Starting a blog in Ghana can be a frightening thought especially when you are not too much of a tech person. In fact, for a lot of people, I have met over the last few years, starting a blog was as easy as saying “Just go to WordPress.com and follow the instructions”.
This well-prepared guide will help you to start and maintain a good blog, even if you have no technical or technological idea whatsoever in blogging. It is written out of over 5 years in online campaigns and blogging.
The process of starting a blog, although easy can be very complicated and lead to a lot of problems if you do not do it right.
When I started my first blog sometime back, I wish I had someone to tell me to do this or to do that or to explain what permalink meant or what “self-hosted” meant.
Too bad I had to rely on Google every step of the way until I made all the mistakes a beginner would make.
Well, you do not have to make the same mistakes if you are starting a blog.
This article will take you through the process of creating and maintaining a good blog, making your readers happy and satisfying your need to write or inform people.
If you would want help starting your blog, I offer a free WordPress blog setup. But first, read everything on this page to understand what you are getting yourself into.
Got any questions about starting a blog? Leave them in the comment below and I will reply every last one of them. All the best.
Is blogging for you?
Before we even start talking about the hows of starting a blog, you need to be sure if it is the right thing for you, especially blogging to make money.
Blogging in itself is a means to let people know what goes on in your mind.
It’s an opportunity to showcase yourself and your work make people from far and near read and experience it.
People are at the centre of blogging. Therefore if all you want to achieve from blogging is money and you can not relate with people very much, then you might have to look away from blogging.
Every blogger should have some characteristics to increase their chances of success.
Here are some abilities you need to possess as a blogger:
A good amount of discipline
If you are looking to blog for a living or as a primary source of income, you should be very disciplined about it.
Discipline comes in the form of being consistent about writing and making sure you put your content first.
A disciplined blogger always sets blogging goals and pushes himself to achieve them in a timely manner.
The most important of these goals mostly is writing engaging content regularly.
Ability to write decently
I don’t mean the ability to write literature price winning articles. But the key thing is blogging is to write (and avoid plagiarism).
You don’t have to write as good as Ama Ata Aidoo, but you should be able to express yourself in your chosen language of blogging.
A good understanding of tenses, grammar and sentence structures is enough to get you started and take you on top.
Just like other things, the more you blog, the better your writing. But first, you need to start from a good point.
A social person
Wait! I don’t mean you need to be the most extrovert person on the planet. However, as a blogger, you should be open to connecting with people and speaking with them.
If it’s difficult to get along with people, you might have a hard time blogging. However, this is a skill you can learn by attending more events and putting yourself out.
Be open to criticism
You have to keep in mind that people are going to judge every content you put out there. Some may encourage you and some may even hate you.
But in all this, you need to be willing to accept all the criticism that comes your way, whether constructive or not.
But there is another set of “criticism” – trolls. In my early days of blogging, Ameyaw Debrah told me: “… I just ignore them; all of these trolls, you just have to ignore them. Use your time wisely and don’t try to fight them all”. And that’s exactly what you have to do with trolls.
Be a helper
You want to blog to make money, right? That means you should have something to sell. In this case, it is your content.
Whatever you write has to help people or lead them to where to find help. Your content can best be described as your product and the people are your customers.
Give them the best product and they will keep coming for more. Business 101, right?
Why Start a blog in Ghana?
There are a million reasons why you should start a blog. If you are a good writer and you feel you would want to reach a wide audience, then blogging may just be it – after all, there are over 12 million Internet users in Ghana alone as at January 2020.
Apart from the desire to write, there are a lot more other reasons why you should start a blog. Here are some of them:
Blogging is relatively easy
Yes, you read that part right. Blogging is very easy if you follow the right steps. For most people, the most difficult part is setting up the blog in the first place.
If you follow this guide step by step, that should not be a problem at all. Don’t forget I offer free WordPress Blog setup
Become a published author
If you would want to publish a book, the best way to start is by a blog.
Publishers would always want to work with authors who already have an online presence because it makes it easier for them to sell their books.
A blog also gives you the platform to market your books to your audience.
Blogging Improves your Life
Blogging can help make you a better person in a number of ways. More basically, blogging helps you to improve your writing and communication skills.
People who blog can express themselves much more than those who don’t.
Blogging can also help you build skills such as interpersonal relationships and good thinking abilities.
For blogs that encourage comments and interaction, the blogger learns to respect the views of others.
