About a year ago, I saw a post by a young man on Nairaland asking for people’s opinion on his newly floated blog, financialwatchngr.com. It was a miserable thread – very few views, with less than 10 comments. People did not take him seriously.
The guy told his story of how he had just been sacked by a bank and how he decided to open a website to share information on banking jobs based on his experience as a banker for 5 years. He had published only 3 or 4 posts then (How to Get a Bank Job; How to Open Bank Account etc).
I clicked the link to the guy’s blog and read it. I liked his concept. Something came to my mind that this blog had potential. I felt he had a good niche – financial careers. Financial system still remains the largest absorber of formal labour in Nigeria. I’m not aware of any blog in Nigeria dedicated to that theme. Something told me this guy’s website will be a hit.
I picked my phone and called him. We spoke at length. I asked whether he had heard of Jarus or JarusHub. He replied with a no. I asked him to check out JarusHub, our career blog. He did and reverted, and realized he was talking to arguably Nigeria’s #1 career issues blogger.
We continued our discussion in the next days. I told him JarusHub was interested in acquiring the website – or at least partner with him.
He was somehow naïve. He didn’t give himself any chance. I told him he had a good product.
Somehow along the line, I developed cold feet. I don’t know why. The guy made efforts to keep in touch, but my interest waned.
Fast forward to today, I was just doing some research online and I came across the website again. I checked the rating on Alexa and it is ranked 237th most visited website in the Nigeria and about 30,000th in the world. I checked the advert rate on the website – as high as N1m.
The website has overtaken more popular (and even quality) financial websites like Nairametrics. Guess what? Even BusinessDay newspaper website is trailing it. And BusinessDay is a company with more than 100 staff and professional financial journalists.
In other words, this guy’s website is today Nigeria’s #1 financial website and only 236 websites get more visitors than it in the whole of Nigeria.
Of course, that’s a goldmine.
I picked my phone, checked whether I still have his number, called him again and asked whether he remembered me. He did.
I referred to our conversation last year and asked how he achieved such feat. He said it was God and hard work. He thanked me for believing in his idea then, even though I later ran away after raising his hope of acquiring it. He said I was the only blogger that got in touch with him and it was my word about his potential that motivated him.
Now, he makes an average of close to N2m per month from the website. That is what he does full time after losing his bank job. Banks now contact him – without soliciting – for direct advert space on his website (the same bank that sacked him).
I asked him whether he paid for SEO and he said he never did. All the SEO he did were from internet reading. I asked whether he got investors that brought money for promotion and he said he never got any investor, that it is still 100% owned and run by him.
I asked him whether he was still willing to sell the website. He said no. He said no Nigerian can buy it again. Maybe that’s an exaggeration, but if a website fetches you close to N2m per month, no one will sell such website for less than N200m. A website that gets more visits than the website of Nigeria’s number one conventional financial newspaper, BusinessDay.
If I offered the guy N200k when we were talking last year, he may have sold it to me, or at least brought me in as co-owner, and today I will be guaranteed at least 50%, if not 100%, of that monthly pie he makes. Now, I can’t even afford 5% share in the website again.
That is not even the most important lesson for me, the most important lesson is information provision is still big money spinner. What information do you have or can coordinate?
Victor Cheng used his experience at McKinsey to share consulting career information and establish himself as authority on consulting careers, globally. Now, he makes million dollars from it.
I got him for an interview today.
1. Kindly tell us briefly about yourself.
I am Ezekiel Enejeta from Delta State, a Nigerian professional online news publisher. I’m single, 29 years old. As a graduate of mass communication from National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), I know what it means to solve most of my challenges myself as the school allows students the opportunity to be self-reliant. Before I ventured into publishing, I was a banker for 6years in a top Nigerian bank which exposed me to the banking and financial industry.
2. Did you ever think of owning a blog while you were working in bank?
In my final year as a banker (2014 to early 2015), I had a blog designed for me by a friend, as at then I have zero knowledge of how the web works, I don’t know what wordpress is, neither do I know blogger platform. I blogged on that custom made website for 9months without any success. In August 2015 when I resigned from the bank to focus on blogging, I soon realized that I have to abandon my old blog and start afresh as it was a general niche site and not SEO friendly. With my banking experience as well as knowledge of financial world, I saw an opportunity in a “finance niche”, that was the motivation that lead to FINANCIAL WATCH.
