How to start a Business blog in Kenya and run it successfully [Case Studies Inside]

The coronavirus pandemic has shown us that setting up your business using the traditional brick and mortar model is not the way to go. You seriously need to think of having an active online presence.

How better to have this than setting up a website with regular content uploads, being active on social media and regularly creating content that reaches your audience via email.

In this no holds barred article, I will show you how to set up your blog in Kenya and use it to reach a bigger audience and transact with your customers online.

How to start a business blog in Kenya and run it successfully

I have segmented the article into a few sections which are:

  1. Identifying your niche
  2. Doing proper keyword research for your blog
  3. Leveraging on social media and paid ads to drive traffic to your blog
  4. Create powerful and converting content that is SEO optimized.

I will use a few Kenyan based blogs as my models to explain everything. They are:

  1. AIKenya—blogs on data science
  2. AMG realtors—sells real estate property
  3. Stawi—lends out mobile loans

So, lets look at the steps you need to take to create an online presence.

1. Identify your niche

A niche is nothing but the topic that you are blogging about. The niche of my freelancinghackers.com blog for example is how to make money blogging. I therefore should try to limit whatever I am posting on my blog to this topic.

If you have been following me on Facebook, you will also note that I have mapped out this to be my niche from now on and all I post is related to making money through your blog.

I might confuse my audience and search engines when I blog about making money blogging today, only to diversify tomorrow and write how I went to pay my wife’s dowry tomorrow.

  • If you are a real estate company, the niche for your blog would be properties in a certain area. AMG Realtors has for example been selling most of their property at Nanyuki to a diaspora audience. This is their niche.
  •  If you are a fintech company, the niche for your blog would for example be mobile loans. Stawi is a good example here that lends out mobile loans through an app. Their niche, therefore, is blogging about mobile loans.
  • AiKenya has data science as their niche. They should therefore be blogging about financial modeling, machine learning, R, python, Excel and opportunities for people in the data science field.
  •  If you own a boutique, you could have your niche as official suits. A plumber would have their plumbing repair services in a certain location as their niche.

Other online ideas that you could explore in Kenya

Some other excellent online business ideas in Kenya that you could try out if you do not have a niche to blog yet include:

  • Finding a product which you will be promoting as an affiliate marketer— You could for example decide to promote electronics on Jumia and when you sell the products, the eCommerce platform will award you a certain commission based on the sales you have made.

  • Starting a jobs board where you charge companies to post their available jobs and earning ad income when the site attracts lots of job applicants–If you look at job board platforms such as fuzu, careerspointkenya and jobs in kenya, you will find that they all target to attract job seekers, give them information about new job opportunities and earn ad income from Google adsense based on the many people who interact with their sites.

  • CV writing company

  • Freelancing writing company–If you are good in copywriting, you could start a blog where you attract local clients looking for content writing.

  • Online shop where you sell your products

  • Information site where you give people valuable information on a certain topic. You will target to earn through ads.

  • A site where you sell courses such as ‘how to learn data science’, ‘how to learn R’, ‘how to learn web designing’, ‘how to learn web designing etc.

2. Do your keyword research

Once you have selected the niche that you are to blog about, you can go ahead to conduct your keyword research. One mistake that many business bloggers make is to blog about anything without first interrogating what people are searching on search engines.

Tools that you can use for keyword research include:

Ubersuggest

Keyword Surfer

WMS Everywhere

If you want a constant stream of passive traffic streaming into your blog, you seriously need to think your keyword research strategy. Let us look at how to do it using a free keyword research tool called Ubersuggest.

3. Create a blog

A blog is nothing but a website that receives content upload on a regular basis.

Though you can use different Content Management systems, WordPress is the easiest and most popular. You do not need any coding experience to blog on WordPress.

So what do you need to have a blog?

  1. Buy a domain name—this is what identifies you for example: google.com, nation.africa, freelancinghackers.com or speechtherapytotos.com
  2. Buy hosting—a hosting company keeps your files online. Every content piece you do be it an article, image or video is saved by your host.

You will have to pay annually for domain renewal or else it expires and gets re-registered by another person. For hosting, you could either pay for it annually or monthly.

I have written a comprehensive guide on how to buy your blog domain and hosting which you can look up.

My friend James Njoya has also done a great job detailing how to configure your domain and hosting. You can see his post on starting a blog in Kenya here.

4. Create social media accounts

Other than using search engines, some of your audience are on social media platforms such as Facebook, Tiktok, Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram. You need to meet them by being active on these platforms.

Post relevant information that sets you as a brand so that people can always look up to the information that you provide them with.

5. Claim a google my business account

If you are running an online shop, you really need to claim a google my business account so that when people are searching for recommendations similar to your business, they are highly likely to see your business, see your reviews and even see the location picked by Google.

6. Create content that is focused on your keywords. Write for people

Once you have your set of keywords to work with, you can go ahead to create content that is laser focused on informing your audience while at the same time being SEO optimized.

You need to craft nice content that is going to inform and convert your audience. You could use lots of images, videos and lists that help to break the boredom in your content.

7. Build trust and an excellent online reputation

Since you will be meeting your audience online, you need to do everything to make sure that they trust you.

Have a list of testimonials to create good social proof. You could also write about your company, team members and give relevant contacts.

If you are able you could create a chat interface where clients can come, ask questions and you can message them either realtime or later on.

8. Create local citations on business directories

You can create local citations on business directories such as yelp and yellow pages. These are nothing but backlinks that tell search engines where you are located.

