Author Archives: Catherine Mong'ina

25 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting A Blog

25 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting A Blog

I have been blogging for 4 years and writing on E-Tech Africa for two years of that.

I’ll be honest, before I started this journey, I didn’t have a plan.

Blogging just seemed like a really cool passion project, so I went for it.

Starting out, it felt like such as whirlwind of making mistakes, rinse, and repeat.

Since then E-Tech Africa has offered me a chance to supplement my income as well as meet some great people online and offline.

My blog has also given me the chance to hone my writing skills as well as acquire online marketing skills I didn’t otherwise have.

That said there are still quite a few things I’m still learning.

In this article I’m going to share with you what I have picked up along the way.

Hopefully, you can learn from my journey and start off on the right foot or change course.

 

1. Your Blog Name Is Everything

Probably goes without saying but I cannot emphasize enough how important your blog name is.

Your blog name is your brand, both online and offline.

If I had known then what I know now I would have picked a better name from the start

The process of coming up with “E-Tech Africa” wasn’t glamorous either.

I simply wrote out a bunch of names on my notebook and picked one. In fact here’s the actual piece of paper. geeky

Scan of my old notepad

There is no proven formula that you can use to help you create a name for your blog.

I guess all it takes is a little bit of luck and creativity.

 

2. Social Media Plays a Big Part in the Success or Failure of Your Blog

As a blogger, all you have to do is write and they will come, right?

Well, that’s not how it works exactly.

This is too passive, even the best writers in the world promote their content on an ongoing basis. This is the only way people will discover you.

For bloggers, the best way for them to promote their content is through social media.

It’s important to start growing your social media audience from day one.

They will be your raving fans. Think of them as your “online tribe”.

The best approach is to focus on one social media platform at a time.

In my case, it was Twitter. I now have over 40,000 followers on Twitter accounting for over 90% of my social traffic.

If you study some of the most successful bloggers in Kenya, and the world, they all use the same approach.

It’s rare for bloggers to have dominance on all social media channels at once.

Of course, as your popularity grows you’ll start to see a trickling effect.

 

3. Blogging Is Addictive

That’s right, you’re gonna be hooked.

For bloggers, curating content is a creative outlet, there’s a feeling of accomplishment that comes along with doing it.

So if you’ve been writing for as long as I have, it’s hard to stop. Knowing this I block out an hour every day simply for writing.

Having an audience who consistently read and comment also motivates me to keep going.

I love every minute of it, it’s addictive but enjoyable too.

 

4. Blogging Will Inevitably Change Your Life.

I believe all experiences good and bad will have an impact on your life.

In my case, blogging changed my life by giving me options.

An example is it exposed me to the world of digital marketing.

Prior to me starting “E-Tech Africa” digital marketing was a foreign concept to me. Even the term “S.E.O” scared the living daylights out of me.

Now I’m using the digital marketing skills I’ve learned to promote my blog to help other online business owners grow their own brands online.

Also, the long periods of intense concentration that blogging requires have helped improve my productivity.

Recommended Read: How To Use Blogging To Protect Yourself From Unemployment

If you had told me my blog would have had this kind of impact on my life back in 2015, I probably wouldn’t have believed you.

 

5. The Best Bloggers In The World Are Also Digital Marketing Ninjas.

Unless you plan on hiring, most bloggers have digital marketing skills.

Other than coming up with creative content, your online marketing skills will set you apart from your competition.

From design, branding, copywriting, growth hacking, social media marketing, influencer outreach, back linking, search engine optimization list goes on.

These are just some of the digital marketing skills you’ll be required to master in order to successfully promote and position your blog online.

 

6. Blogging Is A Career

Looking back now, I wish I had known this before I started my blog.

If I did then I would have approached it differently, by looking at it as a job.

Instead, I wrote simply because I had something to say and I loved writing.

If you’re thinking of blogging professionally, take is seriously from the start.

And just like your regular 8 am to 5 pm job it should pay.

Right from day one think about what revenue model you would like to implement for your blog.

Recommended Read: 10 Highly Profitable Revenue Models For Your Online Business.

Creating a successful blog that generates income can take months even years.

So it’s important to ensure you’re spending your time and money on strategies that will enhance the likelihood of making money

 

7. The More You Write the Busier You Get

There are no off days as a blogger.

Every morning I wake up with to-do-lists as long as my arm.

In fact, as soon as I’m done writing and posting this article I’m going in to design 50 image quotes for my Instagram pages.

The reality is the more content you produce on your website the more you’ll get noticed.

This means more comments to engage, increased contact on social media, more emails to respond to, more guest post pitches, more invitations to events it just never stops.

If you follow a posting schedule, it gets even tougher to consistently produce content on a regular basis while managing all these moving parts.

Having a personal time management system not only keeps you motivated but also productive.

Otherwise, you’ll run the risk of feeling overwhelmed.

 

8. Focus Quality Not Quantity.

I’ve learned the no one cares about how many blog posts you’ve written in the past, all they care about is the one they’re currently reading. 

Focus on the quality of your content rather than the quantity.

Quality content leads to an increase in page views, engagement and ultimately shares.

An example of quality content would be a 5000-word article explaining all you need to know about Facebook Ads.

These types of blog posts are packed with loads of valuable information which your readers will find helpful.

To be regarded as a thought leader within your niche, then you’ll need to focus on the quality of your content.

As a start, I would recommend writing a minimum of 2000 words for every blog post you publish.

 

9. There is no Formula

Just like in business, there is no formula to success when it comes to blogging.

It’s all about hard work, persistence and 100% commitment.

A lot of work goes into your blog in the beginning and it often takes time before you can see any tangible results.

That why it’s important to practice patience and not give up.

Part of being successful also means clearly defining what metric you’ll use to define your blog’s success.

For most people success is the number of page views they receive on their website.

For others, success is defined by their profit/loss statement at the end of the month.

Keep in mind, what worked for another person might not necessarily work of you.

 

10. Your Blog Is The Unedited Version Of Yourself.

Your blog represents your individual personality and style.

In my own experience, I express my unique view of the world in through this blog.

I’ll give an example.

I didn’t study journalism, media or communications, so when I get invited to cover and write about events (which I often do) I often turn them all down.

