The African Blogging Journey by Moses Kemibaro at WordCamp Kenya 2011

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The African Blogging Journey is a presentation I gave at the inaugural WordCamp Kenya 2011 where I spoke about my experiences in blogging over 4 years and gave tips on what works and does not work.

Text of The African Blogging Journey by Moses Kemibaro at WordCamp Kenya 2011

  • 1.The African Blogging Journey

2. In 2005 I registered I created a hos?ng account. I found some basic HTML templates I could redesign with my content. I put the web site online. I went live. No one came. Nothing happened. NADA!! 3. This is where I got to, in 2005 4. And in 2007 5. Nothing happened, un?l 2007 that is I fooling around on my hos?ng account and saw a one-click installa?on for WordPress. I tried it. I am not a techie. It worked. I had a blog. IT WORKED! J But, I had nothing to write. Yet. I did however have some ar?cles that had been published. So I re-published on my new blog. I was a BLOGGER. ! YAAAAAY!! 6. This was my blog, version 1.0 7. WordPress changed EVERYTHING! I could update content regularly is a user-friendly manner without knowing HTML, CSS, yada yada I could use themes and plugins to redesign my blog and extend func?onality by clicking I could manage my web site without needing to be a hardcore techie or needing one J Suddenly, I could self-publish online on my blog without any hassles and it was super easy! 8. Self-hosted vs Free WordPress Blogs? Dont skimp on your blog get your domain name and a self-hosted pla_orm. There are really good free themes that you can customize. Thats what I use. IT WORKS! Test themes and plugins before you go live things can break unfortunately If building a commercial blog of some sort BUY Themes and plugins get Pros involved in building and managing the blog. 9. The rst six months. Acer re-publishing my ar?cles, things went quiet. A saw a small up?ck in trac though since 2005. I then started wri?ng on my blog as a personal journal whatever came to mind, I blogged it! Formula1, Rugby, Technology, Robert Mugabe, Obama, etc etc. You name it?! I BLOGGED IT! Nu Said 10. Some early blog posts /1 11. Some early blog posts /2 12. Some early blog posts /3 13. Some early blog posts /4 14. The next six months: 2008 I made a profound discovery about my blog by looking at the sta?s?cs. I no?ced that certain content was driving trac and some was not. I realized, when you blog, not all content is tracked equally. Some content is more equal than others. I found the secret formula. Its all about CONTENT! 15. What content is popular? Funny enough, the content that gets the most trac for me includes: Lists and rankings. Exclusives (video, interviews, etc) Stu that is currently in the news Product and service reviews. Service and product pricing Service and product comparisons. 16. Top content on my blog. 17. Why content maoers. Think of your blog as a magazine or book. Which books or magazines do you like to read? What stories and genres are you into? What are you most passionate about? Which topics and content do you know inside out? Could you do it for FREE and s?ll LOVE it? 18. STOP Rambling! START Focusing! 19. Epiphany! (and other strange words) I love lots of things but what I really know, and know well is technology. I LOVE reading and wri?ng about technology. I have been working in technology for 15 years and started coding when I was 12 years old. HINT: Am I pain?ng a clear picture of what happened next? BLOG what you LOVE! LOVE what you BLOG! 20. Its kind of like thisPASSION! J 21. Everything changed. EVERYTHING! I started REALLY enjoying BLOGGING. BLOGGING got easier as I FOCUSSED on topics and content with a technology bias. IT was not easy to focus. It took discipline and pa?ence. My eort paid o. Trac spiked like a hockey s?ck. The media started calling. I became an EXPERT! This was not part of the plan 22. 