This ultimate guide covers all the important aspects of blogging. Use the following table of contents to skip to a specific area.
- What is a Blog?
- Types of Blogs
- What is the purpose of a blog?
- Blog Layout Structure
- How to Start Your Blog in Kenya
What is a Blog?
A blog (short form of “weblog”) is an online journal or informational website displaying information in a reverse chronological order, with latest posts appearing first. It is a platform where a writer or even a group of writers share their views on an individual subject.
What’s the difference between a blog and a website?
Blogs promote perfect reader engagement. Readers get a chance to comment and voice their different concerns to the viewer. Websites, on the other hand, consists of the content presented on static pages. Website owners rarely update their pages. Blog owners update their site with new blog posts on a regular basis.
Key elements that identify a blog post from a static page include a publishing date, author reference, categories, and tags within a byline. While not all blog posts have all those by line elements, static website pages do not have any of these items.
From a visitor perspective, the content on a static site will not change from one visit to the next. The content on a blog, yet, has the potential to offer something new each day, week, or month depending on the blog owner’s publishing schedule.
Types of Blogs
The are different types of blogs depending on the desired goals. To start your blog, you have to identify the type of blog that you want to focus on. Here are the 3 main types of blogs that exist and how each strives to become successful .
1. Personal Blogs
This is a blog maintained by an individual where he/she write articles to share his/her experiences, feelings, and innermost thoughts with an audience. For the personal blogger, there were no rules to follow or themes to adhere. They simply write their heart out.
Success Measure: For a personal blogger, his/her success is finding others to share their writing and meeting a like minded community.
2. Business Blogs
This is a blog maintained by a business. The goal is to gain more exposure, traffic, and ultimately customers. The writing is focused on its business and industry.
It contains topics that will attract their ideal customers. For example, we are a website building company and thus write blog content that is aimed towards other business owners who are interested in having an ecommerce website or an informational website. The blog posts we normally write about cover topics like “How to Setup a Website,” “How to do Search Engine Optimization,” and “What a Simple Website is & its Advantages”.
Success Measure: The success is measured by the number of readers that will ultimately subscribe to their email list, submit a lead form, or make a purchase. The best way to build a community for a business blog is to identify people who are most likely to become customers of your business and create content that they would find interesting. Then make sure each piece of content leads these people to want to learn more about your products and services.
3. Professional Blogs
This is a blog maintained by an individual or a group of people with the sole purpose of earning a living out of it. They tend to use a variety of monetization strategies to achieve this goal, including selling display ads, creating information and digital products, promoting other people’s products for a commission and anything else similar.
Success Measure: Having a large audience that purchases any of the digital products or who purchase a product from one of their partners whereby they then get a commission.
What is the purpose of a blog?
The main purpose of a blog is to connect you to the relevant audience. As a business, you rely on consumers to keep buying your products and services. Therefore, you rely on blogging to help you get to these consumers and grab their attention. Without blogging, your website would remain invisible, whereas running a blog makes you searchable and competitive.
Another one is to boost your traffic and send quality leads to your website.
The more frequent and better your blog posts are, the higher the chances for your website to get discovered and visited by your target audience. Which means, a blog is an effective lead generation tool. Add a great call to action (CTA), and it will convert your website traffic into high-quality leads.
But a blog also allows you to showcase your authority and build a brand.
When you use your niche knowledge for creating informative and engaging posts, it builds trust with your audience. Great blogging makes your business looks more credible, which is especially important if your brand is still young and fairly unknown. It ensures presence and authority at the same time.
Blog Layout Structure
Here are common features that a typical blog will include:
- Header with the menu or navigation bar
- Main content area with highlighted or latest blog posts
- Sidebar with social profiles, favorite content, or call-to-action
Here is an actual blog with a similar layout structure. You can visit the blog here.
We will look into every section of the blog layout using our blog page or one of our blog templates as an example.
A website header is the area is one of the most valuable areas of your website. It runs across the top of the page and appears on every page of your website. It contains links to the most important sections of a website.
