Starting a blog is one of the most popular ways to make money online. There are millions of bloggers worldwide, thousands of them are making a full time living off blogging, while many more a sideline income. What makes South Africa different from other countries is that there is still a place for beginning bloggers as the industry is still nascent here.
Needless to say that blogging is about writing. You don’t necessarily need to have a rich vocabulary and perfect grammar, but your writing should be close to excellent. In case you’re not Shakespeare, use Grammarly http://grammarly.com or The Hemingway App http://www.hemingwayapp.com/ to check your writing. These free online tools highlight your errors and help fix them.
Another requirement for starting a blog is passion. You have to be passionate about something. It might be fishing, cooking, playing chess, teaching, learning a foreign language or something else. If you are just meh about a subject you will give up long before it generates an income. You don’t need to be an expert, this world is full of experts. You just have to be able to write about your passion in an interesting and enjoyable way. Building a blog into a full time business is building an authority site in its niche.
There a few tools (both free and paid) needed for starting a successful blog:
- A domain name Buying a domain name will cost you around R75 to R150 (depending on suffix .co.za, .com etc.).
- A web hosting. If you’re not a techy person, it might be difficult to understand what it is, but you don’t have to understand the whole process. Web hosting is like a premises for your website. There are a lot of web hosting companies out there. If you’re going to write for South Africans, it’s better to host your website here. A decent local web hosting services start at R35 per month.
- WordPress – this is a free blog CMS (content management system). You can get it and learn how to install it on your web hosting from here http://wordpress.org. Most hosting companies have a “one click install” meaning you don’t have to manually install the software and setup the database. A content management system will allow you to add pages and articles to your blog using an easy to use interface.
What to write about
Choosing a topic to write about is important, you don’t want to enter a niche that is too competitive unless you are really unique.
The great thing about blogging is that it’s not only about making money, it’s about becoming popular. When you become a “influencer” brands will contact you to advertise their products on your website.
There are a few ways to monetize your blog:
- Affiliate marketing (promoting and selling other people’s stuff);
- Selling your own products (you can create a video course, upload it to Udemy, and promote it on your blog);
- Writing paid posts for both local and international advertisers;
- Participating in Google AdSense Network.