sharing some of the older ones — on my Substack newsletter from now on.


For those of you who haven’t heard of it, Substack is a newsletter platform. I actually signed up for it late last year, but it’s only been in the last couple of months that I’ve been taking it more seriously, and starting to explore its possibilities. For me, the beauty of Substack is that it’s aimed at writers, rather than “influencers”. It’s not without its drawbacks, obviously, but, so far, it’s the closest thing I’ve found to Livejournal/OG blogging, and I’m really excited about it.

If you’re reading this post in your email, you’re already signed up to the newsletter, and don’t need to do anything else (Although if you would consider upgrading to a paid subscription, I’ll love you forever: more on that in a moment…). If you’re reading on the blog, meanwhile, you can use the from below to subscribe, and start receiving all of my new posts (With the exception of any sponsored ones) direct to your email.

Substack also has a paid option, which I know a lot of people are not going to like (And trust me, I get it: I don’t like having to ask people to pay any more than you like doing it…), but which will give you access to exclusive, subscriber-only content, plus the right to request a post via my Subscriber Chat.

Ultimately, this is currently the best way to support the writers and other creators whose work you enjoy, and to allow them to continue producing content; so even if you don’t want to subscribe to my newsletter in particular, you might want to take a look and see if there’s anything else that takes your fancy — there’s a lot of great stuff over there, and I think we’ll start seeing even more writers migrating to Substack once Google’s changes start to kick in.


Yeah, yeah, I know: I ‘quit’ Instagram a few weeks ago, and now here I am talking about it yet again. In all honesty, I haven’t really missed it while I’ve been gone, but needs must, and if the blog does disappear, I’d like to have at least one place I can connect with the people who aren’t into Substack.

You can follow me here, and, just to make it interesting, if you can all get me to 20,000 followers, I’ll go live to say thank you in person, answer questions, and do whatever it is that people do on Instagram lives. (I just REALLY hope it isn’t singing. I’m terrible at singing…)

(Yes, I’m saying this safe in the knowledge that I will NEVER get to 20,000 followers over there, so I’ll most likely never have to follow through on this promise. You got me there…)


My TikTok account is a place of tumbleweed and despair (With the exception of that one video about my eyelashes that randomly got 50,000 views, and a bunch of comments from people telling me the eyelashes weren’t that bad, and it was just a fuss about nothing. Weird place, TikTok.), but I haven’t started hating TikTok the way I hate other social media platforms yet, so who knows, maybe it’ll be fun? I mean, probably not, obviously, but we can but try, right?

You need to have 1,000 followers to be able to go live over there, so help me get to that number, and I’ll see what I can do. (No dancing, though. I have my limits…)

Twitter & Facebook

I hesitate to even mention Twitter because I’m normally too scared to post anything there, and ever since Elon took my blue tick away, no one sees what I do post anyway. But I do normally post links to things I’ve written there, so if/when the blog does disappear, it’s another place you can follow me — as is my Facebook page, which you can find here.

And I think that’s it.

This is a really long post, and, honestly, it’s a post I hoped I’d never have to write. I had this stupid idea that my blog would just stick around forever, basically, and would document (almost) my entire adult life; I even had visions of Max’s grandchildren reading it one day, and being able to get an insight into what life was like back in the “olden days”, while simultaneously scratching their heads and thinking, “But how DID they manage to flood their house THAT many times?”

More than that, though, I know there are people who still check in here every one in a while who’ve been reading my blog since the very start. Those people are also known as “my heroes”, and I didn’t want to just suddenly disappear on them without at least an explanation.

I’m very aware that, even without Google’s proposed changes, the internet has changed immeasurably since 2006, when I first decided to move from Livejoural to Typepad, and that there isn’t the same appetite for personal blogging as there once was. If you’ve stuck around for even part of my journey here, then,I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping make it possible for me to do this for such a long time. I’m going to do everything I can to try to stick around a little bit longer, but if I can’t make that happen, I hope at least a few of you will continue to read on some of the other platforms I’ve mentioned.

