If you have ended up here, you are probably toying with the idea of how to start a blog in Kenya. And you have come to the right place. I have been blogging for over ten years now. Along the way, I made many mistakes, networked with bloggers from different parts of the world and mostly learnt a lot. I was introduced to blogging by a friend when I was in my last year in Kenyatta University. For the next 2 years, I wrote a personal blog and shared a lot about the craziness that was my life at the time. A lot has changed since. I have grown a lot and my life has changed. I got married, became a mom and my blogging voice changed.
|How to Start a Blog in Kenya
I have been getting a lot of questions from my friends and sometimes strangers on how one goes about creating a blog in Kenya and I honestly feel like it is too much to walk everyone through each step personally. In the spirit of sharing though, I feel like I am obligated to hold someone’s hand and be of help in the same way that my friend came through for me.
In this series on ‘How to Start a Blog in Kenya’, I’ll share the many different lessons I have learnt along the way. Lessons that have seen me start a couple niche blogs that attract a collective average of over 150,000 views a month and earn me a little fortune in residue income each month. (Quick Update: I now blog full-time and make 100% of my income blogging. Some of my earnings does come from social media consultancy but I attribute that to my blogging as well since all my clients approach me from any of my blogs.)
I will release the posts in a series each covering a different topic from how to choose the topic, launching the blog, content creation, how to get traffic as well as the ways to monetize the blog.
In this series of How to Start a Blog in Kenya
- Introduction: Setting up the Blog
- How to Come up with Content
- Where do you Get Traffic
- Search Engine Optimization for your Blog
- Best Trick for finding High Search Low Competition Keywords
This is going to be a long post. You probably should get a glass of water and sit down comfortably before starting.
Today we look at the options you have when it comes to starting a blog in kenya.
- Free platforms: Free domain name and hosting
- Custom Domain on Blogger: Own domain and free hosting
- Self Hosted WordPress Blog: Own domain and self hosting
Using Custom Domain on Blogger
This option will cost you at least Ksh. 1000. All you need to do is start a free blog at blogger, purchase your domain and link your blog to your custom domain. I prefer the ‘.com’ domain extension that you can get on godaddy.com for a little less than $14. You can however opt for Kenyan domain extensions like ‘.co.ke’ or like in this blog, ‘.info.ke’. The domain names are renewed yearly.
We shall be looking at how you go about buying your own domain name and linking it to your blogger blog in a later post.
Update: Here’s the post on how to set up a custom domain on blogger.
Self Hosted Blog
This is by far the most expensive option. You not only pay for your domain name, you also pay for your hosting. This will cost you a little less than $50 a year. Just like the domain name, you will have to keep renewing your hosting every year.
A self hosted blog is the way to go if you want to have complete control over your blog. You however need some technical know-how if you need to edit the code of your blog. It is however easy to install the wordpress package and some hosting companies like godaddy provide you with a one-click installation option for wordpress.
In the coming post, we shall be looking at the second post in the ‘How to Start a Blog in Kenya’ series where we discuss how to come up with the topic for your blog.
How to Come up With Blog Content | Blog Content
- Go for a Topic You are Passionate About
- Select the right Niche
- Coming up with post ideas
- The quality of Your Content Matters
Go for a Topic You are Passionate About
Before we can even go any further, it is advisable to choose a topic that you will be talking about in your blog. Bearing in mind that you’ll be writing hundreds of posts on the topic, it needs to be something you are passionate about. It also helps to write something you know one or two things about. You cannot start talking about pets if the thought of having a dog in your house makes your tummy churn. Think fitness if you are a health junkie, or recipes if you are a certified foodie.
Selecting the Niche
When choosing what you’ll be talking about, remember that the more tightly focused your niche is, the easier it is to rank for it and the better chance you will have becoming an authority in that niche. It is also easier to link your articles to each other when they are closely related. This will help in spreading the ‘link juice’, a strategy that is very good when it comes to search engine ranking like we shall see in a later post.
Giving an example of the fitness topic above, her’s how to choose a focused niche;
Health > Weight loss > Fitness > Exercising > Core Exercises.
Go as far right as you can. Just ensure that you can produce an infinite number of posts on the niche that you finally pick. The strategy above can be applied to any topic.
Coming up With Post Ideas
Now that we have selected the niche, it is time to come up with post ideas. There are very many places we can get these. Google auto-suggest is one such places. Have you ever typed a query on Google and it completed your statement for you? That’s because you’re not the first person searching for the same. As a blogger, this can work to your advantage. Input some terms from your niche in Google and look what comes up. If there is no post about the topic you come up with, or if what is there is low quality, here’s your chance to shine.
I have also realized that as the audience grows, your visitors start asking questions in the comments that are inspiration for new posts.
The Quality of Your Content Matters
There are hundreds of articles about any particular topic online. Why would anyone choose to read your work? Your work has to stand out. You just have to work harder than your competitor especially when you are starting out and building your following. The good thing is, you do not have to re-invent the wheel. Study your competitors and improve on what they do. Work on presentation and engagement.
