BloggingGhana, Ghana’s biggest association of bloggers started a Blogger of the Week campaign this week. In this campaign, a blogger is highlighted on the association’s social media spaces to bring to light how individuals from different walks of life can become bloggers and benefit from the various blogging platforms available. The very first blogger to be announced Blogger of the Week is Nana Darkoa Sakyiamah who is also a life coach and personal trainer. She sent in this post, happy reading.
I walked into Afia’s Beach Resort at about 7pm on that particular day. I had driven in front of Ghana’s National Theatre (built by the Chinese), crossed the intersection where 28th February road meets the Independence Square road, and driven down a sandy bumpy road to the venue where members of Ghana Blogging (as the group was known as the time) were meeting.
As I walked into the reception I couldn’t help but think, “Hmm this place must be owned by an African-American or a Ghanaian who has been living outside for a long time”. The walls were covered with masks and other artefacts, which could have been purchased from the Arts centre only a few meters from the resort. The cane chairs in the reception area were covered with African prints that I could bet were bought from the Woodin store in Osu. I walked through the reception into a wide-open air space filled with tables and chairs overlooking the beach and walked towards the table with the most people. “Hi, is this Ghana blogging?” I asked. “Yes” was the response. I remember meeting Kajsa, David Asiedu and Sandra for the first time. Conversation flowed easily over drinks, kelewele and groundnuts:
“What do you blog about?” – At the time the only blog I wrote for was the African Women’s Development Fund’s organisational blog
“Would you consider starting a personal blog?” – No. I don’t have anything I want to blog about personally.
A few months after this initial meeting my ‘best friend for freakin life’ Malaka Gyekye and I started ‘Adventures from the Bedrooms of African Women’ as a safe space for African women to talk about sex and sexuality. The blog currently gets an average of 20,000 hits a month and on 10th June 2012 when we got a mention in the UK’s Observer magazine we got an incredible 8,034 hits driving our monthly statistics for that month to 28,331.
Blogging has been an incredible learning experience for me and for the new blogger or a person considering blogging I will make the following recommendations:
- Decide if you are truly committed to maintaining a blog. The blogsphere is littered with blogs that were borne out of a great passion and now languish in blogging purgatory. If you only want a place where you can share an occasional thought it is worthwhile approaching the moderators of a blog you like and asking if they would be happy to share your post on their blog. With my own blog for example actively solicit for African women to share their stories of sex and sexuality. I suspect many other bloggers will be happy to share your contributions on their site as long as its well written.
- Consider creating a niche blog that is known as the ‘go to’ site for particular subject areas. For e.g. in the Ghanaian blogsphere I visit Kinna Reads for information on books and literature. For music and popular culture I go to Kobby Graham . For beautiful images that tell stories I check out Nana Kofi Acquah Photography . There are many lessons one can take from these particular bloggers I have cited. They all write about what they know. Kinna knows books, Kobby knows music and popular culture and Nana Kofi knows photography. What do you know? Write about what you know…or what you wish to know. What can your new blog become known for?
- Check your blog for typos before uploading.
- Ensure your blogs aesthetically pleasing. Choose colours that are easy on the eye, and use font that is clear and easy to read.
- Be active in the blogsphere. Read and comment on other blogs. It’s a requirement for most blogs that people who wish to comment include some contact details, if there is space to include your website address take advantage and do so. This is free publicity for you as people who read the blog might click on your link and visit your blog as a result.
- Writing for a more popular blog is a fantastic way of attracting more traffic to your own blog. Just remember to ask for a link back to your own blog.
- Encourage conversations on your blog. You can do this by posing questions in the body of your post and by responding to comments regularly.
- Join a blogging community if you are lucky enough to live in an area where bloggers meet regularly. You will pick up tips on blogging and hopefully meet some cool people.
The advantages of running a successful blog can be hugely rewarding but don’t underestimate the amount of work you need to put in which could include offline work – radio interviews, magazine articles, TV appearances.
Nana Darkoa Sakyiamah