One of the best things you can do if you want to take your blog to the next level is to study and learn from the pros: seasoned bloggers who have been around since blogging began, have built their blogs and following from the ground up, and are still successful to this day.
Amber McNaught is definitely one of those people. She's been blogging since as far back as 2006, when blogging was in its very early stages. Not only that, but her blog has been her full-time job and sole source of income for the past several years. I've wanted to purchase her book, My Blogging Secrets, for quite a while - and now I have, I'm kicking myself for not buying it sooner.
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I've been following Amber's blog, Forever Amber, for a few years now and really enjoy her writing. She has such a distinctive style that if someone gave me one of her blog posts to read without telling me who'd written it, I'd know it was hers.
There's also something about the rhythm of her writing which is almost hypnotic - I've often been so engrossed in one of her 2000-word posts that I'm surprised when I get to the end, and I found the same was true with My Blogging Secrets. I devoured it in one sitting on a Sunday afternoon (and it's not short; it has 169 pages full of text) and was left on a high, feeling motivated and powerful, and ready to put much more effort into my blogging endeavours.
[Caution: this book may make you want to quit your job immediately and spend your days chasing the full-time blogger dream. I wouldn't recommend that just yet, though].
In this book, Amber spills the 'secrets' to her blogging success: how her blog took off, how she turned it into a business, how she manages to create fresh content every day and how she monetises her site, to name a few. There's also an insightful list of things she didn't do in the beginning, but wishes she had, as well as mistakes she's made along the way.
This is definitely not another generic 'how to start a blog' guide - in fact, Amber doesn't even tell you how to set up your blog; she trusts that, having bought this book, you already have one.
Reading this feels like having a catch-up with an old friend (especially if you already read Amber's blog) and is not only full of useful advice on how to grow your website, but also a healthy dose of realism: she repeats over and over again how it's not as easy as you think and if you believe otherwise, you're going to be disappointed. She'll also give you some possible reasons as to why your blog might not be growing and tell you how to know if blogging isn't for you, after all. You won't be under any illusions after you've read this, believe me.
One thing that surprised me was that, while Pinterest is Amber's biggest referrer for blog traffic, she doesn't mention it at all until page 80 and only goes into detail on page 106 ('How I Got Half a Million Followers On Pinterest'). Since I've personally experienced just how effective Pinterest can be for driving traffic to a site, I was surprised it wasn't talked about earlier in the book. She also mentions that she uses a pin scheduling service called Boardbooster, which, since the book was published, has been shut down - however, an amazing alternative that most bloggers use nowadays is Tailwind.
My Blogging Secrets is a no-nonsense guide to running a successful blog as a business. It effortlessly mixes humour with sensible advice, personal stories and tough love and will leave you feeling like you might actually be able to take your blog somewhere - if you just put in a little effort.
If you want to make 2020 the most successful year yet for your blog, I highly suggest you buy this book - and I hope Amber writes a follow-up soon.
You can purchase My Blogging Secrets by Amber McNaught here:
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