Wondering how to start a blog business in Kenya and earn online at the comfort of your bed?
Are you tired of sleeping on your writing talent and want to explore the doors that might open through blogging?
Or, is unemployment sucking life out of you and you’d literally do anything to make ends meet?
Well, starting a blog business in Kenya might just be the life-changing decision you need. It’s so darn simple, it requires very little capital and you can work from anywhere.
Yet honestly, it needs a good amount of smart and hard work. I’m not gonna lie that you can launch a blog today and start making good money tomorrow. Anybody who promises you that is the Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Deceit.
But, what I can promise you, just like in any other normal legal business, a journey of a thousand miles starts with one-step. If you want to start and grow a successful blog in Kenya, you must
- Be ready to work hard
- Be passionate or motivated
- Ceaselessly learn every day
- Invest in your blog
I started blogging in 2015 while a second-year student in university and over the years, I have learned pretty much about the blogging business model. It is unique and must be approached with dexterity.
In this article, I will take you through the first steps of successful blogging in Kenya. It is one thing to start a blog; it is another to launch a roaring blog that drizzles stupefying mulla.
Are you ready?
- Critical and Creative Thinking
- Purchase a domain name
- Choosing Hosting Services.
- Launch your Website
- Making your blog successful
Let’s do this!
Before anything, I need you to dispel the notion that blogging is a quick online money-making venture. Because if you don’t, you are just about to have your heart broken into ten times more pieces than your ex left you with.
Blogging is a business; a hustle where sweat matters, at least for the first couple of years. Thereafter you can afford to be smart. But, for the start, you must work your gluts off in order to earn money online.
Secondly, blogging as a Kenyan can follow two broad lines: blogging for Kenyans or blogging for the world. Each has its own pros and cons.
One clear difference though is that blogging using none local keywords is very competitive while blogging using local keywords limits your audience. With time, you’ll learn how to strike a balance.
Lastly, I’d like you to put the number 6 in your mind.
What does 6 stand for? I’m glad you asked. I love students like you.
6 is the average number of months it takes for a solo blogging newbie to get his first paycheck.
Back in 2015, I read that statement somewhere. I thought it was a bluff so; I laughed it off and said I will make money in 2 months at most. Well, I laughed again 8 months later while withdrawing my first google pay.
You can earn earlier, by the way, I don’t like crushing people’s hopes. But if you lack motivation and don’t have energy to persevere, you won’t even get to the 6th month. 90% of bloggers give up within the first three months.
I think you are now ready to start.
Critical and Creative Thinking
Did you note the part where I said ‘life-changing decision”? I meant every word of it. Blogging might transform your life. That’s why you need to think deeply about it just like you did in high school when choosing your career path.
You can blog about the endless topics in the universe, but to succeed in blogging and really earn money online, you’ve gotta narrow down to a few or one topic. Brainstorming involves the following steps.
Choosing a niche
This is probably the most integral step for securing a successful blogging business in Kenya. Why do I say so? Consider this.
In a single day, 15000 websites are created and over 10 million blog posts are published. Unless you write helpful content of high quality, you cannot stay relevant in such an avalanche. The best way to do this is to focus on one niche and be a master in it.
A niche refers to a specific target market. For instance, this website targets two complementary niches, university students and youths. Whenever I write for Kampusville, I think of these two groups of people.
Likewise, you need to think about your target audience. Who will read your content and feel grateful? Define your niche and make it as specific as possible. The more specific you are, the lesser the competition.
To do this correctly, two independent strategies exist. First, you can choose to blog on something that you are passionate about. Passion is essential in blogging. Imagine the number of hours you’ll spend seated writing and ask yourself, ‘will I enjoy writing about this topic?’
Second, you can do some good research on profitable niches then select one and dive in.
Personally, I’d advise you to use neither. Rather, apply both. Following passion alone will obviously allow you to enjoy the blogging journey. However, if you don’t start making money anytime soon, you will loose the spirit and give up.
On the other hand, if you blog on a topic based on its profitability, you might lack the energy and wit to write helpful content besides hating your job.
- Make a list of 10 topics you like
- Research on ‘profitable niches’
- Relate your passion niches with profitable niches and try to settle on a balanced niche
Brainstorm your brand name.
Time to engage your creative muscles and discover the wittiest brand name ever. What catchy name would you like to give your baby?
Choosing a good brand name is essential. You might never have a chance to change it in the future. Just imagine if Nike or Coca Cola changed their brand names today, wouldn’t it be devastating to their businesses?
