IF YOU’RE THINKING of starting a blog to earn a full-time living, you’ve landed on the right guide.
Making a full-time income from blogging in South Africa is very possible. In fact, I’ve personally done it over and over again. Here’s the method I use summarized into a single guide.
The method I’m about to share with you is the only way I know how to make a blog work. It follows the Income School framework, which was created by Jim and Ricky—two brilliant bloggers who teach beginners like yourself on how to make a full-time income from just blogging.
Here’s exactly how to make money blogging in South Africa:
- Choose a ‘small niche,’ which can be an interest or hobby, to blog about.
- Set up your blog by registering a domain name and installing WordPress.
- Research a list of article ideas.
- Push aside all distractions and begin writing.
- Once your blog starts getting traffic, it’s time to monetize. I’ll share 11 ways you can monetize your blog.
What makes Jim and Ricky so ‘great?’ Well, I love them because they use themselves as “crash test dummies,” by creating real blogs from scratch, and building them up to fully-fledged websites that easily earn over R15,000 per month each. This process gives them a unique perspective on what works and what doesn’t in the blogging world, and the cool thing is they openly share all this knowledge with their community on YouTube and Project24.
All the information I’m about to share with you comes mostly from Jim and Ricky, and the personal experience I gained while implementing what they teach.
Before Getting Started
Focus on getting traffic first, then monetize later.
Too many bloggers worry about how they’re going to monetize their blogs before they have any site visitors. DON’T be tempted to waste valuable time and energy on this. Monetizing is the easy part, for now, focus 100% of your time and energy on creating quality content that will rank on google. This guide will show you exactly how.
How much money can you make in South Africa blogging?
While Jim and Ricky from Income School blog in America, it’s important to know that it doesn’t matter. Blogs targeting American readers can be started ANYWHERE in the world. All you need is a laptop and an internet connection.
Here are three examples of blogs Jim and Ricky created from scratch and how much money they made.
- KnifeUp.com – They recently sold this website for a whopping R3000000. Yes, you read that right, three million rands!
- PontoonGuide.com – Jim started this site after he bought a pontoon boat. Thirty-four articles and 18 months later, the site was already making R80,000 profit per month. Since then, Jim sold the website for R1000 000, and the new owners renamed it betterboat.com if you want to check it out.
- SoundProofExpert.com – They only ever got around to writing seven articles on this website; however, what’s impressive is it started making about R7000 per month on just those seven articles.
If you’d like to read more on blogs that Income School started from scratch, click here. It’s incredibly motivating and makes you realize how possible it is to make a full-time income through just blogging.
You’ll need patience, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
It takes, on average, eight months for google to rank an article. For the first eight to twelve months, you’ll feel like you’re in a ghost town with no one interested in your content, but don’t be tempted to give up. Blogging requires confidence, patience, and persistence. If you stick it through, it could change your life. So make sure you hang in there and give yourself at least a year of non-stop writing before expecting any real results.
Target American traffic.
The BIGGEST mistake I see with South African bloggers is they focus on South African topics. Here’s why you should target American readers instead:
- American website traffic is worth a lot more money than South African traffic so that you WILL make more money on affiliate platforms and AdSense. Up to 10 times more!
- There are a lot more people online in America that can visit your website.
- The dollar is stronger and more reliable than the rand, and it always will be. So earning dollars like an American while living in South Africa where everything is a lot cheaper means your money will go a lot further!
So before you even begin your blogging journey, make sure you choose a topic that Americans will be interested in, register your blog with an American website hosting server, and register a .com domain instead of a .co.za. But more on that in a minute.
Ready to get started? Let’s go!
01. Choose a ‘small niche’ To Blog About
TIME TO SPEND ON CHOOSING NICHE: 1 to 2 hours
Choosing a niche can be confusing, however just be decisive and get started. Don’t be tempted to spend more time planning than doing.
ACTION STEP: Watch the video below, write down all your hobbies and interest, then filter them down to a single idea. If you struggle to get your creative juices flowing, then view these examples.
