It’s almost two decades since the first blog was created in Kenya. Blogging has been fascinating for the industry players but the future won’t be as exciting as the past. Having gone through all cycles of blogging in the country, I can tell, the determinants of cash and online traffic flow will heavily impact on bloggers.
Previously, Google did not do regular updates on their algorithm, one could even post fake news and it trended, but in the recent past, the giant search engine has tightened the noose. If one posts fake news, the story will be flagged and even be removed from the search result. Bloggers who relied on Gossip news have heavily suffered due to the strictness of Google.
About three years ago, Google and Facebook were accused of helping Donald Trump to beat Hillary Clinton by allowing Fake News by various websites. It’s after that scenario that the two companies became strict on fake sites. Nowadays, if you share any story which is perceived to be fake, the story will be deleted and the owner punished. At some point, a page that shares fake news on regular basis is deleted.
It has become extremely difficult for small blogs to even break news. Google, Twitter and Facebook treat news from established media houses as genuine and those from small blogs as fake or unreliable.
Due to the frequent changes in Google Algorithm, it has become difficult for small blogs to rank first on search engines even if they are the source of news…. big sites are favoured.
When the likes of Ghafla were created, entertainment, politics and gossip stories were the real deal.One could post a story about Raila and attract over 100,000 page views. Few years later, the stories lost taste. Then came gambling, a time when Sportpesa was the mother and father of every Kenyan. From 2017 to 2019, news about Sportpesa were trending and any blogger who wrote about gambling, betting tips, Sportpesa Jackpot and odds attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors. The Kenyan government with the help of Internal Security CS closed the giant betting firm, they even introduced strict regulations and heavy taxes on gambling. Nearly 90% of the betting blogs died.
With gambling, entertainment, news and politics dead, what next? In the recent past, top bloggers realized the benefits of keywords. Websites like Tuko, Kenyans, Citizen, Victor Matara etc exhaustively concentrated on keywords on organic traffic in a bid to boost organic traffic. The keywords are now exhausted and the bloggers are looking at each other.
Now, many small blogs are emerging and they are focusing more on keywords. The idea of keywords is now outdated.
What I am now seeing is that only the big websites and niche sites will remain afloat, small websites will die with time. The only solution to small bloggers is to focus on niche sites. They should open websites which cover stories from one industry. With consistence, the blog will become an authority which even the giant websites will trail. For instance, if you focus on real estate industry, post latest news, trending information, real estate prices etc, no blog will compete with you. What I am trying to say is that you should cut a niche for yourself such that if someone wants to read news in from a certain industry, they will automatically visit your site.
The worst thing you will do as a blogger is to try to compete with the likes of Tuko, Nation and Standard Media, those are blogs with offices, enough budget, managers and staff of more than 20 people.
One trend I have witnessed over the past 1 year is that Google is disabling AdSense accounts for many bloggers. In 2019 alone, more than 10 Kenyan blogs lost their AdSense accounts. Some of them are, Mpasho, Ghafla,Kahawatungu,Daily Post and Hivi Sasa.This is a clear sign that entertainment ,politics and News blogs are not the best to run in Kenya. The major reason the blogs lost their accounts is because of fake news and adult content. If you don’t want a blurred future, ignore topics to do with gossip, entertainment, news and politics.
I am seeing a scenario where only a few websites will exist in Kenya because the competition will be between top blogs only.
Finally, when I joined blogging in 2011 AdSense was paying. One of my blogs could get 500,000 page views per month and generate over Ksh100,000.But the situation is not the same, nowadays AdSense is not paying. A total of 500,000 visitors can only yield Ksh50,000. This is the reason I advised that you should focus on niche blogs where you can attract direct adverts and sponsored content.
In future, the only bloggers who will enjoy the fruits of blogging are those focusing on affiliate marketing, sponsored content and stand-alone adverts. The AdSense bloggers will be phased out.