Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?
My name is Igbo Clifford Chimaizuobi, and I launched Information Guide Africa with my twin, Igbo Stanford Onyemaizuchi.
I am from Nigeria and have lived 100% of my life here. Unlike some other countries, blogging is close to saturated here, thanks to the lack of job opportunities.
My first blog was on literature, and attracting readers wasn't so easy. From there I moved on to a general niche blog and eventually launched a PR agency, Julob Media Consultancy with my twin and a friend, Okafor Izuchukwu.
Talking about the InfoGuideAfrica story, the intention was to create a website where people would hop on to write and we all earn, together.
Getting authors on a particular niche would be a bit hectic, and we decided to make it multi-niche.
In my years of being media personnel, I have heard a lot of people talk about niche blogging, and how multi-niche wasn’t the way to go, and to be honest, I don’t agree with them. Everything is about a personal approach and the way you decide to monetize would never have to be exactly the way I do.
Take, for instance, I monetize with ad networks, affiliate marketing, and sponsored posts. There are several ad networks you can use like Google Adsense, MGID, and Taboola and they all have their different advantages and disadvantages.
When people hear of affiliate marketing, they think it's all about Amazon and the rest. You can decide to pick up one website hosting company and promote to your audience and be turning in hundreds of dollars monthly.
On the sponsored posts, make your contact page very accessible and people will be able to reach out to you through them for sponsored posts offers.
What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?
I’ve always wanted to be a blogger. In my secondary school days, I would go to the library with my twin, get information from newspapers and update my classmates. Not knowing exactly what it was like, I began researching and eventually created my first blog on a free domain (just like every other newbie).
I studied Nutrition and Dietetics at the Imo State University and I’m currently pursuing another degree in Information Technology.
A good blogger has to be good at spying.
From there we did our website registrations and built Information Guide Africa. I cover mainly technology and health topics because they are what I am very familiar with.
The first years weren’t easy, data was very expensive and the electricity epileptic.
I took courses on the media because I couldn’t afford to hire people for everything, and was taking freelancing gigs to raise money to keep the blog funded. People were paying me to write articles for them. I was working around four hours per day after school and blogging affected my studies but who cares? I wasn’t even trying to be the most serious student.
My first blog sponsor was an Asian lady, and we introduced selling digital products on the blog.
We are currently into brand advertisements, and I think the media is completely limitless.
There’s no end to what you can achieve on the internet!
Describe the process of launching the business.
Creating it wasn’t so difficult, thanks to YouTube and my friends who were already into blogging. I paid for courses and a few services and we were able to set off rolling.
The first step was studying the industry. A good blogger has to be good at spying, and I got into that first.
I studied people who were successful already and knew how best we were to pitch our tents. Some of my favorite bloggers as a beginner were Linda Ikeji, a Nigerian entertainment blogger, and Harsh Agrawal, an Indian tech blogger.
I liked Linda Ikeji because she paved way for what we have as blogging in Nigeria today. She started when the industry was way less saturated and there were not many success stories to motivate her.
Linda also tells a lot about her stories and in one, she said she didn’t even know exactly you could make money from adverts when she started, imagine!
On Harsh’s part, he has a lot of tutorials on his website and they helped me (and every other newbie) get through with the industry. Some of the knowledge on his website were things I would have paid to learn.
Next, I began creating content. I was already into freelance writing, and it was the least of the jobs for me. I was creating content focused on technology and health, and my twin brother was covering entertainment-related articles.
We studied the search engines, and how to optimize them for better profit and of course, traffic. We used tools like Semrush and Alexa to find out keywords and spy on other blogs. I will advise new bloggers to avoid thinking they can do it alone or with free tools. Invest a lot and wisely too, it will take you steps ahead.
Leveraging on the key social media platforms, Facebook and Twitter also helped a lot. We were able to run successful Facebook ads, create engaging topics in Facebook groups and use Twitter trending hashtags to our advantage. I took courses on running Facebook ads back then and it saved me from the stress of wasting my money without conversions.
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?
We run a blog and we write content on target keywords to get traffic from search engines. Aside from that, we run social media ads to get people who are interested in our content to read out stuff.
If you’re looking to benefit from search engine traffic, then you should work on your domain authority first of all. Build relevant backlinks to your website by guest posting to push your website up.
In my case, I hired people on Fiverr to do it for me and it helped push the website to the top of search engines. Doing it yourself will be a lot of work and you never know, you might send the wrong backlinks to your website and it will affect you negatively.
Use tools like Semrush to research and get keywords to work on to help you beat competitors and stay on Google’s first page.
For instance, you can run ads on Facebook to get people who are interested in politics to read a particular article you have on politics, and they will most likely subscribe to your email list, follow you on Facebook, Twitter, and every other place.
Aside from that, we have an email list, and our users subscribe to our push notifications.
There are several ways to get them back to your website anytime you hit the publish button.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
We currently have over 200,000 monthly readers and at this rate, we are hoping to hit a million monthly readers in the next two to three years.
It requires a lot of effort, and that is why we have a team. Currently, we are a team of six writers and we look forward to employing more people.
Aside from blogging, we are diving into movie making, and plan to launch an app for our blogs, and another for movies.
The Nigerian market is very large, and the sky is large enough to contain every bird!
Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
We launched our PR agency from knowledge gathered from blogging and it is doing fine.
I would say that we learn every day, and it is always smarter not to work alone. You can have a team of five people as a start-up, and even when you’re busy in your life doing other things, the brand will still be getting bigger.
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
My favorite tools as a blogger include Google Analytics (for tracking my stats), Google Search Console (for checking how my keywords are performing), and Google Trends (for knowing the trending keywords to write on).
There are a lot of other tools, but these three are the ones I use every day.
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
I purchased a good number of courses but the truth is most of these things are readily available on various blogs and Youtube channels.
The problem sometimes is we don’t know what we are looking for, and it is what we need to target first.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?
My advice to people is that they try out everything, and go with what works. I have seen a lot of blogs give advice to do things that never worked for me.
For instance, a lot would tell you not to do multi-niche blogging, whereas there are a lot of multi-million dollars worth of multi-niche websites.
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
We are currently looking for part-time writers, and you can apply by filling out our contact form. All our writers are remote workers, and it can be part-time provided you deliver.
Where can we go to learn more?
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
Hey! 👋 I'm Pat Walls, the founder of Starter Story.
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