THERE are more and more people in France who are running a business turning to a blog-style website to promote their wares.
These sites are providing an insight into life in France, as well as pushing them up the rankings for search engines.
A blog is just a website that allows its owner the chance to write short articles about their business or experiences, but most importantly makes it easy to update.
For many people setting up a website is a long drawn out affair and it is a struggle to get their head around the HTML, .php and countless other bits of technical speak.
But blogs are different. If you can write an email and are willing to experiment and learn a few things then you could have a good looking site up and running in an hour or so.
I’ve written about how to go about choosing a blogging service before and please feel free to leave a question in the comment section below. So who is picking up the baton and running with a blog?
The great thing about these sites is that they can be started before your business has even started. Busy working on your gîte? Well tell us about it.
Phil Voice is slowly bringing back to life a farm in the heart of south west France and you can follow him and his family’s work at his Perigord Vacance site.
I helped Phil get this site off the ground but he has now taken it on to provide a glimpse into renovating a home but also what life is like in France.
Another site I’ve seen that follows the trials and tribulations of managing a holiday cottage in France is the Running a Gite in Brittany site.
Here Ian Haycox provides hints, tips and advice on everything from local builders to putting his children into school, whilst all the while building up a site that offers potential customers for his gîte a lot more than a static site.
But it is not only gîte owners that are turning to easy to update websites as enterprising estate agents are seeing the advantages of these types of site.
Lisa Kiely runs the Provence Properties site that blends together her business, which is letting homes, with her experiences of life in the area.
So not only does Lisa tell you about a cut in the price of a two bed apartment, you can read her stories about jazz musicians, the grape harvest and even take a walk through the lavender fields.
Considering how difficult it is to run a business in France, spending some time setting up a blog and keeping it up to date may prove more valuable, and a lot more fun, in the long run.
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I am interested in your article as we have established a publishing company in the South that sells English language books gifts and stationery direct to employees via their workplace, and have held successful bookfairs too at a number of larger establishments. All of our fiction paperback books are selling at between 8-10 euro and we have a wide selection of non-fiction as well. We want to establish a website at some stage but know it can be complicated and costly. We can provide this service throughout France but are currently testing the market in this area first. What would be your advice
Posted by: Kevin Lagden | 07 December 2005 at 16:27
I understand your concern with setting up a site as some quotes I have seen in both the UK and France have left me gasping sometimes.
A key thing is that you can have the best site in the world, but failing to promote it effectively will seriously impact on its success.
That is where I see blogs and their like come in.
Please feel free to contact me directly via email...
...if you have any questions.
Posted by: Craig McGinty | 07 December 2005 at 17:35
Craig, your insights into utilizing a blog to promote a business I think are spot on! Both my wife, Martine, and I enjoyed long professional careers in the hospitality business specifically in the areas of sales & marketing for hotels, resorts and other tourism entities. But now we find ourselves, in the LOT, without a IT support team to turn our cyber-dreams of promotion into micro-business realities!
Yep, you are reading the rants of a truly “Computer Challenged” guy ... I hope to have our new blog evolve into a very personal marketing platform to promote both our little chambre d’hote at rancho Escargot and on a grander scale to start promoting very personalized group travel programs into the Haut-Quercy from the US & Canadian markets.
With limited promotional dollars – promoting business creatively via a blog just might be the key to maintaining this wonderful southwestern French lifestyle I’m adapting all too quickly to! I now know what a “pichet” is but what the heck is an “RSS feed”??? zut alors! Jack
Posted by: Jack Tobin | 29 October 2007 at 16:29
Hi Jack, great to hear you are using your blog to help promote your business, I'm sure it will prove a success.
And as for an RSS feed, well your site is already producing one and that's how I follow your articles... more here:
All the best, Craig
Posted by: Craig McGinty | 30 October 2007 at 10:56
How Green Is your Gite?
Following on from your piece about the rise in popularity of using Blogs to promote businesses, I have recently started a blog looking at the green and environmentally friendly issues and how these impact on holiday home-owners and holiday makers alike.
In attempting to ensure I am being as 'green' as best I can I find I am not alone in wanting to know more ... and so I started the How Green Is My Gite? blog to share my research and experiences and hopefully to get others to shares theirs. So far, I have had good feedback. I hope this raises awareness in us all, whether we are holiday home-owners or holiday-makers.
