My First Year of Blogging and Italian Slow Walking
Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius, a great warrior and philosopher, begins his book “Meditations” (which originally was titled “To Myself”) with a long list of those who gave him qualities of character that made him great. Following his example, I want to acknowledge persons and robots, who helped and supported me all this year and I hope that they will continue to do so. Given the enormous difference in the scale of personality and deeds, my list would be considerably shorter than that of Aurelius!
A year ago I had a pretty vague idea about blogging. In addition I am a complete soft&hardware dummy. Nonetheless, in the middle of last January, I started browsing the Internet and found lots of information on how to create a blog. The most useful advice for a novice (and ongoing) blogger I found on the site “SEO, Web design and creativity” which is managed by Michael Shakin. I am also grateful to Mike Shakin for lessons on Photoshop. I’ve learned how to put a watermark «SanTatiana.ru» on photos which I insert in my blogs. I hope that someday SanTatiana.ru would become a recognizable brand!
As I’ve learned from the Internet the best hosting services are provided by Livejournal.com, WordPress.com and Blogspot.com. First of all, I have registered accounts at all of them. After a year of blogging, I can say that the most comfortable and friendly hosting is the WordPress.com. Firstly, it provides a wide range of design options for blogs, so all the blogs at WordPress.com are very different and reflect an author’s personality. Secondly, what is especially important for a novice blogger, the WordPress team constantly sends messages about their novelties and instructs how to apply them. Thirdly, WordPress provides an excellent visitor’s statistics in textual and graphical forms. I was very touched when at the beginning of 2011 the WordPress team sent me a report “2010 in Review”. They wrote, “The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health”. Moreover, the report could be immediately posted in my blog by means of one click. I did that with great pleasure and gratitude.
On February 7, 2010 I made the first entry in my Russian blog “Italian walks”. Ten days later, I have started the English version «Italian Slow Walks». My Russian friend Anatoly who lives in the USA encouraged me to blog in English. He urged me that there are much more English speaking Internet users than that of Russian. It was a real challenge for me since I am not a native English speaker. At first I made very small posts, just few sentences. I’ve chosen the Monotone theme because it perfectly fits my English blogging skills. All I need is to upload one good photo and write a short description. I’m always fascinated how artfully WordPress chooses background colors to match a picture.
Very soon I started to receive feedbacks from other bloggers. One of the first fellow bloggers who noticed my newborn blog was Bodach who manages a very interesting site aboutabruzzo.com. Soon after that I came across one more interesting blog enchantingitaly.blogspot.com and got to know its author Nora. This virtual friendship encouraged me to continue English blogging. Little by little my posts became longer and longer. Last summer our blog friendship with Nora has become a real one. She and her charming family spent a week in Abruzzo and I was happy to accompany them to Penne, Lanciano, Atri and Montesilvano Colle. Nora, John and little Amy are great travel mates and know lots about Abruzzo. I am looking forward to travel in their company this summer.
During the year I’ve pressed 48 posts at “Italian Slow Walks“. Due to the excellent WordPress statistical service, I know that this year my blog was viewed about 2,600 times and as the WordPress team put it that is enough to fill with passengers five Boeings 747. Of course, it’s a very modest result in spite of WordPress’ beautiful metaphor but I am glad that Google.com and Yandex.ru continually bring me new readers. My friends’ sites enchantingitaly.blogspot.com and aboutabruzzo.com send readers to my blog, as well.
Most attractive posts have been: 1) The Sea Bridge, 2) The Ancient Town of Peltuinum, 3) The Medieval Hill Town of Capestrano and 4) The Spectacular Castle Rocca Calascio.
Besides “Italian Slow Walks” I manage three Russian blogs:“Italian Journal” at Livejournal.com, “Italian Walks” at WordPress.com and “How to Buy and Furnish an Apartment in Italy” at Blogspot.com. I‘ve seized an opportunity of microblogging at Facebook and Twitter. I also upload photos at Panoramio.com and slide shows at Youtube.com. Finally, I’ve launched a full-fledged website “Abruzzo – Terra Incognita” in June 2010. By courtesy of Nora, who did a lot of job correcting my mistakes, the English version of the site will be soon available.
The first anniversary is a good opportunity for planning and dreaming.
After a year of blogging my “X-files” haven’t exhausted, but even more increased. I’m going to write a series of posts about Abruzzo: national parks, cities of art and traditions. I am going to continue Roman walks. Impressions and pictures of Siena, Cortona, San Gimignano, Ravenna, Perugia, Assisi and Viterbo are waiting to be described.
My latest idée fixe is to hit “Freshly pressed” at WordPress.com! I like this page very much because you can see at a glance all great new posts. Thus I have known many interesting blogs and their authors.
My cherished dream is to write a kind of travel novel based on my blogs. At the moment I am exploring possibilities and opportunities for publishing a book on the Internet.