Being an African blogger is no small feat; several blogging challenges, like the lack of helpful blogging communities and the indifference and disinterest of people to gain knowledge, can become tasking.
These blogging challenges peculiar to African bloggers 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 from blogging, 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. It is one of the world’s fastest-growing regions, with 60% of its population 25 years of age or younger.
Out of these countries in Africa, most are either developing or underdeveloped. This implies that access to technology and the internet enjoyed in other developed countries is limited in Africa.
30 African countries (including Nigeria) are listed as having a low human development index as of 2020 by the United Nations, which is equivalent to an underdeveloped country.
Why the statistics?
These statistics will help you understand why there are a lot of blogging challenges for as opposed African bloggers as opposed to other geographic regions. An underdeveloped country has a minimal amount of technology and internet accessibility as compared to developing or developed countries.
When you hear ‘underdeveloped,’ think illiteracy, technical backwardness, a 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 misconceptions of the general public.
The World economic forum report on Africa reflects the limitations but mostly the hope of growth for African bloggers; blogging seems to be the new norm for future Africans.
BLOGGING CHALLENGES OF AN AFRICAN BLOGGER.
Ignorance is one of the blogging challenges faced in Africa, and oftentimes, it is a result of the 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 on 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 blog, and it has oftentimes led to frustration because before you can make money blogging, you need time and patience.
As a mentor said, “The first rule of money is creating value.” Before your blog can become profitable, you need first to create value. It is through this that you build your audience and drive traffic to your website.
Imagine a scenario where a blogger starts blogging but has 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 who believe 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 use the right strategies, and expect miracle results.
Meet the right mentors, join the right communities, and invest in yourself and your business. Learn how to reinvest your profits back into your business until you become sustainable enough to spend your profits.
2. BAD NETWORK & ELECTRICITY.
This is one of the peculiar blogging challenges in Africa.
While doing my content research and writing this blog post, my 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 back. I do the 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 the network failed, and though we tried a number of other 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 2 kb/s, which means a single web page without multimedia can take a few minutes to load compared to a site with several 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 panel.
HOW TO OVERCOME: Get a power bank to deal with electricity issues or pinpoint a location close to you where you can makeshift into a workstation, even if you need to pay for it!
Also, have several network providers in case one fails; you can switch to another. You are ready for success regardless!
3. DATA PLANS.
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.”
I cannot mention the peculiar blogging challenges in Africa and not mention data plan issues. When we talk about the path to becoming a blogger, we’re talking about online video classes, podcasts, live webinars, online conferences, video uploads, social media, etc., and these consume a lot of data.
Currently, I use MTN as a network provider and have a monthly data subscription of #6,500 for roughly 36GB, which is sometimes not enough, depending on my activities for that month.
There are months when I buy data twice just to be able to have internet connectivity.
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 background activities.
3. 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 is oftentimes a paid one, and the issue of cost may arise.
HOW TO OVERCOME: If you cannot afford a paid mentor, you can join a community, attend free webinars, and follow your desired mentor on their social media account pages. The truth is, there is a lot of free information available online, and all you need to do is find the right one for you.
You can utilize the free tips you find online and gather results. From there, you can gain the confidence, affordability, and ‘worthiness’ to pursue mentorship.
4. EXCHANGE RATES.
Another peculiarity in the blogging challenges faced in Africa is the exchange rates when converting foreign currencies.
Money is usually the first limitation for any business (blogging included), but it gets worse when you take the exchange rate into consideration.
Nowadays, people don’t want to transact in local currencies anymore, so the cost of products and services has been increasing daily.
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.
The lack of adequate blogging resources locally, like mentorship, courses, and so on, has driven a larger population of African bloggers to search 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 nine hundred officially, #900 is equivalent to $1 and it keeps flunctuating!
