There is a wrong belief that creating a blog is a daunting task reserved for only computer gurus.
But in today’s world, anybody can create a blog within 20 minutes and start sharing their ideas to the world.
This article will show you the step-by-step process of starting a blog in Kenya.
I didn’t have a mentor when I first started blogging. I made a lot of mistakes along the way – but I learnt valuable lessons. Valuable lessons which I’m going to share with you today.
So, stick with me.
What is a Blog and What are the benefits of Starting one?
A blog (abbreviated from weblog) is a type of website that displays posts in a reverse chronological order. Latest posts are displayed first. This site (moha.co.ke) is an example of a blog.
There are several reasons why people opt to start blogs:
- Sharing their ideas with like-minded people
- For fun and as a hobby
- Documenting their day-to-day lives
- Building an online presence for their business
- Earning money from their blogs (more in-depth explanation later)
Whatever your reasons are to start blogging, you’ll need to have passion for your topic.
Simply fall in love with what you are writing and your audience will love you and keep coming back for more.
Follow these steps if you want to start a successful blog in Kenya.
First, start by picking a topic (niche) you want to write about.
While you can write about everything you know, I strongly advise against that.
You are not Wikipedia and you’ll soon burn out from all the work.
There are three factors that you should consider while picking a niche for your blog:
a) Your knowledge
What is it that you know very much and you want to educate others? In simple terms, in what field are you an expert in?
At this stage, write down at least 5 topics you have sufficient knowledge in.
For example, a person who has never bought or sold bitcoin shouldn’t open a cryptocurrency blog.
b) Your interests
Your passion can also decide your niche type.
Although passion should not be an important factor in choosing your niche, nevertheless, it’s important.
You should go for a niche in which you can write hundreds of articles without getting bored within a few months.
c) The Niche Viability
Does your niche have a fairly large audience?
You may be interested in writing the best healthy eating tips for second world war veterans currently living in rural areas. But how much of an audience can you get from that small topic?
The truth is if you are the only person interested in your niche, you’ll end up becoming the sole reader of your blog!
So, how do we know which topics other people are currently interested in?
Go to Google.com and search your topics. If many other bloggers are currently writing on that topic, it means that there is readership.
Still stuck with the niche you should go for?
Take a look at my hand-picked blogging niche ideas you can choose from:
- Fashion and Design
- Fitness and Bodybuilding
- Diet and Recipes
- Business and Finance
- Biography and Net Worth
- Sex and Relationship
- How-to Guides and Tutorials
- Programming Languages tutorials
- Product Reviews
- Travel Guides
- Celebrity Gossips
- Gaming Reviews and Walkthroughs
A domain name is the address someone will type on the browser to access your website. The domain name for this site is moha.co.ke
You can choose any domain name in the world, as long as it’s not already registered.
- Choose your top-level extension carefully. COM and .CO.KE are the most common in Kenya.
- Keep your domain name short and memorable.
- Ensure your domain name is easy to remember and spell.
- Avoid numbers and hyphens in the domain
- Check the domain history on The Way Back Machine. If the domain had been previously used for unethical business, it could hurt your site.
We are going to use Truehost to buy our domain.
.COM domains cost Kes. 1,000 while .CO.KE cost Kes 799 per year at the time of writing this article.
These prices change from time to time, visit truehost.co.ke to check the current prices.
Search for your preferred domain and check whether it is available.
Click Add to Cart.
Fill in your details such as name and email, and pay through Mpesa.
There are three blogging platforms you can choose from:
The blogging platform of your choice determines where your website files will be stored.
Let’s look at each one in depth:
Blogger is a Google-owned free blogging platform that enables anyone to create blogs in minutes.
While it is free to use, it comes with many limitations.
You don’t own the content you post and Google can delete your site anytime you go against their policies.
It is also limited in customization options available to you, since blogger (also known as Blogspot) does not have many good-looking templates.
Your site will also have a .blogspot.com subdomain which looks very unprofessional.
WordPress.com is also another free blogging platform.
You’ll get a free subdomain, e.g., your site address will look something like mybeautifulsite.wordpress.com
Start with this option if you want to create a blog for practice purposes only.