2009: Learning the Niche I started to realize that technology blogging had a gap. I could cover global issues or focus on local issues where I could be more relevant. NICHE is everything in blogging. I decided to focus content sharper on: TECHNOLOGY (Topic) KENYA (Geography) PEOPLE (Technophiles, like ME) 23. Niche blog posts /1 24. Niche blog posts /2 25. Niche blog posts /3 26. Outcomes of a Niche TechBlog. Ini?ally a drop in trac and less people. However, beoer focus meant more loyal readers, more comments and eventually more people. My blog slowly became the go to place for all things tech in Kenya. All of a sudden, my blog became bigger than me. I was expected to publish regularly like a newspaper. Be careful what you wish for! 27. WordPress Stats /1 28. WordPress Stats /2 29. AfriGator Stats /1 30. AfriGator Stats /2 31. Alexa Stats: 122 rank in Kenya 32. Safaricom Kenya 33. Yu Kenya 34. Airtel Kenya 35. Orange Kenya 36. iPhone Kenya 37. Mobile Web Kenya 38. Find your OWN voice. When blogging, think of the way you speak or talk to a friend. Keep it PERSONAL! Imita?on is good when you start but in ?me develop your own wri?ng SYTLE as this will resonate with your audience. Do not SELL OUT. Write authen?cally and say it as it is this will make your blog stand out from the cluoer online theres lots of it BTW 39. Passion is key! Trust me on this one! Blogging is not for everyone. You need to be really really KEEN and PASSIONATE about what you write about. Burnout is possible but there is always something around you to blog about. Being consistent and regular keeps a regular audience checked-in to your blog. Breaking news can becomeADDICTIVE! 40. Nakumao Fire: 2009 41. Makmende goes viral: 2010 42. Makmende on Google 43. More Makmende on Mishale (Archer) 44. Makmende goes GLOBAL! 45. Makmende breaks into CNN! 46. Bloggers Gold: Making money online Started using Google AdSense in 2010. US$ 500 to-date. Realized quickly that there is no way I could live o my blog if I ever considered AdSense I would need to create my own products & services to sell or go Aliate marke?ng (This is s?ll Work-In-Progress but we are geung there). Did I men?on I s?ll have a day job? J 47. Google AdSense Revenue 48. My blogging makes money oine How? I get invited to conferences globally to make presenta?ons for a hecy fee. I consult independently for businesses that want to leverage digital media strategically. I write ar?cles for mainstream media who pay me for my expert insights based on my niche. I nd myself turning away money! (too busy) 49. PERKS of blogging to-date. Lots of interna?onal travel. Front seat invita?ons to media events and exclusives ahead of mainstream media. Lots of free goodies like phones every month and free Internet access (SERIOUSLY!). Global (& local) recogni?on as the go to guy You can become a ROCKSTAR! through blogging. Not always that cool. 50. Things go wrong when you blog My blog got hacked in 2009 when I did not update my WordPress version. Quite silly and avoidable. My blog broke down earlier this year when I upgraded but did not conrm rst if my host supported version 3.0. 2 days oine and a real techie needed to x things - s?ll reeling! Some?mes, blogging makes you TOO visible. 51. Good things happen when you blog! You jump the queue when it comes to business and social engagements. Job interviews become a formality since employers already know who you are, what you do, and why they want you. You stand out from the crowd and this has many many dividends when everyone now has an MBA. Nu said! 52. Diversify your content. Wri?ng all the ?me on your blog can get hard and downright boring. By diversifying your content to audio, video and photos, you enhance your content and your audience appreciate it. Diversifying content also can be less work people love video and audio content as its easy to access and a no-brainer. 53. KTN Interview: 2009 54. NTV Interview: 2011 55. Pivot 25: 2011 56. Integrate social media to your blog I have integrated social media to my blog using plugins and feeds. The eect is that I one-click publish and all my social media proles get my content. I get more trac from social media than from Google. This is HUGE. It also means I eec?vely control and grow my reach without using expensive digital marke?ng. 57. LinkedIn 58. Facebook (Personal) 59. Facebook (Fan Page) 60. Twioer 61. The Blog 62. Ensure your blog is MOBILE! 63. What sort of mobile trac do you get? 64. Mobile trac graphs. 65. Blog Trac: Highlights 66. Blog Trac: Regions 67. Blog Trac: UVs and PVs 68. Blog Trac: for social media 69. My never-ending blogging journey. Content makes all the dierence. Passion keeps you going. Mix-it-up to keep it fun and compelling for your audiences. Be authen?c in your own voice and tone. Always be regular and consistent. Blogging has explicit and implicit benets. BLOG what you love. LOVE what you blog! 70. Drop me a line. Cheers! J t: @moseskemibaro b: e: moses (at)