Blogging isn’t a new thing today, it began way back in the 90s. It started as an opportunity for individuals to write diary-style entries, but it has since been incorporated into websites for many businesses or used for personal use.
Writing about things that you are passionate about makes the process of starting a blog so much easier. As long as you are writing about things that you are genuinely interested in, your passion will shine through and keep your visitors interested. The people that handle this, are bloggers — they research topics and develop interesting posts that will appeal to their target audience and go a further step to promote the blog using social media, direct email(s), and other methods to alert and expand their readership.
One of the misconceptions about starting a blog is that you need to be a great writer to be successful. Nothing could be further from the truth. People read blog sites to get a personal perspective on things, so most bloggers write in a very informal and conversational style.
And because of the format, many successful bloggers will write about a variety of topics on the same blog.
So I had an opportunity to interview Mugibson Mugisha Patrick a blogger running his fast-growing lifestyle and entertainment blog; Mugibson which he launched in 2020. His journey as a blogger under the mentorship of Daniel Mumbere has seen his work recognized including a nomination in the inaugural Pulse Influencer Awards as a “Blogger Influencer of the Year”.
I asked him a few questions about blogging, his inspiration, process, hopes, and achievements among other related topics — this is what he had to say.
Well, first of all, what made you want to become a blogger?
I have always had a thing for journalism first was in TV, then radio, but given that I did not get the opportunity to practice on either I resorted to online journalism (first with vlogging, and then settled for blogging); and to be specific — entertainment, as it is something I greatly consume and enjoy on a daily. I also have a passion for storytelling, being informed, and informing others. So that’s how it came about.
What is your writing process, from concept to publishing?
I wouldn’t say there’s a specific approach as such because some topics randomly pop up in my head and next I am scribbling down content already. Usually what happens is I upload stories every after three days to the site because I do believe in giving my blog site visitors enough time to consume the stories in between those days.
When I am given a story lead or get the lead myself; depending on the urgency I usually sit down on my laptop, come up with the article and then upload it. Also since I am more into entertainment and lifestyle, I am most of the time online so as to stay in touch with the trends and ongoing events/occurrences.
How do you attract readers to your blog and what do you do to keep them as avid readers?
Given my background in English and Literature, I am able to craft catchy titles for my stories that capture the attention of someone in case they come across it. In case they like what they have seen or read, some signup for our newsletter so they can get the content in their inboxes firsthand.
Also, I have a great team made up of friends who believe in and support me, so most times when I post a piece, they share it widely.
Lastly, given my following on social media, when I post (which I do on the majority of the platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn), people get to click the article links, and then some later become avid readers.
How do you use SEO keywords to increase your blog’s traffic?
I am keen on which words go in my titles of stories or even features and therefore selectively pick the words to include in my titles. Ideally, I put myself in the shoes of the reader, by asking myself whether if it were me, I would click on an article with such a title and which are those that iI would type into a search engine to achieve what exactly.
Given that search engines work with accurate yet precise words, I, therefore, keep my titles short too yet exciting to the eyes of the reader.
There’s always room for improvement. How or what do you do to improve your content and Why do you think it’s necessary?
When I started out, I used to have really lengthy writeups (of about 5 to 13-minute reads). From the feedback, I was advised to reduce the length of the articles so as to keep the readers engaged and not lose them due to the articles being too long to digest.
Why listening to feedback or the need to improve is that learning never stops and therefore we should all be always open to and willing to be taught or corrected. Also as a reader, it is important to observe the trends and pick out what works for you or what you can adopt and leave out.
How do you determine if a piece of writing is a good/fit for your readers?
I always ask myself this one thing, if I found this somewhere as written by someone else, would I enjoy reading this? If the answer is yes, I then proceed to publish, if no, I do not. So, truthfulness in an article in terms of a source and my personal conviction towards a story is what helps me determine.
As a blogger, what are the best ways (or channels) to distribute your content/articles?
I do personally recommend WordPress as a tool for writing and distributing content; it is user-friendly even for a beginner and has incredible features. Medium is also another great option to consider, that’s if you are niched towards a given content direction say business, technology, etc.
