Starting a blog in Ghana can be a frightening thought, especially when you are not too much of a tech person. In fact, for many 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 five years in online campaigns and blogging.
The process of starting a blog, although straightforward, 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 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 to every last one of them. All the best.
Is blogging for you?
Before we even start talking about 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 makes people from far and near read and experience it.
People are at the center of blogging. Therefore if all you want to achieve from blogging is money and you can not relate with people very much, 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 promptly.
The most important of these goals is mostly writing engaging content regularly.
Ability to write decently
I don’t mean the ability to write prize-winning literature articles. But the critical thing in blogging is to write (and avoid plagiarism).
You don’t have to write as well 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 extroverted person on the planet. However, as a blogger, you should be open to connecting with people and speaking with them.
If it’s challenging 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 precisely 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 feel you would want to reach a broad audience, then blogging may just be it – after all, there are over 12 million Internet users in Ghana alone as of January 2020.
Apart from the desire to write, there are many 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 effortless if you follow the proper steps. For most people, the most challenging 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 Plugnom offer a 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 several 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 will likely show up very much.
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 also forget to 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
Follow the steps below 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 for your blog
- Market your blog’s content
- Start making money from your blog
The steps are further explained below.
Decide on your blogging niche
It is not easy to decide on what you want to blog about. You would want to look at two things 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 realize the need to have fresh ideas and to corner yourself to a particular niche like “Life of Ladies in Teshie” would limit the number of posts you can churn out regularly. Another example of a wrong 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 people are 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
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 intelligent 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 intelligent.
My friends at 247filla.com and afrowired.com have testified 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. “Media” 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
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, which is always more expensive than the domain. It is essential 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 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 the guys at Plugnom.com. They have helped a lot of new bloggers and their yearly hosting offer, including a free domain starts at just GHS 260.
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 want to make it big, then WordPress is the best platform for you.
WordPress is free, has excellent support and allows multiple users. It gives you great control over your blog’s future and allows you to grow your blog however you want it while enabling you to add functionalities like forums, online store, and paid membership.
It is also the most accessible blogging platform to set up as you will find below.
Set up your blogging software (WordPress)
Depending on the hosting that you choose, there are straightforward 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 and upload your logo.
You can also set up your categories and tags for WordPress and do basic SEO.
You can opt for a professional WordPress website builder, like Elementor. Enabling you to build a WordPress website without having to code, Elementor offers a variety of templates designed specifically for blogs.
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.
Start writing content for your blog
Once your blog is set up, the next thing you have to do is to write content. This is probably the most challenging 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 searching for the schools themselves.
Knowing who your readers are, it is far easier 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 tech knowledge, I avoid unnecessary jargon 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 has 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 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 three sentences.
One of the most important aspects of organizing your content includes as many visuals (pictures, videos, infographics) 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 imperative 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 seven 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.
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 your niche audience 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 helpful 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 you have to join those in line with your niche with the groups.
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 also to 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 every time you can,
Start making money
Once you have passed the blog writing phase and 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. The 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 accept 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 do not have more than 5000 pageviews a day due to the low CPC.
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 charges.
Mostly, you take part payment before starting to show the ad.