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.

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The African Blogging Journey by Moses Kemibaro at WordCamp Kenya 2011

  1. 1. The    African    Blogging    Journey  
  2. 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. 3. This  is  where  I  got  to,  in  2005  
  4. 4. And  in  2007…  
  5. 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. 6. This  was  my  blog,  version  1.0  
  7. 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. 8. Self-­‐hosted  vs  Free  WordPress  Blogs?  •  Don’t  skimp  on  your  blog  –  get  your  domain   name  and  a  self-­‐hosted  pla_orm.  •  There  are  really  good  free  themes  that  you   can  customize.  That’s  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. 9. The  first  six  months.  •  Acer  re-­‐publishing  my  ar?cles,  things  went   quiet.  A  saw  a  small  up?ck  in  traffic  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!  Nuff  Said…  
  10. 10. Some  early  blog  posts  /1    
  11. 11. Some  early  blog  posts  /2    
  12. 12. Some  early  blog  posts  /3    
  13. 13. Some  early  blog  posts  /4    
  14. 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   traffic  and  some  was  not.  •  I  realized,  when  you  blog,  not  all  content  is   trafficked  equally.  •  Some  content  is  more  equal  than  others.  •  I  found  the  secret  formula.  Its  all  about   CONTENT!  
  15. 15. What  content  is  popular?  •  Funny  enough,  the  content  that  gets  the  most   traffic  for  me  includes:   –  Lists  and  rankings.     –  Exclusives  (video,  interviews,  etc)   –  Stuff  that  is  currently  in  the  news   –  Product  and  service  reviews.     –  Service  and  product  pricing   –  Service  and  product  comparisons.    
  16. 16. Top  content  on  my  blog.    
  17. 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. 18. STOP  Rambling!  START  Focusing!  
  19. 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. 20. Its  kind  of  like  this…PASSION!  J  
  21. 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  effort  paid  off.  Traffic  spiked  like  a  hockey   s?ck.  •  The  media  started  calling.  I  became  an   EXPERT!  This  was  not  part  of  the  plan…  
  22. 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. 23. Niche  blog  posts  /1  
  24. 24. Niche  blog  posts  /2  
  25. 25. Niche  blog  posts  /3  
  26. 26. Outcomes  of  a  Niche  TechBlog.  •  Ini?ally  a  drop  in  traffic  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. 27. WordPress  Stats  /1    
  28. 28. WordPress  Stats  /2  
  29. 29. AfriGator  Stats  /1  
  30. 30. AfriGator  Stats  /2  
  31. 31. Alexa  Stats:  122  rank  in  Kenya  
  32. 32. “Safaricom  Kenya”  
  33. 33. “Yu  Kenya”  
  34. 34. “Airtel  Kenya”  
  35. 35. “Orange  Kenya”  
  36. 36. “iPhone  Kenya”  
  37. 37. “Mobile  Web  Kenya”    
  38. 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. 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  become…ADDICTIVE!  
  40. 40. Nakumao  Fire:  2009  
  41. 41. Makmende  goes  viral:  2010  
  42. 42. Makmende  on  Google  
  43. 43. More  Makmende  on  Mishale  (Archer)  
  44. 44. Makmende  goes  GLOBAL!  
  45. 45. Makmende  “breaks  into”  CNN!  
  46. 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  off  my  blog  if  I  ever  considered  AdSense  –   I  would  need  to  create  my  own  products  &   services  to  sell  or  go  Affiliate  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. 47. Google  AdSense  Revenue  
  48. 48. My  blogging  makes  money  “offline”  •  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  find  myself  turning  away  money!  (too  busy)  
  49. 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. 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  confirm  first  if  my  host   supported  version  3.0.  2  days  offline  and  a   real  techie  needed  to  fix  things  -­‐  s?ll  reeling!  •  Some?mes,  blogging  makes  you  TOO  visible.  
  51. 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.  Nuff  said!  
  52. 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. 53. KTN  Interview:  2009  
  54. 54. NTV  Interview:  2011  
  55. 55. Pivot  25:  2011  
  56. 56. Integrate  social  media  to  your  blog  •  I  have  integrated  social  media  to  my  blog   using  plugins  and  feeds.  •  The  effect  is  that  I  “one-­‐click”  publish  and  all   my  social  media  profiles  get  my  content.  •  I  get  more  traffic  from  social  media  than  from   Google.  This  is  HUGE.  •  It  also  means  I  effec?vely  control  and  grow  my   reach  without  using  expensive  digital   marke?ng.  
  57. 57. LinkedIn  
  58. 58. Facebook  (Personal)  
  59. 59. Facebook  (Fan  Page)  
  60. 60. Twioer  
  61. 61. The  Blog  
  62. 62. Ensure  your  blog  is  MOBILE!  
  63. 63. What  sort  of  mobile  traffic  do  you  get?  
  64. 64. Mobile  traffic  graphs.    
  65. 65. Blog  Traffic:  Highlights  
  66. 66. Blog  Traffic:  Regions  
  67. 67. Blog  Traffic:  UVs  and  PVs  
  68. 68. Blog  Traffic:  for  social  media  
  69. 69. My  never-­‐ending  blogging  journey.  •  Content  makes  all  the  difference.  •  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  benefits.  •  BLOG  what  you  love.  LOVE  what  you  blog!  
  70. 70. Drop  me  a  line.  Cheers!  J          t:  @moseskemibaro  b:  e:  moses  (at)