Self-promotion and New Opportunities
If you blog in your “official name”, then when you apply for a job or position and your name is googled, your blog is likely to very much show up.
Apart from giving you that very much needed online presence in today’s world, blogging can also help you tell the world what you can do and what your skills are.
If your blog gains a lot of recognition and respect, it will not be too surprising to have someone directly contact you with an offer or job opportunity.
You can make money out of blogging
Yes, you can make money out of blogging but don’t get it all twisted in your brain. You should read the part of this series that talks about Making Money from your Blog.
Don’t forget to also check out misconceptions about blogging in Ghana. The money bit was touched in that post.
What you need to start a blog in Ghana
After deciding on what to blog, you will have to jump into starting your blog.
There are five things you need to start a WordPress blog:
- Dedication and time
- A domain name idea (this will be the name of your blog i.e mfidie.com)
- A web hosting account (this is where your website lives on the internet)
- Good Content
- Content Marketing Strategy
How to start a blog in Ghana
- Decide on your blogging niche
- Choose a good domain name
- Choose a reliable hosting and blogging platform
- Set up your blogging software (WordPress)
- Start writing content
- Market your blog’s content
- Start making money from your blog
1. Decide on your blogging niche
It is not easy to decide on what you want to blog. Two things you would definitely want to look at when deciding on what to blog at are your readers and your blogging subject or niche.
First, keep in mind that you are writing for your readers (unless you want to write for yourself only). You need to blog about a topic that will interest your readers and help you gain the kind of readership you want.
Most people will read a blog post if it helps them to solve a problem. Therefore, try to get your blog posts to solve problems, if that is possible.
Also, most readers will want to learn something new. It is no surprise that blogs that do a lot of “how-to” gain more readers. People are willing to learn, and you can help teach them.
Your readers are going to be an integral part of your blog and you must satisfy them.
Your blog should not be boring for readers as most of them want to be entertained in one way or the other. You should also provide quality content for your readers so that they know you are serious.
The other thing you need to look at when deciding on what to blog is the subject your posts are going to be about. It is true that you can choose to blog about everything and anything at all, but getting a niche is very important if you want to grow and maintain your blog.
Choosing a niche is a bit tricky, but you should choose a niche that is broad. For example, I blog about “Technology in Ghana” and not “Mobile Apps in Ghana”. Choosing a broad niche will help you to get content for your blog.
When you start blogging, you would realise the need to have fresh ideas and cornering yourself to a very specific niche like “Life of Ladies in Teshie” would limit the number of posts you can churn out regularly. Another example of a bad niche is “Christian Events in Accra”.
You could make this a bit broad by saying “Events in Accra” or “Christian Events in Ghana”.
Also, check out other people in the niche that you want to enter. If there are people blogging about a subject and they are getting enough content, there is a good chance you would be getting the right amount of content too.
Here are some niches you could consider if you are looking to start a blog with a Ghanaian focused audience:
- How to make money
- Health and fitness
- Tech news and review
- Job search tips
- Education blog
- Prayer points and Spirituality
- Beauty and fashion
- Sexual education and tips
- Sports betting tips
- Personal Development
2. Choose a good domain name
Choosing a domain name is very critical for the success or failure of your blog. Your domain name is how most people are going to know your blog by.
Before starting Mfidie.com, I spent close to 3 days deciding on what to use for a domain name.
Most of the domains I wanted to use were already taken.
When choosing a domain name, you need to be smart and careful. You should choose a name that is “generic” enough, yet captures in entirety, or to a full extent your blogging niche. Here, I would like to state that avoid names that end with “gh”; they are not smart.
My friends at 247filla.com and afrowired.com have testified as to why adding “gh” to your domain name is a bad thing.
For example, I could have chosen “techideasgh.com”. It was available all right but it wasn’t smart. I chose Mfidie.com because it was original and authentic. “Mfidie” in the Akan language means gadgets, and gadgets are a huge part of the technology bit.
A domain name should be something people will be familiar with. For example, you cannot register modernsecurity.com and say it is for a blog about shoes.
It won’t work.
For a fashion blog, you could go for a meaningful name like classywardrobe.com.
You can always check which domain names are available and which ones are not on whois.net.
If you want to purchase a domain name for a cheap price, check out namecheap.com
3. Choose a reliable hosting and blogging platform
Web hosting confuses a lot of people. Buying a domain is not all you need to get your website up and running.
To simplify this, let’s just say a domain name, is like the address of your home; web hosting, on the other hand, is the space of your house where you place your furniture and other stuff. Without web hosting, your domain will just be a name without a body.
