If you’ve ever wondered how do bloggers make money in South Africa then you’ve come to the right place!
When choosing your digital nomad career it’s important to know that a blog is a legit way of making money but it’s not easy! To be honest, nothing is easy in life.
I’ve been running my blog since 2012 and during the first few years I barely made any money because:
- Not treating my blog like a business
- I didn’t know what I was doing
- Working for free
Making money with a website in South Africa requires strategy, time, dedication and it also gives you the freedom to be your own boss and work from anywhere!
I’m answering the most frequently asked questions about blogging as a South African and sharing my personal experiences from blogging between 2012 – 2021
What exactly do South African bloggers do
Firstly let’s start by defining what bloggers do…
A blogger is someone who researches, writes, edits, and publishes content on a blog (a website).
Bloggers and Instagram Influencers are not the same. Some bloggers are also Instagram influencers.
Bloggers have a website with a content management system (CMS) like WordPress or Squarespace, it’s used to update the website whenever you want to. You can add text, images, and videos and people can find this on your website.
There are other tools and resources on how to start a blog in South Africa but that’s not what this post is about.
How much does it cost to run a blog
Running a blog is expensive! Just like any business, the costs add up and as a business owner, you need to make smart decisions.
Monthly costs of running a blog
- Hosting: Web hosting is the place where all the files of your website live. I spend R180 per month on all my blogs.
- Blogging Software: Keyword Research Tools like SemRush or Keysearch. I opted for an annual package and spent R14,500 in 2021.
- Website Plugins: WordPress has a variety of free and premium plugins. I pay for a few plugins every month, mostly to improve my website speed. R325 per month.
- VPN: A VPN gives you online privacy and anonymity by creating a private network from a public internet connection. I need a VPN because I travel a lot and use different internet connections so I need to make sure my work is secure as I access my websites and other clients. You have the option to pay a monthly or annual VPN fee. I spend R175 per month.
- Virtual Assistant (VA): Someone to help with tasks related to your blog like managing email accounts, daily social media posts, commenting, and more. The more blogs you have, the more you will see a need for this. VA’s cost anything from R150 – R500 an hour, depending on tasks and skills.
Yearly costs of running a blog
- Domain: your blog’s domain name address on the Internet, www.Lifefromabag.com is my domain name and I pay a fee to keep the name. I spent R380 this year.
- Website Design: You can go with something completely custom-design that’s built from the ground up to meet your unique needs and requirements. The other choice is to go with WordPress and buy one of the favorite themes for blogging or get a theme and further modify it.
Can you make money as a blogger in South Africa?
Yes, you can make over R100,000 in your first year of blogging. The formula for growing a blog is simple: find your niche, create quality content, keep building, your traffic and revenue will continue to grow.
More Traffic / Sessions = More Revenue
How to earn money with your blog in South Africa
An Ad Network is a company that places display ads on your website and you earn a commission every time people see (impressions) and click on these ads.
It’s important to know that:
- Some networks require your website to have a minimum of 10,000 – 50,000 monthly views to be accepted.
- Ad networks pay using CPM (cost per 1000 views). Depending on your niche you can be making up to R30+ per 1000 views.
Best Ad Networks for South African Bloggers
- Google Adsense
Disclaimer: My ad networks are all US-based companies as most of my readers are from the US. You also earn more as you earn in USD and not ZAR.
You can recommend products and services to your readers. When they click on the link, the company tracks the code and recognizes that person is coming from your link.
If they purchase, you earn a commission. Some of these businesses pay out affiliate commissions from 1% through to 50%.
Depending on where a majority of your readers are from, you can sign up for different affiliate programs around the world. Some popular ones are:
- Amazon Affiliates
- Faithful to Nature
A sponsored post is when a company pays a blogger to publish content that features a product or service.
Sponsored posts are a great way to make money as companies want to be mentioned on websites because they reach more potential customers and this also boosts their domain authority.
You need to write quality content that’s interesting, shareable and make sure you include links to other great internal and external content across the web.
Where to Find Sponsored Posts for your blog:
Sometimes I apply for sponsored posts but in most cases, brands find me and reach out. Here are some websites that I recommend:
- Acorn Influence
- Social Fabric
- Tap In Influence
Create eBooks, merchandise, and courses and sell them to your readers.
- Develop a skill that people are willing to pay for
- Find people to pay for your skills
- Speaking at Conferences
Freelance Writing Opportunities
Writing content for other publications is a great way to earn money online. There are many ways to find freelance writing gigs, but having your own blog as a portfolio is a great way to showcase your skills.
Where to find freelance writing jobs online in South Africa:
How can I find freelance work in South Africa
- How to freelance with no Experience
- Best Remote Jobs This Year
- How to start a Podcast in South Africa
How much do bloggers make in South Africa
On average, bloggers make between R3000 to R15000 per month in South Africa. This monthly earning for bloggers will vary depending on many factors like how much traffic your blog gets, or if you sell products and services.
Another thing to keep in mind that most South African bloggers treat this as a hobby and some have full-time jobs.
During my first three years of blogging, I barely made R5 000 per year because I didn’t know how to monetize a blog.
Also, I never really do social media campaigns as social media isn’t a huge part of my marketing strategy. I focus on SEO and getting organic clicks on my website and selling products and services.
Here is a breakdown of my earnings as a South African Blogger for one of my websites in 2021:
|April 2021||May 2021||June 2021|
As you can tell, my monthly earnings as a blogger in South Africa fluctuate. Due to your niche, you blog earnings can be affected by seasons, trends, and even a pandemic.
Mistakes South African Bloggers Make
- Not building an Email List: The opportunity to reach out to potential consumers of your products/services without any form of limitation.
- Unwillingness to Invest: You need to spend money to make money. Hire people to help you, learn new skills through courses, and most importantly invest in SEO.
- Don’t spend money you don’t have: there’s no need to purchase expensive camera equipment when you’re starting out. Use what you have (in most cases a smartphone) and when you start making a profit then reinvest that money into things you need to run a business.
- Not choosing a Niche: Identify your audience and choose your topics. Having too many topics is not only confusing for your readers, but for SERPS (Google rankings) too.
- Write for your audience: I know the purpose of a blog is to “share information” but too many bloggers don’t share information that’s helpful to an audience or makes the audience want to come back. Unless you’re a celebrity, no one really cares about your personal life nor are they searching for keywords related to your personal life on google searches so think about solving a problem using your content and maybe adding bits of your personal experiences.
- Doing work for free: You need compensation for your time and effort. If a brand wants to reach your audience they need to pay for it! Brands pay for traditional advertising on TV, radio, and print media so why are they asking you to work ‘free products’ or ‘exposure’? Asking someone to work for free is an insult. The sooner you start saying no, the better. It’s ok to have one paid job per month vs. 20 free products to review and no cash in your bank account.
Are you thinking of starting a blog? Comment below and tell me about your niche.