How to set up a self-hosted blog in Kenya
Are looking to set up a Self-hosted blog in Kenya? Maybe your blog has outgrown your free status or you just like the freedom of having complete control of the look and feel of the blog. You have to consider this to be the more advanced of setups and by advanced we mean, you are ready to splash some cash on your blog design, name and hosting because as stated earlier, you can always get started with a free blog in Kenya at any time.
There are a few ways to go about setting up a self-hosted blog in Kenya and we will cover the most cost efficient way to go about doing this. Usually someone sets up a self-hosted blog in Kenya because of the freedom it gives the owner in design, blog name and software installation. Companies that give out free blogs will limit what one can do with the blog in terms of name and software installation as well as other features.
Let’s cover the steps necessary to get and install a self hosted blog in Kenya. Grab a pen and paper because you will need them and let’s get going.
- Blog Name – First you will need a name for your blog. You can call your blog anything that you like but mostly unless you are doing this as a hobby, and if you are investing your hard earned money on this then I am assuming that you are not.
You should consider creating a brand around your blog. First of all ask yourself what the main blog topic is going to be. If its oranges then consider getting a blog name that is synonymous with oranges (oranges.com). Well now there are literally hundreds of domain extensions you can use for your blog name and by extension I mean (.com, .net, .co.ke, .info, .ac.ke, .ca) all this depends on availability and even less Geo location. As in if your main audience is Kenyan then you might want to consider the blog name extension for Kenya which is orange.co.ke. If it’s more of an international flavor then consider a broader domain range in the .com, .net or .org format. You can use domain registrars like godaddy.com to search for the domain name availability.
- Domain Registration. – Once you have found your blog name and it is available then you can register your name with several domain registrars. Find a company that will register your blog name for you. It usually costs anywhere from 500 shillings to 2000 shillings to register your blog name annually. Remember make sure you choose a blog name that has something to do with the general topic of your blog. Everything being equal, search engines will consider a major domain extension (.com) in their ranking more than a non major extension.
- Hosting for a self-hosted blog in Kenya. – Once you have your blog name registered, you are going to need a hosting service to house it. Most domain registrars provide hosting services as well so you could go that route although it is not a must. You can definitely find a hosting company on your own. Hosting will cost you about 200 – 500 bob a month for a shared hosting account and up words of 1500-5000 bob a month for a dedicated hosting account.
- Shared Hosting – Shared hosting simply means that you are sharing a server with a lot of other websites and blogs. This is the cheaper alternative if you are searching for hosting but it does have its limitations as to what you can install in terms of software to run yourself hosted blog in Kenya also there is a limit to how much disk space you are allocated. If your blog is in the photography and fashion fields with lots of pictures then you would not have to worry but if you plan on doing a lot of vlogging and podcasting then you should consider dedicated hosting.
- Dedicated hosting – Dedicated hosting is the ultimate in hosting packages; it simply means that you are provided with a dedicated private server for use only by you. This is nirvana because you get to install anything and everything that you desire as long as it is not malicious software that will harm others hosting clients at the company. It is the ultimate in freedom for those who want full control of the feel and look of their blogs, both internally and externally.
- SSL Certificate – In the latest Panda update, Google stated that SSL certificates will become a ranking factor as the search engine moves to combat cyber security. From this moment moving forward, if you want to start a self hosted blog in Kenya, then you have to seriously consider adding an SSL Certificate to your blog. What is an SSL Certificate? well in broad terms SSL Certificates, sometimes called digital certificates, are used to establish a secure encrypted connection between a browser (user’s computer) and a server (website). The SSL connection protects sensitive data, such as credit card information, exchanged during each visit (session). Your hosting provider can sell you an SSL certificate for your self-hosted blog in Kenya or if you are tech savvy then you can create and deploy your own SSL certificate. There are different SSL Certificate products to meet your needs.
- Wildcard SSL (“Wildcard Plus”): Secure all servers and subdomains on a given domain with one certificate.
- Single Certificate (“SSL Plus”): Secure a single server with a single name.
- Multi-Domain (SAN) Certificate (“MD SAN Certificate”): Secure up to 25 server names – with one certificate.
- Extended Validation Certificate (“EV Plus”): Activate the green bar in newer browsers.