So it’s wise to invest in a good brand name and besides, it will be crucial in our next step.
A good brand name should be
- Unique and distinctive
- Suggestive and Reflect your niche
- Simple, short and/or easy to pronounce
- Protectable with no legal regulatory restriction
The last part only means in the future, if your brand becomes a big deal, you can trademark it without anybody suing you. Consider searching your name online for potential similarities with existing entities before settling on one
But, before you settle on your brand name consider this following step
Purchase a domain name
A domain name is simply the internet address that will be used by people to access your articles. My domain, for instance, is kampusville.com and as you can see, the link you used to access this article starts with that domain name.
When buying a domain name, you will notice that not all domain names can be bought. Why? Because someone else beat you to them.
You might spend a whole day brainstorming the name for your brand only to find out later that its domain name is unavailable.
That’s why you should brainstorm while checking the availability of your domain name. But how can you do this research?
Domain names are registered or purchased through registry companies, which in most cases are also hosting companies.
Some internationally acclaimed hosting companies include Bluehost, HostGator, Namecheap, and GoDaddy while some top Kenyan registrars include KenyaWebExperts, Sasahost, and Truehost.
Using any of these registrars, access the domain registration dashboard and type in your chosen brand name followed by a domain extension of your choice.
Hold on! What’s a domain extension and how do you choose one?
A domain extension defines the classification of your domain by global location or sector.
There are about 5 types of domains
- Top-Level Domain: Global Site
- Country code TLD: Country Specific Site
- Generic TLD: Purpose
- Second Level
- Third Level
In most cases, the first two TLD and cc TLD are the best to choose from especially for newbies. The only difference between the two is if you want to target the whole world or your country.
To target the entire world, choose .com, .net, .biz, or .org. These domains can be bought from any registrars in the world. To target Kenyan audience, choose .co.ke or .ke. Country-based domains are mostly availed by local registrars, in this case, KenyaWebExperts, and the likes.
If you discover your preferred domain name is already taken, play around with the many extensions and choose what is available, and suits your business. Or alter your brand name.
Once you settle on one, purchase it. The average cost of domain names ranges from Ksh1,000 to Ksh1,500 annually while others can be much more expensive.
Registrars, however, bundle the domain registration with hosting packages, which reduces the total cost further. Which is why you should consider the following step before concluding on your domain purchase
Choosing Hosting Services.
This step can and should be done together with the previous step if you want to save on costs. Some registrars even offer a free domain name registration for the first year.
But first of all, what is hosting?
Hosting is the service of hiring storage for your website content at a fee. The same way you pay rent to reside at a rental.
You can pay annually or monthly but the former option is always cheaper in the end. Therefore, you should consider raising some good capital to start with.
However, if you have a small budget, don’t despair, I got you. With as little as 3100, you can register a domain and get quality hosting for your first year through KenyaWebExperts.
I normally advise newbies to start out small and only upgrade to more expensive hosting services when their websites start generating good income. Considering that more than 90% of new bloggers give up within the first 3 months, you wouldn’t want to invest a leg on something you are not sure of.
Since hosting allows your site to be accessed from anywhere in the world, choosing the right hosting is crucial. The main types of hosting include
- Shared Hosting: Many websites located in one server
- Cloud Hosting; Many servers working together to act as on server which houses your site among others
- Virtual Private Server Hosting: Single physical server acting like multiple servers; each website with own slot
- Dedicated Hosting: One entire physical server for your website
Each of these types of hosting has its own pros and cons. Shared hosting is the cheapest though it has the least capabilities while dedicated hosting is the most expensive and most powerful.
For a new blog, however, shared hosting is more than enough. One of the cheapest packages I’d recommend is the Basic Plan offered by KenyaWebExperts which costs 2100 for one year.
Packages offered by the big American hosting companies are relatively more expensive although they have superior capabilities.
Take your time to settle on one package but I honestly advise you to select the cheapest quality hosting service. You can always upgrade with time as you grow.
Launch your Website
A brand name, check. A registered domain name, check. A hosting package, check. If you’re still here with me, we are getting to the fun stuff.
By the time you are done with this, your website will be up and roaring and you will feel like a tiny techie genius, haha! You are now a webmaster or webmistress (for the sake of peace and harmony).
Launching your website might seem a little intimidating for a complete armature but I can’t emphasis how easy it is, especially if you’ve been using basic computer software, the internet, and social media.
To begin with, there are two main ways of building a site.
