Aussie in France celebrates its first birthday

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Thursday 11th October 2012 was my first blog anniversary. It was also the last day of my holidays in Australia and there was no time to write a post. I can’t believe the year has gone so fast. The idea of having a blog came from my son Leonardo just before he left France a year ago to live and work in Australia. We were talking about his motivations for going there and I told him that I, too, needed something new to challenge me. So he asked me what I wanted to do.

“Well, you know I’ve always wanted to write a book about my life in Australia and my interest in wine, mushrooms and cycling”. “Then write a blog!” “Ah yes, but you can’t make money blogging.” “Yes, you can, I’ll give you some of the files from an on-line marketing course I’ve been doing”. And he proceeded to set up the blog for me. We chose WordPress as a template because it seemed to correspond to what I was looking for.

Then I had to decide on a name. We brainstormed a bit and came up with Aussie in Paris, but I thought it might be too restrictive, particularly after Relationnel retires, so we checked the availability of www.aussieinfrance.com and then registered the domain name. Leonardo showed me a few of the basics (he’s an IT man) and then I was on my own ! But I knew I could call on him if I needed help.

I started reading the training documents and defined my readership – Australians interested in an insider’s view of France and advice on visiting France and other European countries. I decided to use pseudonyms for the family to protect their privacy and mine, particularly as I was still lecturing part-time at the university. “Fraussie”, of course, is a contraction of French and Aussie and Grouet is the neighbourhood in Blois where we had just bought a house. Had I known then that it was called Closerie Falaiseau, I would have chosen Fraussie Falaiseau!

 

Blogging opened up a whole new world that I wasn’t expecting. Not only was I able to use my creative energy at last (writing original pieces rather than translating other people’s documents) , but it introduced me to other bloggers and their blogs. One of the first bloggers, whom I met at a tweet-up, was another Aussie in France whom I discovered when googling my own blog. Andrea, from Western Australia, had written an earlier blog with the same name, followed by the extension blogspot but had moved onto Destination Europe and now Rearview Mirror, so didn’t mind my having the same name. “Great minds think alike” was her generous response!

I met Carina from Carams at the same tweet-up and we discovered that she and my father come from the same tiny corner of northern New South Wales. Kathy from Femmes Francophiles who lives in Adelaide started corresponding with me and My French Life asked if I’d do a monthly post. That led to meeting Mary Kay from Out and About in Paris and Abby from Paris Weekender. To get to know them all better, I organised my first bloggers’ breakfast. The first, but not the last.

Friends ask me how much time I spend on the blog. A post usually takes about an hour to an hour and a half, depending on how many photos there are or how much research is required. Promotion on twitter and facebook doesn’t take more than a couple of minutes. I do of course spend time reading and what other bloggers have to say and writing comments. That inspired me to take excerpts from three other blogs once a week to give readers other insights into life in France and information on other places they want to visit. I have about twenty regulars on my list and I really appreciate the fact that they let me quote their blogs.

I’m now writing 5 posts a week (when I’m not in Australia!), including Wednesday’s bloggers’ round-up and Monday’s Photos. Readership is steadily increasing with over 17,000 visits during the year for a total of 11,500 people. The most popular posts are Five Places to have Lunch near the Louvre and 3 Iphone Apps for Paris and Wifi.

I already talked about another spinoff in a recent post and that is you, my readers. I love reading your comments and interacting with you. Thank you for taking an interest in my blog! And I still have the hope that one day, I’ll be able to turn it into a book.

Photos: All the above photos, used as headers during the year, were taken from my balcony in the Palais Royal

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27 Responses to Aussie in France celebrates its first birthday

  1. CarolynB says:

    Happy first birthday to your *wonderful* blog!

    Count me as one of your loyal readers — always enjoy your intelligent and interesting posts and great photos.

    Cheers and keep writing!

  2. Fraussie says:

    Thank you Carolyn! I hope we can catch up again soon.

  3. Susan Walter says:

    Happy blogger birthday 🙂

    We drove past the turnoff to Grouet the other day. Email me when you’ve recovered and we can arrange to meet up when you are in Blois sometime.

