Being an African blogger is no small feat; from the lack of helpful communities to the indifference and disinterest of the people to gain knowledge, blogging becomes challenging. These blogging challenges of an African blogger seem insurmountable being that every blogger’s main goal is first to share knowledge; when this goal is endangered, it leaves the blogger at a loss and sometimes frustrated.
This is not a biased post to either coarse or discourage you but it is an in-depth post on the realities of blogging in Africa. Initially, the outline of this post was missing the pros of being an African blogger but while writing it out, I had the sudden inspiration to include the pros of being an African blogger because that is also one of its realities.
Blogging Challenges: Why blogging in Africa is different.
Africa as a continent with 54 countries has a current population of 1.3 billion and is expected to reach 2.5 billion people by 2050. Africa is one of the world’s fastest growing region with 60% of its populace 25 years or younger. Out of these countries in Africa, most are either developing or under-developed. This implies that access to technology and internet enjoyed in other developed countries is limited in Africa. 30 African countries (including Nigeria) are listed to have a low human development index as at 2020 by the United Nations which is equivalent to an under-developed country.
Why the statistics? This statistics will help you understand why the average African blogger face a lot of challenges as opposed to other geographic regions. An under developed country have a minimal amount of technology and internet accessibility as compared to developing or developed countries. When you hear ‘under-developed,’ think illiteracy, technical backwardness, high level of unemployment and so on.
With over half of Africa being underdeveloped, the average blogger has to deal with problems oftentimes beyond their control such as lack of or limited access to the internet, lack of relevant technology, lack of technical knowledge needed for blogging, ignorance and misconception of the general public.
The World economic forum report on Africa reflects the limitations but mostly the hope of growth for African bloggers; blogging seem to be the new norm for the future Africans.
BLOGGING CHALLENGES OF AN AFRICAN BLOGGER.
Your ignorance is oftentimes as a result of refusal to invest in knowledge either personally or through mentorship. Ignorance is beyond a disease or the result of an economy; it’s actually a choice.
Generally, Blogging in Africa is perceived as one of the various internet schemes of ‘making money fast.’ The lack of gainful employment in the continent has led to people venturing into blogging as a way to make quick cash and survive the harsh economy.
This perception has given African bloggers the wrong initiative to blogging and it has oftentimes led to frustration because blogging needs time to become profitable. Like a mentor said, “the first rule of money is creating value.” Before your blog can become profitable, you need to first create value. It is through this that you build your audience and drive traffic to your website.
Imagine a scenario where a blogger started blogging but have little to no knowledge of the selected niche and also lacks the dedication to either unlearn, learn or relearn. It results in low productivity which frustrates not just himself but those that believed in him.
HOW TO OVERCOME: Blogging is not a get-rich-quick scheme. Be patient with your journey, and while being patient, ensure you have a great understanding of blogging and blog growth strategies to help you succeed. You don’t want to be ignorant, not using the right strategies and expecting miracle results.
BAD NETWORK & ELECTRICITY.
While doing my content research and writing this blog post, network went off a couple of times. Sometimes, I’d have to put on my flight mode and put it off right back to reboot and see if the network might come right back. I do same for my data connection as well.
That’s the dilemma of being in a region with limited technology.
I remember vividly an incident that happened earlier in 2021 where SARMLife hosted a writing workshop but network failed and though we tried a number of network providers, it was all to no avail.
Specifically in Nigeria, internet connectivity varies by location and network provider. The speed of internet connectivity can be as low as 2kb/s which means a single web page without multimedia can take few minutes to load talk less of multimedia files. This slows down the blogger and ultimately reduces productivity.
Electricity on the other hand is so unstable and unpredictable. Due to this, your electronic devices can be left uncharged for hours unless you have access to a generator or solar.
HOW TO OVERCOME: Get a power bank! Have several network providers in case one fails; you can switch to another. You are ready for success regardless!!!
