With a few prominent successful bloggers in Nigeria, blogging has become popular as a new get-rich side-job. There’s WordPress and Blogger urging you to sign up free to get started, so everyone and their dog has become a blogger, myself and mine included.
In the past 3 years, I’ve learnt a few things no one told me about blogging in Nigeria and this post is an attempt to share it with you.
1. The Word “Blogger” has this Negative Connotation
Most Nigerians are of the opinion that bloggers are people who spread gossip online and are generally up to no good. I get that disapproving look often, particularly from the older generation. Now, I summarize what I do simply as “writing online”.
2. Blogging is hard work
Most people will tell you “Is it not just to write?”. I’m here to tell you it isn’t. It’s about writing what people want to read and that’s not half as easy as it seems. In the beginning hardly anyone will read your work but you’ll have to keep writing anyway. Then you have to promote your posts and clamor for shares because if no one is reading and giving you any feedback, you can’t get better. Choosing the right topic or titles to attract readers is even more challenging. You’ll get it right sometimes, most of the time I haven’t.
3. A Successful Blog is a Business
If you are trying to build a business or an audience out of your blog, you have to stay focused and you have to write often regularly. More importantly, you’ll need to treat your blogging like a real business. You need to promote, market, monitor your spending and all those other things normal businesses do. You may be a great writer or content developer but if you don’t put yourself out there, you won’t get far.
4….and Blogging is a Job
Like a real job, you need to be organised, scheduled, posting consistently and bring your audience quality information to hold their attention.
5. Just Being a Good Writer isn’t enough.
You have to be good at basic HTML programming, good at Search Engine Optimization, social media marketing, get a hang of photography or at least invest in great images and know how to edit them, unless you have enough to spend hiring staff or outsourcing.
6. You Won’t Always Feel Like Writing
Some days you just don’t want to write. It’s normal. Even great authors feel this way. You are busy with other responsibilities or just lazy or bored and can’t bring yourself to finish up the research required to complete a post you intend to publish. As a blogger, this can’t or shouldn’t happen. You audience look up to you and as soon as they can’t rely on you to be consistent they drift.
7. You’ve Will Get Writers Block
Yes, it’s real and if you blog long enough you’ll get there. Sometimes you have nothing worth sharing. You go through all your ideas and nothing seems interesting. No fresh inspiration.
8. You Can’t Just Post or Publish Anytime You Like
Post too much too often and you spam your readers and they leave. Post not often enough and your readers forget you and move on.
9. Growth is Hard
Growing an audience is really difficult. Let’s face it, if you are a nobody, then hardly anyone (except your family and friends) wants to hear what you are saying unless it addresses something relevant to them directly. It’s taken years to get some momentum with respect to visitors and traffic. I just got 100 people to sign up for my mailing list and it’s still surprises me.
10. Anonymity Won’t Help You
I started blogging anonymously with a pseudonym to protect my real-life career ambitions that may be affected by the opinions I share here and the possible fame or infamy that is inevitably a consequence of blogging. However, no one told me that readers often need to be able to see and identify a blogger to be able to trust and relate with them. So, if you plan to start a blog and grow it quickly, be prepared to be a little famous. I’m certainly not.
11. Brace Yourself for the Mental Stress
The moment your blog starts getting attention, you realise that hundreds of people are reading your work. They have expectations and so the pressure to do better can be overwhelming. Writing for personal pleasure is relaxing but writing for engagement and traffic is far from the later. You become accountable to your readers and feel the need to live up to the expectation you have created for yourself. You have to “walk all the talk” you put out there or you’ll end up feeling like a fraud.
12. You Need To Research Your Posts
When your audience grows, you need to put effort into verifying the information you put out or end up being publicly called out for being misleading.
13. You Need to Constantly Learn
Well, this goes without saying. Novelty is the backbone of public interest and engagement. If you keep singing the same song over again, soon enough you’ll be singing to yourself.
14. You Have to be Active on Social Media
Your Facebook friends and family members are very often your first supporters and if you pester them enough, they will share and help you grow.
15.You Will Sleep Less
Oh, I can’t remember the last time I slept before midnight. Combining blogging with my 9-5, I get home to spend the last few hours sorting through and editing images, writing, editing, proof-reading and publishing blog posts. On very fruitful days, I get more than one post done and schedule the next publishing date in advance.
16. Your Relationships Will Suffer
Your new lover is essentially your laptop. You’ll spend most of your time on it and if you are working really hard, you have little time for anything else.
17. You Might Not Make Any Money for a Very Very Long Time
If you think blogging brings quick money, think again. Statistically, 90% of blogs are not profitable. Making money from blogging is like watching paint dry. It is painstakingly slow. No one told me you earn as little as $0.000898 per ad impression on average which means that to earn $1, you need 1000 ad impressions, and not every view is an impression. No one told me you need to earn a minimum of $100 before WordAds will send you a cheque. By my forecast, I won’t get a cheque till 2026!
If you don’t get a lot of traffic you have to depend on sponsorships and brand partnerships with small lesser known businesses, which do not have a big budget. Either way, earning money from your blog will not be a walk in the park.
18. The Sense of Fulfillment
On a brighter note, no one told me how much meaning a blog can bring to ones life. I’m super introverted and started out as this unheard whisper on the internet. Then I started getting likes and comments and then actual emails from real people saying “Thank you.” and suddenly I realised that I may not need to don a cape or leave my room to make a difference in people’s lives. I can save someone today, from here, just by sharing what I know. This opportunity to conveniently contribute to strangers lives with out the chore of knowing each of them personally has been phenomenal for my self-esteem and overall sense of fulfillment.
Summarily, blogging is great but it may not be for everyone. It’s hard work and it isn’t always financially rewarding. If you aren’t passionate about it, don’t force it. If you feel the need to write occasionally, consider guest-posting. I remind myself that quitting is always an option, especially if you realise that it no longer brings you joy. There is nothing wrong with moving on.
Are there things you wish you knew before you started blogging? Let me know what you think in the comments!
As always, thank you for reading!
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