All About Blogging: The Evolution of a Blog

23

Behind The Door

Wel­come to the new 10 posts series, All About Blog­ging! Each Sat­ur­day for 10 weeks, I’ll inves­ti­gate an aspect of blog­ging. I hope you will enjoy the new series and that you will find it use­ful. Don’t hes­i­tate to give me some feed­back and to share your experience!

I started blog­ging in fall 2006. At this point, my life in Canada was pretty much sorted out, at least from a legal point of view: I was a per­ma­nent res­i­dent and I already had some work expe­ri­ence, thanks to my Work­ing Hol­i­day Visa. I would fig­ure out the rest in the years to come.

To this day, I’m not entirely sure why I started a blog. At first, I wanted to stay in touch with my fam­ily and my friends and a blog seemed to be a good place to post pic­tures and news. My first few arti­cles were nat­u­rally in French but I quickly hit a wall. First, I found it hard to describe my new Anglo­phone world in French. Blog­ging in my mother tongue didn’t match the real­ity of my life in Ontario. Sec­ond, who would read my sto­ries? I didn’t want the blog to be a diary. I’ve never been big on “my-myself-and-I” posts—frankly, my life isn’t that interesting—plus most of the action (my arrival in Canada, the immi­gra­tion progress) was behind me.

So I decided to blog in Eng­lish around a few themes. At first, it was cul­tural dif­fer­ences between France and Canada (even though I had been in Canada for over two years at this point, I still found them fas­ci­nat­ing) and politics.

Lit­tle by lit­tle, I added new cat­e­gories. Sto­ries from work, when I was a French teacher. Trav­els, when we started trav­el­ing again. Photo posts, when I really got into photography.

Today, I still blog in Eng­lish and this web­site is still orga­nized around a few main themes: Cana­dian life, immi­gra­tion, trav­els, photo posts, the Sat­ur­day series, trends (where are most polit­i­cal arti­cles) and just blog­ging, a mis­cel­la­neous category.

I started blog­ging on Blog­ger because it was free and easy to set up. Unfor­tu­nately, I didn’t spend much time think­ing of a url so I picked the slightly awk­ward zhu-canada.blogspot.com. The name of the blog and the tagline were bet­ter, and I still use them today: Cor­rer Es Mi Des­tino (a line from a song by Manu Chao), My new life in Canada under the snow.

Even though func­tions were lim­ited at this point, I enjoyed tweak­ing the HTML. I picked a deep blue back­ground (#000033) that I still use today. Posts also had a clear blue back­ground and I made my own header. Ini­tially, the blog had two side­bars and I fell into the newbie’s trap: I added every sin­gle wid­get I could think of. Few arti­cles had pic­tures and when they did, they were really small.

Even­tu­ally, I started mak­ing pages for ref­er­ence: I had an About Me page, as well as About this Blog page, plus a FAQ.

A year after start­ing my first blog on Blog­ger, I decided to move to a self-hosted Word­Press blog for more flex­i­bil­ity. I had the idea the blog could grow and it wasn’t just a whim. I loved writ­ing articles.

Start­ing on Word­Press was a huge chal­lenge. First, I picked a bet­ter url (correresmidestino.com) on GoDaddy, and I chose to host my web­site with Site5. I also picked a theme and cus­tomized it.

I went through three themes: WP Pre­mium (which broke with an early Word­Press update), Option (even­tu­ally dis­con­tin­ued) and Arthemia (free ver­sion). Even­tu­ally, I moved on to my fourth theme and I bought Arthemia Pre­mium Mag­a­zine Word­Press Theme, which I tweaked. This blog now has a mag­a­zine feel with a lot of pic­tures and themed arti­cles, which is def­i­nitely a break from my first few ver­sions on Blogger.

At this point, my pri­or­ity is to have a very read­able web­site. With over 700 arti­cles and 12,000 com­ments, I want read­ers to be able to find what they are look­ing for, hence the cleaner design, the Archive page and the use of tags. The blog is still artic­u­lated around the same old themes (immi­gra­tion, Canada, travel and pho­tog­ra­phy). I sim­pli­fied the graphic on the menu bar and those look­ing for immi­gra­tion infor­ma­tion can check out the Com­ing to Canada page. I’m also try­ing to pro­mote the blog to adver­tis­ers through the Press Review sec­tion and to high­light my work in The Shop.

As you can see, this blog changed a lot through the years! How about you? Did your blog change? How?

First attempts on Blogger

Blog­ger Blog

With the WP Pre­mium Theme

With the WP Pre­mium Theme

Option Theme

Arthemia Free Theme

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About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.

23 Comments

  1. I’m very excited for this new series! You’re a great blog­ger and I always look for­ward to your posts and pho­tos. Thanks for shar­ing with us!

  2. This is a very inter­est­ing post to read. I’ve never thought of the ques­tion you asked.…Why blogging?.….Hmmmm I have to take some time to pon­der it. (= u =)

  3. Hi Zhu,

    Change goes with blog­ging like it goes with life. It is nor­mal!
    Zhu has known me since a few years back and she has seen my blog go from being a per­sonal type expat blog. Then, I stopped that one to focus my blog­ging expe­ri­ence. I do only blog about travel pho­tog­ra­phy since 2009.

    I say “Wel­come change and be happy to evolve”.
    Bises à Zhu.

  4. i moved to my own domain on word­press from blog­ger because i wanted to have the ‘pages’ func­tion­al­ity! it seems like blog­ger now has the func­tion too! besides, my blog was kinda mashed-up and i wanted to have a whole new blog to restart all over.

    wow you did printscreen your old tem­plates! mine were all lost lol! and i like mine now. like it white, grey, black, with some colours thrown in. :D

    • I used to test the blog in sev­eral browsers because of the infa­mous IE6. I use Broser­shot and each time, I actu­ally kept a few screen­shots. Recently, I orga­nized them and decided to keep them just for memory.

  5. I love your blog layout!

    My blog too went from a plain old blog­ger tem­plate to a self-hosted Word­Press one, which I’m still work­ing on to make it bet­ter (wish I had enough time to imple­ment some of my ideas!)

    • At one point, I have to tell myself to stop tweak­ing with my blog and focus on the con­tent because like you said, I could spend hours try­ing to imple­ment my ideas!

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