The first set of important steps you need to take to start a blog in Africa includes taking the time to learn a little bit about blogs and blogging, choosing between a free blog and a paid self-hosted blog, drawing a simple plan to guide your blogging journey and keep it on track, and getting a laptop or desktop computer with a reliable internet connection.
After going through the above initial steps, you will have laid a proper foundation to start a successful blog in Africa.
In this post, I will show you a simple 21-step strategy to enable you to start a blog in Africa without much sweat.
Start a blog in any part of Africa (or elsewhere).
Do you dream of starting a blog in any part of Africa? Maybe you wish to start a blog in South Africa, Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, Botswana, Zimbabwe or Zambia but you are not sure what you need to do in order to start a blog in your part of Africa.
Well, starting a blog in Africa need not be a difficult task. The process of starting a blog is basically the same across the globe.
Generally, the same tips you will see about starting a blog in the US, India, Pakistan or Jamaica will generally apply to South Africa, Ghana, Malawi or Liberia. However, there are certain factors peculiar to Africa which might demand that you adopt a slightly different approach to building a profitable blog in any African country.
So if you are someone living in an African country who is looking for the best guidelines to start a blog in Africa, then you have come to the right place.
Three key areas
I will group the steps necessary to start a blog in Africa into three main groups. First, we will look at the initial critical steps that will lay a solid foundation for a serious blogging career in Africa.
Secondly, I will take you through the actual blogging-related steps that will enable you to bring your dream blog to life.
And finally, we will look at the kind of mindset you need to successfully start a blog in Africa.
Are you ready to learn the secret of starting a blog in Africa? Then let’s dive in.
1. Make it simple.
The truth is blogging involves a whole lot of activities. If at the beginning you want to worry yourself about everything you need to do, chances are that you will be overwhelmed.
So here is my advice. Do not make life too complicated for yourself. Take it easy and focus on what matters most. You can add other things as time goes on.
2. Become a student of blogging
Start by learning about blogs, websites, WordPress, digital publishing and content marketing. There is no end to the insights, tips and secrets you can learn from other bloggers who have already gone through the early stages of the blogging journey you are about to embark upon.
Go online and search Google for ideas on websites and on YouTube. There is a ton of useful information to obtain on BloggingtotheMax, for example, to allow you to start a blog in Africa successfully.
I would also recommend these YouTube channels. They have useful, easy-to-digest information on how to start a blog in Africa and elsewhere in the world.
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Another way to learn about blogging is to take a course in blogging.
One piece of advice, though. Make sure you don’t fall for the tricks of those who promise overnight success at a very high price. Because in blogging, there is nothing like quick results that look like magic.
3. Decide whether you want a free blog or paid self-hosted blog.
It is possible to start a blog in Africa for free. Yes, you do not need to make any payment for a website or buy any tools in order to start a blog in South Africa, Lesotho, Rwanda or Ivory Coast.
But note that free blogs generally are not a good fit for you if you wish to turn your blog into a full-time money-making online business the way I’m doing. Is that what you want?
On the other side is a paid self-hosted blog. In fact, the initial cost of starting a self-hosted WordPress blog, for example, can be as little as $50 or less.
This is the way for you if your dream is to start a blog here in Africa and build it into a really profitable online business.
Here is another approach. You can begin with a free WordPress.com blog, for example, and later move over to the self-hosted WordPress.org platform.
For now, all you need is to choose one of the above and start with it.
And for the purposes of this article, I will assume that you want to build a self-hosted passive income-generating blog with WordPress.org. So that is what I will speak to.
4. Draw a simple plan.
It will help a lot if you have a plan to follow on your blogging journey. A plan or strategy will give you a definite direction and keep you focused.
Do not make it complicated, though. A one-page or half-page bullet-point blogging plan is enough.
Some key components of your plan must be your short-term and long-term goals, the resources you need to gather and invest and any benchmarks of success.
5. Find a computer.
A simple laptop or desktop computer is enough for starters. Get something you can truly afford.
All you need is the kind of machine that will make it possible for you to publish blog posts and perform other basic tasks like surfing the internet for information and tools.
6. Get connected to the internet.
This one is a no-brainer. You will need a reliable internet connection to start a blog in any part of Africa. So make sure to take care of that.
The above steps are foundational actions you need to take in order to start a blog in Africa. That is if you truly desire to succeed with your blog.
Next, I’m going to show you how to go about the more specific aspects of blogging.
So here we go.
7. Decide on your niche.
A niche is simply the particular topic you want to focus on as a blogger. The truth is as the competition gets stiffer in the blogging world, the need to narrow your focus on something specific and do it very well becomes more crucial.
Some broad niches in blogging are lifestyle, fashion, education, technology, finance, health and fitness, sports, news and media, entertainment and relationship.
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A common guiding principle here is to go for the blogging niche you’ve got at least two of the following for.
Willingness and ability to learn more
8. Get down to a sub-niche.
As I said a moment ago, it is best to blog under a narrow topic. So choose a sub-niche under any of the above niches.
You might even decide to go further and select a tiny micro-niche from the sub-niche you have settled on.
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Let’s have some examples.
Supposing your preferred niche is about relationships, you may decide to select either dating or marriage as your sub-niche.
And if you wish to narrow it down a bit more, you might consider dating for teens or dating for single parents.
Under marriage, possible micro-niches are counselling for newlyweds, divorce or parenting.
9. Decide on a content management system.
There are multiple content management systems out there for a beginner blogger to choose from. Now if you need my recommendation, I would advise that you choose WordPress.
WordPress is the most popular CMS currently. According to Hubspot, 42.3% of websites use WordPress at the time of writing this article. WordPress is relatively simple and fun to use.
The only downside I can personally see is that the steep learning curve is something that scares away a lot of newbie bloggers. But WordPress has evolved and has become much easier to learn and use.