Solomon Buchi had a rant recently on his Instagram account where he talked about the exploitation of network providers when it comes to data plans. It was a bit funny but it was the truth.
He said “The amount of money spent on data plans by most youths is absurd. Then, the rate at which the data is being deducted is not reconcilable with the amount of data consumed. It’s a race to find the most affordable data plan and the network provider that is the lesser of evils.”
Bringing it home to bloggers, we’re talking online video classes, podcasts, live webinars, online conferences, video uploads, social media, etcetera and these consumes a lot of data. Currently, I use MTN as a network provider and do a monthly data subscription of #3,500 which is sometimes not enough depending on my activities for that month.
Money is usually the first limitation to any business (Blogging included) but it gets worse when you bring exchange rate into consideration.
Nowadays, people don’t want to transact in local currencies anymore so the cost of products and services have been increasing daily.
HOW TO OVERCOME: Plan your online time to avoid wasting data on frivolities. Get your work done at the planned time, and freeze unused apps to avoid running your data on several platforms.
LACK OF MENTORSHIP.
Having a mentor is key to making it. A mentor is someone who has become what you want to become or at least, someone who is becoming what you want to be. In other words, someone who is ahead of you in your field.
It implies that you have someone tell you where the mines are and tell you how to avoid them. What is the importance of this? You’ll be able to get to the other side of the minefield alive!
Due to the few number of successful or prominent bloggers in Africa, it has reduced the possibility of getting an African based mentor.
Also, mentorship are oftentimes a paid one and the problem of money may arise.
I remember taking a class during the pandemic and there was a cheap offer for a product I needed but the exchange rate made it unaffordable for me.
Due to the lack of adequate resources locally, it has driven a larger population of the African bloggers into searching outside of the continent but the problem of exchange rates arises.
The high exchange rate makes the online learning experience for the bloggers not one to look forward to.
Getting access to paid mentorship, learning communities and materials for the African blogger gets more difficult as a result of this factor. Beyond learning; as a blogger, you need to pay for website designing, website hosting, plug-in software, and a whole lot more which can result in a hitch of long term goals and affect sustainability.
There are things that are essential but there are also things that are necessary to have and get as a blogger most of which are outsourced. Even the products and services offered internally are now being priced in dollars.
Currently in Nigeria, the exchange rate of naira to a dollar is more than five hundred specifically, #500 is equivalent to $1 and it keeps moving up!
HOW TO OVERCOME: Well, what can we do?
LACK OF AFRICAN BASED COMMUNITY
Most blogging communities are not geographically designed i.e. they aren’t designed to meet specific geographic needs.
Looking at the unique circumstances of African region, it would suffice to conclude that there are a lot of communities to offer support and show a clear cut-out path to success as an African blogger but sadly, reverse is case.
The effect of communities cannot be underrated. Nothing gives a man strength like support. The psychological and physical effect of being surrounded by like minds, getting support, answers to questions and having same goal isn’t minute. Sometimes, our human nature to be accepted and belong to a group of people help us gain strength from crowd which is why a man can get up after being beaten in the ring due to the chanting of his name.
Currently, Africa lacks an African based blogging community which is what SARMLife hopes to rectify with the BlogAfriqué Facebook Community.
WITHDRAWAL OF ONLINE EARNINGS.
I’ve had no personal experience on this but according to Enstine Muki in his blog, it’s not about earning but it’s about withdrawing. PayPal which is often used by foreign countries outside of Africa is limited in Africa because it doesn’t cover majority of the countries.
Some countries can only send money but cannot receive payments although apart from PayPal, there are other alternatives like Western Union, MoneyGram; the person you’re making the transaction with will have to be informed of your selected platform.
Fraudsters have given the continent a bad name which can be limiting and results in some African countries being banned from certain online privileges or at the very least, have strict guidelines for access.
The rate of internet crime even within the continent have made people wary of online opportunities which makes them unable to differentiate real from fake.
