Il Pellegrino kitty with Portofino in backgroundA

A year ago I posted my first blog entry. Though I’ve frequently strayed from the stated purpose of this blog in the ensuing months, the reasons for starting it have never been far from my mind. It has become the lens through which I view life in our beautiful adopted city, and whenever something interesting happens I think, Aha! Something to write about.

I’ve learned a lot over the course of this blogging year. I’ve learned that the people you thought would read your blog aren’t necessarily the ones who do, but that there are lots of others who will read it instead. I’ve learned you can make new friends through a blog, friends you might never meet in person, but to whom you nevertheless feel a connection because of shared interests or circumstances. I’ve learned that lots of people are shy about leaving comments. And I’ve learned one of the great advantages that blogging has over traditional publishing: you can change and correct earlier posts, as I did this evening on the Captain’s Baked Bean recipe (changed the cooking time).

I’ve learned a curious technical fact: if you want to really boost the readership of your blog all you have to do is post a picture with a provocative title, or one that might receive frequent searches on Google. I learned this by posting pictures called ‘Niagara Falls,’ ‘Supermodel’ and ‘Glass of Water.’ Hits on the blog soared, but they were not coming from people who were interested in Life in Italy, I think. I changed the file names of the first two photos, and blog hits returned to normal (over 18,000 pages looked at in one year, but I have to confess that over 1,000 of them were for the Supermodel photo – she is now called simply ‘woman’).

I’ve learned that people love to look at recipes online.  The page that has received the second most attention is the Captains Rolled Stuffed Pork Roast.  Over the last year The Captain and our friends have all gotten used to my whipping out the camera and taking a picture of whatever is being served.  It’s not easy to take good food pictures.  My two role models (or is that roll models?) in this are are Rowena, who ‘scribbles in the chestnut forests’ of Lombardia in her blog Rubber Slippers in Italy; and Michelle, who writes her Bleeding Espresso blog from the other end of the country, down in Calabria.

And last but not least, I’ve learned that you can never go wrong with a cute cat picture.

Thank you for visiting Expatriate in Rapallo, for reading and commenting.  I love hearing from you.