Explaining why I don’t publish any press releases, cover recent events or break news stories.

It’s therefore important for me to maintain my individuality throughout my blogging journey.

I always say don’t try and be someone you’re not, your readers will see right through it.

Ultimately by being yourself, you’ll gain the trust and respect of your audience.

 

11. Do Your Best Work From Day one

This is one I admit not doing well in the beginning.

If you’ve had some past experience with blogging it’s easier to hit the ground running with a new blog.

However, for the majority of new bloggers, it’s often a steep learning curve.

The fastest way to learn how to be the best is by studying other bloggers.

This way you can discover what mistakes you’re making and attempt to modify them.

 

12. Avoid Comparison.

Avoid comparing your blog to similar ones within your niche.

I know it’s tough to blog, but even the best blogs in the world started with no audience.

Remember it’s not a sprint; it’s a marathon, so take your time.

It’s advisable to build your audiences from the ground up.

 

13. Build Your List From Day One.

Email marketing has been proven to be the most effective and efficient way of monetizing blogs.

As the saying goes “The money is in your list”

Successful blogs start building their email lists from day one.

It doesn’t just stop there; you’ll also need to continuously engage with your audience by sending them regular emails.

Come up with creative ways of capturing emails through your blog.

An example would be to offer a lead magnet such as an eBook in exchange for your reader’s email address.

 

14. It’s Okay to Take a Break to Get Inspired

Bloggers often get overwhelmed with constantly creating and promoting content.

That is why it’s important to takes breaks even if it means disappointing your readers.

You’ll notice I recently took time off blogging and this is actually the first article I’ve written in over a month.

Breaks will help you reenergize and stay inspired.

 

15. Perfection Is Frankly Overrated

There is no degree or diploma for blogging, that means the only way to learn how to blog, is by continuously doing it. 

Looking back now, my first few articles were terrible, yet I still got people to read them! 🙂

As a self- identified perfectionist, I’ll tell you, there is no room for perfection when it comes to blogging (or life for that matter).

Don’t overwork yourself to make things better, your blog posts are not set in stone.

As long as your content is able to effectively and clearly communicate your message, the rest are details that can be fixed along the way.

Lastly, the only way to get better at blogging is through, practice, practice, practice

 

16. Blogging Takes Time

Success in blogging is just like success in life, it takes time.

The highest earning blogs in the world are more than five years old.

Initially, a lot of hard work and sacrifice goes into your blog. Patience and consistency are ultimately what separates the winners from the losers.

Take time to also create quality content that is helpful.

As more and more people get to discover you, they’ll start to trust you.

This is trust is what will drive the revenue for your online business.

 

17. Start Simple, Get Fancy Later.

Avoid overspending on your blog, especially in the initial stages.

You don’t need a fancy website to make money.

All you need to hit the ground running is to invest in a high-quality premium theme and a reliable hosting plan.

Overspending can put a strain on your finances and may not necessarily get you the results you need.

Also, avoid the temptation of buying traffic in the beginning. Allow your audiences to grow organically.

 

18. Define Your Niche

You cannot be a master at everything, that’s why you need a niche.

If you create content that is too broad, you run the risk of confusing your readers.

People like knowing what to expect.

Pick four to six key categories that are related to your blog and clearly communicate it clearly it to everyone visiting your website.

Personally, I’ve done this by clearly writing niche under my website title.

I picked four main categories. They are; Social Media | S.E.O | Website Development | WordPress | Online Marketing.

Defining your niche allows you to focus your concentration on a few topics enabling you to create higher quality content.

 

19. Your Ideas Are Not Unique

Hate being the bearer of bad news but there’s nothing unique about your blog.

Whatever you’re thinking of writing has probably already been written.

That doesn’t mean that people don’t need the information you’re providing them because they do.

What will make your blog post unique is YOU! 

That’s why the right people to start blogging are those that have a passion for telling a story.

But the reality is your readers can get information from somewhere else not necessarily from your blog.

20. Backups are Important

There are no guarantees when it comes to technology.

It’s important to backup all your files so that in case of an interruption or failure you can recover to full operation in the quickest time possible.

I personally store backups of all my blog posts in multiple locations both online and offline.

You never know when a disaster will occur, its better being safe than sorry.

 

21. Think of Your Goal First

This is probably the biggest regret I have when it comes to blogging.

I realize now how BIG a blog can get and I wish I took it more seriously in the beginning.

It’s important to think about what you want to accomplish before you even start.

Having a goal in mind will keep you focused.

Start by writing down a list of short-term and long-term goals for your blog.

Next, find a system to help keep you accountable and on track, and before you know it, you’ll be WINNING!

 

22. S.E.O…. What’s that?!

One million blog posts are published every single day.

So how do you rise above the “noise”?

That’s where search engine optimization shortened S.E.O comes in.

To be successful in blogging you need to familiarize yourself with white hat S.E.O strategies.

While I’m not an expert in S.E.O, I know enough about the topic to optimize my content and website to the best of my knowledge.

In order for your content to rank well on search engines, you’ll need to implement both On-page and off-page S.E.O strategies.

I recommend you can start by reading this free valuable S.E.O resource guide here.

Ultimately your S.E.O knowledge will give you a head start against your competition.

 

23. You Need To Block Out Time To Write.

Writing is part of every blogger’s life.

Successful bloggers, block out a specific time every day for writing.

Personally, I dedicate an hour every day from 5:30 am to 6:30 am just for writing.

I find mornings to be the perfect time for me when my mind is fresh and there are no distractions.

I’ve also disciplined myself not to go beyond an hour of writing regardless.

 

24. Bloggers Are Avid Readers.

To be successful in blogging you need to develop the habit of reading anything and everything.

When I started blogging I discovered the more I read the better my writing became.

So I just kept going until reading become a part of me, just like writing now is.

It’s a simple equation: The More You Read = The More You Write.

 

25. Inspiration For Your Content Is Everywhere.

I recently wrote an article whose title you’re probably familiar with Enthralling Social Media and Content Marketing Lessons from Game of Thrones.

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that I got inspiration for the article while watching Game of Thrones surprised

Bloggers are often required to think out of the box. That may mean occasionally letting your mind wander.