Other CMSs to try are the following.
Blogger by Google
10. Choose a domain name and a blog title.
It is now time for you to choose the name or title for your blog. In most cases, bloggers choose blog titles that reflect the topic or theme of the kind of content they intend to publish.
So when you hear BloggingtotheMax, you quickly know what we are about.
I will suggest strongly that you choose a blog title that is not too long or overly complicated. It needs to be simple, memorable and interesting enough.
A lot of bloggers have used their own names for their blogs. Personal blogs are known for this. Well, go for it especially if that is what aligns with your goals.
Again, you can derive your domain name from your blog’s name.
One more thing. You will realize that there are different levels of pricing for the various domain extensions such as .com, .net, .org, .site and .biz.
You can do some research on what makes each one unique, its pros and cons etc before settling on one.
11. Buy your domain name.
One main reason why many people are not too sure if they can start a blog in Africa is doubts about how to pay for a domain name or hosting package coming from the US or the UK.
It becomes more of a problem to buy a domain name and hosting package and start a blog in many parts of Africa for the following reasons.
- Denial of PayPal services
- Difficulty getting a Mastercard or Visa card
- Limited number of alternative international payment methods available to people in Africa
- Lack of information about alternative payment methods
Now, I’ve got good news for you. Today, it is possible to buy a domain name and a shared hosting package locally.
I mean you can easily buy your domain name right there in your own country or from a neighbouring African country.
In most cases, your MTN or Vodafone mobile money account is enough to do the transaction successfully within a few minutes.
12. Choose a good web hosting company.
Factors to consider in choosing a web hosting company include the following.
- Available bandwidth
- Technical support
- Affordability – at least at this early stage
Would you prefer more established international web hosting companies from places like the US, Canada, Singapore or the UK?
Then you can try Bluehost, Hostgator, Siteground, Hostinger, GoDaddy or A2Hosting.
Now if all you have is MTN MoMo or other local mobile money accounts, then I would advise that you go in for a locally-based web hosting company.
Today, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of such hosting companies in most African countries.
Indeed, most of these hosting companies in Africa work directly with foreign ones. Some operate as Reseller outlets for giant hosting companies abroad like Bluehost and GoDaddy.
Are you about to start a blog in Ghana or Nigeria? Check out the following.
13. Pay for hosting.
After settling on your desired hosting company, you can now make a payment for hosting. Usually, you will have to start with a shared hosting package.
Note that the process for making a payment to a web host is the same as the one for buying a domain name.
And in most instances, you will be making your payment to the same company. This is unless you choose to separate the place where you bought the domain name from the one for the hosting company.
The choice is entirely yours to make.
14. Look for a WordPress theme and set up your website.
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You will find thousands of WordPress themes in the WordPress repository. Let the following be your guide in the choice of a WordPress theme.
- Lightweight and fast
- Frequent updates
- Guttenberg compatible
- Recommended by top bloggers in your niche
15. Assemble the needed basic tools.
For a new blog, WordPress plugins and other software that can perform the below functions are a must.
- Site backup
- SEO or Search Engine Optimization
- Email list building
- Site speed
16. Create a simple blog structure.
Start with a limited number of WordPress blog categories. Anywhere between five and ten categories should be enough.
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It is best to identify at least some of the important tags you will be using for your blog articles. As time goes on, you will revise your taxonomy list.
Know the major topics you wish to write about. Also, have an idea about any supporting articles you would be adding in the future.
What is the average word count you intend for your articles? Determine that.
Opinion on the ideal length of a blog post keeps shifting. What I have personally learnt is that there is no ideal word count for the typical blog post.
Considerations such as the particular niche, the blog post in question and the goal of the post,(informational, transactional etc) should determine the length of any blog article.
Nevertheless, writing anywhere between 1,000 words and 2,500 words on average should be just fine.
17. Start with basic branding.
With the help of the WordPress theme customizer, decide on the various aspects of your website branding such as the following
- Colour theme
- Font style
- Font size
- Site logo and site icon
18. Create a content strategy.
Set goals for your new blog. Here are some ideas to consider
- Content goals
For example, how many posts would you like to publish every week or month?
- Marketing goals
How do you intend to promote your blog posts and the blog in general? What are the specific results you are expecting in terms of traffic?
19. Start writing and publishing blog posts.
Now is the time to start the actual work. I call writing and publishing blog posts the most important blogging activity. And it is true. Because without a regular flow of new blog articles, the blog you toiled to start in Africa will amount to nothing.
So get down to work. Work within the framework you have so far created for the blog and churn out as much content as you can.
20. Keep learning.
Remember this. One secret to success in the blogosphere is continuous learning. The blogging landscape and technology in general keep evolving by the day. And, for that matter, to avoid rendering your blog obsolete in no time, you must make lifelong learning a critical part of your activities.
There are many other things you will need to do to be truly successful. There is no end to this. SEO, google analytics, monetization etc. And you cannot learn about all at once and forget about learning.
Other blogs, Youtube channels, ebooks and online courses are there to help you. Fortunately, most of these educational materials on blogging are completely free.
21. Your attitude counts.
We have come to the closing stages of our discussion on how to start a blog in Africa. I want to leave you with an important piece of advice.
In fact, it is quite easy to start a blog in Africa these days. But those who are able to turn their blogs into profitable online businesses are the ones with the right mindset and attitude.
So make sure to cultivate the right attitude if you want to start a successful blog in Africa.
I urge you to cultivate these three vital attributes of successful bloggers and success will be yours.
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Final Thoughts – Get ready to monetize.
All things being equal, you will start receiving visitors to your blog in a matter of weeks. And when you begin to see a steady increase in website traffic, know that it is time to start thinking about monetization.
We will leave that for another article.