Anyone can start their very own own blog, regardless of your background, race, gender, age and interests. Even though blogging has been around for what seems like forever, more and more people are joining the blogosphere because it provides you with a platform to express yourself online in the manner that you would like to.
You have the freedom to design the look and feel of your blog as well as write in a manner that you choose, whether it be formal or informal and even earn money from your blogging adventure. We are now going to go over the step by step process of starting a blog in South Africa.
Choosing a niche
Some of us love to write. But when venturing into blogging, make sure you blog about a topic “niche” that you are passionate about and know you will be able to consistently produce content around.
Examples of popular niches:
- Health and fitness
To take it a step further you can go Micro-Niche.
- Hiking trails
- Saving money
- Diet plans
Another way you can discover your niche is to discover your “Why”.
Why do you want to start a blog?
Example: I want to start a blog around my hobby. My hobby is photography.
Why would people want to read your blog?
Example: I have experience with photography, I review photography products, I share cool places in my local area that photographers will love.
Finding and blogging within a specific niche will make it easier for your blog to gain traction in search engines like Google and Yahoo. Niche websites with well written and SEO (Search engine optimization) optimised content can favoured by search engines over content from larger publications that cover a broad range of topics publications like News24 or IOL.
Choosing the right blogging platform
Before you can start blogging, you need to choose a blogging platform. Not everyone has thousands of Rands lying around to invest in building a blog from scratch. But don’t worry, many blogging platforms are free, or at least allows you to start blogging for free. The most popular blogging platform which is used by nearly 500 million people and businesses is WordPress.
The most popular blogging platforms
Domain name and hosting
Once you’ve decided on which niche you’re going to focus on, and which blogging platform you are going to use. The next step is registering your domain name, and getting hosting. This is not always necessary, as many of the blogging platforms mentioned earlier in this post allows you to get started for free. Making changes with domains and hosting can be a hassle in the future, therefore it is recommended to register your domain and get a web hosting package if you plan on using WordPress.
A domain is your unique identifier on the internet. For example: www.thisisadomain.com. A domain extension is the .com or .co.za part of your domain name. The .co.za level domain name is recommended if you are going to be targeting a South African audience, as .co.za is the Top-Level Domain (Tld) for South Africa. The .com domain is also widely popular and is recommended if you plan to blog to a global audience. If you cant find your perfect domain with your desired extension. Do not panic. There are many other domain name extensions available like .co .net .ia, etc.
You can domain name search here: https://www.domains.co.za/
Creating a content strategy for your blog
The next step is creating your content strategy. Understanding the topics you will be blogging about is crucial. You should make a list of possible topics you will be blogging about in the future. You should decide on how frequently you are going to post a blog post, and how you will be promoting your content so that it gets the maximum exposure. Always strive to create the most valuable content for your readers. Be as creative as you want. The more creative, the better.
Launching your blog
Now you’ve set up your blog, have a content strategy and are ready to launch. Launching your blog in South Africa is a fairly simple process. Create a Facebook page, a Twitter Account and maybe an Instagram account for your brand new blog, or if you are already an established brand or personal brand, simply link your existing social media accounts to your blog. Add the URL (link) to your blog in the bio of your social media accounts. Next invite your friends and family to follow your brand new blog on social media. Now introduce your blog on social media and start promoting your content.
Getting people to read, follow and share your blog
Social media is a great way to drive traffic to your blog. Ensure that you make it easy for your readers to share the content on your blog. Add social sharing icons to your blog posts. You can also integrate a newsletter service like MailChimp to allow your blog’s readers to subscribe to your blog. When you publish new posts, you email your subscribers. Good SEO (Search Engine Optimization) both on-page, and off-page will allow you to create valuable content that Google and other search engines will love.
In summary, those are the steps to starting a blog in South Africa. Find a niche you are passionate about and will never get bored writing about. Choose a blogging platform that meets your requirements and get a domain so that you have your place on the world wide web. Now launch your blog, and promote your blog posts and watch as your readers, followers and income grow with your blogging skills over the next few months and years. Oh, and one golden rule to blogging, Never give up!
Leigh Williams is the founder at IXA Media (Pty) Ltd., a digital marketing solutions provider and the publisher of TheFrontline.co.za