The SDST (SARMLife Digital Skills Training) program of 2021 was priced at #7,000 and upon posting on Twitter, people thought it was fake!
Opportunities have been lost this way and even when you approach others for collaboration, guest posting, mentorship, etc., the genuity of your approach can be questioned.
When you offer products or services, people might think you’re a scammer.
HOW TO OVERCOME: Remain credible and trustworthy. Regardless of the bad eggs, anyone can spot a good person from afar. Remain amazing, and great opportunities won’t be far from you!
Making profit through blogging is achievable but the amount of profit usually differs depending on your niche. This is a problem that is applicable to all bloggers but bringing it home, the interest of Africans is generally limited to certain industries.
Based on personal research, I realized especially in Nigeria where I reside, the gossip blogs, food blogs, lifestyle blogs and health blogs gets more audience than any other niche. The percentage of persons interested in educational blogs or faith blogs is significantly lower as seen in the follower count of prominent bloggers in each niche.
An additional challenge is POVERTY. The lack of funds to pursue passion is real. As much as we want to profit from our products and services, reach out to the masses without reducing the price of our value, the truth is some persons will still not be able to afford such value.
Truthfully, when SARMLife was growing (although we’re still growing), she faced some of these challenges and was able to jump the hurdles. Currently, the monthly profit from SARMLife is way beyond what we started with and she’s adding value to lives.
From getting the right data plan to frustrating network connectivity to lack of collaborators and sponsors; she’s literally seen it all! Today, I’m proud to say SARMLife has over 160 graduates/clients from it’s courses, the digital school and have had several 1:1 coaching session with struggling bloggers. These trainings have seen tremendous results and I’m not even joking.
Some of her students have started earning up to 5-figures monthly and we actually passed our profit margin in the first half of 2021!
This is to let you know that your dreams are possible. You can build your sustainable and profitable blog in Africa from scratch. It’s the growth that makes it worth it.
If you want to go for it but have questions, you can book a FREE 1:1 session with Ruth Adeyemi right here!
PROS OF BEING AN AFRICAN BLOGGER.
I guess the question right now would be HOW can there be an advantage to this?
You get to be a pioneer of whatever niche you select.
One day, I’d love to ask Linda Ikeji how much opposition she got when she made the decision to go into Blogging because I’m sure there were a lot of them but today, when you talk of the bloggers that have made a name of them in Africa, I’m sure her name would be there.
Sincerely, she carved a path for others to follow and that makes her a pioneer.
Fulfillment will come when the reason you started Blogging and your results start to align. The difference between the two points is TIME.
Offering value to people also bring fulfillment.
The chance to teach/become a coach.
Maybe you didn’t think of this but you can get to be a coach! Impart people with knowledge, skill and experience you’d gain.
You get to give them a chance to change their lives and become an expert in that field.
Blogging can be a full time job with profits if you’re able to learn and be patient. In a continent where the rate of employment is low, you can become self employed and even employ others.
Being a Change Agent.
You get to mentor others by showing them it is possible. You carve a path and allow them walk through.
When I think of blogging in Africa, it always seem to me like this treasure mine that is unexplored. There are a lot of niches and opportunities that haven’t been uncovered yet. If only we can overcome the challenges that poses a threat; we can make and redefine blogging from our African point of view.
TIPS FOR UPCOMING BLOGGERS IN AFRICA.
- Join an African blogging community
- Fuel your passion by being around successful African bloggers
- Always maintain a growth and can-do mindset – If I can do it, YOU CAN DO IT TOO!
- Have a defined niche. Don’t just blog about anything and everything to avoid frustration when you don’t see success.
- Fight intimidation at all cost!
- Ask questions from those ahead of you
- Invest in your learning
- Find a mentor. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to be mentored.
Change is now daily; new technologies, new devices are changing the narrative even for African countries.
Keep your blogging dream alive; the future looks bright. Change is coming and FAST! All it needs is time.
READ ALSO: Happy 3rd Blogging Anniversary – SARMLife