Here are important points to consider when choosing a topic to blog about.
The more passionate you are about the topic, the more you’ll be able to write about it. I can’t stress this enough, choose a topic or hobby you’re incredibly interested in. A successful blog requires a TON of articles, I’m going to recommend trying to write at least 3 to 4 a week, so if you’re not interested in the topic, you won’t be able to be consistent.
Make sure there are people interested in your topic in America. Since you should be mostly targeting Americans, you want to make sure you’re not blogging about a hobby that only South Africans are interested in.
Let’s take rugby, for example. While it’s prevalent in South Africa, there won’t be many Americans searching for tips around this topic.
If you’re struggling to think of ideas, here are 50 niche site ideas provided by Income School that you can ‘steal.’ Just make sure you choose one that genuinely interests you, or you’ll set up your self for failure.
02. Setup your blog
TIME TO SPEND ON SETTING UP A BLOG: 30 minutes
Now that you have a blog idea, it’s time to get the technical stuff out the way so you can start writing. You’ll need to register a domain, install WordPress, and set up the main structure of your blog. If you’re new to setting up websites, don’t be intimidated, it’s really easy to learn.
ACTION STEP: Just follow the video below step-by-step. If you prefer text, I also laid out the method below the video.
Register a new domain.
The cheapest and easiest to use U.S based hosting company I have found is bluehost.com. They offer a hosting plan that around R40 per month, however the only downside is you have to pay for 12 months up front. That being said, they offer free SSL, (Other hosting companies charge R1000 just for this,) and they offer a free domain with your purchase.
Here’s how to register with Bluehost:
- Go to their sign up page here.
- Select the “basic” plan, that’s all you’ll need.
- Type in your “new domain” name. Have something general and short so that you can expand your niche later down the line. For example, hobbyhenry.com.
- Fill out your account information.
- Under package information, change your selection to “12 months.”
- Under package extras, deselect everything. Hosting companies always try to upsell you on “tools” that you really don’t need. So ignore it and move on.
- Make a payment.
Congrats, your domain will now be registered.
All you have to do now is install WordPress, (blue-host makes this extremely easy,) and you’ll be ready to start writing.
- Login to your Bluehost account here.
Step 01 of 02.
- Name the website. This can be changed later.
- Set your tagline. This is the slogan of your website. Again, this can be changed later.
- Next to “do you want a blog” make sure you select yes by sliding the icon and then select the home page.
- Next to “do you want an online store” leave that unchecked. If you want to add an online store at a later date it can be set up then, however, I recommend you ignore that for now.
Step 02 of 02.
- Fill out the goals form.
- Under comfort level select little if you don’t feel comfortable with the process.
- Under themes, just scroll down and skip this part. The default 2020 theme works perfectly fine especially when starting out.
After WordPress is installed, you’ll be taken to your dashboard. You’ll be bombarded by a series of upsells that you DON’T NEED. Reject all of them, don’t be tempted to pay more than you’re already spending. You’ll now need to login to your WordPress site.
- Click on “My Site” on the left menu.
- Click on “Manage Site.”
- At the top right, click on “Log in to WordPress.”
Done, you should now be in your WordPress dash board. This is where you’ll do all your writing.
IMPORTANT NOTE: DO NOT get tempted to waste a bunch of time trying to test themes, create logos, play around with fonts and design, etc. Just get some decent content on your website as soon as possible. You must get started with what’s going to drive your traffic, and that’s creating high-quality content! Get at-least 20 articles on your website before you start spending time on your website design.
03. Research a List Of Article Ideas
TIME TO COMPILE LIST: 3 to 4 hours.
Now that you have a fully setup WordPress site, it’s time to find topics to get stuck in and start writing.
However, I highly recommend that you spend a few hours doing your keyword research in bulk first, then consolidate them into a ‘HIT list’ before you begin writing.
This way, in the future, when you sit at your desk to write, you’ll have a topic at hand ready to go, which will save you time and energy.