Creativity also requires you to be introspective and self-aware. And I love it! 🙂

 

 

Take Home,

Rome wasn’t built in a day and same goes for a successful blog.

A lot of hard work and patience is required on your part especially in those first few months.

Be a student and learn as much as you can on blogging and make adjustments along the way.

Like I mentioned earlier, there’s no formula, just stay consistent and don’t give up.

Was this article helpful?

If so, would you consider sharing it with others who might appreciate it as well? Thanks.

As always, I would love to hear from you. Please do leave a comment below.

Drop me an email at Catherine@e-techafrica.co.ke  tell me a little bit about yourself or your business. You can also send your comments to yoursay@e-techafrica.co.ke

 

Need Help Blogging Click Here

Founder & Director of E-Technology Africa
Content Creator | Social Media Consultant | Digital Marketing Enthusiast.
Please follow me using the social media buttons below.
Top 17 Bookmarking Apps That Pretty Much Save Everything You Discover Online

Top 17 Bookmarking Apps That Pretty Much Save Everything You Discover Online

Have you stumbled across something interesting online and kept the window open to read it later?

Then accidentally closed your browser?

It’s a common problem.

Bookmarking has become a way of browsing the internet because you’re not always in a place to read instantly.

Whether you want to plan your next day trip or revisit your favourite web pages, bookmarking apps help you track the posts you want to remember.

As a blogger, I consume lots of content from news, background research to industry trends.

Being able to access and find information quickly is crucial for me.

That is why I use bookmarking apps to stay organised and avoid the 50-tabs open syndrome.

The downside of using the browser extension within the browser itself is it doesn’t give you a way to organise your bookmarks.

With the help of extensions/tools, you can have all your bookmarked pages in one place.

These tools allow you to add, edit, delete and organise the web pages you’ve bookmarked.

Here’s my curated list of some of the most innovative bookmark manager tools for 2017.

 

1. Start.Me

FREE

I’ve been using Start.me for a while and I absolutely love it!

It has a great user interface, really simple and best part it did a great job of organising all my existing bookmarks.

Start.me is a web-based personal start page with an integrated bookmarks manager.

The tool supports news feeds and has a library with thousands of widgets that help connect to popular services and custom data sources.

Screenshot of my Start.me Dashboard

 

By being able to properly organise your favourite websites, you will save valuable time not having to search for the address of a site.

I would highly recommend you give Start.me a try.

Key features:

  • Keyword alerts
  • Embed Analytics
  • Offers calendar support
  • Bookmarks are stored in the cloud
  • Categorises your bookmarks
  • Keeps the news you value in view

2. BookMark Ninja

$23.88/Month – 30 Day Free Trial

Bookmark Ninja is a cloud-based tool that allows you to access your bookmark from any device.

That means all the bookmarks that you create whether on desktop or mobile they’re instantly available.

The tool also allows you to email the link to the page you want to save to add[at]bookmarking[dot]com from your registered email.

Your email automatically gets added to a list.

Bookmark Ninja also lets you create your own category and tabs, so each time you add a new link it gets added into a category.

Key features:

  • Cloud-based service
  • Email links to your dashboard
  • Categorise and Manage bookmarks
  • Adds tags to your bookmarks

 

3. Google Bookmarks

FREE

This is a free service offered by Google and can be used with any browser.

There is nothing impressive about this extension other than the fact that it allows you to easily bookmark links.

It’s a simple bookmark manager app.

This app is not the same as the default extension offered by Google Chrome.

Key features:

  • Is best for Firefox browser users
  • Allows you to have subfolders
  • It is the best cross-browser usable bookmark service
  • Categories, tags and changing folders is much easier in Google bookmarks.

 

 

4. Diigo

FREE

Diigo lets you bookmark pages from the browser to your Diigo.com account using its simple, light app.

The tool allows you to organise everything from text notes, pictures, links and bookmarks into lists added to your library.

It’s more than just a bookmarking service, it a new kind of online collaborative research tool.

Diigo integrates tags and folders, highlighting and clipping sticky notes enabling a new process of online knowledge management.

Key features:

  • Personal research tool
  • Collaborative research platform
  • Social content site
  • Knowledge sharing community

 

5. Dewey Bookmarks

FREE

Dewey is a browser extension for tagging, searching and sorting your Google chrome bookmarks.

The tool displays your bookmarks in a grid with each bookmark displayed as a card.

It also lets you sort the grid by date, title or web address.

Unfortunately, this extension only works with Google Chrome browser.

Key features:

  • Displays bookmarks in a grid
  • Sorting available
  • Allows grouping into folders
  • Enables editing of bookmarks URL or title.

 

6. Bookmarks Tagger

FREE

This is yet another Google chrome extension tool that allows you to add tags to your new and existing bookmarks.

The extension is available on the Chrome Web store.

When you want to add a new bookmark you simply hit the button, and add your tags.

You can then retrieve the pages quickly from the address bar itself.

Key Features:

  • Tags new and existing bookmarks
  • Built-in bookmarking feature in Chrome
  • It’s simple to search.

 

7. Hush Bookmarks

FREE

 

When you’re browsing in Chrome’s Incognito mode, private bookmarks gives you a way to hide and show a special list of bookmarks.

To access your bookmarks you may need a Password.

With this extension, you can manage all your bookmarks more efficiently.

You can also create folders for all your bookmarks for easy access.

Key features

  • Safe and secure
  • Password protect all your bookmarks
  • Bookmarks are completely encrypted
  • Gives you a special list if bookmarks just in incognito mode.

 

8. Own Cloud Bookmarks

FREE

 

Available as a chrome extension it allows you to manage and organise your bookmarks a lot easier.

The tool allows you to sort and organise your bookmarks into distinct categories.

If you want to add a bookmark to the bookmarks application, you can either use the main interface or the bookmarklet.

A “Bookmarklet” is a small button that you can drag and drop in your bookmarks.

Key features:

  • Edit/Delete a bookmark
  • Search for bookmarks
  • “Bookmarklet” feature
  • Save bookmarks into categories

 

9. Neater Bookmarks

FREE

Neater bookmarks manage your bookmarks in an efficient and compact manner.

The tool is available is a Google Chrome extension.