- Extended Validation Multi-Domain Certificate (“EV MD Certificate”): Secure up to 25 server names with EV security – with one certificate.
- Blogging platform. – Once you have the blog and hosting in place, you will need to choose which blogging platform to use. The most common and popular blogging platform in use today is wordpress.org not to be confused with wordpress.com and most hosting companies have tools that let you deploy WordPress in a single click. Some of the other popular platforms are Drupal, Typepad, and Tumblr. The hosting platform you choose is important for SEO purposes as well as ease of use. You want to get a platform that is already optimized for SEO and is a breeze to install and use and has a ton of support if you run into trouble. Here at Msaidizi.com we use WordPress CMS not to be confused with wordpress.com, it is used by millions of blogs around the world. Most of the major companies that use WordPress are, Tech crunch, The Newyorker, BBC News, sony music, MTV news, beyonce and ebay. We have personally worked with it for many years and can highly recommend it to anyone. If you are researching blog platforms then I would suggest you give it a twirl first. You will not be disappointed
- Blog Design – Because these blogging platforms are so popular, there are thousands upon thousands of themes created to run them. Most probably you will not have to start your design from scratch. Just Google your blogging platform + themes and you should be able to have a starting point. If you are tech savvy then you could easily find a theme close enough to your liking and then custom design it to fit your needs. You also have the option to purchase a premium them or have one custom designed for you depending on your budget, there is no lacking of options when it comes to finding the right theme that works for you. One thing to pay attention to would be the ease of use as well as the SEO build of the said theme. These two things matter a lot.
- Content Creation – Content creation is a big part of any self-hosted blog in Kenya and while this is always overlooked because the assumption is that when you decide to blog, then you have content creation covered. We cannot insist enough however the importance of it. We will take a few moments to cover some of the basics of content creation. Before setting up your self-hosted blog in Kenya, the first thing you have to do is create what we call pillar articles, these are between five and ten articles that will initially be published on the blog so that when your initial visitors show up then they have something to read. These are not mere articles or stories and should not be overlooked. The old adage goes “First impressions are everything”, This is a very powerful notion to apply here because it will let a reader judge your work initially and determine if they will be a loyal reader, promote your work and share your writing with others or never return to your blog ever again. I would urge you to put as much if not more effort in creating these pillar articles because the survival of your self-hosted blog may depend on it.
- Initial Marketing and Blog promotion – when your self-hosted blog is less than 3 months old, its promotion and marketing will be clearly dependent on you a bit more than when it matures a little bit. It is for this reason that we would like to cover Initial blog marketing and promotion as part of the initial set up. When your blog is at its infancy you have to think of yourself as the main advertising and promotion conduit which mean you can use your already established reputation to market it. Here are a few ways to market your self-hosted blog in Kenya at the beginning and you can expound on this as you go along.
- Family and friends – The people who will read your blog initially will be your family and friends. Those that you already have a reputation and relationships with and they should comprise of the first people on your email list. So after publishing your first posts. Fire off a text, email, Whatsapp, or even call and let them know that you have started blogging and invite them to read your stories.
- Co workers – The next group you should target initially should be your coworkers, they already have an intimate knowledge of your reputation as well as skill set and can be your initial supporters and backers. You can use it as a launching platform to showcase a hidden skill that your bosses might not be aware of. I wrote about this in more detail in my blog monetization post.
- Social Media – social media is the best ways to reach those friends that you are not close enough to have phone numbers for. Again with the entire social tools arsenal at your disposal you can reach out to your associates and those you share common interests with very easily. Most of the above ways can and should always be used to promote your blog but they are also a starting point because of the prior relationships already established.
- Signature – One of the most forgotten or underused blog promotion efforts is the signature on email. Can you imagine how many emails you send out per day or week on a normal basis? Well most of your modern mail systems come with the ability to add a signature at the bottom of each email. This is fertile ground to add your personal details as well as a link to your blog and if you are proactive you can also add a link to your latest blog post. During the initial marketing efforts, this might be able to help you snag a few readers of your blog.
This is our complete guide to setting up a self-hosted blog in Kenya, if we’ve forgotten anything please let us know in the comment section below.