How to Start a Blog in South africa

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how to start a blog in South Africa

How to start a blog in South Africa? This is not as daunting as you may think. You will be thinking where do I start? How much is this going to cost me? What are the right tools?

When I started my blog I was utterly clueless; I did not have any experience in HTML, coding or even knowing what web hosting meant.

In this article, I will provide you with the steps to start and run a successful blog in South Africa and around the world

Setting up your Blog is fun and easy

Running your Blog gives you great satisfaction and opens up so many different worlds for you to explore. After reading this post, you will find out how easy it is to be up and running, a little hard work and some passion are all you need. I have been through the learning experience, bought additional tools and subscriptions and learned some valuable lessons along the way.

How to Start a Blog in South Africa?  All you need is

  • Passion
  • Dedication
  • 3 hours a day to work on your Blog

Warning: This can become addictive, so you may need lots of coffee and cut down on your social life

The steps I followed to start my Blog

  1. What to Blog About
  2. Select your domain name and hosting provider in South Africa
  3. Choose a blogging platform?
  4. Quick installation of WordPress
  5. Pick a website theme and configure
  6. Start Blogging

1. What to Blog About

If you want to know how to start a blog in South Africa, you need to select a category or industry you want to enter? What are your passions and interests? If you are starting a blog for your company website, then you are obviously forced to write about your products and services.

You may want to start a biltong blog because you are passionate about the topic. Whatever you decide to choose, make sure you love the industry so much that working on a Blog is fun

At the end of the day, you want to strive to be an expert in your field.  You want people to visit you because of the quality content that you provide.

2. Select your domain name and hosting provider

When someone told me you need a domain name and web hosting, my first reaction was ….. I need Whaaaat.
Finding your unique domain name and hosting provider was the easiest step and the most fun. I was entering into unknown territory which taught me to learn and stay motivated.  Very soon, you will be a pro and teach others how to start a blog in South Africa

Things to consider when choosing a domain name in South Africa

Your audience needs to know what your blog is about when they see your name. Try to be as descriptive as possible which represents your brand or topic. If you are blogging about fishing in South Africa, you don’t have to use the words fishing but something that identifies the sport.
For example, you could use the phrase tackle, sinker or bait.

A Good Domain Name

After establishing what name you would like to choose for your blog, it’s now time to think of a good domain name to start a blog in South Africa
Look for a domain name that is short, to the point, easy to remember and easy to type as well as a name that is easy to remember. Steer away from names that include hyphens and numbers.  More factors to consider when selecting a good domain name

Choose your Web Hosting package and select a domain name

To start a blog in South Africa, it’s best to find a South Africa web hosting company to host your blog.  My favourite hosting company is Webnerd, find your domain name and choose your hosting package; you will be finished in a few clicks and ready to start the installation of your new website. Fun times
Webnerd’s hosting packages give you the best features and tools to host any website, they are one of the cheapest premium hosting companies with all the bells and whistles.

Follow these steps:
Use the domain search tool to find an available domain name for your blog site.

webnerd hosting
If your domain name is available, you will get “congratulations” alert, scroll down the page and click Continue.
You will land on the domain configuration page, click on “[No Hosting! Click to Add]”

  • To start, choose the Geek package at R49 per month, you can always decide to upgrade at a later stage
  • By default the check box “Use a domain already in my shopping cart” will be checked”. That’s fine, click Continue
  • Then choose billing cycle. You can pay monthly or annually
  • Fill in your details, and the admin is complete. You now have your Web hosting and domain name and ready to conquer the world.

3. Choose your blogging platform

Choose the right blogging platform is a big choice. If you are not technical or do not have coding skills, then I recommend WordPress self-hosted blog, otherwise known as WordPress.org. Don’t get confused with the hosted wordpress.com blogging platform.

There is a reason why one in every four sites on the internet is built using WordPress as the chosen platform.  When people ask me, how to start a blog in South Africa? The quick and easy answer is simply – WordPress

Why you can’t go wrong with WordPress?

  • Easy to install
  • Easy to find information on the web related to anything about WordPress.
  • Capabilities are endless with one click plugins
  • Themes, layouts, templates at your fingertips
  • Easy to change theme if you want to upgrade
  • Made for bloggers
  • Excellent for marketers to start a blog
  • Turn your site into a money making machine

4. Quick installation of WordPress

You can install WordPress software right from your Webnerd cPanel dashboard that’s bundled with your Hosting purchase.
Login with the details they provide
Scroll to the bottom; you will see an icon named WordPress under scripts.

quick installation of wordpressClick on the icon, this will take you to the next page to install WordPress

install wordpress to start your blogFill in your details in the text fields.

