You too can start a blog and make money online in Nigeria as the big boys do. Seeing that many Nigerians get it wrong when it comes to blogging, we at TLP took up the challenge to create this definitive guide to help upcoming bloggers in Nigeria get their blog running itch-free and make no mistakes in every step of the journey.
In this Blog Starter guide, we have adhered to industry-proven and tested principles of starting and growing a website.
If you’re reading this guide now it means you’ve decided to start a business blog and make money off it.
Starting a blog is easier than you think, in less than half an hour (looking by the way of this DIY blog starter guide) you’d get your blog professionally set up yourself and in no time get blogging, before that, let’s consider a few reasons
Why Start a Blog?
1. Starting a blog is a quick and trendy way to communicate information and ideas; you can express your intelligentsia in a unique way that makes your blog stand out of the competition.
2. Starting a blog is a fast way to found a startup or support and grow already existing business or service.
3. Blogging is one of the lowest-cost investment decisions anybody can make. It cost little to create and have your blog running; with the littlest of budget, you can make your blog go live in the shortest time possible.
4. Blogging on a particular topic from time to time can establish your expertise as a professional in your chosen Niche.
5. Blogging can make you famous; many companies out there will want to consult you to use your blog or service to further propagate their business. Your writing efforts and professionalism will earn you wining and dining with highly influential people.
6. The achievement of every blogger can be narrowed down to helping readers solve a problem or achieve their conceived objectives, you feel a kind of self-fulfillment when you receive comments on how a blog post you publish sometimes back turned the tables of someone’s life around.
7. Blogging gives you a unique tone, a brand, and a differentiated voice. The world can hear and know you through your blog if you’re a serious blogger and consistent at what you do, even the president of your country would start paying attention to you*.
8. The most interesting part of blogging is starting a blog can rewarding, you too can join the league of successful bloggers who smile to the bank monthly. Some Nigerians are already making money online, to name a few: Linda Ikeji, Uche Eze, Bamidele Onibalusi, My Good friend Walter Akolo from Kenya, Einstein Muki from Cameroon, my well-respected mentor Micheal Abegunde, Loy Okezie from Nigeria and many more others.
Now that you have more than enough reasons to support your blogging decision. Now let’s move on!
Before I proceed on how to set up your blog, needful I say that you must have done some homework on:
- How to pick the perfect domain name for your blog and
- How to choose the perfect blogging Niche.
- How to choose your target Audience; country-specific, Global audience or a mix?
In case you haven’t, No problem, just Read on!
How to Choose the Perfect Domain for your Blog
Choosing the right domain name, deciding on a blogging niche and determining a target audience are three fundamental issues a blog starter need address well once for all.
What is a domain name?
A domain name gives your blog a unique identity that distinguishes it from all of the other websites on the web. If you type into your browser; www. google.com you will undoubtedly be directed to Google search engine. So the domain name is like a telephone line that’s unique to you and that’s what people can use to reach out to your blog anytime online.
How to Decide on the Right Domain
There are 3 widely used practices of choosing domain names:
- Brandable Domains
- Using Personal Name as domain
- Keyword research
The above methods are 3 of the best practices in choosing a domain name in 2021. Success is possible with all three approaches.
The most valuable company in the world, e.g. Google both have branded domain that is unique, we hardly heard a thing or brand goes by that until the company came about on September 4, 1998.
Also if you’re blogging to build a brand you’d probably want to go for a very unique name the web has never heard ( can’t be found on search engines) although this might be a little bit tough but it’s not impossible, by being creative playing around with words, asking friends and families you’d come up with something great. You can as well use name suggest tools to come up with own brand name.
Using Personal Name as domain
Using your name as your domain is another brilliant option, many people do this in order to claim web space for their name. They want to receive direct credit in forms of popularity and expertise for their online activities. They simply want to grow with their name as their brand and it is not a bad idea in any way.