When you install the extension your bookmarks are arranged like a tree with indentations to the folder or subfolder.

The options of the extension also let you control how the bookmarks are opened.

Key features:

  • Gives your browser a tree like a view
  • Can retain your previous bookmarks menu view
  • User-friendly browser extension
  • Compatible with Google Chrome.

 

10. Save to Pocket

FREE

 

Save to pocket is a popular “Read it later” app available for iOS and Android.

You can browse and search your saved items in Pocket and seamlessly share them.

Just recently Pocket for Firefox was launched allowing Firefox users to save content using the pre-installed Pocket button.

The idea at the core of the service is you have one Pocket account but numerous apps can plug into it to save content for later.

Key Features:

  • Saving an article for later takes just a moment
  • Create simple browser bookmarks
  • Dedicated space for all links
  • Improves reading experience

 

11. Skloog

FREE

Skloog is a simple organisation tool that allows you to access all your favourites websites by simply clicking on their logo.

The tool also allows you to arrange all your favourite websites into categories. Each category is then displayed as a tab on your Skloog dashboard.

You can access your bookmarks easily by searching it by entering its first few letters.

Key features:

  • Sorts your bookmarks by URL, name, date they were added
  • Let’s you search the web right from your start page
  • Optimises your browsing experience
  • Quick access to all your favourite sites

 

12. Instapaper

FREE

In my opinion, Instapaper is the best “Read it Later” service on the internet. It works similarly to Pocket.

The tool offers you a simple way to save and store articles for reading: offline, on-the-go, anytime, anywhere.

Just recently, November 2016, Instapaper dropped its monthly subscription offering its service ad-free to all users.

Key Features:

  • Sort by length, read progress, or popularity
  • Option of sorting into folders
  • Able to share individual passages of articles
  • Ties into the web automation service IFTTT.
  • Ability to save articles via email.

 

13. Historious

FREE

Historious saves a copy of bookmarked web pages saving you time by helping you find them easily.

You can bookmark your sites with a single click.

The tool allows you to search for any word in the content of the pages you’ve already bookmarked.

Key features:

  • Simple search tool
  • Records cached version of the pages you’ve bookmarked
  • Bookmark your favourite sites with just a single click.

 

14. Evernote Web Clipper

FREE

Evernote is the world’s most popular note taking app.

If you’re not already familiar with this amazing app start by reading my review here

Evernote web clipper browser extension allows you to clip anything and everything you find online and add it to your notebooks.

You can access Evernote from your browser, PC, mobile or tablet.

All your saved links, pdf files and photos are stored on the cloud and synchronised across all your devices.

Key Features:

  • Captures everything; if you can see it or think it, Evernote can help you remember it.
  • Everything you capture is organised into Notebooks
  • You can find anything fast through its advanced search filters
  • Let’s you save interesting stuff you find on the web.

 

15. Zoho Notebook

FREE

Zoho Notebook is an equally fantastic note taking app which is relatively unknown.

It’s a great tool to help you build your own personal online notebook.

As soon as you start the app, you will be brought to a screen that showcases the apps best-handcrafted covers.

Key Features:

  • Visually organise your notes into notebook
  • Offers tutorials on how to group your notes
  • Intuitive interface
  • Easily links to your Facebook and Google account.
  • All your notes are saved automatically on the cloud and synced across different devices.

 

16. Xmarks

FREE

 

Xmarks is a browser add-on compatible with internet explorer, Firefox, Safari, and Chrome.

You can synchronise all your bookmarks online across multiple browsers.

The tool goes a step further and is capable of synchronising passwords between computers, even if different browsers are installed.

Xmarks is the easiest way to ensure that your bookmarked websites can be accessed from ay computer.

Key features:

  • Password synchronization
  • Bookmarks can be accessed from any computer
  • Provides additional information about websites including visitor reviews

 

17. Simple Note

FREE

The simple note app offers a simple way of taking plain text notes online.

The tool is a web-based application with client interfaces for a great number of platforms.

Simple note allows you to search through all your notes almost instantly.

Key Features:

  • Simple web and mobile app
  • Syncs your notes to Dropbox if your wish
  • Search through all your bookmarks and notes easily.

 

Over to You,

It’s so easy to read an article or discover a cool web page you like, only to forget it and never find it again.

With bookmark manager tools there’s no reason you have to lose stuff you find online.

With little effort, you can have a curated list of all your favourite pages neatly organised in one place.

Switching between desktop to mobile?

No problem, these online bookmarking remain the same no matter what device or browser you’re using.

Was this article helpful?

If so, would you consider sharing it with others who might appreciate it as well? Thanks.

As always, I would love to hear from you. Please do leave a comment below.

Drop me an email at Catherine@e-techafrica.co.ke  tell me a little bit about yourself or your business. You can also send your comments to yoursay@e-techafrica.co.ke

Need Help Blogging Click Here

Founder & Director of E-Technology Africa
Content Creator | Social Media Consultant | Digital Marketing Enthusiast.
Please follow me using the social media buttons below.
Facebook Ads: The Complete Resource On How To Fix Failed Campaigns.

Facebook Ads: The Complete Resource On How To Fix Failed Campaigns.

Are you frustrated with your Facebook Ad campaigns?

Do you feel like you aren’t getting conversions no matter what you do?

Well, you’re certainly not alone.

Many business owners and marketers that have tried using Facebook ads haven’t been too excited with its performance.

However, this doesn’t mean that Facebook ads don’t work. Because they do!

With over 1.39 billion active users worldwide, over 6 million active users in Kenya, Facebook is the only platform that will give you the opportunity to potentially market your business to the right person at the right time.

But just creating an ad is not enough.

The whole Facebook advertising world can be very confusing.

There are so many advanced strategies, tips and tactics that you need to implement before you see any tangible results in your campaigns.

I’m going to be highlighting some of these tactics in this article while showing you how you can spend less while increasing your profitability.

So first let’s start with some of the common reasons why you could be losing money with your Facebook Ad campaigns:

You’re not patient with your ads

Okay, you’ve published your ad(s), it been over 24 hours, and nobody is engaging with it.

At this point, there is no reason why you shouldn’t panic.

You’re almost certain that something isn’t working.  Everything inside you is telling you to edit the ad and republish it once again.

