I was interviewed recently by Ademola of Punch Newspaper. You can check out the interview on page 14 (‘social media celebrity’ column) of the 18th February 2017 publication.
In the interview, I talked about how I started blogging in Nigeria, what attracted me to blogging, why I blog on tech topics, how I drive traffic to my blog, how I manage to combine blogging with my job etc
Below are excerpts from the interview :
When did you start blogging?
I started blogging in 2008 after my final exams at Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye, Ogun State. I felt instead of doing nothing at home as I awaited my National Youth Service Corps call up letter, I should keep myself busy. That was how I started Ogbongeblog.com. Fortunately, I was posted to Anambra State for my NYSC that same year. So during my service year, I had enough time to learn more about blogging which made me get busy with my blog.
But what could have attracted you to blogging?
While I was searching the internet for journals and articles I could use for my final year project at the university, I stumbled on some blogs and when I made some research on what blogs are and what one can do with a blog, I became interested in blogging. I was attracted to blogging when I discovered that it cost nothing to set it up and one can use it as a medium to share anything ranging from tutorials, videos, photos, etc. with anyone anywhere in the world. And the fact that one can also make money online from blogging made it more attractive.
But did you imagine your blog would get this big?
Yes, I always did because I always strive for excellence in whatever I do. In 2009 or thereabout, a Nigerian blogger was among the awardees of SuccessDigest Awards. That really inspired me and I made up my mind to give it all I could so that someday, I would receive an award as the best blogger or something relating to blogging. So, becoming “big” was not accidental but all praises to God. So, far, I have received some awards including Anambra State award in 2009 after I completed my NYSC and I was the only Nigerian blogger that made the top three finalists for the “Blogger of the Year” award category in 2014 Social Media Awards sponsored by Sterling Bank.
Why did you decide to carve a niche by blogging on tech issues?
I have passion for tech and that is why I blog tech. To succeed in blogging, you have to blog on things you have passion for. Assuming I was blogging on things I wasn’t passionate about, I won’t be where I am today. I would have given up and probably shut down the blog. Right from my secondary school days, I have always loved playing with computers. I bought some computer training videos from computer village (Lagos) then which helped me in learning how to use computer programmes. By watching those videos, I learnt the basics of web design, how to use photoshop, etc. I can still remember those days when I used Yahoo Sitebuilder to create my first web site. So, when I started blogging, I already had a lot of techie stuff to share on my blog. So, it was so easy for me to just blog on tech. Blogging on tech also makes it easy for me to impact lives. So far, I’ve helped many people start their blog and I have helped many small business owners to grow their business through tips I share on my blog.
How have you been able to draw traffic to your blog?
Most of my traffic comes from search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing. I guess this is because I write a lot on topics that solve techie problems. I get to figure out what people search for and I write on those things. So, when people search Google, they are always likely to see the articles I’ve written on what they are searching for. When they click on the icon, they land on my blog. Whenever I encounter any problem while using my phone, computer or any gadget, I always try to blog it once I am able to solve the problem because I know some people out there are likely to encounter similar problems. That helps me a lot in getting traffic to my blog aside from the search engines. Currently, I use social media such as WhatsApp, BBM and Facebook adverts to drive traffic to my blog too.
Don’t you think your blog could be boring for non tech savvy people?
Yes, it is kind of boring to non tech savvy people but when they need information on something which I’ve written about on my blog, they have no option but to go to my blog and read. Such people are not every day readers or followers but they do read my blog and that is still okay by me. Some refer their tech savvy friends to my blog though.
Did anybody discourage you when you started blogging?
Not at all mostly because a lot of people didn’t really know much about blogging then. In fact, I was even the one encouraging my friends to start a blog too.
Did you have to combine blogging with your paid job?
I started my blog two years before I was employed. I was making money from the blog and already knew what to write, how to schedule posts etc. before I got the job. So, combining it with my job wasn’t a big deal at all. I don’t post every day and most times, I write my posts over the weekend and schedule them to be published during the week. So, after work or when less busy, I just promote them on social media. My paid job is also not a typical 9-5 job so it is easy for me to combine both. It wouldn’t have been easy at all if I was an entertainment or news blogger. Tech blogging is less stressful and can be combined with a paid job.
Was there ever a time you wanted to quit blogging?
Never! There are times I don’t feel like updating my blog but I have never thought about quitting.
Did you go into blogging because you had an insight that it would be lucrative?
Not really but that insight motivated me and it still propels me to keep blogging.
What has your blogging experience taught you?
Blogging has taught me that one can make money by solving problems and if you can solve problem, people will easily trust you and refer you to their loved ones. Blogging has also taught me that you can impact lives with the little knowledge you have and you will be appreciated.
From the feedback you get, do you feel loved or hated?
I feel so much loved. A lot of people have learnt a lot of things from my blog and social media updates. My blog has empowered a lot of people and there are many Nigerian bloggers out there that are now making money from their blogs after going through my tutorials. So, many people are always thankful to have met me online and for coming across my blog. I’ve got lots of surprise gifts from people I’ve never met, just to appreciate my effort. So, I feel loved!
So far, what is your net worth?
I am still looking for an app that can calculate the net worth. It is invaluable though.
What has been your most controversial post so far?
I think the post where I talked about the price of Tecno Phantom 5. That was the first premium Tecno Android phone. It was launched in Nigeria in 2015. Then, I was surprised that a Tecno phone could cost as high as N75, 000. It resulted to a lot of argument on Facebook.
At what point did you start making money from your blog?
That was in 2009. By then I already knew that one could not really start making money from ads when a blog is new. So I focused on monetising my blog by selling info products. I sold e-books, modem unlocking software etc. In fact, it took me some months before I could earn up to $100 minimum that was required to receive a check from Google Adsense.
With such a strong presence online, did you ever wish you were as popular in real life as you are online?
No. I don’t really like the attention that comes with being popular in real life. I love a simple life.
Blogging demands a lot of time, how many hours do you spend in front of your computer or smart phone?
I can’t really say but I spend a lot of time online either on my smart phone or on my computer.
Do you ever find time to visit friends, family or even attend events?
Yes. I am not a news blogger. So, I always have enough time to hang out and attend events.
Many would think that being a tech blogger, you are a geek…
Well, that’s what most people think but I don’t think I am a geek. I am just a creative lover of tech.
Do you think Nigerians are making the best of the technological advancements in the world?
Not yet but hopefully we will get there someday. The government and private sector need to collaborate with some of us to increase awareness about tech advancement so that more Nigerians can embrace and make use of them in their everyday lives. We can’t do it all alone.