This is a self-hosted platform, which means you fully own all your content.
You can also customize it in any way you like. No limitations!
To use WordPress, you’ll need to buy hosting from a reliable web hosting company such as Truehost.
I recommend them because I’ve hosted three of my sites with them without ever running into any issues.
As a beginner, you should go with the cheapest hosting plan. You’ll minimize your costs this way. Furthermore, you can always upgrade later on.
(Truehost Silver Hosting costs Kes. 1,499 per year.)
If you buy a .co.ke domain for Kes. 799 and hosting for Kes. 1,499, which means that you’ll spend less than Kes. 2,300 to get your beautiful blog online in minutes.
After buying the hosting, Truehost will send you an email containing the link and password to the cPanel (Control Panel).
From the cPanel, scroll downwards till you see WordPress under Softaculous apps.
Choose the latest version of WordPress, and choose your WordPress admin email, username and password. Leave the directory field blank and click install. WordPress will go through the famous five-minutes installation.
You can now access your WordPress dashboard by going to yoursitename.com/wp-admin/
(Replace yoursitename with the domain you just bought)
After successfully logging in using your credentials, you’ll need to set up the appearance (themes) and functionalities (plugins) of your site.
Go to Appearance>Themes>Add New to install a new theme to your site.
There are thousands of free and premium themes you can choose from.
As a beginner, I’d advise you to start with a free theme.
I use OceanWP on this site. It is a fast-loading, lightweight theme and you can customize any part of your site instantly.
Install plugins by clicking Plugins>Add New.
I recommend installing these necessary plugins:
- Akismet: to prevent spam comments
- WPCode (formerly Insert Headers and Footers): for inserting pieces of codes (Analytics, AdSense codes) in your site
- RankMath: for Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- UpdraftPlus: for regular site backups
- WordFence: for security of your WordPress blog.
You can add other plugins according to your needs. But remember: the more plugins you have, the slower your site speed.
Tip: play around with your WordPress dashboard and learn how to do some common tasks. With time, you’ll realize how easy using WordPress is.
Add your Site to Google Analytics
Google Analytics is used to track your site visitors’ activities, such as their locations and the pages they viewed.
- Head over to analytics.google.com.
- Add your domain name
- Copy the tracking script they give you
- Login to your WordPress dashboard and navigate to WPCode dashboard
- Paste the script in the header section and click SAVE.
- You have successfully added your site to Google Analytics
For easy access to your visitors’ statistics at a go, you can download Google Analytics mobile app from Play Store.
Add your Site to Google Search Console
Now we want to submit our new site to Google.
Google Search Console is a platform where you can submit your blog posts to Google search engine.
As an extra precaution, make sure that your WordPress site setting is not set to no-index.
Go to Settings>Reading and UNCHECK the box below.
You’ll hear the mantra “Content is King” many times over the course of your blogging journey.
Creating great content is key to building a successful blog.
But you don’t wake up just one day and start writing anything that comes to your mind.
You must do keyword research, especially if you want traffic from Google and other search engines.
Keyword research is a process of finding the exact phrases that users type when searching on Google.
There are several tools that you can use to generate keywords for free:
SEMrush: it is a paid tool but its free version can also generate keywords.
Google Keyword Planner: type in a few words and it will generate a long list of keywords
Ubersuggest: developed by the famous blogger Neil Patel, Ubersuggest will generate keywords, and show you whether it is easy or difficult to rank.
KeywordTool.io: it is a free keyword tool that generates long-tail keywords in seconds.
After choosing a keyword, it’s time to write on it!
Start by typing the exact search phrase on Google.
Read all the top ten blogs currently ranking for the keyword.
Then ask yourself: Have they done a good job with the keyword? Is there something new or unique I can add to what they have already written about? How long is their word count?
If you see your competitors have written like 300 words, then there is a higher chance you can outrank them with a well-researched 1,500-word article.
Scroll downwards to the “PEOPLE ALSO ASK” and “RELATED SEARCHES” box on Google to discover related keywords that people are searching for.
Write down these additional keywords as you’ll include the relevant ones as sub-headings in your post.
Now start writing your article. You can use Microsoft Word, Google Docs or create a new post on WordPress and start typing.