Well, you’ll be surprised to learn that if you do this, it probably won’t work either.

Facebook’s Delivery Algorithm doesn’t work overnight, therefore 24 hours is a very short time to make a judgment on whether your ad is working or not.

I’d say let your ad run for about 72 hours before you can edit.

That means practicing a bit of patience on your part.

Important To Note: Do not under any circumstances now or in future edit your Facebook Ad(s) while they’re still running. It’s advisable to stop the campaign then proceed to make changes on the ad.

By doing this you’ll be giving Facebook Delivery Algorithm new instructions on what to do with your Ad.

You’re not choosing the right objectives

All Facebook Ads fall under any of these three objectives: Awareness, Consideration, and Conversions.

A lot of people don’t get the results they desire because they choose the wrong objectives.

I’ll give you an example,

You’re the new owner of an e-commerce website and your Facebook campaign objective is Conversions and you hope it will lead to sales.

You’ve already set up three conversion pixels on your website that include “ViewContent”, “Add To Cart”IntiatePayment” and all are active.

Which of these three conversion pixels should you as a new e-commerce store owner use for your first Facebook Ad campaign?

The answer would be “ViewContent.”

Why?

Here we would be telling Facebook’s algorithm to get as many people as possible to perform the action of viewing my content/page/product page.

It’s not only the cheaper option for our e-commerce store owner but they can always retarget this group later based on the actions that they take on the website.

An example of one such action is “Add to Cart.”

It’s also very likely that you will receive higher engagements when you select the right campaign objectives.

Choosing the right objectives can make the difference between you making or losing money.

You’re not measuring the Right Objectives for your ads.

This is where its’ gets confusing for a lot of people.

The most common question I see online is, “what is the number that is most relevant to my campaign objective?”

I’ll assume you’re struggling with this question too.

Troubleshooting the scores can be tricky because they vary for every niche.

Personally, in my own campaigns, these are the numbers I’d be aiming for:

  • Costs Per Lead Should be under $8 dollars
  • Cost Per Click Should be under $ 1 dollar
  • Click Through Rate Aim for 1%
  • Relevancy Score: This metric measures the number of shares, likes and comments your ad receives. The closer you are to 10 the better for you
  • Frequency: This metric means the number of times people are seeing your ad. Aim for the 1– 4 Range, beyond 4 people start to tune your ad out

Based on your numbers for these metrics, you’ll be certain if your ads are doing well or not.

You’re not split testing your ads

It’s important to test different variables for your ads. This includes your ad copy, images, videos, and offers.

Split testing is probably the most overlooked strategy. I’m sometimes guilty of this too.

The reason why, is it takes time, effort and money on your part to split test different ads.

It will mean creating up to ten different ads for one single campaign. Sounds daunting.  And it is.

But if done correctly split testing will allow you to show your ads to the right people that are RELEVANT to them. The result?

You’ll end up spending less but most importantly your Facebook Ads will receive higher conversions.

 

Proven Facebook Ad Strategies That Work

There is no training or certification course that could teach you about Facebook Ads.

It’s a trial and error.

When people go on Facebook they are not looking for your ads, it’s our work as marketers and business owners to disrupt their pattern.

I like to compare Facebook Ad Management to the controls in the cockpit of an airplane. Each dial switches to create a smooth ride. But, one wrong move you can mess up the entire flight.

Now that I’ve highlighted some of the things you could be doing wrong with your ads, let’s explore strategies that have been proven to work.

 

1. Start With Educating Yourself

Don’t go in blind.

Just like everything else in life, it takes hard work and practice before you’ll be any good.

Same goes for Facebook Ads.

Before you launch your ad spend a couple of weeks reading and understanding all the options available to you.

Remember Facebook’s aim is to take your money, so it’s your business to make sure you get a return on your investment.

Like did you know turning off some of Facebook’s default settings could actually save you money?

An example is Instagram placements are set to default by Facebook.

If you don’t turn off this default option you will spend a large chunk of your budget on Instagram without knowing it. And then you’ll start thinking your Facebook Ads are not working.

 

2. Target Specific Audiences

The reason I love Facebook Ads is you can target interests, location, demographics, city with such close precision.

Targeting can be very impactful.

The more specific your target group, the more likely you’ll have a higher CTR (Click Through Rate)

Facebook’s targeting options include:

  • Location
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Languages
  • Interests
  • Behaviors
  • Connections

For the age and gender category it’s advisable to look at the demographics of top customers, the narrower the better.

An example is instead of targeting “18 – 65+” year old female why not try “25-40″ year old female.

Focus for countries should be to target one country/city/county at a time.

As for languages and connections my advice is to leave this alone especially if you’re just starting out with Facebook Ads.

Interests are by far the most POWERFUL targeting option available on Facebook.

The “Interest” feature enables you to advertise to people within your target demographics based on their interests (activity on Facebook, Pages they like, and closely related topics)

Your goal should be to target less than 10,000 people in total, if your audience is too broad you might want to narrow geographically or with interests.

 

3. Call Out Your Audience

No matter how specific your targeting is, it helps if you call out your audience in your ads.

Example of a Headline: “Digital Marketing Agency Owner”

Not only do these ads reach the right people but you’ll find friends who are tagging their friends who are digital marketing agency owners!

Facebook’s tagging feature allows you to get your ads in front of as many right people without costing you anything.

 

4. Avoid Traditional Ad Copy

These types of questions tend to do really well with Facebooks Ads.

Examples are: “Are you feeling…” “Do you struggle…”

Avoid using: “Click here…”  “Grab yours…”

Your ad copy must offer something of value and most importantly it MUST resonate with your audience.

It also must be directed towards solving a clear pain point in their lives.

Whenever I talk and write about ad copy I refer to a famous quote by Zig Ziglar “You can have everything in life you want if you will just help other people get what they want”

The key word in that quote is HELP.

 

5. Use a Combination of Video & Still Image Ads

Video is a trend that is never going away and we as advertisers need to start using it.

People prefer videos over text, and you’ll probably experience higher conversions with video ads.

The best way to identify if your ads are converting is if people are sharing your content. That means they are actually reading or watching your content and they find it valuable.

