So you want to know, how to start a blog in South Africa? Well, I have good news for you because in this post I am going to show you how to start a blog in South Africa as a beginner step by step.
Whether you want to start a blog as a side hustle, as a hobby, for your business or you want to be a full-time blogger, you are in the right place.
My name is Prince, I am a Web designer and Digital Marketer. Over the years I have helped many companies and individuals in and around South Africa to create websites and marketing campaigns. A lot of people who have taken advantage of my FREE course, How to create a website. Have changed their lives forever. Seeing such results is very fulfilling to me. So, I thought it will be great to have a post where I can show you how to start a blog in South Africa as well.
What is a Blog?
I am glad you asked. A blog is a regularly updated website where new content is frequently published, typically written in an informal or conversational style—often with the goal of attracting readers and generating an online income. A blog can have one author or multiple authors who write articles.
A single article on a Blog (Like the one you are reading now) is called a Blog post.
How to start a blog in South Africa for beginners in 7 easy steps
1. Pick a Niche for Your Blog
Before you go into the technicalities, the first important step is to define what your blog is all about. Known as Niche.
Some pronounce it as “Nitch” Some as “Nish”. I do not know about you, but all I know is, it’s called a Niche.
Defining your Blog niche is easy to some but a complex exercise to others as well. So let me help you to define your niche if you are among those who are not so sure. You need to answer these questions or consider them in detail in order to choose the niche for your new blog as a first step to start a blog in South Africa.
What are you passionate about?
It is important to choose a topic that makes you alive. What makes you tick? Is it gaming, Cooking, talking about Jesus, Biking or hunting. Or you want to talk about the gossip of South African politics or South African celebrities? What exactly can you talk about all day and never be bored?
What do you know the most?
You know something precious. The idea here is to understand that someone out there is dying for your knowledge. The temptation is to despise your knowledge and think that your knowledge is not enough to be read by millions of people. Well, I want to challenge you to know that you are unique. Your knowledge has enough room to be celebrated by many. Choose what you know the most as a niche as that will allow you to write your blog without struggling with ideas. You will just flow. Once you are certain then you almost know how to start a blog in South Africa.
Is there enough room for you to blog?
What I mean by this is, you need to identify if you can generate more blog topics within your niche before you start a blog in South Africa. That means if you choose to write about a specific brand of cars, Say BMW. you should be able to write enough content to satisfy your readers about that topic. The trick here is to either choose a broad topic or to narrow down – known as “Niching down”.
As said previously to some this process is very easy but to some it is a little bit difficult so it is important to take enough time to brainstorm some ideas about your niche. But do not overthink it as you can always expand your niche as time goes on.
Now that you have chosen your Niche, as the first step in this post “How to start a blog in South Africa for beginners” It is time to get hosting and a domain name.
2. Get a Domain name and Hosting
For every website/blog to be on the internet, two things need to be there. These two are inevitable and that is a domain name and hosting. Luckily, we are going to get your domain name and hosting from one place at a very affordable price.
A domain name is like your home address. This is a name used by the internet to identify your blog on the web. Examples of a domain name are: “google.com”, “princechiramba.com”, websitebounty.com or “facebook.com”.
Hosting is where all your website or blog files stay on the internet. These files are stored on a special computer that runs 24/7. The name of the computer that stores your website/blog files is known as a “server”.
As a second step on How to start a blog in South Africa, we are going to get a domain name and hosting right on this website.
Choosing your Hosting Plan
Click here to get your domain name and Hosting (Opens in new tab)
After clicking the link above, you will land on a page as in the picture below.
Click “Order Hosting” and you will be on a page to choose a Hosting Plan.
Choose a hosting plan that fits your budget. For a single blog that we are going to create, the Bronze package is enough. But feel free to buy any plan among the three.
Now, click the Order Now button to select your hosting plan. At this stage, you will land on a page where you have to enter your desired domain name.
Choose your domain name
Type in your desired domain name under Register a new domain and click the “Check” button. It is possible that your desired domain name may not be available, so you need to take some time to find a good domain name for your blog. Choose between .co.za, .com, .net, .org, .net.za, .org.za, .info, .afica
Prince’s tips to choose a domain name:
Choose a short domain name. Preferably less than 15 letters
Avoid hyphens or other symbols.