3. I remember seeing your post on Nairaland last year, telling your story on how you decided to go into financial blogging after losing your banking job. People didn’t take you seriously as the feedback from that Nairaland thread was miserably low. It appears I was the only one that contacted you. How did you feel at the beginning? Did you ever think this website will be a success? Was there a time you thought of quitting?
Firstly I did not lose my bank job, I resigned honorably because I wanted to go full time into blogging. When I first started FINANCIAL WATCH, I started by writing great piece about bank jobs, banking terms, bank products etc. It was a kind of an unexplored topic on the web. So the reaction then was a kind of “who is this guy claiming to know it all about banking?”, but then you called me on phone and told me I was doing a great job, that motivated me a lot and gave me the impression that I am doing something right. Yes, from the day I resigned my bank job for blogging, I knew I was gonna make a great Finance website; I put everything, my well-being and immediate comfort on the line just to get my blog to the top. I remember my family questioning my sanity; I was practically told I was going crazy for quitting my bank job just for blogging. It was difficult to explain where I was going then, but there was never a time I considered quitting because I feel for once doing what makes me happy.
4. After how many months/weeks did you make your first money from the first website? When did you make your first million naira from the blog? How much do you make per month from the website now?
Financial Watch was launched 16th October, 2015. It took me 6 months before I made N10,000 from the blog in May this year, a month later in June, I made my first N1,000,000 from the website. Any blogger out there knows how much a blog like FINANCIAL WATCH is worth monthly, it’s no secret at all because it gives me an average of N1,500,000 per month.
5. Could you tell us some of the corporate advertisers (banks and non-banks) that have contacted you for adverts, sponsored content etc?
The first corporate contact I received was from Moneygram international, that was May this year. I have also received banner deals from Access bank Plc, GTBank and Jiji.com. But a bulk of my clients are based in US, UK and India, they appreciate sponsored posts a lot more than Nigerian companies.
6. Your website rose so rapidly; did you do any paid SEO? Did you do Facebook or other paid promotion?
Just for the record, I have not spent any money on SEO, or any paid promotion. I only did facebook page likes ads which did not give me much results and I left it altogether. Most times when I read tips on SEO online, I found out that I have not been following those tips, nor do I do what everyone does, but I know I go about it my own way, which is giving information on the most important topics in a way that will satisfy all my readers. That is my greatest SEO tool.
7. What is the daily view of your website? What is the biggest traffic source?
My biggest traffic source is organic searches, followed closely by loyal direct site visitors. They (my readers) know they must always get latest banking news, job openings, business news and finance information, and I never disappoint, that is why they keep coming back. My daily page view stands at 50,000 and it can only get better.
8. Have you got offers for acquisition of your websites? How much will make you consider selling the website now?
I got offer to sell it only once for $100,000 (N40m) back in June, an offer I never gave a second thought. Right now I love what I do, as always. Selling it is never an option as I am yet to explore many opportunities.
9. How many hours do you spend per day working on the website?
Well this is one part budding bloggers find hard to believe, but I actually spend average of 18hours daily blogging, that’s all I do for now. I have great passion for news reporting as a journalist and whenever I am on my system, it’s not just a job, it’s a hubby.
10. How do you feel owning a website with more viewers than that Nigeria’s number 1 financial newspaper, BusinessDay?
It is an accomplishment I didn’t think will come so soon, but I do know I could surpass them some day. Right now I feel the need to look beyond the site that I looked up to as a role model (BusinessDay) and focus on the ones above me, there is a lot more work to be done, the competition is still much severe and I look forward to hang on with the best bloggers in the world.
Finally, the gentleman was earning N63,000 as a contract staff in the bank just last year. Today, he makes N1.5m monthly from his blog, more than the pay of Senior Managers in many banks.
SEE ALSO: FROM FUN TO MILLIONS: HOW SEUN OSEWA BUILT A MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR ONLINE VENTURE WITH NAIRALAND
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