You know your ads are doing really well when you have 1 Like:1 Share ratio. Ideally, this is what you should be aiming for.

The more “Shares” you have for your ads the less you’ll pay for them.

Again you need to balance out your Videos and Still images.

Don’t just do all videos ads all the time.

When you’re starting out with Facebook ads, its best you test with a fairly small budget then gradually increase over time.

My background is not in marketing and I remember the very first time I started experimenting with Facebook Ads, my total budget for that first month was just $50.

As my strategies and approaches advanced, the more confident I became to investing more into my ad campaigns.

I’d encourage you to take the same approach especially if you’re just starting out with Facebook Ads.

 

How It All Works Out: Step by Step Approach

 

Step 1: Open Facebook Ads Manager

Open up Facebook Ads Manager to get started with creating your ad.

 

Facebook Ads

 

Step 2: Choose Your Objective

Like I mentioned above, this is the part you’ll need to be really careful.

As you can see below Facebook offers 11 options across three main objectives: Awareness, Consideration and Conversion

Next, you’ll need to give your campaign a name.

Next, Choose your conversion pixel from the ones you’ve already created

 

Psst…let me know in the comment section below if you would like me to write a separate tutorial on how to create conversion pixels for your website. 🙂

 

Step 3: Choose Your Audience

Next, you will need to create a custom audience based on location, gender and interests.

 

 

When it comes to targeting your interest be as specific as possible. You could even search for your competitor’s page and look for people who like it.

Facebook Ads Image 1

Important to Note: Facebook’s goal is to show your ads to people who are most likely to click it. DO NOT let Facebook recommend broad interest categories

 

Next: Make sure you narrow down your audience to “defined” that means your dial should be right in the middle. 

 

Step 4: Choose Your Placements

Here you have two options:

  • Automatically Placements: Facebook Automatically puts your ads where it feels they’ll work best.
  • Edit Placements: You choose where you’d like to reach people

I recommend that you always “select Edit Placements”.

Facebook Ads Image 2

Over time I’ve discovered that my mobile ads drive more impressions and clicks, so I always edit out desktop placements.

If you’re a business owner in Africa specifically Kenya mobile ads make sense for your business.

 

Step 5: Set Up Your Budget

Like I mentioned earlier start small, scale gradually.

Budgets vary depending on your niche or industry. So here it’s totally up to you, you can go as high as you want.

Just be careful not to place a bid that is too low because your ad may not get the exposure it needs to help you reach your goals.

Facebook Ads Image 3

 

Step 6: Choose Your Format

Facebook offers six different formats.

I recommend you always go with “Single Image”

I’ve found that they tend to have higher engagement rates as compared to the others.

 

Step 7: Choose Your Image(s)

Even though Facebook allows you to test six different variations of images I would recommend you don’t go beyond two.

Hire a professional designer to help you with your ad.

If you don’t have the budget for a designer use tools like Canva to help you design simple beautiful looking images.

You can also find Stock Images online you could use for your ad. Searching online for stock images websites?

Facebook Ads Image 4
Screenshot of my Canva.com Dashboard

 

Facebook Ads Image 6
Upload Image to your Facebook Ads account.

 

Step 8: Add Your Copy

Here are the four key pieces of copy you need to include in your advert:

  • Headline: Call your ideal audience through your headline.
  • Text: Appears about your ad. Keep it short!
  • Call to Action (CTA): “Learn More” has been found to convert better.
  • News Feed Link Description: This appears below the headline. Use this space to add additional text to reinforce your CTA.

 

Facebook Ads Image 5
Example of my Final Facebook Ad

 

Step 9: Review & Publish Your Ad

Now that you’re pretty much done setting up your ad it’s time your review and publish your ad.

Facebook approves all the ads it runs.

You must make sure your ads are in accordance with the social network’s ad practices.

Usually you’ll get a response within 15 minutes, but it could take up to 24 hours for Facebook to respond.

 

Bonus Tip: Monitor Your Ads for At least 72 hours

Like I mentioned earlier be patient with your ads give it about 72 hours before you could go in and make changes.

The metrics will vary for each industry so it’s important to understand what each number means.

 

 

Over To You,

Facebook offers so much value to business owners, marketers and advertisers all over the world.

When all is said and done the most successful Facebook ads are a combination of eye-catching design, attention-grabbing headlines, and laser-focused targeting.

If you’ve got this nailed down to a tee, then you really don’t have anything to worry about.

Facebook ads work, but only under the right conditions.

It’s your job to set up those right conditions.

Good luck advertising! cool

Are you experiencing any challenges with your Facebook Ads?

Not sure how to go about advertising on Facebook?

Share your questions and experienced with me.

As always, I would love to hear from you. Please do leave a comment below.

Drop me an email at Catherine@e-techafrica.co.ke  tell me a little bit about yourself or your business. You can also send your comments to yoursay@e-techafrica.co.ke

Need Help Blogging Click Here

Founder & Director of E-Technology Africa
Content Creator | Social Media Consultant | Digital Marketing Enthusiast.
Please follow me using the social media buttons below.
67+ Awe-Inspiring Websites To Find Magnificent Free Stock Photos.

67+ Awe-Inspiring Websites To Find Magnificent Free Stock Photos.

Are you finding it a hustle to find good quality free stock photos online?

Don’t have a budget for stock photography?

You’re probably not alone.

When I first started blogging I’d spend hours scouring the web for free stock photos that don’t look cheap or cheesy. I dreaded this experience.

I also did not have a budget for stock photography my only option at the time was finding websites with free high-resolution images.

Fortunately, I stumbled on quite a number.

In this article, I will share with you what I think is currently the most comprehensive list of free stock imagery websites for 2017.

With over 67+ free stock photo website reviews, you’ll be guaranteed to find what you’re looking for.

Important To Note About Licenses

All the stock photo websites mentioned in this article are free of copyright restrictions or licensed under the creative commons zero (CC0) public domain.

Which basically means you can copy, modify, distribute all their images without asking for permission.

Stock photography from these websites can be used for commercial as well as your personal projects.

I will still advise you to do your own research and determine how these images can be used.

1. Gratisography

Gratisography is filled with lots of quirky images like the one shared above. They are filled with high- quality resolution images that have the potential to make you laugh or even inspire you.

