“Everyone is a blogger these days.”
“Blogging is dead.”
What’s the hill you choose to die on?
The term blogger conjures a gun for hire who leaks news scandals on their website and gets paid to trash talk personalities. This is one of the few misconceptions that have given blogging especially in the African context, a bad rep. But who decides the scope of blogging?
Blogging presents a powerful platform for curating stories about life in Africa. As with other forms of online creative expression, it has low barrier entry which means anyone can start a blog. This could be a challenge to a readership that has to sieve through mediocre content to get to the value they are looking for. However, easy accessibility is a huge advantage to anyone looking online for an opportunity to give their thoughts voice, shape and colour without jumping through hoops.
Blogging in Africa has seen exponential growth, with businesses joining in and audiences becoming increasingly active online. Isn’t it time to bury the blogging is dead trope that was coined almost a decade ago? Clearly, the platform is here to stay. If anything it is the revolution of blogging that has continued to take hold across the continent.
Blogging evolved from keeping a personal diary to earning a living out of it. Every blogger I know has a unique story as to why they started blogging and the reasons to stay on evolve from one person to another. There is a large percentage of African bloggers such as Linda Ikeji who have made strategic moves with their creative work and are now earning large sums.
Most have monetized their sites making big bucks from Adsense and its equivalents or doing collaborations with brands. Bloggers were the earliest pioneers of the influencer culture. Now they earn money from every sponsored blog post or Instagram picture or tweet. They speak at conferences, conduct niche blogging classes and sell products.
Several online communities in Africa connect people to blogs and bloggers to other bloggers. Afrobloggers, for example, has done a commendable job in aiding this. Look at us, bloggers from all over the continent surrounded by like-minded individuals, taking advantage of freedom spaces offered by the web to share different ideas and opinions on this #WinterABC blogging challenge, and make connections with our readers while at it. This is the true essence of community. Long may it flex.
Each year oversees a succession of Internet shutdowns across Africa as governments aim to cap the spectrum of acceptable opinion and freedom of expression. Bloggers and activists have served time for this. Some countries have shamelessly put up exorbitant fees for registering a blog/website.
To become a blogger is to be a content writer, a branding expert, a graphic designer, a stock photographer, a copywriter, a WordPress engineer, an email expert, a salesperson, a social media manager, an SEO expert all in one.
Maintaining a blog with regular updates can also get overwhelming. Ask bloggers about the day 10 prompt and you’ll get a blog post out of it.
→Maintain consistency and high quality for your work
→Don’t fall into the comparison trap; rather trust your voice and time
→Find a mentor to help streamline your blog mission and vision
→Writing is a journey, not a destination
→Authenticity should be the epicentre of what you do
→Learn as many skills as possible or otherwise outsource
→Celebrate the little wins
→Find your tribe
To anyone trying to creating online spaces they can be proud of and put themselves out there for the world to see – whether for fun or profit – blogging is the place to be.