“Can I make money blogging if I live outside the United States?”
Want to travel the world, faced with unemployment in your country, or simply on a quest for freedom from the 9 – 5. This is you.
Heard that starting a blog is a great way to make money online and are ecstatic to try it yourself. This is still you.
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But one thing still stops you. The disparity between your reality and that of all “those bloggers” making money online.
You do not live in the United States. So can you make money blogging?
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I’m honored to have problogger, Enstine Muki from Cameroon, Africa over. And he’ll be weighing in on this topic shortly.
Enstine has been working online since 2005, creating websites and web applications. But for him Blogging started in 2012 and he made $29,000 that first year!
Now onto the interview.
Hi Enstine, thank you so much for agreeing to chat! Please tell us where you are from, how you became a blogger and how this has worked out for you so far.
It’s with huge dose of excitement to be here to share with your audience, Lily. Truth is I have always enjoyed all the interactions I have had with you this far. We do have better days ahead so let’s keep giving.
I live in Douala, a town in Cameroon, Central Africa.
I came into blogging in 2012. As a matter of fact, I had a platform I created for bloggers. I wasn’t blogging though. But I created that Twitter-based tool to help website owners get traffic.
Trust me dealing with these guys was a blessing to me. They actually encouraged me in several different ways to start my own blog. Though I had this bad piece of advice from one trusted blogger not to dare blog, I’m glad I gave deaf ears to it.
Blogging (almost) consistently for the past years has driving me into true moments of excitement: the income, the connections, the freedom, the reading and learning, etc. I just love doing it.
Would you say that blogging from outside the United States limits your potential when you decide to start a blog? Can a blogger from outside the US build a successful blog that rivals blogs in the United States?
Outside USA does not limit one’s potentials as a blogger. It only depends on where you are outside the USA. I have very successful bloggers in India and Europe. Some are doing quite well in South Africa. They are outside of USA but not allowing that lay a limit on their growth.
The issue here too is your target audience and your content orientation. Being in some areas and writing for some people may seriously weigh heavily on your growth.
If you are in Nigeria and you want to train mom bloggers in that area, you won’t excel easily. This has to do with culture and technology. Few moms in Nigeria are going to embrace blogging. Those who do will have some tech barriers. In USA, this won’t be an issue at all.
Distance isn’t a barrier for online content. You can be here in Africa and provide engaging content for readers in USA. Well, if you need physical contact to polish up the information you publish, then you have a real problem to deal with.
How difficult is it to build a blog from outside the United States? What challenges have you faced?
If you are blogging to make money, then the challenges are more with the money you make online. Again, it depends on your monetizing strategies as we know there are many different ways bloggers make money. I wrote about that on my blog here.
We also know of the Internet infrastructure. For most bloggers out of USA, it’s a nightmare. Europe and India may not feel this much. But I have failed several times with Vlogging in my country because of poor Internet signals. Let’s talk about problems linked with earnings withdrawal later.
And how have you managed to overcome these challenges?
Some of these problems can’t be resolved by any effort of mine at the moment. The tech limitations and earning withdrawals are tough to deal with using individual energy.
I don’t intend to relocate to the United States however. Though these hindrances exist, there is been some remarkable improvements. I believe we are soon out of bad phase.
Would you say that there are certain niches which lend themselves to blogging from outside the United States better than others? Maybe because of Cultural differences or something. Like I wouldn’t go out and try to build the typical mom lifestyle blog which makes money from sponsorships… What do you think?
Now, I mentioned earlier that distance isn’t a barrier for online content except you need some physical presence to produce the content.
You can be in Cameroon and do well with the niche you mentioned if you target USA moms or moms in Europe. If you want to target moms in Lagos, the resistance to growth will be stronger.
There are actually two things that will say whether or not your physical location will
be a success hinderer:
- Your niche
- The geo-location of your target audience
So yes. At some point, I don’t recommend choosing some niches in less developed areas or out of USA except you are ready to face the challenges that come with it.
So your top 5 blog niches for aspiring bloggers outside the United States would be?
I can highly recommend Internet related niches.
Let me add marriage and relationships, personal development, health related, celebrity and entertainment, and any niche that allows you to create content sitting at home. If they are in Europe, they may want to blog about household materials.
Let’s talk about positioning. As you’ve said before, there are many challenges when you blog from outside the United States. Is the questioning of your expertise on your topic one of them? What do you do to establish authority in that case?
Your expertise could be affected by physical location depending on your niche. I’m in Cameroon but that doesn’t affect my expertise. That’s because my niche isn’t location-dependent.
But doing videos from here is a massive headache. That’s because of the sluggish Internet speed and expensive data. So yes, your location can affect your expertise if you are blogging in some industries.
What monetization mode will you say is best for bloggers outside the United States? Ads, Affiliate marketing, Products…
I think everything (except surveys) should work. The exception of surveys is strong enough. Many companies that want some strategic market data from consumers often keep many countries out of USA out.
Adsense is a shame for traffic from Africa and India. You need huge traffic to see some good results. But again, you can be based in these areas out of USA but target USA.
Affiliate Marketing, sponsored content, sales of services, etc are good options if you find a way to cash out your earnings.
Now we talk about driving traffic to a blog outside the US. Like we know, the most valuable traffic when you have an international blog is US traffic (sorry uys but US pays most), how do you ensure that you drive 75% of United States traffic to your blog, especially because that benchmark is important to get into premium ad networks.
Yes traffic from USA pays more and we can’t circumvent it. I have written about how to pull free traffic from USA in this article.
Basically, you should:
- Provide content that resonates with USA readers,
- Read USA blogs and network with bloggers from USA
- Join Pinterest. That’s because the community is mainly made up of USA users.
It’s easier with paid traffic. If you do social and search PPC, you can simply kick out any other country and direct your ads to states in America.
Thank you so much for your time Enstine, one last question before you go. How do you battle the issue of payment with Paypal not being readily available in some countries even though it’s the preferred choice of payment online.
That’s a real problem we have right?
Paypal only allows us to send out payment. That’s like a half-baked piece of cake. While we wait for the other phase of online money transfer (with paypal) to be available for us, I personally deal with friends in the USA. My payments get sent to them while they do me the favor of using other means to get the funds to me.
The battle continues.
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