In our next part of how to start a blog in Kenya, we shall be looking at how to get visitors to your new blogs. You do not want to miss out.
How to Drive Traffic to Your Blog | Starting a blog in Kenya
In today’s article, we discuss how we drive traffic to our new site. You might have a blog with the most beautiful design, or have killer content in your posts, but if no one is reading your stuff, all your hard work is in vain.
Given that you are just starting out, direct traffic is the best bet you have when it comes to getting any traffic at the moment. Social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook are great places to introduce your new blog. You can even tell your friends and family and have them read and probably critic your work if you are comfortable with it.
The next thing we discuss int this series of starting a successful blog in Kenya will be the best long term traffic sources for your site. Most of these take time but when the traffic comes rolling all you have to do is sit back and relax.
Organic Traffic from the Search Engine
I love to optimize my blogs for search engines. This is because the content I write most of the time is the kind you read when you want to solve a problem at the time. Organic traffic is very good because it is very targeted. What this means is that the people who end up on your blog are people who are actually searching for what you have written about.
Though there are a number of search engines out there, the most popular ones are definitely Google, Yahoo and Bing. Once you rank for your selected keywords, your work as far as traffic is concerned is done.
This however requires that you appear in the first page of the search engine. The first three positions are the most coveted for obvious reasons; they get more clicks. It is not easy to get there though. You have to apply several strategies like keyword research, quality content as well as create quality backlinks back to your site. We just discuss more on Search Engine Optimization in our coming post.
It pays to be generous on other blogs. Visit other blogs in your niche, read their posts and leave helpful comments. This not only allows you to connect with other writers, you might also get discovered by their readers. Another advantage of blog commenting is building backlinks to improve search engine ranking.
Getting Traffic From Social Media
Twitter, Google Plus and Facebook are great platforms for directing traffic to your blog. You might need to start a Facebook page for your blog where you will be posting links to your blog along with other helpful information. In my opinion, the content that performs the best on social media are viral stories, lists, news and entertainment articles.
Social Bookmarking sites
Submitting your articles to social bookmarking sites is a great way of gaining new visitors. Among the most popular book marketing sites are Stumbleupon, Digg, Delicious, Tumblr, Reddit and Pinterest.
Search Engine Optimization for your Blog | Starting a blog in Kenya
Organic traffic is the best traffic you can have in your blog. It is highly targeted, free and constant. This is the traffic sent to your blog by search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing. For you to start receiving visitors from the search
engines, you need to rank high on the first page on the said search engines and this requires some work on your part. In this post we look at the factors that determine how search engines rank your blog content.
Before we get to that, let me emphasize the importance of having targeted traffic to your blog. The conversion rate when a visitor gets exactly what they are looking for from the blog is so high that most advertising platforms like Google Adsense pay higher rates to publishers when the click originates from a search engine rather than direct traffic from let’s say, Facebook. This is because when a person Googles for instance, ‘how to get my ex back’, they are more likely to buy a relationships eBook or visit a ‘Get your Ex Back Website’ as compared to someone who just saw a link on Twitter and clicked on it for entertainment purposes.
For the search engines to know exactly what your content is about, you need to use the right keywords. Think about how people are phrasing the question that you are answering when they search on the search engines. In most cases, you will find different phrases asking the same question. Choose the one with the highest demand.
More often than not, you will find that there is a lot of competition for the perfect keyword; this is where long tail keywords come in. This is when you use more words in the keyword that you are targeting. Using our example above, instead of targeting the ‘Get your Ex Back’ keyword, target a longer keyword like ‘Get your Ex-girlfriend Back’ or even better, ‘Get your Ex-girlfriend Back in a Week’ You are more likely to rank for a long tail keyword.
In the next part of how to start a blog in Kenya, we shall look at how to get low competition Keywords.
Quality is Key
The quality of your content is everything. Whatever it is that you are writing about, chances are that the topic has been covered hundreds of times before. You need to come up with killer content to outrank your competition.
If a visitor ends up in your site and does not search for the same thing elsewhere, it tells the search engine that you are delivering on your promise and they rank you high. If they scan your site for a minute, leave and move on to the
next blog, you start to lose your credibility in the eyes of the search engines.
content also sells itself. When a customer is satisfied or happy with the information they get from your blog, they are more likely to share it with their friends. Search engine love this for it tells them that the information is helpful.
Speaking of sharing, there is nothing that tells the search engine that your content is quality than when different sites are linking to it. This networked links are referred to as backlinks. It is important to note that some backlinks are more powerful than others. The more trusted the site the link is coming from, the better it is for you.
A few years back, blog owners would flood their sites with artificial backlinks to confuse the search engines into ranking them high. This has changed a lot in the recent past. The more natural the backlinks are created, the better.
A place to start is by leaving helpful comments on other blogs in your niche. You can also generate quality content and hope that other site owners link to you or you can write guest posts. We shall be looking at different ways of building quality backlinks in a later post.
Image Credit: Pixabay.com-how to start a blog in kenya
If you have any questions on any of the areas covered above about starting a successful blog in Kenya, feel free to leave a comment and we shall do our best to explain.