a cookie for each year that I’ve been blogging (so far!)

Sniffle, sniffle. They grow up so fast!

‘Bonjour’ is 5 years old today. Time sure has flown by since I hit publish on my first post here on Bonjour: A Francophile Blog!

my first post with default title: the journey begins

First of all, I want to thank you for reading my blog. To commemorate my blog’s 5th anniversary, I thought I’d share five fun facts about my blogging journey so far.

I’m still a beginner

After five years of consistent blogging, I still consider myself a beginner blogger. After all, there’s still so much to learn about editing, image composition, and search engine optimization, to name a few. Plus, I admit I’m a late adopter of new technologies. For example, it took me a while to even make the switch from the classic to the block editor (Gutenberg) in WordPress!

My favorite metric or stat

My favorite metric or stat to look at is the map showing where visitors to my blog are located. If I can’t travel often, it delights me to know that my words are traversing the globe and reaching people far and wide.

I love lists … and blueberries

List posts, or listicles, with a number in the title get lots of engagement. Case in point: my post about 16 music videos filmed in Paris. If you Google “music videos filmed in Paris” you may see my blog post in the top ten search results.

Another post that has garnered much traffic is one I wrote about blueberries. If you Google “blueberry in French” you may see my blog post just below the dictionary entry.

They say one of the main purposes of blogging is to inform and provide answers. It fills my heart to know my posts are helpful somehow. I was absolutely elated to learn these two posts even reached Position Zero (P0) as a result of organic searches for the topics.

This is my second WordPress blog

My username shows up as @ darlenebooks because I’d originally wanted an online space to list my independently published books of poems and photographs, as well as a rhyming children’s book. I’d also wanted a virtual archive of additional things I’d made, such as wire-wrapped rings using semi-precious gemstones, paintings I’d completed for a 30-day painting challenge, and notecards using my own artwork. I launched Darlene’s Creative Adventures in 2013.

Then I went back to graduate school and earned my master’s degree in strategic communication (20 years after I got my undergraduate degree). While searching for that dream comms career pivot, I knew I had to keep the writing momentum going. I figured I could achieve that by launching a new blog. However, I didn’t know what my niche or focus would be.

They say, “Write what you are passionate about

Although I’m not an expert on all things French, I’ve always fangirled about the French language, the culture, the je ne sais quoi of it all.

They say, “Write what you know

At the time, I’d just booked a flight to France for my vacation later that spring. I thought, surely, that week-long trip to Paris and Toulouse would add to my knowledge and give me plenty of inspiration to write.

Needless to say, those two points aligned, formed an arrow, and directed me toward the path to follow. That’s when it clicked and I decided that my new blog would be a Francophile blog!

The blog formerly known as ‘D’accord Darlene’

My Francophile blog was born, but it wasn’t originally called Bonjour: A Francophile Blog.

It was formerly known as D’accord Darlene. (I cringe in hindsight!) Thankfully, only three readers (aka my family) have known it by that name because I quickly changed it. First of all, only I thought I was clever with the alliteration. Second, only I knew it was self-deprecating in the sense of “OK, Darlene, what now? What’s this latest creative adventure?” Most of all, I wanted my blog to be warm and welcoming. That meant I had to change the moniker to something unpretentious and a little less clunky.

Why ‘Bonjour’?

The first word we learn in any language is usually a greeting. As my new blog was going to be focused on my love of all things French, it was less of an “aha!” moment than it was a “duh!” moment when I decided to call it…

Bonjour !

A simple, minimalist, no-frills word to say hello/good morning. Warm and welcoming. The classic, quintessential French word that everyone knows.

Looking ahead

Speaking of simplicity, maybe I’ll drop the “A Francophile Blog” part of the name. My blog is evolving and I’m writing more about topics that are not necessarily French-inspired. But we’ll see. (What are your thoughts? Tell me in the comments below.)

As for the technical aspects, I’d like to take better photos, which means I’ll need to either use a digital camera or upgrade my iPhone 6s (I’m holding out until the iPhone 15 is released)! I’d also like to work on improving accessibility by adding alternative text (alt-text) to my images.

Merci d’avoir lu et à la prochaine. Thank you for reading and see you next time.