First, codding a site from scratch. This involves writing actual code using software development applications, integrating them with hosting frameworks, launching sites and maintaining code for optimum performance
Truly, this is a very tedious job and is only reserved for software engineers, coding professionals, and enthusiasts, none of which you belong I guess.
The other way is using content management systems (CMS) which enable you to launch websites without any codding and worry of maintenance. These programs have been engineered to build the site for you and your only darn work is to add articles and photos. Somebody say Halleluyah!
Personally, I started out as a coding enthusiast having pursued a web design course after high school. I had high hopes of designing from scratch sites like Facebook and I even dreamt of becoming the next Mark Zuckerberg
But deep into the art, I realized just how much time it takes to come up with a simple but fully functioning website and the millions of dollars top websites spend on hiring top-notch specialized developers to build websites.
I didn’t have time, expertise and money for that. Therefore, I did some research on alternatives and that’s how I stumbled upon CMSes
The most popular CMS (which I use) is known as WordPress, which powers almost 30% of the entire internet. WordPress is very popular for its simplicity and complexity mashed together like mokimo.
While there are many other CMSes you can select from including Joomla, Drupal, Medium, and Blogger, I would advise you to use WordPress. For more information check out the advantages of using WordPress.
Remember when you purchased a hosting package with a registered domain? Well, the hosting environment was automatically configured for you by your hosting provider.
Inside that hosting environment, there is a software known as cPanel. cPanel is a popular software used by most hosting companies in managing websites
- You can access your cPanel by logging into your webmaster dashboard and looking for a clickable link written “cPanel Login” or “Log into cPanel”. Webmaster dashboards are customized depending on the hosting company.
- Once you’re in the cPanel, scroll down until you see “Launch WordPress Website” or something of the sort. When you click on the link you will be directed to a new page with a form where you need to fill details about your site.
- Complete the form and then install.
- After that, you might be redirected to WordPress login page where you should use your username and password to log in.
- If not, just open a new tab, type “yourdomain.com” followed by /wp-admin and press enter then log in. For instance, mine would be “kampusville.com/wp-admin”.
Just so you know, your website will already be launched at this point and you should access it through typing your domain address.
In case you get stuck while launching your blog, your hosting company has a page where it provides the guidelines for all these procedures. You should check and follow the procedures. Otherwise, you can contact me, I can help you set up your site perfectly.
Publishing your first Article
The excitement is not yet over; you are just about to publish your first article. My assumption by now is that you already have a couple of articles dealing with your niche typed on a word document and saved in your computer.
If not, consider writing one. Choose a general topic within your niche and write a 300-500 word article.
- Once your article is ready, log back into your blog.
- Navigate to Posts > Add New and a new page with an editing dashboard will open.
- Create a title or copy-paste your title on the title box
- Copy-paste your article on the main text editor box, or below your title in
- Add a featured image and another image within the article if necessary
- Add a category (broad group) and tags (niche descriptions).
For instance, if you have a sports news blog and you are writing about a football game between Gor Mahia and Kariobangi Sharks; the categories can be 2; Football and KPL while the tags can be 3; Gor Mahia, Kariobangi Sharks and Moi Stadium if that’s where they’re playing. I hope you get the gist. Categories and Tags help classify your blog posts.
- Publish your article
- Click on “View Article” to view your article.
If you are not feeling awesome right, now then I don’t know what excites you. Maybe you should try these amazing affordable date venues in Nairobi
But just before you leave, there are a few things you need to do immediately. Remember we are not just starting a blog, we want to launch a potentially successful blog. To do this, we need to optimize the website from the very beginning.
Below is a list of crucial things you should do to optimize your Kenyan blog.
- Hover over Settings
- Select General
- In the General Settings page, Edit the site title to your blog name and the tagline to your mantra (Optional)
- Edit the email address to your preferred email address
- The rest can be ignored
- Again, head to settings and select Permalinks at the bottom of the list. Permalinks are static links, which lead a browser to a particular post or page
- In the Permalinks setting page, scroll down and select Post Name as your preferred link structure.
If you are wondering, link structure is a ranking factor used by Google. An optimized link contains the keywords of a post, which are found in the title, and hence using the title/post name optimizes your URL.
One of the reasons why WordPress is so simple yet so powerful is courtesy of plugins. Plugins are extensions that add functionalities to a website.
It’s like the extra features Iron Man added to Spiderman’s Suit in Avengers Infinity War to enable him perform some awesome extra stuff. Plugins can improve your blog too.