All images on this website are free to use and do not require attribution. All the photos on Gratisography are taken by Ryan McGuire.

2. Pixabay

Pixabay is my favorite free stock image gallery. It currently has over 900,000 Free quality images that are released free of copyrights.

All the pictures on Pixabay are available for commercial or personal use. You can distribute, download and modify all their photos and the best attribution is not required.

3. Pexels

Pexels is another awesome website that has over thousand free stock photos that you use for commercial purposes.

They also do not require any attribution and they also have high-resolution images for retina displays too.

All their images are licensed under the Creative Commons Zero (CCO) which basically means you can modify, distribute, copy and distribute all the images on their website.

 

4. Morgue File

Morgue File does not have a large selection of images as the other websites mentioned above.

They offer a handful of carefully selected photos presented in a streamlined layout. MorgueFile covers a wide range topics so you’re sure to find a number of really good high-quality images.

All their images are available for commercial use and do not require any attribution.

 5. Free Range Stock

Thousands of high-resolution images are available on the Free stock range stock website.

Something really cool and different about this website is they have a revenue sharing model with their photographers.

The only downside to this website is you must create a free account to download photos.

 

6. Free Digital Photos

They only offer their smallest size photos for free, their larger sized photos prices start at $3.00.

It’s also important to note that images on the website require attribution. If the images is used for free you must acknowldedge it to FreeDigitalPhotos.net and the image creator/owner on the same page or screen.

Sounds like alot right? Probably is, if you want to avoid all this you always have the option of purchasing the image to avoid this requirement.

7. Photogen

Photogen has a searchable database that makes it easy to acess their gallery of over 50 million + images.

All their images are free to use for commercial and personal projects and do not require attribution.

8. Stock Photos For Free

Another website that has thousands of high quality free images available on their website.

The only downside to thiis site is you have to create a free account to download their images.

9. Unsplash

Unsplash was one of the pioneers of Free Stock Images under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) License.

This basically meant that you can copy, modify, distribute and use the photos for free even including commercial purposes.

Unsplash photos do not require attribution which means you can use them without asking for permission

10. Free Images

Free Images website has a large database of free stock images with currently over 389, 851 photos and illustrations.

I love the fact that their images on their website are searchable which makes it really easy to access high-quality images related to your keywords.

Free Images also categorizes their photos and they are all available for commercial use.

11. Pic Jumbo

Picjumbo allows you to download their photos without requiring login in.

All their images are free to use for your personal and commercial projects plus they do not require attribution.

Another really cool feature they’ve added is the social sharing buttons that are available.

Images on this website are not searchable.

 

12. IM Free

Images on IM Free are searchable and are categorized which makes navigation extremely simple and easy.

They also go beyond just free stock images they also offer a collection of free resources.

The big difference with this site is their images are not under Creative Commons Zero (CC0) they are under a Third Part Intellectual Rights.

 

13. Little Visuals

I honestly wasn’t too sure if I should add this website I will tell you why in a moment.

Little Visuals no longer upload images on their website but that doesn’t mean you can’t use the ones already published on their site.

Unfortunately, the young man who created the website passed away. His family still maintains the website and raises funds to a charity through the site.

 

14. New Old Stock

New Old Stock images require no attribution that means you can use them for free in all your commercial projects.

The only downside to this website is their images are not searchable.

 15. Get Refe

GetRefe provides you with real life photos that are free to use for commercial and personal use.

That means that all their images require no attributions.

They also have a large collection of high-resolution images.

16. Jay Mantri

Jay Mantri used to upload stock photos every Thursday then he stopped for a while I’m glad he’s back. His latest post was three weeks ago so that’s great.

All the images on his website are under the CC0 license.

 

17. Public Domain Archive

Public Domain Archive mostly consists of images that have symmetry and color.

They have an expansive online collection of high resolution images.

The only downside is their images are not searchable.

18. Magdeline

Stock images on this website are updated every single day.

Magdaline categorizes their images by color, tag or category.

Unfortunately attribution is required for all their stock images.

 

19. Libre Shot

Libre shot scans and indexes stock images from 40+ different websites.

They have a large database of high resolution free stock images that you can use for commercial purposes.

I also love the fact that their website is searchable.

20. Kaboom Pics

They have a great collection of high-quality images.

All their stock images are free to use and can be used even for commercial purposes.

21. Bucket Listly

Mostly consists of images from travel photography from all over the world.

With over 5000+ images to choose from you will be spoiled for choice.

All their images are under the CC0 which means no attribution is required and can be used for commercial purposes.

 

22. Travel Coffee Book

Sharing a wide collection of travel stock photos that are all under CC0.

No attribution is required.

 

23. Foodies Feed

Are you a foodie?

With over 1000+ realistic free food pictures in high resolution you’re probably going to be one.

You can use their images for commercial as well in your personal projects.

 

24. Cupcake

No attribution is required.

All their images are licensed under CC0 which means you can do whatever you want with them.

A clear downside to this website is their images are not searchable.

25. Moveast

No attribution is required and all their images are under the CC0 license.

Unfortunately, their images are not searchable.

 

26. Stock Pic

They require you to create a free account before you download their images.

One cool feature is they update their stock images every two weeks so that may be an incentive for you to sign up.

All their images are under the CC0 license.

 

27. Split Shire

I love the way they categorize their stock photos.

You can use images from this website for commercial use with no attribution required.

Perhaps a downside is their photos are not searchable.

28. Snapwire Snaps

You can access a wide selection of authentic unique imagery for all your project needs.

Their images require no attribution.

They have over 370,000 photos from a community of photographers.

Snapwire requires that you sign up for a free account.

29. Stock Snaps

Stock Snaps offer a wide range of high resolution images free of copyright restrictions.

No attributions are required for their images.

30. MY Stock

My stock images are beautiful I occasionally go to this website.

All their images are loyalty free, that means you can use them for commercial use.

31. Graphic Stock

Graphic Stock has over 300,000+ high-resolution images, vectors images, and illustrations.

No attribution is required.

You may be required to create a free acount inorder to download their images.

32. Street Will

Street Will is made of vintage photos that you can use for all your commercial or personal projects.

The only downside I would say is their images are not searchable.

