These are just a few of the questions I am asked on a pretty regular basis so I thought I would start a series of articles covering the world of blogging.
However, I don't want the site to drift away from all things France and so I will only write one article a week, but will answer questions in the comments and use some of these to form the basis of future articles.
So from the top, what is a blog?
I like to describe a blog as an easy to update website. Although the ‘easy’ bit is important the key element is ‘update’.
In the past, and even today, people found it difficult to update their website with new information as it usually meant calling up another company to add the new words or images, a fee would usually be involved, and it could take a week or more to see the changes on the site.
Naturally this ensured websites were pretty static and offered up very little information beyond contact details, an overview of the business and a list of services - only the largest companies, or those with online publishing knowledge, could update a site regularly.
But the internet never stands still, and although this type of site may have been suitable in the past, search engines now look to highlight websites that offer fresh articles and are talked about on other sites.
The old five or six page static websites are sadly lacking these key elements.
However, blogging software allows you to easily update your site, automatically sets up links to new articles on your site, enables readers to ask questions and tells both search engines and followers of your writing that you have produced something new.
But aren't blogs just about Britney Spears, sick cats and what people had for breakfast?
Yes. But look a little further up the pipe at the way blogs work and whether people are writing about pop music, trips to the vets or the merits of buttered toast, they are just publishing articles on the internet.
And what's so different to the past? Haven't people always published their thoughts and ponderings in magazines, brochures, pamphlets and newspapers?
What blogs have done is enabled individuals to use similar tools to those that were once the preserve of hi-tech companies, media conglomerates and big business.
If anything it is now easier for an individual to attract a worldwide audience, as well as a focused readers, and so now might be a good time to put your thinking cap on.
In its most basic format a blog could be used to keep family and friends in touch with your life in France, but you have a powerful tool at your disposal so how about taking things on a little and using your site to become a valuable resource?
What will you write about?
The best blogs are those that cover a particular subject or area in great depth, so what subjects are you already knowledgeable about, do you enjoy discovering the local region, have you spotted a gap on the internet that you think your writing can fill?
From these thoughts you may start to get an idea of issues you can write about, tips to pass on, places to visit and maybe even a memorable name for your site that will appeal to readers, but also sums up your blog in a short phrase.
You may already have a good idea of what is out on the internet but now is also a good time to browse other websites and blogs to see who your "competition" might be, type a few search terms into Google or try Technorati, which has a particular emphasis on blogs.
And this great video from Common Craft:
Don't forget to add any comments or questions via the form below and I will look to answer them either here or in a future article.