One best technique I use while writing a blog post is Backlinko’s Skyscraper technique. It simply means “finding the best article for that keyword and writing another article which is 10 times better.”
Better doesn’t necessarily mean longer. Write more thorough content, add images and videos, and provide up to date content than your competitors.
Concentrate on providing value to the user. Do not copy and paste from other blogs – since Google will penalize you for that.
After writing your blog post, you need to publish it on WordPress.
How to Publish Posts on WordPress
- From your WordPress dashboard, hover on Posts then click Add New.
- Copy and paste the article if you have written it elsewhere
- Add the post Heading at the top
- Use subheading or sub subheading to highlight different parts of your post
- Use bullet points and numbering to break up the monotony of long pieces of text
- Bold and italicize important words
- Add images where necessary
- Add at least 3 links to other posts on your blog (internal linking)
- Link out to other external resources
- Assign the post to one of the Categories
- Customize the slug (URL)
- Add a Featured Image
- Click Publish
The above steps show how to write one post. You’ll repeat this procedure for subsequent posts.
This part deals with how to drive traffic to your site.
There are several ways you can get more traffic to your new blog. I will explain four channels you can use:
1. Organic Traffic
Organic traffic is the one you get from search engines such as Google, Bing, Yahoo! and Yandex.
Use keyword research tools to get relevant keywords and write on them.
Then, insert the keyword in the post title, first paragraph, last paragraph, meta description, in URL and as image alt texts.
Use your keywords a few times in your article but do not overdo it. Keyword stuffing (using your keyword many times unnaturally) is prohibited by Google and other search engines.
Lastly, have patience when you don’t start seeing organic traffic right away. Posts can take several months before ranking on page 1 of Google.
2. Social Media Traffic
Social media traffic is the one gotten through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media.
Create an account or page and start posting relevant articles and link back to your blog.
Make sure that you don’t start spamming, Facebook can block your URL.
3. Paid Traffic
You pay for Google or Facebook Ads to promote your posts and gain more traffic.
The good thing with running ads is that you can determine how much traffic you want in advance. It all depends on your budget.
I’ve written a detailed guide on how to run Facebook Ads in Kenya.
4. Email Subscribers
Add a Newsletter plugin to your blog and start collecting your visitors’ emails.
You can then send them scheduled emails informing them of your new posts.
Over time, you’ll realize that some strategies will work for you while others won’t.
Continue to improve those strategies that work until you perfect it.
Another important factor in creating a successful blog is posting consistently. Whether it is one article per day, three per week, or twice a month, pick a publishing schedule and stick with it.
Most importantly, don’t lose hope. The first few months blogging will be hard. But if you keep publishing, you’ll discover that getting more traffic is actually easier than it seems.
The most common way of earning money from your blog is through advertisements.
Once you have several high-quality posts, you can apply for Google AdSense.
If approved, Google will start placing relevant ads on your site, and you will earn money for views and clicks generated by the ads.
You can also make money through Affiliate Marketing.
Affiliate marketing is when you recommend products and services to your readers, and then you earn commissions when they purchase the product through your affiliate links.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the difference between a blog and a website?
A blog is regularly updated while a website consists of static pages that rarely change.
2. What is the difference between wordpress.com and wordpress.org?
WordPress.org is self-hosted, which means you host your WordPress site with a hosting company of your choice, for example, Truehost.
On the other hand, if you use wordpress.com, your content will be hosted on their servers and you don’t have full control of your site.
3. Is Blogging Profitable in Kenya?
Yes, blogging is very profitable in Kenya. Kenyan bloggers earn between Kes. 50,000 to Kes. 1 million per month through ads placement and affiliate marketing.
5. How Do I Start a Free Blog in Kenya?
You can start a free blog in Kenya by using free blogging platforms such as wordpress.com or blogger.
Your Turn Now
Having learnt about how to start a blog in Kenya, now it is your time to take action.
Follow these simple steps:
- Pick a niche
- Choose a domain name
- Choose a blogging platform
- Create and publish your content
- Promote your blog to drive traffic
- Rinse and repeat
- Make money from your blog
I love interacting with my readers. So, in case of any questions, let me know in the comments!