Blogging in South Africa
South Africans have in recent times been at the forefront of developing and innovating technologies in various areas, from medical devices and procedures to spectacular engineering feats.
What we most certainly do fall behind on, however, is our online presence and the mastery thereof.
Compared to America, Europe, India and a few other countries, (especially the Netherlands,) do we have a lot of catching up to do when it comes to the latest trends in online marketing for business and other purposes.
A rough google search on what seems to be the most popular blogging topic in South Africa, we more or less are in line with the rest of the world but only just.
Travel, food and fashion blogs were dominating the blog sphere a couple of years ago, (and still, do in South Africa today) but has made place in the international arena for Health and fitness, DIY and finance-related blogs.
One thing I’ll add here is that South Africa has a niche in the world of blogging consisting of wildlife, hunting and safaris. But again, the prospective wildlife, hunting and safari bloggers, are experts in their respective fields, and can often do with a bit of coaching on the most effective techniques of running a successful blog.
Nevertheless, we are quick learners, and in a country where jobs are scarce and political unrest are ever threatening on the horizon, we might just in the near future make a dash for the most popular blogs in the world.
Here then, a couple of tips if you consider starting a blog, thinking of making a living from blogging or want to grow your business via the online resources we have at our disposal.
The WordPress platform.
There are a magnitude of options out there, but the truth is, we all need help at some stage, and you would like to be surrounded by people who know what they are doing.
In short, there are more WordPress designers and developers than any other platform, who can assist you with your needs.
True, the Joomla and Drupal guys do not have a bad deal, but from experience I can tell you, to make a switch from one platform to another is not an easy task. Especially when you have grown your blog extensively.
WordPress was designed for blogging.
My suggestion is to make the most of it.
Free blogs, microblog platforms and the like are no option if you are serious about doing your thing and doing it right.
Yes, there are exceptions to the rule.
Varlamov is one but in his defence, (Not that he needs defence, he is one of the biggest bloggers of all time,) he started on LiveJournal a long time ago, and with the magnitude of posts and work he loaded, it would be an engineering feat for him to migrate to another platform. Besides, the LiveJournal is a sort of proud Russian thing, so I suppose that in a sense he is being patriotic.
You are South African. (Or from whichever country.)
You do not necessarily have pride in your country’s blogging platforms. You want to do a job and you want to be great at it.
So get hosting from a reputable hosting company.
German companies are the best but that is only my opinion and they might be a bit more expensive.
Do your homework first. Read up on a few hosting companies, make a decision and get a domain.
You can get hosting from as little as R45 per month to R100 per month depending on your needs, and the domain will be about R 70 to R170 per year.
If you want to be taken seriously, that would be the way to go.
If you want to stay casual, then blogger and tumbler might be the fit for you, but your growth as a blogger might be hindered.
Reading and research
Knowledge. Your greatest asset.
Learn and read up as a daily habit how do the big guys do it. Not only for techniques and how-to but also to be inspired to make the most of it.
Read wide and far. Blogs from right across the world are brought to your doorstep, and you just need to tap in.
Pay attention to:
How often do they blog?
What type of content dot they use.
How long the post should be, and in which format.
How to use headings, tags and categories. (Seriously, I see wonderful websites that just doesn’t rank on google because the basics have not been covered.)
Which social media platform do they use and where does their traffic come from.
How do they monetize their blogs? (Ads are only one of many ways.)
And what other systems do they have in place? Emails campaigns, YouTube videos, and more.
If you are knowledgeable about the subject of blogging, you are a few steps ahead of the competition, and I’ve said it and I’ll say it again: The competition in South Africa is nothing compared to that in the rest of the world.
We will cover each of these topics in upcoming posts, but if you want to start a WordPress blog in the meantime, feel free to give us a shout, and let us see what we can do for you.