Web hosting is where your blog’s files are kept and this is always more expensive than the domain. It is important that you pick the right hosting that can meet the traffic needs of your website.
When I started blogging, I used to entertain shared hosting a lot. Over time, I realised they could not be trusted to a large extent when my traffic increases and they were much more expensive.
Nowadays, I am more inclined towards cloud hosting, which you could get from $5 a month.
If you need help with choosing the right hosting, you should contact me and let’s talk.
When it comes to blogging platforms, the lists are endless. I would be biased and tell you straight forward to go for WordPress.
The other options like blogger, drupal, ghost, etc can accomplish a decent blog but if you really want to make it big, then WordPress is the best platform for you.
WordPress is free, has great support and allows multiple users. It gives you great control over your blog’s future and allows you to grow your blog however means you want it while enabling you to add functionalities like forums, online store, and paid membership.
It is also the easiest blogging platform to set up as you will find below.
4. Set up your blogging software (WordPress)
Depending on the hosting that you choose, there are very easy ways to set up your WordPress software.
Most shared hosting panels will let you enter an admin username, password and email. Make sure you use a unique username and set a strong password.
Next, you will be able to login to your WordPress. At this stage, you can use a free theme to style the site and experiment colours as well as upload your logo.
You can also set up your categories and tags for WordPress and do basic SEO.
Here is a list of free WordPress plugins you must add to your site for much needed added functionality and features:
- Yoast SEO or RankMath
- Akismet Anti-Spam
- Wordfence Security
- WP Super Cache
Once your WordPress blog is set up, you can move to plan and writing your content.
If you find it overwhelming to configure the blog by yourself and have it running, you can take advantage of our free WordPress blog setup.
5. Start writing content
Once your blog is set up, the next thing you have to do is to write content. This is probably the most difficult part of blogging and without discipline and passion, you might fall off at this stage or resort to plagiarism (which is worse).
There are various ways to start writing content for your new blog. Let’s go through them.
Know your audience/readers
Depending on your niche, you need to know about the people who are to read your blog. For example, if you are writing an educational blog, there are two different audiences you should write for.
These are parents searching for schools for their kids and the kids who are searching for the schools themselves.
By knowing who your readers are, it is far more easy to come up with great topics that will interest them. Your tone and choice of words also vary depending on who you are writing for.
Take for instance Mfidie.com.
This is a tech blog focused on everyday people (who may most likely not be tech-inclined). Since I know my readers may not have the best of tech knowledge, I avoid unnecessary jargons in my writeups and go straight to the point in plain relatable English language.
By knowing your audience, you can adjust your topics and writing to fit their interest and earn their love.
Write great topics down
Getting blog post ideas and topics have been one of my major headaches. Sometimes, you feel so worn out that you can’t write because you have no topics to write on.
But that does not have to happen with you.
The first thing to do is to look at what other players in your chosen niche are writing about. This could give you the first set of topics you can focus on and write about.
However, remember you need to be original and provide your readers with something they probably have not heard about.
What better way than to ask your readers what they want you to write about? This can be done in the form of questions at the end of some articles.
You could also head to google and type a question related to your niche. All those other suggested questions (usually at the bottom) are topic ideas you can put down and write on.
Get a clean Google Doc or notepad and write all of these topics and ideas when they come to you. Trust me, you may forget some very nice topics if you don’t make writing them down a thing.
Organise your content – make it readable
The whole purpose of blogging is to get views and reads. No one wants to spend time creating a blog and have no views.
Sometimes, the lack of views is so disheartening that it kills the vim that people start their blogging journey with.
The first thing I would say about making your content readable is to sound very natural when writing. Write as if the person you were writing for was standing in front of you. That way, the reader does not feel tired midway.
Also, make sure you keep paragraphs as short as possible. Ideally, for your blog post, no paragraph should have more than 3 sentences.
One of the most important aspects of organising your content is including as many visuals (pictures, videos, infographics) as much as possible. And don’t forget to organise categories and tags too.
Organising your content will make your readers stay longer on your page and you will have a higher chance of converting your users.
It is very important to be consistent in your blogging. If you write one article a day, try to maintain that standard. It is better to post once a day every day for one week than to post 7 articles in one day.
Consistency signals to your readers and search engines that your blog is active, well updated and continuously has fresh content.
In order words, once you start your blog, keep going.
6. Market your blog’s content
The next thing after writing content is to get it to the eyes of readers.
