Are you seated in the comfort of your sitting room or curled up in your blanket with a hot cup of tea, pondering whether or not to start up that blog or YouTube channel?
Because that was me three years ago. Just that I wasn’t so comfortable. I was probably panting from scrolling through the internet and reading every African blog I could find online. Like you, I didn’t think I was a writer or even assume in my wildest dreams that someone would make the time to read my scribbles.
In fact up till now my friends call my blogging “cool kid stuff.” If you asked me three years ago whether I’d be a medical student by day and a blogger by night I’d probably laugh in laziness. But that is a story I can tell better over milk shake 😂.
Well, July is our Blog birth month and I thought it a good time to share with you some of the things I wish I knew before I started writing a blog. Let’s get right into it
I remember asking a certain blogger how many dollars I’d have to pay to open up my blog. Most people don’t know that there are loads of free blogging platforms online where one can start writing and hopefully upgrade to a self hosted site later. I highly recommend wordpress mostly because it is the only platform I have used and it has been pretty much great and easy to use .
Blogging is not a lone journey. There’s no winning by pulling a ka Thanos on everyone. So that is where the community comes in. I am personally actively part of Afrobloggers and Uganda blogging community. These communities help connect you to Bloggers with a similar niche or readers that may be interested in your work. They are also a good platform to send out the word about your blog and get connected to opportunities.
A friend of mine calls this the “gig economy.” In Uganda the salary most people earn is not enough to support their lifestyle so a side hustle is usually in order. If you work a tight Job or (for students) do a very demanding course you’d appreciate having a gig that let’s you work over the internet. Your blog and social media are a good platform for you to make some moneys online. Reach out to brands whose work and vision resonates with you and do business. Also because sometimes many jobs will demand ten year experience or so from fresh graduates your gig might come in handy.
There is a myth that is constantly spread about Africans in general having a poor reading culture. After writing this blog for three years I strongly disagree with that. Many people are afraid to start blogging or write books as a whole because they are afraid they won’t get read. I believe that more Africans are starting to seek out both written and visual content and consequently more people are willing to spend money on literature.
5.Blogging is work
My eyes are trying to roll in as in ward as they can. That’s the amount of exhaustion I sometimes get. If you follow this blog on instagram (if you don’t – follow @fiona_laker as soon as you saw this) you are probably tired of the constant whining about school and how it won’t let me prosper. It’s why I find it amusing when people ask me to do for them work for free for something they are going to earn from. Creating content is work and demands a lot and in this digital economy having Bloggers do advertising for your brand is a wise thing to do. But pay them while they are at it.
I get asked often. “Why blogging? ” and usually my answer is as simple as “blogging gave me a platform to express myself.” Before whatever benefits, simply being able to write gives me so much gratification. If I’d known I’d probably have started blogging earlier. I have a friend who got a job because she had a blog and the other interviewees didn’t. Often times we take for granted the things we have and over look how powerful they are. Because of this blog I have got the opportunity to work with some really amazing brands and individuals and actually earn from it. So before you open that blog ask yourself that question. The answer is what will keep you going on days when you’d rather just sleep it away.
When I’d just started this blog I remember how I’d write a post and be the only person that read it. Starting up a blog is like baby sitting a child. You’ve got to be patient and allow it grow through all the phases. Tend to it. Welcome the positive criticism and endure the negative. I remember this one person that sent me an email telling me my graphics were horrible 😂. I didn’t even know that having dope graphics was part of the package. So learn through the process and nurture your blog loves.
I know many will disagree but a blogging niche is overrated especially for a start up blogger. It’s often tempting as a start up blogger to narrow your blog to one niche because it’s popular. I am definitely all for self discovery. When I started blogging I thought I’d be exclusively sharing poetry. But as time passed and I grew I recognized things that needed to be written about and the things my audience needed. Currently I write more of opinion on issues am passionate about, book reviews and occasionally health and life in general. On the other hand if you want to create a blog to boost your business you definitely need a niche. You cannot be selling natural hair products and constantly talking about nail polish. In this case you need to demonstrate expertise in that field and fight the temptation to write simply for writing sake.
9. Perfection is the enemy of Progress
It took me so long to finally make the decision to write a blog. Every time I read the blogs I was following at that time I’d think to myself “I am not ready.” I kept telling myself my writing wasn’t good enough and I didn’t even understand all the things that came with writing a blog. Loves, start any way. Yes you will make some blogging mistakes, but each step of the journey will grow you as a blogger. If you are looking to start a YouTube channel and you are waiting to first buy a camera, tripod and whatever else youtubers need you’ll never start that channel. Use what you have and let whatever else you need meet you a long the way.
10. Self Marketing.
This is the point where I recommend that y’all check out Luuvie Ajayi’s podcast episode on Social media etiquette that you can listen to here.. I know most of us think marketing your blog is throwing the link allover your social media platforms. Well that is just part of it. But I’d recommend that you don’t spam people with forwarded link messages. Before you send someone a link make sure you give them a preamble. Something that is relevant to theme or to a conversation that you’ve had that you address on the blog. Bring up your blog posts where they are relevant in conversations. Interact with the people that read your blog both on your blog and social media. More like translate your conversations from the blog to your social media and vice versa. As a blogger I use my instagram and twitter, the most to market my blog.
Well there you have it. My Blog-O-versary present straight from my heart to yours. Please tag a blogger that is starting up or a friend you’ve been trying to convince to write a blog 😂
What are those things you wish you knew before you started blogging? (let me know in the comment section 🌸)
Bellows of love
©Tales of a Curious mind