I use the blog not only to promote my own B&B and Gite in France, but all holiday cottages and the like, whose owners go that extra 'green' mile.
Here is the URL for "How Green Is My Gite?" for those interested:
Posted by: Thomas Dowson | 13 November 2007 at 17:59
To follow up on Thomas comments. Thomas and I have been talking recently about his new project recently and I think it's a fantastic idea and good that someone else has seen and promotes the benefits in providing an eco-friendly vacation rental for all guest and owners alike.
Craig wrote about us some months ago and it heartening to see this years guests being more aware about the climate problems and it's possible solutions.
To see how you can help see our web page http://www.lescygnes.net/erase-your-carbon-footprint.htm
Posted by: Graeme Swan | 14 November 2007 at 10:38
Hi Thomas and Graeme, is interesting to see people's attitudes changing, oh and another blog to add to my reading list ;-)
All the best,
Posted by: Craig McGinty | 15 November 2007 at 15:10
Is it best to start a blog with one of the "blog" type sites - or would it be better for us to run one from our server and website? I am a novice to blogs, but do enjoy reading them!! I can see the benefits of a blog from the business side, but just have a quandry as to what way to go at this stage - no blogs running just yet, although have registered on one site....you say the word and I'll go for it - after all compared to me you do appear to be th expert on all of this!
Posted by: Jacqui | 03 December 2007 at 20:21
Looking at your site it looks as though you would be fine with installing Wordpress on your own server.
So you could have it under your own domain along the lines of www.ineedaholidaytoo.com/news
Then every couple of days update the site, and I bet once you get really going you'll be thinking of things to add to it on a daily basis.
If you do produce a site you'll have to drop back in and point it out.
All the best, Craig
Posted by: Craig McGinty | 04 December 2007 at 08:31
It is fantastic to have a blog!
I am a Paris based real estate agent specialising in selling and renting beautiful apartments and I have integrated my blog http://www.khs.fr/BlogEN.cfm on my English reception page ( on the right).
This allows me to post news on my blog and more general information on my reception page.
Posted by: Karl | 08 March 2008 at 20:22
Thanks for the pointer to your blog which is helping your business, the ease with which you can update your site can be very useful.
All the best, Craig
Posted by: Craig McGinty | 10 March 2008 at 09:47
Just discovered this blog and was very interested in the comments as I have just recently set up a site for French holiday property, and am looking for ways to better promote it.
As a matter of interest - hope you don't mind me posting this - any of you French holiday home owners looking for some extra, and good value, advertising (even free for a while in some regions with few properties already registered) take a look here: http://www.1steuropeanholidays.com
I will certainly be looking into adding a blog ASAP!
Posted by: robin | 10 April 2008 at 14:52
Hi Robin, great to hear you'll be starting a blog, head back and leave a message pointing to it once it's up and running.
All the best, Craig
Posted by: Craig McGinty | 11 April 2008 at 13:19
My wife and I have been successfully running a Gite de Sejour business in the Pyrenees for several years now. Its a fanstastic way of life and we already have plans for our next project which will be a campsite, we absolutely love tourism and have no plans to go back to the office.
We 'retired' young after twenty years in the furious and hectic world of IT.
We have used our professional skills to create a website for people wanting to buy what is now commonly called a "lifestyle" business - basically businesses such as small hotels, B&Bs, Gites and campsites.
The site is technically commercial since it is our hope that one day we will charge a very modest fee for those who wish to advertise their Gites for sale but for the forseeable future the site is free to use. Its quite sophisticated with maps and is database driven, we are always working at improving it.
The site caters for English, French, German and Danish visitors with a partial translation of each advert.
To be fair the site is not exclusively for France but at present 95% of the adverts are for French businesses. If any of your readers which to advertise their Gite for sale then they may visit the site and place their property details absolutely free of charge. The only condition is that the sale is for "murs et fonds" ie the land, building and business and that it is in a desirable touristic area. The only other proviso is at least one good quality appealing photograph as we wish to keep the visual appeal factor the site high.
Thanks for reading our site is at...
Pyrenean Mountains - France - 65120
Posted by: Jon | 23 September 2008 at 21:43