Avoid numbers if possible.
Choose an easy to remember domain name.
If your domain name is available, you will see a congratulations message in green colour and the price it costs on a yearly basis. Click Continue when you find the perfect domain name for your blog.
Choose to pay your hosting either on a monthly basis or annually then click Continue.
On the Domains Configuration page tick ID Protection then click Continue.
On the review and Checkout page click Checkout
Enter your personal information and then click Complete order at the bottom.
You will be redirected to a secure payment page where you have to choose a payment method of your choice. If you struggle to make payments or if you do not have a bank account, do not hesitate to contact me. I will be happy to assist.
Your payment will be processed by Payfast, a secure payment gateway. After a successful payment, you will receive a couple of emails with details with your Cpanel login details.
Congratulations. You now have a domain name and hosting for your own blog.
3. Get a Theme to Customize Your Blog
The third step on how to start a blog in South Africa is to use a Platform that allows you to create and run your blog exactly as you want. We are going to use WordPress in this guide.
WordPress is the best Content Management system (CMS) that powers more than 36% of the web. Some of the biggest companies in the world use WordPress for their Websites and blogs. According to IsitWP, companies that use WordPress include Tyme Bank (South Africa) Facebook newsroom, Microsoft news, BBC America, Tech crunch, The Swedish government, Justin Bieber, Katty Perry, Sony music, the White House and more.
If all these people, companies and governments use WordPress why not you? WordPress is a sweet platform that allows you to write anything in a great format. You will never go wrong with WordPress because of the community around it. It is very easy to get support for anything that you need. Above all, running a blog with WordPress is a breeze, fun and amazing. I will show you how to write your first post later in this post.
It’s time to install a Theme
A theme is the difference between a stunning blog and a boring blog. A theme is what determines how your website/blog looks and functions as a whole. Certain themes enable different functions. Think of a theme as a House plan. A house plan determines where your bedroom will be, your kitchen, bathroom and other rooms. The same with a theme.
There are two types of themes. Free themes and premium themes.
A free theme is free as the name suggests. You can create a blog of your choice with a free WordPress theme. A premium theme, on the other hand, is where you get all the superb features, bells and whistles.
Premium themes come with many functionalities that make your blog not only look great but function better. If you want that high level of professionalism on your blog a premium theme is the way to go. The good thing with premium themes is they are affordable and are a once-off cost.
You can choose your premium theme on Themeforest, the biggest marketplace for WordPress themes.
4. Installing WordPress to Start a Blog in South Africa
Now that you have your Domain name, Hosting and your Theme from Themeforest, It’s time to start creating your blog following the steps in this post, “How to start a blog in South Africa for beginners”.
Start by accessing your CPanel login credentials in your welcome email that I sent you. Log in your Cpanel using the login details sent via email. Then, scroll down to the bottom and click WordPress under Softaculous Apps Installer.
You will land on this page. Click install.
Under Software setup, leave the In Directory field blank.
On Site settings, Enter the name of your blog where it says SiteName, and where it says Site description, enter a short description or slogan of your blog (keep it short).
Them under the Admin account, Enter your Username and password.
- Choose a decent username since it will always be visible to your readers on all your posts. Avoid using your email. Use your name, nickname or company name as a username.
Scroll down to the bottom and enter your email address and then click Install. It only takes a few seconds to install WordPress. You will get a success message at the top after a successful WordPress installation.
After that, open a new tab in your browser and then type in your domain name with a “/wp-admin” at the end to login to WordPress. For example www.example.com/wp-admin
- Every time you want to log in to your WordPress website/blog you have to type in your domain name and /wp-admin at the end. As in the example above. Then enter your username and password.
Now enter your username/email and password. These details can be found in the email sent after installing WordPress as well. After that click Login. Walah! WordPress is installed and everything is looking great.
Installing a Premium theme
On your WordPress dashboard click Appearance >>Themes >> Add new.
If you have purchased a premium theme from Themeforest, this is the time to upload it. Click Upload theme >> Choose File and then select the zip file that you downloaded from Themeforest on your computer. Click Install Now. Then click activate.
Every premium theme comes with documentation that has all the details to customize your blog. This is handy as one theme is different from the other. Since I do not know which premium theme you purchased I encourage you to use the documentation as much as you can.