33. Free JPG

Free JPG has a unique feature on their website which allows you to search for stock images by color.

I found this feature quite unique as comparing it with other similar websites.

All their images are free to use they way you want.

34. Realistic Shots

Realistic photos offers a wide collection of high resolution images that are all under the CC0.

They also upload 7 new photos every week.

No attribution is required.

35. Epicva

Epicva consists of a team of photograhy enthusiats.

Their images require attribution and are not under the CC0 license. That means you may have limited use of their stock photos and you may not use them for commercial purposes.

36. Shutterstock

Shutterstock offers you the option to search and download millions of free stock images through their website.

No attribution is required.

37. Creative Vix

They offer a wide range of stock images.

You can use their images for all your projects including commercial.

No attribution is required.

38. Boss Fight

Boss Fight updates their website with 10-20 high resolution images every single day.

The only downside I would say is their images are not searchable.

39. Minimography

Looking for minimalist photos for your blog?

Minimography is your perfect choice.

All the stock images on their website are royalty-free and do not require attribution.

40. Skitter Photo

Skitter Phot does not require you to log in to access their photos.

They is a large collection of royalty-free images.

 

41. Free Pixel

Free Pixel offers stock images for both commercial and personal use.

Their website is not the easiest to navigate but it has a search function which is awesome.

42. Negative Space

Negative Space is well deisgned and has a search function.

All their photos are completely free to use for commercial purposes and require no attribution.

All their images are licensed under CC0 license.

43. Life of Pix

Life of Pix allows you to share and download images freely.

The website is well designed and has a search function making it easy to navigate and find stock images.

You may be required to create a free account before you download images.

44. Free Stocks

The website contains a curated list of free stock images, audio, and videos. The sell it as one stop shop for all your royalty free media.

Free Stock’s website is not easy to navigate if we are to compare it to other similar sites mentioned in this article.

No attribution is required.

45. Startup Stock

All their images are free of copyright restrictions.

I like this website and I occasionally visit the site to check on their latest updates.

Defintely one you should check out.

 

46. Re: Splashed

They have a large collection of high resolution photos licensed under CC0 which means you can do whatever you want with them.

The website is also well deisgned easy to navigate.

No attribution is required.

47. Picography

Picography is a well designed website with a large collection of high quality royalty free images.

Their images are not searchable which makes hard to navigate and find images.

No attribution is required.

48. ISO Republic

ISO Republic markets to creatives who want free royalty free images.

No attribution is required.

49. Function

Function offers resources and inspiration to designers.

No attribution is required.

You can use their royalty free images for commercial use.

 

50. Raumrot

Raumrot has a great website design with over 1438 free & curated stock photos.

Each image is handpicked.

A downside is the website is not searchable.

51. 1 Million Free Picture

What would you do with over 1 million pictures at your disposal?

I’ll tell you… ALOT!

The website has a great design and quite a number of free high-resolution images which you can use for your personal and commercial projects.

52. The British Library

The British Library encourages you to explore and re-use millions of public domain images for personal and commercial use.

Now that I’m writing about this I’m thinking why doesn’t my native country Kenya have one of this?

Anyway, The British Library have released over a million images onto Flickr Commons for anyone to use.

Probably would be worth checking out.

53. Vintage

Vintage offers you thousands of free retro photos for your commercial projects.

The website is searchable and has a modern design that makes it very easy to navigate.

No attribution is required.

54. Je Shoots

Je Shoots offers Free stock photos and PSD mockups.

All their images are free to use and are in high resolution.

Images are searchable.

55. Passel

Passel has over 24,000 images on their website currently.

All their images are free to use in commercial and personal projects

No attribution is required.

56. Every Stock Photo

The website is an online portal to search for free stock photos.

All the stock photos are listed under the CC0 that means you can do whatever you want with them.

No attribution is required.

57. Death to the stock photo

They offer free monthly stock photos for all your creative needs.

All their images are free to use for commercial and personal projects.

No attribution required.

58. Space X

All their images are licensed under the CC0 that means all copyrights have been waived.

No attribution is required.

59. The Pic Pac

The Pic Pac has a great site design with all their images sectioned into categories.

You can do whatever you want with the stock photos.

No attribution is required.

60. Barn Image

Barn image has a large collection of non-stock photography for all your design needs.

All their images are available for commercial use.

No attribution is required.

61. Snapwire Snaps

Snapwire Snaps is a well-designed website tat has over 368,000 custom photos

You may be required to create a free account before you download any of their images.

No attribution is required.

62. Old Book Illustration

Old book illustration offers scanned images from old books are are all free to use.

All their images are royalty free and can be used for commercial purposes.

No attribution is required.

63. Wikimedia Commons

They offer a large selection of over 2 million + public domain and free stock photos.

Can be used for commercial purposes as well as personal projects.

No attribution is required.

64. Foter

Foter is a search database for stock photos.

All their images are registered under the CC0.

With over 335 million images you’ll be spoiled for choice.

 

65. Visual Hunt

Visual Hunt is equally a search database with over 354 million + free images.

No attribution is required.

66. Tookapic Stock

Tookapic Stock has thousands of free stock photos available for commercial use.

No attribution is required.

The website is well designed and is easy to navigate.

67. 123 RF

Commonly known for their premium stock images but they offer others for free.

Not a big fan of their free images because they come in low quality.

No attribution is required.

68. Pic Jumbo

Pic Jumbo offers a wide selection of free stock photos.

All the images on the website are available for commercial and personal use.

No attribution is required.

 

Over To You,

Doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, whether you’re a marketer, blogger or designer, you’ll find stock photography extremely useful.

We believe that our curated list of resources is invaluable.

Find the site that appeals the most to your brand.

You be the judge.

Was this article helpful?

If so, would you consider sharing it with others who might appreciate it as well? Thanks.

As always, I would love to hear from you. Please do leave a comment below.

Drop me an email at Catherine@e-techafrica.co.ke  tell me a little bit about yourself or your business. You can also send your comments to yoursay@e-techafrica.co.ke

Need Help Blogging Click Here

Founder & Director of E-Technology Africa
Content Creator | Social Media Consultant | Digital Marketing Enthusiast.
Please follow me using the social media buttons below.

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