  • leave the first field as default if you don’t have an SSL certificate.  You can buy an SSL certificate for security at a later stage
  • The second field leave the same as default
  • Enter the name of your site and site description in the next two fields
  • Site username and password can be any name of your choice.  Save these details as you will need this to enter into your WordPress site
  • At the bottom, enter in any email address which can be used to send the install details
  • lastly, click install

fill in details for your wordpress install
Click on the link in the success screen to login to the backend of your website.  Use the username and password you entered in the previous screen

5. Pick a Website theme and configure

There are thousands of WordPress themes available, either free or premium. Finding the right template to choose is where it can start becoming messy.  Remember, keep focussed and concentrate on whats at task – to create your blog and start making money

Luckily I have done the hard yards and found what works best for bloggers. I have tried out over 100 themes, some paid and some free.

There are plenty factors when choosing the right theme for your site

  • Compatability with your WordPress install
  • Support and tutorials
  • Compatible with plugins for extra functionality
  • Speed
  • Look at when the theme was last updated
  • Select a theme with good Reviews
  • Drop and drag builder included
  • Easy to use

The best theme in my experience is the Newspaper theme from ThemeForest, it ticks all the boxes and is easy to use.

Visit ThemeForest to access the Newspaper theme, it’s about $55 and well worth the once off spend. After you have purchased the item, you simply download and upload to your WordPress install through the backend of your WordPress site.  Make sure you upload the main zip file, you will get instructions on how to import into WordPress.  More information choosing the right theme

6. Now you know how to start a blog in South Africa – start blogging

To be a successful blogger you need to present valuable content to your audience.  Make your blog posts educational and interesting so your followers can’t wait for the next story or article.  It’s all about the content.

Spend 80% of your time working on a Headline

Your headline is the Holy grail of your article, it’s the main ingredient of your content, if the headline does not speak to your audience they will leave and never end up reading your post.

Get found in search engines – The basic SEO checklist

  • Keyword research – Find keywords you would like people to search on Google to find your blog post.  Basic rule, find keywords with low competition and high searches.  Don’t try for the super difficult phrases as it will be nearly impossible to rank on Google.  Choose your fights wisely especially if you have a new domain (Domain Authority is a big factor to rank on search engines)  Sign up with KWFinder, the best tools to use to find keywords and watch your rankings
  • Make sure your keywords are in your meta title and description
  • Use your main keyword in your H1 header.  H2 headers can be related to your keyword
  • 2% of your content needs to include your keyword.  Don’t over do this as it can backfire and Google will see this as keyword stuffing
  • Use Keywords through out in a natural tone.  Don’t force keywords in your content to seem unnatural
  • Use images every 300-500 words and make sure you use your keyword in the alt tag in your main image.  The rest of the images need to relate to the subheading
  • Try and include infographics and videos in your pages or posts as well
  • Get backlinks from authoritative sites.  These are thought leaders in the industry that have created posts that are already ranking and have a high domain authority which will help Google rankings

Summary of the tools that will help your blogging career

  • Webnerd Hosting tools FREE with hosting package
  • WordPress FREE
  • Themeforest themes for WordPress.  You can also find great plugins here.  Small price, plenty value
  • Grammarly – A tool that I can’t live without.  Grammarly helps you write with confidence, it performs a grammar, plagiarism and makes sure your content is mistake-free
  • Mangools SEO tools.  Includes all the SEO tools you will need including kwfinder
  • Getresponse for email automation.  In my opinion the best email automation tool
  • Convertplus for lead generation that plugs in directly to WordPress.  Search for the plugin on ThemeForest on CodeCanyon
  • Canva – FREE graphic tool to create infographics, social media banners, website banners and much more, perfect tool to start a blog with professional graphics
  • Google analytics – FREE
  • Google search console – FREE
  • Video editing suite
  • Feedly to find trending stories
  • Buffer for social media automation

Summary

Think of the above article as your survival blogging checklist on how to start a blog in South Africa.  It’s now up to you to make it work and become a successful blogger.

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David Botha is a digital marketing expert. With more than ten years Marketing management experience, he has contributed to the growth of world class brands and continues to share his knowledge and expertise

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