If you followed this article carefully, all we have been doing is making sure that the content we put up is meaningful. That way, it is easier to market it.
For instance, if you chose topics that are beneficial for the audience of your niche and your article provides a certain degree of help, they will be more than willing to click and read more.
Marketing your content means pushing your articles so people can read, find them useful and reshare.
The most important of this cycle is resharing, because, well, referrals are powerful! People believe and trust information that has been shared by someone they know.
Let’s look at the various ways you can market your blog posts.
This is an obvious one. Treat your blog like a person. Set up social media accounts for the blog and invite your family and friends to like and follow the pages.
Every blog should have a presence on at least 3 of the following social media channels:
Anytime you publish a new post, make sure you share it on the social media pages. A plugin like Jetpack for WordPress can automate this for you.
Also, make sure you invite your blog readers to follow you on social media so you can still reach them when they are on their favourite social media channels.
With social media, you can make sure your readers won’t forget about you.
WhatsApp has a different space since it is so popular and not considered traditional social media.
With WhatsApp, you can take advantage of groups, broadcast lists and status to reach more individuals.
Make sure you are not spamming them with unnecessary information and that’s why with the groups, you have to join those that are in line with your niche.
A post a day for your various WhatsApp groups is enough. Sending more will only reduce the attention that future posts will be receiving.
Family and Friends
In my experience, the support from family and friends when you start blogging is priceless.
You can get a few family and friends to also do all of the sharing you do on WhatsApp and social media to complement your efforts.
Just ask them politely and maybe guide them on how to share and they most probably will do for you.
Don’t forget to appreciate their deeds by saying thank you each and every time you can,
7. Start making Money
Once you have passed the blog writing phase and you have achieved a certain level of the audience, you are not opened to monetising your blog.
A lot of people have asked how to make money blogging in Ghana. Truth is, there are a lot of ways you can make money with your blog and the options available depend on your niche and the work you are willing to put into it.
Let’s look at some of the ways you can make money with your blog in Ghana.
Providing a service
This is one of the easiest ways to make money from your blog.
For instance, if you write about personal development, you can encourage your readers to book you to talk at their school, church or personal development themed event.
Tech bloggers who talk about web development can offer to build websites for their readers at a fee.
By providing a service through your blog, you are more likely to be hired because already, there is a connection between you and the reader via the article that brought them to you.
Google Adsense helps publishers make money by showing ads on their website. You can apply for Google Adsense and once you are approved, you can start showing ads on your website.
Google Adsense might sound simple but it involves a lot of work.
Research has shown that websites that get a fair amount of search traffic are more likely to be accepted on Google’s Adsense programme.
With Adsense, the more traffic you get, the more money you will make. However, do not expect to make a lot from Adsense in Ghana if you are not having more than 5000 pageviews a day due to the low CPC.
Basically, Ghanaian advertisers don’t bid high amounts so the cost of clicking ads is not high.
However, Adsense is an assured revenue stream with traffic and you should highly consider it.
This is one of my favourite ways of making money.
Direct ad placements just mean companies and small businesses are contacting you to advertise their business on their website.
This works very well for niched blogging. A health blog might receive offers from a dental clinic to put their hospital on the blog for more visibility.
When it comes to direct ad placements, you charge the business or individual that contacts you based on your own charges.
Mostly, you take part payment before starting to show the ad.
Bonus: Free WordPress blog set up for all Ghanaians by Mfidie.com
As part of the activities involved in celebrating our 3rd Anniversary at Mfidie.com, we are offering free WordPress Blog Setup for all our readers who are interested in starting their own blogs.
We believe everyone deserves to let the world see their works and maybe make some money along the way.
What does our free WordPress blog setup offer contain?
Check out the table below:
|WordPress Installation||We guide you to install the latest version of WordPress on your server. We make sure the installation meets all the right standards to avoid the most common WordPress Installation problems.|
|Theme and Design||We help you choose from the wide range of available themes and designs to style your blog. This would give you the freedom to let your blog|
|Blog Structure||We help you choose a clean blog structure so that readers can easily find their way around your blog.|
|Search Engine Optimisation||We make your blog friendly to search crawlers so search engines like Google Can easily crawl your website.|
|Caching||We install plugins that help to make your blog load faster.|
|Security||We install security plugins to bring the risk that your blog will be hacked to a minimum.|
Why do we provide all this for free?
We believe blogging should not be complicated and difficult. Everyone should have a voice online, the way they want it.