To make it as a blogger in Kenya is not something that will happen overnight, even those of us who have been in the industry for quite a number of years will attest. It’s a common norm that when bloggers are starting, they have millions of expectations, but after a short while majority of them fizzle out. Blogging is a frustrating venture, it’s not as easy as you may perceive it. Some of our stories may look straightforward, easy to read and quite interesting, for someone who has never blogged before, you will make an effort to start your own blog thinking that you’ll write one or two stories and start making millions. It’s when you start that you realize this side is not as green as you thought. The faint hearted never last long.
It’s quite sad that 90% of bloggers in Kenya earn below Ksh 40,000 per month. This is one reason why they opt for employment over blogging. But there is a small group, about 15 bloggers who make upwards of Ksh 300,000 per month. Interestingly, about 6 bloggers earn Ksh1 million and above every month. When you earn Ksh 1 million, that’s when you realize that blogging is a profitable activity.
Before I reveal the secrets of making it in blogging, let me first narrate my blogging journey in summary. I am one of the few Kenyans who joined Facebook in 2006, a time when only less than 500,000 had registered with Facebook. I owned a smartphone then. That time my relatives were not on Facebook, so I could write anything knowing that they won’t read. After one year of consistency in posting on my wall, I became so famous that I started doubting whether I was myself. But deep down, there was something which was bothering me—I wasn’t earning even a coin, It’s only Mark Zuckerberg who was gaining from my naivety. In 2009 I decided to research on how to make money online, I stumbled upon an article which opened my eyes. After few months of deliberating on how to begin the journey, I finally found a friend who was good in IT, he developed my first blog on Blogger CMS.I started blogging in 2010.
My first income came after one year and it was through AdSense. In July 2011 I made Ksh15,200. I remember this day, the excitement was over the sky, I greeted everyone and smiled wildly. But afterwards, I got used to money. The money grew from Ksh 15,200 to Ksh 50,000 per month in the first year. By 2017 I was making over Ksh250,000 from Adsense along. But what discouraged me was the fact that AdSense relied heavily on traffic. I had to change the way I monetized my blogs. It’s after several months of figuring out that I decided to remove AdSense from all my blogs, I can tell you it was not an easy decision. That time I was making average of Ksh300,000 per month. I realized that AdSense made me so comfortable that I wasn’t innovative. My income had also stopped growing.
One thing you should know from today; you have not made it in blogging if your sole source of income is AdSense. Go online and read blogs owned by richest bloggers in the world, none of them monetizes via AdSense. One disadvantage of AdSense is that the money you make from the platform depends on the number of visitors your blog receives. Now that competition is stiff, especially from established blogs and media houses, it’s hard to attract millions of visits every month. But if you embrace other ways of monetization, you won’t worry much about traffic.
How then will you make sure you stand out as a blogger
Come up with unique content
If you develop unique content in a less saturated niche, you will definitely make. Most bloggers rush for entertainment, politics, news or career niches where competition is excessively high leaving niches like Forex and agriculture which have little competition.
One mistake you will make is to steal content from other sites. This is something that’s affecting most bloggers in Kenya even the likes of Tuko.You expect Tuko Kenya to do thorough research but all they do is camp on other people’s blogs, steal content and do some modification.
Diversify your sources of income
AdSense will only guarantee a small amount that you will use to pay hosting fee and remain with some cash to pay other bills. But when you diversify, you are guaranteed of stable life.
These are some of the innovative ways of monetizing your blog:
- Direct Advertisements
- Affiliate marketing
- Native Advertising
- Paid reviews/Sponsored posts
- Sell Digital products (eBooks, Blueprints)
- Launch an Online Course
- Offer Online consulting
- Offer Services based on your skills
Venas News employs all the aforementioned monetization strategies.
The more you post, the higher the number of readers. There are two types of readers every blog will have: returning and new visitors. For one to return to your site, they have to be sure you have fresh content all the time. A serious blog should have 70% returning visitors and 30% new visitors in normal occasions.
A normal blog should have at least 3 new blog posts a week. If it’s entertainment or news blog, it should have one article every hour.
Select the best hosting company
In 2013 I almost gave up after all my blogs were hacked. I also faced numerous challenges, including the blogs going offline in regular occasions. The reason was my hosting company. I decided to solve the issue once and for all. Now, some of my blogs are hosted by Bluehost and others Kinsta. Since I have peace of mind, I am able to create content without the imagination of losing my content to hackers.
Never compromise on hosting services. It’s discouraging when your site goes on and off especially when you have viral content.
Post quality content
Without quality content, there is now way you will grow, even sponsored articles will be hard to come by. Advertisers will first read your articles to determine whether your blog is worth their adverts.
Your posts should be friendly to the readers, interesting to read and always educative. Let readers know that when they visit your site, there is something new they will learn.
As you know, content is king—garbage in garbage out.
Blogging is one career that you can’t force yourself into, you must have passion. If your main intention of becoming a blogger is to make money, you will be frustrated and eventually drop out.
In summary, if you want to make it in blogging, you should have passion, be committed, diversify your sources of income, create quality content and post regularly.