Do you need a really easy guide yet so comprehensive that you won’t need another guide? In this post, I will provide exactly that, showing you what you need and when you need it. I will also provide links to relevant places where you can get what you need, free or paid.
In less than 15 minutes you will know how to start a blog for free. Yes, you will only pay for hosting which is usually less than $50 a year.
You do not need any computer skills as this is a really easy to follow step by step guide to starting your own blog in Kenya, or elsewhere.
If you get it challenging, I will offer to help you free of charge. I will help you buy a catchy domain name as well as setting it up for WordPress.org. By the way, what is the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org?
If you want a free blog, opting for a WordPress.com free blog is the worst decision as opposed to a self-hosted WordPress.org blog. You cannot monetize your blog with a WordPress.com blog. Additionally, it can be closed at any moment.
My name is George and this is my blog. I started the blog free of charge – free WordPress theme and plugins. Nothing is paid for other than hosting services. The blog is currently hosted by Truehost Kenya at Ksh.3,500 a year.
You do not have to use Truehost as there are many other hosting platforms, and arguably better that it.
An example is Bluehost.com.
I am going to guide you on how you can start your blog in Kenya with little money. Owning a website does not have to cost a fortune.
How to Start a Blog in 6 Steps
When starting a blog, you make a few mistakes but with this guide I am going to show you how to avoid them. You are glad there are people that did it before you.
By following this free blogging guide, you will know how to effortlessly run a blog.
- Pick a blog name. You should find a descriptive name that really tells readers what the blog is about before even visiting it.
- After deciding on a blog name, buy the domain name from the several hosting providers. I have bought all my .com domains from Namecheap.com and the .co.ke domain names from Truehost Kenya. All were recommendations from friends I do not regret any.
- After your blog name is registered and hosted, customize it. Make it yours. Make it unique to you.
- Get to the fun part! Publish your first post.
- Utilize proper marketing channels to get more people to read your blog. You can start with friends and family. They will give you insights on what to improve on and give you the morale to keep writing. I have corrected many spelling mistakes noted by friends and family.
- Make money blogging. Making money with your blog should not be the sole reason you want to start a blog in Kenya. Remember if it is not something you will enjoy doing then you will definitely stop along the way. Make your blog about something you love doing and then choose from several monetization options to make passive income. For most Kenyans, AdSense (display adverts by Google) is the most common.
Should you start a blog?
This is a question you may be having. Before you start are you passionate about it? What about the topic you will be writing about? You need to be for a successful blogging career.
Below are some of the reasons you might want to know how to start a blog.
- Share your story – You want to share your personal experiences with the world or just a few friends in your circle.
- Make money from home – Of the numerous ways of making money online blogging is one of them.
- You want some recognition for yourself or your business – Maybe you run a cloth line and blogging about fashion and style will get you closer to your customers.
- Find a community – For you it is a way to connect with a given community.
What is a blog?
A blog is a website.
But there is a difference. Safaricom’s website is not a blog. But it could have a blog section.
So what exactly is a blog? It’s a type of website where the focus is mainly on written content (blog posts).
Unlike websites, blogs are updated regularly.
Step 1: Pick a blog name
Once you have a blog name, you can check with the name providers whether it is available. To decide on a topic to blog about, the following can be inspirations:
- Life experiences.
- A personal blog.
- Hobbies & passions.
Step 2: Get your blog online
As a new blogger, you should use Bluehost because:
- They register your domain name for free.
- A 30 day money back guarantee to if you are unsatisfied for any reason.
- A helpful 24/7 customer service via phone or web chat.
- A free, automatic installation of the WordPress CMS– a great blogging platform.
- Reliable web hosing services since 2005.
Step 3: Customize your blog
“How do I start a blog?” is not an answered question if I do not show you how to customize your blog and how to make WordPress posts.
A blog layout in WordPress is called a “Theme.” For my blog, I am using a free OceanWP theme. It is looks different from what you will see when you first install it. Because I have made some customizations to my liking.
It is really simple to customize your blog. ,And with a few hundreds, you can buy more functionalities such as a shop and cart to sell things online.
On WordPress dashboard, you will click on the “Appearance” tab on the left menu so that you can change your theme. There are so many you can choose from, depending on what you want to do with your blog.
Step 4: How to write a new blog post & publish it
Once you have customized your blog, you need to do what you created it for — making posts.
On the left menu, click “Posts”.
By default WordPress has some sample posts already made. You don’t need those, delete them and make your own.
To delete them, click “Trash” (US Eng) or “Bin” (UK Eng) depending on your language settings.
To begin writing a new post, click the “Add New” link.
You will be taken on a post editor screen, there are two editors to choose from: Classic Editor and Block Editor (I love the old-fashioned block editor). New WordPress sites will usually have the Block editor so I revert back to the classic editor before I continue. You will need to find out what works for you and stick with it
Below is a screen capture from my editor as I was writing this blog. The menu items on a new blog will be different from mine due to the different plugins I have installed.
Which posts should you start with?
There are two types of content you can have on your blog: static and dynamic content.