And if not, then hey: I guess 17 years is a pretty good innings…

P.S. I write a weekly diary which goes out every Friday to my subscribers. Sign up below to get on the list...

I also write books
  • Hayley


    Would be sad to not have Forever Amber to come check out, but I’ll keep up with you on your other platforms!

    May 15, 2023
    • Erin


      Big same. I read all of your posts, Amber! Even if I don’t always comment and we have very different lifestyles. I’d be sad to see it go.

      May 17, 2023
  • Lori


    It’s scary to think that your head is already in this space when I think of you as a blogger that made it. I have a small blog that I’ve been trying to reach 50K sessions forever (was on the cusp of 25K when covid hit & then Medavine changed everything!! 🙁 ), so the thought of all this just makes me sad. I keep putting my head in the sand, but also trying to think of what to do fast to recover what feels like already small hits here and there with the Google updates over the last 6 months and of course ChatGBT :(…all I can say is, I love your content, style & everything. I found comfort in your posts when I first moved to the UK (back in the US now – also, thank you covid), and an inspiration to start my own. Please keep writing!!!! I (and I think everyone else who comes here) love ya!

    p.s. I tell all my Scottish friends in America to follow you x

    May 15, 2023
  • Caroline


    This makes me so sad, as you are such a huge part of the blogging chapter of my own life- I know I rarely even check in these days but I still stop by occasionally when 4 kids give me a minute to myself. I hope you’ll find a way to make it work. Everything crossed for you Amber! X

    May 15, 2023
  • Lynn Jones


    No, still reading and stubbornly refusing to jump ship to a social media platform. Sure, you pay to host your content and, yes, at some point WordPress will change…. But, at least the content is yours and you’ve some say in layout, advertising, etc.

    So far, AI appears a little off and I’m not sure it’s quite got the truthfulness right. Let alone the idea of a person writing, growing, and changing as we go through life. Singleton, marriage, maybe kids, middle age, etc and all the cool stuff that happens along the way.

    May 15, 2023
  • Skimpy


    You’re one of the few bloggers I still read, many of them having either disappeared or gone uninteresting. I still regularly check for new posts, as I think you have a very special writing skill, and a quirky sense of humour I rarely find online. I would sure miss you and your blog. But as you say, times are changing. I’m sure you’ll find a way to bounce back. All my best and greetings from France.

    May 15, 2023
  • Louise


    That’s horrible. I feel like I’ve been following your blog for a good proportion of my life, I hope it’s all speculation and your traffic doesn’t drop. Xx

    May 16, 2023
  • Laura


    The tech bros, out there, ruining things for us again 😤. I love reading your posts, they meant a lot to me during the lonely early months of motherhood (expressing and feeding through the night). I hope this doesn’t come to pass. Those large language model AIs like chatGPT are cannabilising the work of writers like you, without compensating you for the use of your work. Don’t know what they think they’re going to train their AI’s on if all the human writers go out of business and don’t post online anymore 🤔.

    May 16, 2023
  • Fiona


    I truly hope you’re able to keep your blog! I stumbled upon it by accident in 2007, and have loved reading your writing through all my own life changes over the years.

    May 17, 2023
  • Annika


    I have been checking in and reading regularly for years but when you started posting less i checked in less. I would love to read more again but understand that it takes a lot of time for you. I hope you will find a way forward. Greetings from Sweden 🙂

    May 17, 2023
  • Fiona B


    I used to be one of those blog followers – checking each of my favourites every few days, then using a blog feed thing.
    And then one by one most of my favourite bloggers either: stopped blogging, started exclusively vlogging, or their blogs became 90% sponsored posts… then the blog feed (I’ve forgotten which one it was) shut down.
    So now I really just follow you, via Facebook and patreon.
    I may have just done something dumb, though. I upgraded to the paid sub stack to finish reading the post about The Kids, then scrolled further down my emails and found the whole post via patreon. Have I just signed up to get the same content via two sites? 😂 I really need to pay attention more.