However, I personally opined that using your name as your domain may make your site look like more personal and generic as opposed to official and Industry-focused.
Choosing a domain name by keyword used to be like an SEO shortcut, it’s a means of automatically claiming the first page of search engine result pages (SERP) for keywords you’re targeting, I can’t say this method has really come to stay as Google disclosed that branded domains will be given much consideration as opposed keyword-driven domains, but assuredly the method still works especially for niche bloggers.
This is 2021 and this method doesn’t seem to work anymore.
Whatever the case may be, you need not get confused, the golden rule is to choose a name that makes your blog uniquely describable and unambiguous, A name that well represents your blog’s purpose.
In your domain extension and structure, you should avoid the use of dashes or symbols generally in between or anywhere around your domain and preferably choose the dot.com domain, it’s still the golden choice. Steer clear of extensions like .biz, .free, .us, .tk etc.
- Techdome.tk (not good)
- Techdome.org (not so bad)
- Techdome.net (not bad)
- » Techdome.com ( near perfect)
It’s Usual not to find the exact domain of choice, there are more than 300 million domains already registered online, no cause for alarm, you can add some prefix and suffix around the keyword or use this brilliant domain suggestion tool at namemesh.com. However, the general rule for picking a domain is; if you like it, go for it!
Before we move on, you want to be sure your domain is on par with your purposed blog. Here comes another important question;
How to Pick a blogging Niche
(If you already have something at heart to blog about you can skip this section), if not, I will implore you to carefully read this.
There are 1000 and 1 blogging ideas, but you have to make this decision by considering Your Interests, skills, and talent, Here are but a few tips to put you on the right track.
- 1. Blog about the concerns of the world like conferences, events, etc
- Embark on Niche keyword research to uncover a niche with a large audience, you can use these tools (soovle.com and Google keyword planner) to find winner driven sub-niche. Here is a great resource on how to do Niche Research.
- Blog about Global burdens affecting a large group e.g. balding and beard-related issues, Obesity. Here are 10 other world’s pressing burdens:
- High Blood pressure
- Household Air pollution
- Low fruit diet
- High body mass index
- High blood sugar
- Childhood underweight
- Ambient Air pollution
- Physical inactivity
However, it is important to NOTE that Blogging about knowledge-driven and empirical issues might be tiring if you’re not a professional at it yourself. It’s NOT expected that someone who is not a surgeon or psychiatrist blog about those professions.
- You can blog about New or Future Technology and innovations like hyperloop vehicle, flying bus and cars, Android Life, Internet of Things (IoT), Robotics, etc
- You can run gist, news, Entertainment or information blog, be the first to break news to your audience, Africans are good newsreaders and love to keep updated of what is going on in their world.
- You can blog about your immediate environment, country, profession, skill, and much more
- A blog around the most valuable brands, products, companies software, generally anything widely used across the globe to guarantee large readership in the long run e.g. Google Alphabet, Apple Inc. , FaceBook.com, etc.
NOTE: avoid using the intellectual properties of other companies without legal permission from them. (Here is the case study of 9to5google.com, which is facing trademark charges from Google after 5 years of operation.)
How to choose your target Audience
Blogging for a local audience is great, it’s the quickest way to be famous, but looking at things from a bigger perspective, it’s best to blog for a mixture of country audiences without derailing from your Niche. My reasons are:
It is not wrong to say that Nigeria or Africa as a whole is still catching on with when it comes to Internet penetration and usage; we are not at the peak of use of it yet.
Like we see in other western countries like the USA, we don’t have as many internet inclined people that live and eat off the internet. Looking at countries like the United States, a very large percent of the people use the internet and see it as an important part of their life, they buy almost everything from clothing to food and sophisticated gadgets online.
Blogging is done on the World Wide Web, meaning the world is your exploring avenue, if you’re blogging for a certain country, it’s not bad, but you’re still under-utilizing your potentials of reaching out to a global audience.