The very important static pages are an “About Us/Me” and “Contact Us/Me” page. Make sure you make pages for these two rather than posts.
Other static content pages you should have are:
- Disclaimer Page: If you are selling affiliate links in some jurisdictions like the US, then you must make it know to your readers. In Kenya, it is not a requirement, but I make it known in specific posts where I insert the affiliate links. I use my disclaimer page to reduce liabilities in possible law suits.
- Terms of Service: Are you offering products or services? Use this page to explain to readers what their relationship with your business are. How will they make purchases? How will they pay? Is there a refund policy? What are the qualifications for a refund?
Typically, these static pages are found at the footer (check how at the bottom of this and every post on this blog).
These are the posts that you have to offer to your readers. An example is this blog post centred on “How to start a blog.”
Give your audience compelling and actionable content. Provide answers to their questions. Give tips and offer advice or opinions. You can also your stories and personal experiences with them.
You need to know how to write great blog content, or at least have someone that can do it for you. You can also write and then have an editor proofread the work.
I can’t afford and editor and I do not like proofreading my work. I always think I get everything right, sometimes I do but other times the mistakes in grammar and sentence constructions are so loud. There you have a reason why you should always check yours before hitting the “Publish” button.
Step 5: Promote your blog to readers
Creating a blog with great content and a good design is just a start. You need people to read your content and marketing is the way. This is an important step especially when you are just starting out. You won’t have many readers when you start but with consistency and regular updated content, the numbers will rise.
- Alert your inner circle – family and friends,
- Use Social Media – share to your Facebook and Twitter,
- Comment on other blogs,
- Engage with your visitors – reply to their comments as soon as you see them,
- Collaborate with other bloggers,
- Post regularly,
- Create an email list – let visitors subscribe to your future posts if they love your content,
- Optimize your blog for search engines – this is very important. You will get natural organic visitors when you have optimized your blog for search engines. What could be better than that?
To optimize this process, each page of your blog should include these fundamental elements:
- Header Tags: This will tell Google bots what your blog post is about and make it easy to rank on sites.
- Categorization: The category for this post is Investing. It may be categorized as “Blogging” or something different in other blogs. You choose what will be relevant to the type of content you write in your website.
- Permalinks: Each blog post “slug”
In WordPress you have the option to choose how your permalinks will appear. It is important to consider your readers and search engines while choosing one.
I decided I want to show the category of the posts “Investment” as well as the post name “Start a Blog” in the permalink. The post name form what WordPress refers to as slug.
You may also install plugins to help you know whether the content is well optimized for search engines. I use the free Yoast WordPress plugin, but there are many others that are also free with premium features.
Step 6: Now make money from your blog (if you want to).
After following the other first five steps, then this step is going to be the sweetest. And easiest. And fulfilling.
You can make a lot of money from your blog but it is going to take a lot of hard work and determination. Never give up even when there are so many strong reasons indicating so. You won’t make money in the first week, it might take months or years. So really this should be something you must enjoy doing. And in the meantime, you should have a main hustle before fully relying on your blog to make money.
There are so many ways you can monetize your blog. Whether you are in the US, South Africa, Nigeria, the UK, or Kenya — the monetization strategies are the same.
Sell advertising space to companies.
You can do this by using marketing and advertising companies such as Google AdSense, MediaVine, Medianet, etc.
You have probably seen Eric Omondi making Instagram posts along with some products, such like Jameson.
View this post on Instagram
You can also be asked to write reviews: companies or even individuals can pay you to write about their products or services. Some very popular blogs make more than $2,000 posts per sponsored post. Some blog owners have also been requested to write as freelancers for major online publications, earning up to $2,000 per article. A lot?
You can sell link placements
To rank better on Google and other search engines, the number of links from external websites to your blog are an indicator that you write great and valuable content. While this should come naturally, it is hard for new blogs. And that is why blog owners and companies around the world buy and sell links.
While it is a common practice, it’s against Google’s policies and guidelines. If you choose to do it, then be careful as your blog might be penalized.
Sell affiliate products
You can direct traffic from your blog to other companies and get paid a commission when they purchase the products you referred them to.
Selling Products and Services.
You can offer to write content for those that may need copy writing services. You may also sell eBooks.
Sell digital downloads.
You can sell software, WordPress Themes and Plugins, Mobile Apps, etc.
Sell membership options to your visitors.
Websites like New York Post only let you to read three free posts and then ask you to subscribe. And people pay for it because of the content they write and the reliability and independence of the news they share.
Now you know how to start a blog, write content for the blog, market the blog, and make money with it. You should not spend more than 2,000 shillings if you just want to start a simple blog as mine. Only complex should be expensive. If you find it difficult to start yours, reach out to me and I will help you free of charge. You will only pay for the domain name and hosting, of course.
You can make money blogging and quit your job by knowing how to start a blog.
I will be honest. Starting your blog is very simple. But making money from it is the harder part. It may take several months before you make something of it. The several months will mean writing regular and original content, not just creating and letting it to rest and wait for the months.
Are you ready to start a blog today? Bluehost will offer you a free domain (worth sh1500) and web hosting.