There are two main parts to creating your HIT list:
- Find topic ideas using the alphabet soup method.
- Do competitor research on your topics.
Let’s get started.
Alphabet soup method.
This is a method that was created by Jim and Rick, it doesn’t require any paid tools, and man does it work! The alphabet soup method uses the google search engine as the research tool, which is BRILLIANT, after all, you are trying to get your articles to rank on google.
ACTION STEP: Watch the video below, then find around 200 search terms of your own and write them into an excel sheet.
ACTION STEP: Watch the video below, then do competitor research on all 200 of your search terms, in excel mark next to each search term if it’s low competition, or high. After this, add or your low competition search terms to your final HIT list.
Now that you have a HIT list ready with 30+ search terms, you’ll need to get started with the writing.
04. Start Writing NOW
HOW MANY ARTICLES IS ENOUGH? Try to write at least three articles per week and never stop. If you persist, sooner or later, you WILL succeed!
You’ve got your article ideas ready on your HIT list in an excel sheet, now all you have to do is find an hour or two each day to sit down and get some writing done.
So what blog post should you start with and how long should it be?
Well there are three different types of blog posts:
|Post type:||Word Count:||Time to write:||Research intensity:||Example:|
|*Response post||1200 to 1500 words||1h30min||Minimal||“do hair extensions tangle?”|
|Staple post||2000 to 2500 words||3 to 4 hours||Moderate||“How to dye hair extensions.”|
|Pillar post||3000+ words||Around 7 hours||Intense||“best drones”|
*Response post – 1200 to 1500 words. Answers to a very specific question. For example, “do hair extensions tangle?.” These generally take around 1h30min to write, generally have very little competition because very few websites have answers dedicated to very specific questions.
Staple post – 2000 to 2500 words. These posts answer a broader question that is usually more competitive than response posts. For example, “How to dye hair extensions.” Even though it’s only around 500 words more than a response post, they take twice as long because the research needed is more than the response post.
Pillar post – 3000+ words. Pillar posts are designed to tackle an extremely competitive search query that needs a lot of content to be explained. This is the post where you go ALL IN, you’ll need to do a ton of research, and you’ll need to have videos and graphics embedded in the article to make the user experience top-notch to stand a chance. For example, “Best drone”
IMPORTANT NOTE: Starting out it will take you a lot longer to write a blog post. When I started writing, it took me 3 hours to complete a response post, a few months later I was knocking them down in 45 minutes, so if it takes you long it’s important not to let that discourage you.
Start with response posts!
When starting out don’t confuse yourself, focus on just getting started and choose the post type which the shortest—the response post.
Only after you write 20 or so, and you feel like you’re writing faster, and you know a lot more on the topic, only then try to tackle staple and pillar posts. Just don’t attempt to start with them, you will get discouraged.
05. 11 Ways to Monetize Your Blog
Only if your website is getting traffic. I personally wouldn’t even think about monetizing my traffic until I have at least 3000 page views per month.
ACTION STEP: If your blog doesn’t have at least 3000 page views per month, then instead focus your time and energy on more writing. However, if you do have over 3000 visitors a month, then it might be worth spending a bit of time figuring out how you’re going to monetize your blog. Watch the video below to find out how.
Need More Help Earning A Full-Time Living Through Blogging?
As you might have noticed, I’m a HUGE Income School fan. I learned almost everything I know through their project24 blogging course, which gives you a detailed 60 step guide that takes you from starting a blog as a complete newbie to earning a full-time income step-by-step over 24 months.
So if you want to take a more in-depth look into this process, and get some hands-on help with the process, I highly suggest you consider joining the Project24 community here. Joining Project24 has saved me YEARS AND YEARS of mistakes, I simply wouldn’t be where I am today without joining. My only regret is I wish I had done it sooner.
Apart from that, if you have any questions, or you feel I missed anything in this guide, please let me know in the comments below.
YOUR TURN: Have you already started a successful online blog? What worked for you and what didn’t? Let us know in the comments below so that we can all learn from each other!