Whereas WordPress is great because it’s easier to monetize with Ads since it simply blends with your google Account. It also helps that after uploading your articles, you share the links widely to social media like Facebook, LinkedIn, WhatsApp, and Twitter, to mention a few so as to tap into those numbers and increase your reach/ reader count.
Who do you consider your favorite (look at) blogger(s) and why?
I have had quite a number. One of my mentors Daniel Mumbere had a blog where he shared interesting personal stories. Because of him, I started and told some stories and still do to date whenever possible.
I am also inspired by Mr. Bernard Olupot for his art, humor, and great storytelling and how captivating his approach to article writing is. Fact checker Mr. Pius Enywaru who schooled me on which blogging platform to consider has also played a huge role in my blogging journey; as he has on multiple occasions continued to encourage me to be consistent and keep doing as the sky is only the beginning and not the limit. Finally, Josh Ruby; a fellow entertainment writer is doing an incredible job and I do love and respect his writing spirit.
What is something you wish more people knew about bloggers or blogging in general?
Something I wish people knew about Blogger is; most times people mix up the work we do for that of popular Facebook vloggers like Isma Olaxes, and others since they also run under the same name. So one thing I would wish people to know is that we as writers on blogs are “online journalists” as the word blogger seems to be confused with that of the Facebook guys
What do you find the most frustrating aspect of blogging?
The frustrating part must have been the time of the internet shut down given that our medium for our publishing is online (the internet).
In day-to-day experiences, the most disappointing part is when platforms plagiarize other bloggers’ content. It isn’t bad to borrow an idea or pieces or two, but everything from the first letter of an article to the last full stop kind of comes off as unprofessional and not giving a client value for money if it’s a sponsored article.
Following the ban on Facebook in Uganda, do you think it has affected bloggers?
Oh yes, it has, greatly. The banning of Facebook has made it harder for bloggers to tap into their full readership as compared to those days before the ban given the fact that one has to use VPNs every time which is kind of frustrating thus compelling many Facebook users to desert the platform altogether.
Where do you hope your blog will take you?
For a person who’s never stepped a foot out of this country, my hope is that one day I can be invited to South Africa, Kenya, Egypt, or even Europe to report a story and I do know it’ll be my favorite moment in my blogging journey. So my hope and dream are that my writing will open up traveling and partnership doors.
How can a blogger stand out from the rest?
Firstly, standing out is quite a blurred concept more so for us as bloggers as there’s someone else doing what you do; just a twist in story angle, feature image, etc. What I would advise though, is to find what works for you, work on that, and keep improving and growing it. It may not yield numbers at the start but you must trust the process and keep going.
What I believe keeps bringing my readers back is the personal touch to the stories and write-ups, so at the end of the day it isn’t about me writing, but my people looking out for what I think about a given song or what stood out for me at an event I am writing about, etc
What would you say is the greatest satisfaction of being a blogger?
In my case, it is telling my truth, having and being in control of my creative freedom given that I don’t report to anyone but myself. On the commercial side, blogging gets you some money in the form of sponsored articles, and advertisement banners so it enables you to earn something however small it might be.
It also comes with some popularity low key, more so for personal blogs as people keep referring to you by your work — in my case I get called the “Mugi blogs guy”.
What advice would you give to someone that wishes to become a blogger?
Like my mentor told me; you just have to start. There’s no such thing as perfection. You only get better by doing. So take that courage and open up a WordPress simple blog and start telling your truth, your story, you never know who’s out there reading or whose life you could touch.
Starting isn’t enough. Stay open to learning and unlearning. That’s how you grow and become better as a writer or storyteller. Also, be consistent. Many have started but going forward and not giving up is perhaps where the challenge sets in. So strive as much to keep going.
Last but not least, always put your work out there. It’s the only way you can attract people to it, and then can get feedback on improvement areas or even tap into opportunities available.
ALSO READ: THE RIGHT APPROACH TO GUEST BLOGGING