    May 18, 2023
  • Jacqueline


    I don’t do Facebook, Instagram, twitter etc, but I do like reading blogs. Your one is funny, informative and makes me relieved that I’m not the only one who doesn’t like football etc. I will continue to read actual people’s blogs for as long as I can

    May 19, 2023
  • ML


    AI has the potential to change many things, but it can’t mimic the personal connection, emotion, and humor that people bring to their writing. I’ve so enjoyed following your blog (through The Old Reader) and & your posts on IG as well (I’ll add FB too). I do follow another novelist on Substack and that seems to be a good way to connect as well. I hope that AI, like many new technologies, will just become another element in the tech landscape and will eventually fade into the background.

    May 19, 2023
  • Anca


    I read your blog since the days of circle skirts and vintage style looks. I also read shoeperwoman when it was alive.
    I remember your wall of shoes. By the way I see platforms are making a comeback on heels, so it means I have gotten old.
    Most of the bloggers I used to follow have stopped writing , updating their free and patreon content so rarely, then disappearing. I would be sad to see your blog go away. Your style of writing is so funny and personal. I read your books as well, and I am so old around here that I one scene in the accidental impostor sounded to me like it could have been inspired by one of your stories when you were walking in Vivienne Westwood ballet flats in a field.
    I like reading blogs, I’m sad that me clicking and watching is not enough 🙁
    Some of my favorite content creators on youtube are facing challenges with the algorithm and the influx of shorts.
    I hope as well that blogging will return to storytelling rather that informational stuff, stories are the stuff that glues us together, right?

    May 21, 2023
  • Steffi


    Honestly, your blog is the only one I still read and am subscribed to. I originally came for the fashion posts, and even though your journey of raising a child is far away from the life I lead, I’ve stuck around because I enjoy your writing and the humor that is always present in your posts. I would be sad to see this blog go but I wouldn’t blame you if you ultimately decided to let it go. I’m also a Writer of Books™ and there are only so many hours in the day, and you have to prioritise what generates income, and what doesn’t.

    The Google thing sounds creepy though. Ew.

    May 21, 2023
  • Alvina


    This isn’t very constructive okay but: it’s so unfair!! Argh.
    I’m the same than most of the readers who previously commented, I got so much influence from you. I always come back because “I know Amber wrote something about this too and what was the brand of that skirt again”. You’re a beacon!
    This wouldn’t be okay to see your content go, and if really things are going that bad, there might be a way to save it. I’m sure it’ll be passed on to your grand-children 🙂

    May 22, 2023
  • Amy


    Your blog is a definitely one of my favourites and I would be very sad to see you go. I appreciate all the effort your putting in to keep going and I hope AI doesn’t pan out the way everyone seem to think it will. Hang in there!

    May 22, 2023
  • Miss Kitty


    I for one, will be stubbornly still visiting websites, not relying on Google AI information. The fact that it scrapes information from other websites, and doesn’t credit them, means you have no idea where it got the information or how accurate it is. It means that disinformation is about to become even worse, just when you thought it couldn’t get worse. I like to know where my information is coming from! And I will be really disappointed if blogs like yours start closing down. I don’t often comment, but I read all your posts. And now that I have my own baby girl, I went back and reread all your baby posts the other day, and can appreciate them in a whole new light!

    May 23, 2023
  • Erika


    The blogging world sure has changed, but I am still a loyal follower from way way back. I will keep reading for as long as you post. Your blog is one of my absolute favorites and I love that you have kept it up all this time.

    June 11, 2023
  • Charlotte


    I may be late to this post, but as an 18 year old who found your blog when I searched up makeup for redheads, I dont think blogs are going out of style tbh, other people my age still read blogs, go on tumblr and other “outdated” things a lot of people predict are going to fail. You probably dont want advice from a young whipersnapper like me, but if I could give one piece of advice ig it would be make blog posts that would pop up on google search? Thats how I found your blog, and other blogs too, on the google, like titles that answer questions and talk about things? you probably already do that but Ive noticed that I find most of my websites that way, and then i look at the rest of their posts and become a regular reader! So yeah personally I love your blog even though Im like 30 years youngef than you, nonmarried, no kids, in America, I find it delightful!

    September 30, 2023