    I’ll be interested to talk to you about how blogging makes money — I don’t know anyone who makes any real money from it directly, but there are certainly indirect benefits.

  4. Congratulations on your 1st birthday, that’s an amazing achievement. Such a great blog with lots of fantastic information.

    cheers

    Leanne

  5. Fraussie says:

    Most definitely! Will probably go tomorrow to escape from drilling and radio playing on my balcony. I’ll let you know. It’s true that I didn’t talk about making money, but I am happy to share what I’ve learnt with you.

  6. Happy birthday and congratulations of the achievement of keeping up the blog for a year. I too always read your blog but do not always comment as sometimes it is days or weeks later.
    Keeping up with the ever growing list of favourite blogs is hard work. Not to mention writing my own.

    So I do appreciate you taking the time to write, especially when you are travelling.

    ..and thanks for the breakfast, I really enjoyed meeting you all.

    Love Denise

    • Fraussie says:

      Thank you, Denise, for your well wishes. I am planning another breakfast when Andrea is here in November. Let me know when you’re in town!

  7. Congratulations on your wonderful, informative and entertaining blog. Your warmth shines through it. Not only am I thankful to have discovered your blog but extra thankful to have found such a caring and supportive friend.

  8. Fraussie says:

    Thank you Kathy. Entirely reciprocated!

  9. Here’s to one year of blogging, Fraussie! Please tell your son that I’m glad that he encouraged you to take the dive and supported your efforts. I wish that I would have had his advice when I started because I would have definitely gone with WordPress over Blogger. From what I’ve gathered, it’s a much better platform.

    I love your time lapse photos of the Palais Royale. It’s such a special spot in all seasons.

    Thanks for the mention and thanks again for hosting the bloggers breakfast. I wish that you would have been here last week because we had an interesting meeting with an author who shared some tips for people who are thinking of self-publishing a book.

    I look forward to catching up with you soon. Please let me know when you’re on Paris time!

  10. Fraussie says:

    Thank you, Mary Kay. I am sorry I missed the metting with the author. I had hoped to go to a course by the Sydney Writers’ Centre but I wasn’t there on the right dates.

    I’m going down to Blois tomorrow for the next two weeks to escape the renovation work on the balcony. Today was pretty bad. I’ll let you know when I’m back in town!

  11. ParisReally says:

    Happy Birthday!

  12. Francoise says:

    Bravo pour ton Blog
    Il nous permet d’améliorer notre anglais , d’avoir comme ”un rendez vous ” de nouvelles régulières , et de bons conseils très personnels comme ton régime
    Trop fière d’avoir eu un post sur notre première rencontre et surtout contente d’avoir de nouveaux amis sur Les Grouets
    Merci

  13. Fraussie says:

    Thank you Françoise. Hope to see you very soon!

  14. Barb Hall says:

    Happy birthday to you and all your family. It has been great fun following your blog – and picking up a few tips for when we visited France in May/June. Plus of course, at the risk of repeating myself, that fabulous Paris Muse tour. Well done and best wishes for the next year of blogs. Great photos too. B

  15. Jill says:

    Happy birthday Fraussie! Hope you settle back in well. Hubby and I just returned from a rush trip to Tassy..who would’ve thought 🙂 and the landscape was to die for… Jill 🙂

    • Fraussie says:

      Goodness, that was certainly unexpected. Hope you had nicer weather than me! Where did you go? I’m off to Blois in a couple of hours to escape the workmen on the balcony.

  16. La Vie en Rose says:

    Congratulations. Happy blogging birthday! I am a loyal follower of you blog & have learnt so much. Wonderful writing, wonderful photos & great information. I can’t remember how I stumbled across your blog the first time. We have close French friends who live in the small village of Saint Quentin near Loches, not too far from Blois. We plan to visit them next year so maybe we can meet up.

  17. Andrea says:

    Congrats on reaching the 1 year mark and being so consistent with your writing. That takes such commitment! Thank you for the mention, it was great spending time with you in Paris, I just wish we could have met sooner. 🙂

  18. Pingback: Red Tape in France – Part I | Aussie in France

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