When I started blogging some 12 years ago, it didn’t take too long before I was tagged as ‘Ghana’s premier celebrity blogger’, and deservedly so! I came in with the vision of creating a celebrity culture in a country where I was often asked ‘do we even have celebrities in Ghana?’
Despite the seeming impossibility, I persisted and grew my brand, by covering ‘celebrities’ in Ghana and gradually expanded it to Africa and the rest of the world. I started with writing for US-based pan-African website Jamati.com as well as orjin-ent.org before starting my column in MondernGhana.com and Ghanaweb.com. I later started my own blog, ‘The Jaded Renegade on BlogSpot before eventually launching www.ameyawdebrah.com in 2009. So yes I am soon celebrating my 10thanniversary.
But covering celebrities wasn’t always as fun as it seemed. We went to all places at odd times, and even had our time being wasted (and it still happens, as nothing ever starts on time in Ghana) chasing after the news. And when we got the news, it wasn’t even enough to generate revenues for us.
You’d only make some few dollars if you had scandalous news about a celebrity. As a blogger my primary source of revenue back then was ‘Google AdSense’. Fortunately when I started, I had more readers from the UK and US than I had from Ghana, so I was making an okay amount of money from Google to keep me going for each month.
Over the years, with more Internet penetration in Ghana, my Ghanaian audience grew to overtake every other region. So my total audience grew but the revenues didn’t reflect that growth because traffic from Ghana is a bit worthless on Google AdSense. I can get 100,000 views from Ghana and make less money than what I get from 10,000 views from the UK. There isn’t enough quality advertisement within Ghana on the Google Ads, so publishers don’t make much on traffic from the country. Also, increasingly advertisers around the world are using alternative tools.
So how else could I make money from what I did passionately as a fulltime job? I had to learn the fast and hard way, when I woke up one day and my AdSense account had been deactivated by Google over claims that I had infringed on their policies. I now had to quickly find alternative ways of making money. This happened few months after leaving Ghanaweb.com as a content editor, so it meant I was going to go hungry!
So I now decided to charge for promotions on my website. I started charging musicians (sadly mostly the up and coming ones), filmmakers, event organizers etc. to write about their content.
Fortunately, I managed to get the name of my website and brand on the lips of many Ghanaians and soon started getting some direct advertisements from businesses on my blog. Up to date, I don’t have a marketing team so I have to sit and wait for advertisers to come to me. Maybe, it is time to rather go out and start aggressive marketing to get advertisers in.
Anyway, one decision I took in this entire growth journey that I think has been beneficial or strategic was the addition of ‘lifestyle’ to my blog. So now I call myself a celebrity and lifestyle blogger! Under this umbrella, I am able to create content inspired and curated by my personal interests and daily activities around brands, travel and more.
This opens the window of possibilities for promoting different businesses e.g. reviewing a phone, exploring a hotel facility, sharing experiences about using a financial instrument to a host of other possibilities!
This also means I am able to accept content from SEO marketers from all around the world. They submit lifestyle themed promotional content to me; and pay me to publish for them because they find my website to be of good quality. The money I make from one such article is more than what I make in a day on AdSense for 10 articles (even if all of these article were read by 100,000 people).
So there you have it, there are alternative ways to making money with your blog/website without chasing after traffic!