Also, the good thing with premium themes is, if you face a challenge at any time you will get free support from the theme developer. Envato, the guys behind Themeforest will make sure that you get the support that you need for free for 6 months. What a deal! That is a huge advantage of using a premium theme.
They say you get what you pay for. And the truth is, you get more with a premium theme compared to a free theme. Even if you do not have a budget for a premium theme, feel free to test some demo sites on ThemeForest and compare them with the free themes that we will use below. You will see a huge difference. Some differences can be visible right away and some can be seen while you play around with your theme settings on the backend.
Installing a free theme.
To install a free theme, in the WordPress dashboard click Appearance >> Themes>> Add new.
Locate the search bar on your right side and search for “Astra”. Hover over Astra and click Install then Activate.
Astra is one of the best free themes that you can get. It is Very light and fast to load. Astra also comes with free starter sites, these are pre-made templates that allow you to start using your blog right away after changing certain elements like text colour, images, videos and more.
To get access to the starter templates or starter sites click the “Get started” button
At this stage, click Elementor to select the page builder that you are going to use to build your blog.
Elementor is a free and easy to use page builder that allows you to build any element on your blog with a simple drag and drop user-friendly system.
At this stage, you have the privilege of viewing and choosing the template that you like.
To view any demo site, click on the template that you like and then click the preview button on the left. It’s like, test driving a car that you want to buy. Or dating before you get married. The demo site will open in a new tab. If you find any template that you like, click on the Get agency bundle button on your right side or Import complete site.
- The demo sites with an “Agency” tag are Astra premium themes.
Make sure that you have ticked all the boxes on the popup window that appears. Then click Import.
At this stage, you can start creating your website to your liking.
5. Branding Your Blog
Whether you have used a premium theme or a free theme the first thing that you need to do is to customize your homepage to match your brand.
On your WordPress Dashboard click Pages >> Add New and start editing your home page.
Choose colours that represent your brand. There should be a balance of what you like as an individual and what is acceptable with your blog readers. If you have a cooking blog for example, avoid colours that turn off your visitors.
Every blog has different logo dimensions. The good thing is WordPress will tell you the required dimensions. To add your logo, even though that differs from theme to theme, on most of the WordPress websites and blogs you have to go to Appearance on your dashboard, and then click Customize >> Header>> Site Identity. Then click Select Logo
Here you will get the dimensions that are needed for your Logo.
Click select files to add your Logo and then choose the appropriate Logo from your computer.
6. Pages that are necessary for a blog.
WordPress is very simple to work with. Here are a few pages that you need to create on your blog.
Homepage. This is the page where most of your readers land on. Make it easy to navigate. For a blog, you do not want to clutter much information on your home page. Keep it simple.
About. The About page is where you need to tell your readers a little about you. There is no right or wrong approach to develop your about page. You just have to be authentic and keep it a little bit informal.
Contact. A contact form is a must-have. This is where interested parties can contact you through, including your readers, other bloggers and potential partners. Add your social links and your phone number if you want to receive calls from interested stakeholders.
Terms of service. It is important to stipulate your terms of service. You need to outline if you collect your visitors’ data and what you use the data for. If you can not do it on your own, you can always hire a law practitioner on Fiverr to help you draft your terms of service at a small fee.
7. Write Your First Post and Publish it.
After you have done everything in this post, “How to start a blog in South Africa for beginners, It’s time to write your first blog post.
By default WordPress was designed for bloggers. It is super friendly for writers like you.
To write your first post, go to your WordPress dashboard and click on Posts>> Add new.
Enter your Post title in the Title field and start to write below that. It’s that simple!
In your post, you can add other elements like images, videos, code, other headings and more by clicking the little plus sign in a circle to activate blocks.
Over to you. The sky’s the limit. Now you know how to start a blog in South Africa. You can now write as much as you want on your own blog. You can make it look as you want. Let me know if you face any challenge or if you have any questions or complements. Happy blogging
Prince Chiramba is an Expert Web Designer and Digital Marketer. Known for his robust marketing campaigns. Over the years, he has developed websites and marketing campaigns for Law Firms, Financial institutions, Private hospitals, Service companies, Ecommerce companies and more. He is a Google certified Digital Marketer on a mission to help Small businesses succeed online.