HOW TO OVERCOME: When it comes to this blogging challenge, well, what can we do? Not to be the bearer of bad news, though, there are good local agencies with affordable resources that you can use. Also, service exchange can be a way of getting blogging resources that you can’t afford to pay with money.
5. LACK OF African-Based Community
This is one of the blogging challenges I discovered early on when i became serious with blogging.
Most blogging communities are not geographically designed, i.e., they aren’t designed to meet specific geographic needs.
Looking at the unique circumstances of the 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, the reverse is the 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 the same goal isn’t minute.
Sometimes, our human nature to be accepted and belong to a group of people helps us gain strength from the 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 a functioning African-based blogging community, which is what SARMLife hopes to rectify with the BlogAfriqué Facebook Community.
6. WITHDRAWAL OF ONLINE EARNINGS.
I’ve had no personal experience with this, but according to Enstine Muki in his blog, it’s not about earning, but it’s about withdrawing. This happens to be one of the dire blogging challenges faced by several African bloggers.
Imagine not being able to withdraw your hard-earned money because the financial authorities need to confirm the legitimacy of your source and your work.
PayPal, which is often used by foreign countries outside of Africa, is limited in Africa because it doesn’t cover the 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 and MoneyGram, and there are several apps that are available for receiving and sending foreign currencies.
NOTE: Make sure to verify all platforms before using them. Also, alert the person you’re making the transaction with to inform them of your selected platform.
7. BAD PUBLICITY.
Fraudsters have given the continent a bad name, which can be limiting and also result in some African countries being banned from certain online privileges or, at the very least, having strict guidelines for access.
This is one of the blogging challenges that seem to be insurmountable.
The rate of internet crime, even within the continent, has 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. Also, make sure you have a secured website and include client testimonials in your website’s homepage and social media pages.
Remain amazing, and great opportunities won’t be far from you!
Making a 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 interests of Africans are generally limited to certain industries.
Based on personal research, I realized especially in Nigeria, where I reside, gossip blogs, food blogs, lifestyle blogs, and health blogs get 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 and 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, from getting the right data plan to frustrating network connectivity to a lack of collaborators and sponsors; she’s literally seen it all!
We were able to jump these hurdles thanks to God and to the hard work of the entire team, including myself.
Currently, the monthly profit from SARMLife (in naira and dollars) is way beyond what we started with, and she’s adding value to lives – which we hope to continue doing.
Today, I’m proud to say SARMLife has had over 100 SDST students, more than 10 SEO clients, several 1:1 coaching sessions with struggling bloggers, and so on. These trainings have seen tremendous results, and I’m not even joking.
Some of our students have started earning up to 5-figures monthly, working with top brands in their niche, and even pursuing digital careers.
I’m saying all this 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.
With all these blogging challenges, I guess the question right now would be, HOW can there be an advantage to all these?
Here are some of the advantages of being an African blogger:
1. You get to be a pioneer of whatever niche you select.
One day, I’d love to ask Linda Ikeji, a Nigerian entertainment blogger, 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, especially in Nigeria, and that makes her a pioneer in that niche.
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 brings fulfillment.
3. 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 is gradually becoming known and accepted in Africa, however, there are still a lot of grounds to cover which increases the opportunities of becoming a coach.
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.
Of course, by being a pioneer and coach and making impart in the lives of people, you increase your popularity.
The chance to become globally known is also there if you put in the work and have a global mindset. Nothing can stop a determined heart with a growth mindset.
6. Mentorship Opportunities.
You get to mentor others by showing them it is possible. You carve a path and allow them to walk through.
When I think of blogging in Africa, it always seems 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 pose a threat, we can make and redefine blogging from our African point of view.
TIPS FOR UPCOMING BLOGGERS IN AFRICA
Here are some tips that show how upcoming African bloggers can work through these blogging challenges peculiar to them:
- 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 costs!
- Ask questions from those ahead of you
- Invest in your learning
- Find a mentor. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to be mentored.
Change is now daily; new technologies and 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.