There are tens if not hundreds of thousands of plugins available for free or for a cost. Yet if you start installing every piece of plugin out there, your blog will be bloated.
Therefore, I came up with a list of recommended plugins, which are essential for a new site. To install any, hover over Plugins on the navigation sidebar and select add new then search.
- Akismet: Protect your blog from spam
- Yoast: For site engine optimization (SEO). Follow its easy set up run through to configure.
- Updraft: To back up your site to Google Drive or Dropbox.
- W3 Total Cache: To speed up your site (Speed is another big factor in Google ranking)
- Wordfence: Acts like an antivirus for your website and provides security.
Set up Analytics.
From the very start, you need to know where your traffic is coming from in order to strategize. Google Analytics is the ultimate tool for this purpose.
It informs you where traffic is originating from, how long people are staying on your site, which pages are performing well and much more.
Another tool worth mentioning is Jetpack plugin. Jetpack is packed with more than 20 other features besides offering analytics right at your dashboard (The only advantage it has over Google Analytics).
Setting up analytics tool will set off the pace for you since it informs you of your progress and helps you make strategic plans for your blog to be successful
At this point, we have gone through almost every essential step to set up a blog. The site is online and ready to roar. However, we cannot forget the crucial business part of the blog. I’m sure you didn’t just come across this blog to enable you to create a simple blog and write whatever you want. You needed to know how to set up a successful blogging business in Kenya.
Just like any other business, blogging requires essential practices for success. I mentioned some of them in the beginning and one thing they all have in common is the fact that they are aimed at creating value for customers; in this case readers.
So generally, you need to be business-minded to blog successfully in Kenya, a country with one of the highest internet penetration in the world. How can you do this?
Get a good premium theme
It all comes down to how many zeros you can make and to do this in blogging, you need to prepare your site to make money. We have already done two of the 3 essential things required to start making money blogging. The third is getting a premium theme.
In the article linked in the paragraph above, I explain why it’s essential to buy a premium theme. If you are a little in a hurry, a premium theme offers a lot of customization features that will enable your blog design to stand out.
Making your blog successful
Conduct Keyword Research
This involves trying to find out the topics within your niche that people are searching in order to design your content for them. Keyword research is a whole sector of its own and lately it quite likely the single most powerful strategy that guarantees success in blogging.
Site Engine Optimization
While Keyword research helps you identify the right topics to write about, SEO enables your articles to appear on the first page of Google Search Results which assures you of traffic.
SEO fundamentally involves making your articles appeal to the Googlebot and hence rank for your keywords. This is another billion-dollar industry by the way. You can’t exhaust all that SEO has to offer because it’s too wide but with regular learning, you can become a master like Neil Patel.
One of the plugins I asked you to install was Yoast. This plugin can provide you with a good foundation for your SEO journey since it’s backed by a whole team of professionals who regularly update the plugin and provide tips through an email Newsletter you ought to subscribe.
Join Google AdSense
Google AdSense is the ultimate ads distribution platform in the world. It’s the easiest to join but mind you, it takes time before a new blog is approved. Google inspectors have to investigate your site to ensure it meets certain conditions before you are accepted.
In case you are worried about these conditions, how about this; if you write quality and helpful content and get traffic, then you are already qualified. Nevertheless, promoting explicit content such as drugs and porn will earn you a total disqualification.
Hire Writers and professionals
The awesome thing about blogging is that you can do everything alone, anywhere at any time. Yet, if you are thinking of your blog more than just a personal blog and rather a business, you need to start doing more things faster.
Writing blogs can be very time-consuming. In fact very few blogs are updated once a week although regular updates encourage Google to rank you higher. Therefore, a smart business person would spare some money and hire competent writers to help create quality content.
Likewise, if you indulge yourself into all the technical aspects of building a blog, you might forget among others, the next (very important) point
Market your content
You don’t expect to sit down and wait for people to come to your blog especially when it’s so young. You need to get it out there. Share articles on social media platforms, send to friends and humbly request them to share further, start email marketing among other things.
Be ready also to spend a few bucks on Facebook Marketing, which can work wonders if done correctly. Grow your fan-base promote your content every day. Even a single twit a day with a link is good enough.
Phew! I feel like I’ve exhausted everything at this point but in case there are updates such as the bill in parliament, which is promising bloggers in Kenya to pay registration fees, I will be on the lookout.
If you need any help or services pertaining to any step we have discussed, leave a comment and I will get back to you ASAP