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