Your blog needs to expand its horizon to earn as much as possible income you desire, If the Americans and the Europeans are proud to be called the biggest spender online, you can do Africa good by being the biggest earners online.
Now that you know what to blog about and already have a unique domain name in mind, let’s move on to simplify the technical aspect of setting up your blog.
HOW TO CHOOSE A WEB HOST PROVIDER
A web hosting is a web infrastructure that is used to keep your website files online, basically, it servers your web pages to website visitors. Someone says your web hosting can be considered your apartment and your domain name apartment or street number.
Web hosting service is offered by several providers and since it is one of the most important elements of a blog, you need to find the best web hosting suitable, and so we recommend Bluehost.
What to look for in a web host:
- Speed and reliable web server
- Great customer support
- Simplified WordPress installation
- Robust and update Web server Infrastructure
- Scalability (can easily be upgraded as the need arise)
The great thing about Bluehost is you get the domain for free.
HOW TO INSTALL A WORDPRESS BLOG
You’d be glad to hear this! Now you will learn how to build your blog on a robust web platform called WordPress, you must have heard it too, that it offers the best, simplest yet productive blogging experience for users across the world which is why it is the most popular Content Management System (CMS) that powered more than 57% of blogs and websites in the blogosphere. WordPress is an opensource project made available free with dynamic layouts.
WordPress is constantly updated and with a robust community of WordPress developers who from time to time develop many useful plugins and themes and as well provide tutorials on just about any WordPress issues, you’re sure to have a hasslefree blogging experience on WordPress.
Trust me, 50 million web owners who built their blog/website on WordPress cannot be wrong.
WordPress Installation Step by Step
Your Webhosting can be likened to a new apartment still empty. We need to install your blogging software which is FREE courtesy of WordPress.org© as explained above.
To install WordPress, go back to cpanel homepage and click to login. You can login with the hosting credentials sent to your inbox or simply login with your domain name and chosen password at registration.
You will be logged in to your private web portal called cPanel (control panel), the next thing is to install WordPress, proceed by closing all popup windows, under the “Website” heading and click the “Install WordPress” icon.
A new page will come up, that’s your WordPress one-click install page courtesy of Softaculous.
The next thing is to Click on the “Install” button to get the WordPress setup.
Select your domain and click “Check Domain”.
Check the “Show advanced options” box and enter in your site’s desired title, username, and password. The title and password can be changed in the future but not the username. Be sure to keep your username and password by writing them somewhere safe.
When you are done, click to mark the box to agree to the terms and then press the “Install Now” tab to finally install your WordPress blog.
WordPress is now being installed and in about 5 minutes you should get your blog live and working.
As soon as the installation completes, look to the top of the page to see your login details, your login credential is only available here for a limited time, so it I expect that you write or back it up somewhere safe and easily accessible.
Your login credentials will as well be sent to your email inbox, be sure to check all your email folders to get the email.
CONGRATULATIONS! You’ve successfully installed your Blog.
But hey! There is more to 2 than 3…
There is more to blogging than just having a blog go live!
Read on to find out how to adeptly run your blog and grow it to stardom.
Needful I say that the life of an aspiring blogger should be characterized by the love to gather onthejob experience, by learning from other successful bloggers. Before I explain this further, let me acquaint you with your new blog and show you around…
Proceed by logging in to your Blog admin area with your Login credentials. To do this, visit www.yourdomain.com/wpadmin in your browser, then you will be directed to the WordPress login page asking you for the username and password.
Peradventure you’d forgotten, turn to the email sent to you from the hosting company when your blog set up was finalized.
