You’re looking at the evidence right here, folks. This is Exhibit A on how NOT to write a bed and breakfast blog. I know because I’ve been trawling through some websites for advice this afternoon. I don’t have a headache after the ten minutes I’ve spent reading, but I have learned that La Belle Esplanade pursues a different strategy than is usually recommended. We always have. We always will. Consider your humble narrator, for instance:
I probably just broke a rule right there.
Now, I’ll break another. As regular readers know, I hate to call La Belle a bed and breakfast and all the amateurish running-of-the-place that entails. You are not staying in my house when you stay here. You are staying in a tiny, personalized, eccentric, New Orleans hotel.
There is no other city like New Orleans. There is no other hotel like La Belle Esplanade. There sure as heck isn’t any B&B like La Belle Esplanade. When Frau Schmitt and I came up with idea of being micro-hoteliers, we broke the mold. Who wants a moldy innkeeper?
—Just to make sure I get this in, I’d like to mention that Frau Schmitt is the better half of this operation. I’m just a pretty face under a colorful hat.
HOW NOT TO WRITE A BED AND BREAKFAST BLOG.
If you think I’m going to take the time to share my tips to blogging success, I’m not. Someone else has already done that in seven easy steps. Read that. They aren’t tips to my success. Maybe you like to read blog posts that are composed with that formula. Those ways are not my ways. I just do what I wanna. Welcome to The New Orleans State of Mind.
If you haven’t heard of Inngenious, they are a company that does website design for bed and breakfasts. If I was running the Pinky Tuscadero Fan Club, they might be a good choice. Now you see why I don’t like to lump La Belle in with the B&B industry. Our sites are set on a different target. Did I just make a pun on the word ‘site?’ I did, though not a very good one. I particularly like the Do’s and Dont’s list in the Inngenious article [Look! Another pun! This one wasn’t mine.]
I USED TO READ A LOT OF B&B BLOGS.
When we first opened, I read a lot of blogs, not just of B&Bs, but of hotels and other hospitality businesses to get an idea of how I wanted to approach La Belle’s blog. Guess what? There aren’t a lot of interesting B&B or hotel blogs to read out there. This is my opinion, of course, no more, no less. This blog isn’t winning a Pulitzer Prize, either, but at least I’m not sharing breakfast souflée recipes or talking about the big apple festival coming up. This blog will never be confused with Pinterest. It has too many words.
My strategy: Type.
Actually, that’s not true. Over the past few weeks, I’ve gone acoustic and I loosely compose my blog articles in pencil, in a pocket notebook. A Field Notes notebook, to be precise.
You may wonder what the first draft looks like. It’s pretty much like this, but in my handwriting. I’m not big on editing and overthinking. I’m a real Jack Kerouac when it comes to composition: first thought is best thought. No wonder I ramble. Whoops! Rule #11 on the Inngenious page: “Don’t ramble all over the place.”
No rules. This is New Orleans. In New Orleans, we dance like nobody is watching.
This blog rarely, if ever, talks about the rooms we have available, our amenities, what we serve for breakfast. Who cares? All of that is on other pages of our website. If you want to learn about our Les Pêches Suite, I don’t need to write a blog post about it. All the information is right here. I am not going to write 600 words about our hair dryers or our central air conditioning. This is a real hotel with predictable amenities (and some unpredictable pleasant surprises). There are good reasons we are ranked the #17 place to stay in the world.
We rarely talk about festivals or anything special going on in the city. There is always something going on in New Orleans. Even when nothing is going on—something is going on. There was a festival a half mile from our address this past weekend. I had forgotten about it because there is always something going on. Our guests who were staying with us found it without Frau Schmitt and I having to recommend it. It was on their way. They walked right through it. If you can’t find something to do in New Orleans, you have a hole in your imagination.
HOW NOT TO WRITE A BED AND BREAKFAST BLOG (con’t)
I know this is a nuts-and-bolts post that may not be of interest to general readers. Don’t worry. In a couple of days, something more fascinating will take its place. I discovered a delightfully delicious desert idea at Rouse’s, our local supermarket, this afternoon. I shot a poor-audio shaky-cam video of it and that will be the subject of our next post.
I just put it up on our Facebook page. If you don’t follow us on Facebook, you should. I don’t spend a lot of time on Facebook, I’ve got stuff to do, but I do put something up once or twice a day. You should follow us on Facebook.
You should subscribe to our occasional newsletter, too. The sign-up form is on the bottom of this screen. I have the latest newsletter written. I just have to type it. Sign up by June 1st or you’ll miss it!
One recommendation about writing a blog, the one with which I disagree the most, is that posts should be written in short paragraphs with short sentences made up of simple words with minimal punctuation. I don’t do a lot reading on my phone because I don’t like reading tiny blocks of print. I spend most of my time reading books, non-fiction mostly, textbooks and philosophy, really, so I don’t mind dense paragraphs composed of long sentences filled with commas, semi-colons and ellipses…. I delight in employing a dash for effect—-if you haven’t noticed. I don’t believe in dumbing things down. When I read, I enjoy complexity and cunning construction, wordplay, and the occasional sleight-of-idea to make a point memorable for the reader and to elicit of moment of serendipitous delight at the recognition that a trick has been played to communicate a complicated idea in an way that, while the conclusion is expected, the path to get to it has been a wild ride. Reading should be a joy, not a simple spooning of information textured and seasoned like pabulum for easy baby digestion. Writing should contain some pyrotechnics. I’m not talking James Joyce or Alasdair Gray, or e.e. cummings. I enjoy being understood; I merely have a fondess for pleasant surprises. This is one reason I live in New Orleans.
Fun Fact: My favorite author of fiction is H.P. Lovecraft, the master of unpleasant surprises. You won’t find any evidence of this when you stay at La Belle Esplanade unless you ask me about it. Now you know.
DON’T WRITE TOO LONG.
The optimal blog post according to the experts is more than 300 words (for search engine rankings) and usually no more than 600 words (to account for readers’ expectedly brief attention spans). At this point we are at a word count of—-wait for it—-one thousand two hundred thirty five. I hope I haven’t overly bored you. Thanks for hanging in there.
If you are thinking of visiting New Orleans, I can think of a lot worse places to stay. A lot of ’em. We hope you’ll visit New Orleans like a New Orleanian, get off the tourist grid, and find yourself at home in our part of this amazing city that Frau Schmitt and I call home. Home is where the heart is. You’ll like our part of New Orleans. It is full of pleasant surprises.
—Have a great New Orleans day, today, wherever you may happen to be.
La Belle Esplanade
Monday, May 28, 2018: Some pros will tell you not to date your posts. That way the reader can’t tell that your last post is over a year old. I don’t recommend it. I like to know that information is fresh. There is nothing worse than a dead blog. If a place can’t keep up with their blog, what does that say about their housekeeping?
À votre santé, nos amis!
Did you make it all the way to the end? Congratulations. Here’s a link to our very first blog post. Coincidentally, it’s also a link to La Belle Esplanade’s original blog. If you don’t fritter away enough time on the internet,already, we’ve got archives here that stretch from July 31, 2012 to Sept. 24, 2016, when I decided to focus entirely on the new website (the one you’re on now). 396 rambling entries in all. Enjoy!!