For a business website or blog, it will contain links to the pricing page, contact page, call to action e.t.c. while for a personal blog, it will contain links to the most popular blog post categories.
2. Main Content
This section contains the actual blog posts/articles.
A sidebar is a column that appears either to the left or the right of the main content, but its exact location depends on the theme that you are using.
One common use for sidebars is to display advertisements because these will appear adjacent to the main content on your site. They are also used to showcase blog categories and recent articles.
This area typically contains the name of the company or organization that publishes the website or blog, along with relevant copyright information. Some websites may also include basic navigation links, such as “About Us,” “Contact,” and “Help.” or call to actions to subscribe to a newsletter or purchase a product.
How to Start Your Blog in Kenya
1. Choose your area of interest
You should always write about what you know. But you should not write about everything you know. Pick a niche. Decide upon the main topic and write posts related to that topic. It’s more likely that your audience will come back and read your other posts if you’re writing about similar topics. People will know what to expect. Starting a mom blog implies that you write about all things concerning your children and family life. Starting a travel blog implies you write about traveling. You can write about something slightly off topic once in a while of course, but try to stick to your niche. An audience of a travel blog doesn’t expect a blog post about gardening.
2. Purchase a domain and choose a blogging platform
Creating your own personal blog takes a few steps. First, you need to decide on a name for your blog also called a domain name, and choose a blogging platform.
A domain name is the address that a visitor will enter in the browser address bar to access your blog. If you intend to blog about travelling and your name is Lois, your domain name could be loistravels.com or loistravels.co.ke. Keep it short, sweet and easy to remember.
There are various blogging platforms that are offered as a service (such as Blogger or WordPress.com or self hosted (where you host the blogging platform on a hosting company of your choosing). You can get started for free by using Blogger which is offered Google or WordPress.com.
However, we recommend a self hosted solution since it offers you a lot flexibility as compared to the others. There are few choices when it comes to self-hosted platforms but the most popular is WordPress.org. Then you need to choose a web hosting provider who will host your your platform. You can view some of the cheapest and best web hosting companies in Kenya here.
If you don’t want to go through the process of setting up a blog by yourself you can look out at some of our blog templates & pricing and use our platform to power your blog. Our platform is powered by WordPress, the best blog publishing platform which powers more than 33% of the websites in the world! So you should know that you are in safe hands.
3. Do your Keyword Research
Once you’ve chosen your niche and setup your blog, you should do some solid keyword research. Try to find out what people are searching for. What words are they using when they want to read about your niche and your topic? You should really get inside the heads of your potential audience. If you do your keyword research properly, you should end up with a long list of keywords you would like to be found for. Try to come up with competitive, head keywords as well as with less competitive long-tail keywords.
4. Write Your First Post
Take some time to do keyword research and to think about site structure. But don’t take too much time. Just write that first post! Put pen to paper and just do it. Your blog starts with the very first post. That post doesn’t have to be perfect; it just has to be published.
5. Optimize for Search Engines
As you write your first post, create an awesome SEO title and a decent meta description. Finetune your text. Make sure your text is both readable as well as SEO-friendly.
Keep on reading: How to do Search Engine Optimization in Kenya
6. Promote your Blog
Using social media is the best way to reach and grow the audience of your blog. That’s why your blog should have a Facebook page. Sharing your posts on Facebook is a good marketing strategy. Don’t forget Instagram and Twitter either!
In addition to the use of social media to promote your blog, we advise you send out a digital newsletter. Let people sign up for it and send out emails with your latest blog posts and some other fun facts.
7. Stick with It
The most important thing to start a blog – besides setting up your new blog – is to write that very first blog post. Once you’ve written that first post, your blog has started. You should keep on writing blog posts to make it successful, so try to determine a frequency to publish new posts. You don’t have to blog every day, once a week or maybe even once every two weeks would be a nice frequency to start with. Find a frequency you can stick with! Your audience will know what to expect if your blogging frequency is stable.
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