To make the best out of your blog, you need to REPLICATE THE GREAT WEB EXPERIENCE AND build your blog for today’s users. To do this, there are some website principles your blog must follow:
Professional blog design/set up
- Responsive across multi-screens
- Easy User-interface
- Simple Navigation
- Page Speed Insight
Unique and Original Contents
A carefully mapped-out blog promotion strategy should look like this
- Original, Informative and well-optimized Contents
- Keyword Research
- Leveraging social media
- Proper SEO implementation
Professional Blog Design and Setup
As a new blogger, the above Blogging principles might be somehow ambiguous to comprehend but in a simpler language, it means:
You have to make your new blog responsive and consistent across multiscreen devices like TV, smartphones with varying screen resolutions and inches, PCs, etc.
You need to make it easy for users and Make web pages load fast and super blazing. To do this you must understand that;
Only 9 percent of users will stay on a website that does not satisfy their Navigation needs. The remaining 91% will quickly back out of a blog that is not userfriendly.
Few studies that considered how often people encounter issues accessing websites via smartphones and mobile devices exemplified that:
- 61% times in Nigeria people encounter a problem accessing a website through their smartphones.
- 44%, meaning almost 1 out of 2 users encounter a problem accessing a website in Kenya.
- Brazil with 21% and India with 27 %
It’s important to keep to a simple blog navigation system that will enhance user engagement, remember, “Simplicity is stylish“.
You need to think of a mobile-first strategy with user experience at the heart of it. E-marketers in the USA say 60% of their population use their mobile phones to access the internet last year and this number is expected to grow to 70% of the population by 2018.
What do we mean by having a mobile-first experience?
Mobile is critical to your business and will continue to be so, whether you’re blogging about your favorite sporting events or working on the website for your community theatre or selling products to potential clients, you need to make sure visitors can have a good experience from your site when they are visiting from their mobile devices.
78% of Nigeria local internet users access local information using phones or tablets. 44% of Kenyan users do the same thing and in South Africa, 55% of internet users use their phone to access internet information.
This is basically showing the significance of mobile in Africa and the rest of the world. so if you don’t have a mobile strategy, you don’t have a strategy at all.
Let’s move on to a couple of mobile strategies:
Google’s mobile-first strategy focuses on
- make it easy for your users
- make it fast
- make it consistent
In a study enacted by Google, we find out that 74% people say that they are more likely to return to a site that is mobile-friendly, three out of four people could have visited a website only if the website is mobile-friendly, which means you could have repeat visitors by just having a good mobile-friendly blog.
As I mentioned earlier, when you’re looking for something on the go and you want it to be relevant, you want it to be easy to navigate and quick to load. And in a world with literally millions of websites if you want to be found you must ensure you can give your users what they want in a timely fashion.
Unique and Original Contents
There is a saying articulated by Bill Gates that “content is king”, but I’ll say “Original content is king”. Now that you’ve set up your blog, it’s time to start creating contents that will make your blog.
Creating contents that will engage your blog readers is the ultimate goal, from experience, keeping readers engaged is about telling stories that they are looking for in a unique and creative way. There are lots of different types of blog contents; I will draw your attention to a few different types of reigning at the moment.
- Evergreen Contents
These are content that no matter when accessed it still remains relevant and usable, for example, Historical information, or how to do something. These type of content is always been searched for and will continue to grow in users year after year.
- Infographics contents
Another futuristic content strategy is video and visual content. Video is undoubtedly gaining tremendous momentum; you can see that in your social media timelines. Video content is rapidly becoming the norm as it provides detailed referential information about a topic or issue.
Every day, people watch millions of hours on YouTube, research made it understandable that there’s been huge growth in visual and video contents.
So you can take your Smartphone out tonight video scope something interesting and post it on YouTube make a corresponding blog post on your blog and make it easy for users to access your channel from within your blog and vice-versa. 30 seconds to 1 minute video will do the trick for a start.
Also, are infographics, they are stylish ways to explain topics using attractive graphic presentation. You can decide to show in an infographic “10 sitting posture for all time typist” this will help readers understand your idea, the ideology behind the abounding success of visual contents is the fact that learning is more productive by visual compared to describing in a writeup.