Some people might also visit these local directories to search for companies in a certain niche within an area. Someone interested in dental services in Nairobi might type that on Yellow pages and see your business listed among other dental service companies in the area.

9. Build Topical Relevance around your keywords

Once you identify a keyword in your niche and blogged about it, things are not done. You need to build topical relevance.

Building topical relevance just means creating related content to the main keyword you are trying to rank for and creating interlinks that point to these main pages.

We have for example seen that AMGRealtors would like to rank for land for sale in Kenya Nanyuki. Well, once they have a page on this, they can then go ahead to create other blog posts about Nanyuki and link out to this main page.

With these interlinks, they will be passing lots of authority to the target page that will be able to rank.

They could for example create content on:

  • History of Nanyuki
  • Tourist attractions in Nanyuki
  • Social amenities in Nanyuki
  • Why invest in Nanyuki real estate properties. etc

10. Spy on your competitors and beat them at their own game

Using keyword research tools such as ahrefs or semrush, you will be informed of your top competitors and how many keywords they are ranking for. With these information, you can go ahead to try and beat them at their game.

Case Studies of Sample Blogs in Kenya

I sampled some blogs in Kenya to see how they were faring online and how they could improve their SEO game. Here we go:

AMGRealtors

I did a simple search for land for sale in Kenya Nanyuki and from my settings, I found out that Ubersuggest reports that this keyphrase gets roughly 50 searches per month.

I was interested in finding out how well AMG Realtors ranks for this keyword. From my desktop, I found out that they are ranking at position 19 while on my smartphone, they came position 22 on Google.

It is good to note that local Google rankings can vary depending on the device you are using, the Gmail account you have logged in using as well as your search history.

All in all, AMG realtors is not ranking on the top position for this keyword which I believe could fetch them a good number of customers.

The sites ranking at the top included ryden.co.ke which has used the word Nanyuki 31 times in this page. There is also mitula.co.ke that has mentioned the keyword Nanyuki ’54 times’. The star classifieds is also in the first page of Google according to my results and uses the word Nanyuki 52 times.

AMG Realtors has used the word Nanyuki 9 times only.

Url rankingNumber of times the word ‘Nanyuki’ appears in urlSerp position
https://www.ryden.co.ke/properties.php?id=2&rid=3&lid=8311
https://property.mitula.co.ke/lands-nanyuki-laikipia545
https://www.buyrentkenya.com/land-for-sale/laikipia/laikipia-east/nanyuki434
https://www.the-star.co.ke/classifieds/land-plots/land-for-sale-in-nanyuki.html533
https://www.amgrealtors.com/921

It is important to note that none of the sites ranking on the first page of Google have the word ‘land for sale in Kenya Nanyuki’.

The Star, BuyrentKenya and KnightFrank are however using related terms such as ‘land for sale in Nanyuki’ in their SEO titles which would give them some competitive advantage over AMGRealtors.

If I was therefore consulting for AMGRealtors, I would advise them to use the word Nanyuki more times in their homepage as well as use the keyword ‘Land for sale in Kenya Nanyuki’ in their copy.

Other interesting things to note is that sites such as BuyrentKenya, The Star and Ryden.co.ke have listed many pieces of plots in Nanyuki with their prices and very short descriptions about the pieces.

I would advise AMG Realtors to do this. If it does not seem feasible to do it on their ranking homepage, they could have one page dedicated to these listings that will receive an internal link from the homepage.

Stawi loan app

I tried to look at how Stawi loan app could increase their online audience through SEO.

One thing I found out is that they do not have a valid SSL certificate. For a fintech company, this is a big shame.

The lack of an SSL certificate could be denying them lots of customers who want to learn more about the app before they go to Google Apps store to download it from there.

Installing one does not take that long. It is really a short process.

stawi site lacks ssl certificate

I went on to research on keywords that they could hunt for:

From this ubersuggest snippet, you can see that the content marketer at stawi needs to blog about keywords such as credit hela app, loan apps without crb check and online mpesa loans in Kenya.

One might wonder why blog about credit hela on the stawi app. Well, you might have seen websites comparing their products to those of their competitors. It is a really nice strategy where you are able to not only rank for keywords related to your competitors but you have the opportunity to show your audience why your product is better than that of your competitor.

So as the content manager on Stawi, I would go ahead to compare stawi with credit hela. I would even compare it to all other popular loan apps in Kenya such as Tala, Okash, Zenka etc.

For the second keyword on ‘loan apps without crb check’, a simple Google search shows you that loans.info.ke is the top page ranking on the search engine. I would contact the blogger at this platform to link out to Stawi since they have not reviewed it yet.

AIKenya

To get more traffic to their site, the AiKenya site should target on ranking for this keywords

Other keywords related to data science that the site could target to rank for include:

How to start a blog in Kenya for free

You can also start a free blog in Kenya using different platforms. The most popular have to be WordPress or even Google blogger. They will give you a free domain name plus hosting. The only problem with these free platforms is that you are not able to customize the layout to your liking.

Your audience might also not take you seriously since you are using a weird domain name for example jamesnjenga.wordpress.com as opposed to having a simple one like jamesnjenga.com.

So while it is possible to start a blog for free in Kenya, I would not advise you to do it for business purposes. Not unless you are doing it for personal reasons where you used the wordpress or blogspot blog to familiriaze yourself with the nitty gritties of blogging.