How Much can you Make from a Website in Kenya?

You’ve probably heard about this person who runs a website and is making thousands of shillings every day by placing ads on their website. The next thought that comes to mind is that you can also do the same and earn some extra income. It is supposed to be passive income which you will make even when you are sleeping.

How true is this, and how easy is it for someone to make money from a blog? How much money can one expect to make?

We take a look at this question which many people have considered, and others have tried with mixed level of success (or failure).

Online Advertising

Online advertising has provided website owners and creatives with an opportunity to make money using their online content. Advertisers pay ad platforms such as AdSense to place their ads on various websites or apps, and these ad platforms share the revenue with the owners of the websites. The unique thing about this arrangement is that advertisers are often charged only when someone clicks on the ad. This means that if an ad is shown and it is not clicked, the advertiser will not pay anything (in most cases).

This advertising strategy is attractive because ideally, the advertiser is assured of value. On the other hand, the ad platforms try to march the ads with the audience that is most likely to click the ads. These ads are dynamically inserted into a website when one accesses the website, and the ads differ from one person to another. The ads you see on this website is not what someone else sees.

By allowing ads to be placed on their websites, websites owners can make some money.

How Much can you expect to Earn?

The amount of money that one can earn through ads is dependent on a number of factors. These include the number of views, the ad density – which is the number of ads showing on the page, the type of content, and even the source of the traffic.

The more the views that a website has, the more one is likely to earn because it means that there are more people who are likely to click an ad. Success here requires one to have a website that has a high traffic.

The number of ads displayed per page will also be another factor. Website owners usually decide how many ads appear on a page, and the higher the number of ads, the more the earnings. This is because there are higher chances of ads being clicked. However, too many ads negatively impact the user experience.

The source of your traffic also matters, and the earnings per click vary from one country to another. A website with visitors from the US will earn more per click than one with visitors from Kenya. This is because advertisers in those country pay more for the ads, hence more payment per click.

The quality of traffic also matters. If you have some niche traffic, like the legal profession, you are likely to get higher returns as opposed to websites with a general audience. This is because an advertiser targeting lawyers is likely to pay more than one targeting the general population.

How Much are People Making in Kenya?

How much money do website owners make in Kenya?

Based on the factors discussed above, it is extremely hard to tell a general figure for everybody. The amounts vary. However, from experience, I can share a few figures that I have seen people making from three different websites.

Type of WebsiteEarnings (KShs) per 1000 page views
News website300
Entertainment website115
Topical blog380

Based on above figures, one needs to have quite a huge traffic to make meaningful money from online ads. Even on YouTube channels, 1000 views will give you something in the neighborhood of KShs 75. A more realistic conclusion is that ad supported website is not a viable business in Kenya, for the amount of input required is too high, compared to the returns. (I wish people with websites and YouTube channels can share what they earn to give a better picture).

How then can one make meaningful amount of money from a website? How do the existing ones survive?

In my opinion, one needs to have a greater objective than just making money from ads. This way, a website can be sustainable since money from the ads will be a minor motivation for having the website.

A good source of income from website is the promoted posts, where website owners publish marketing content on a website at a fee. Popular websites charge anything from KShs 15,000 per single article, with niche website earning more to publish content that is industry related.

If you have some good traffic, this could be a good starting point.


Kune Foods is not about Racism

Posted on 3 min read

After a few years in the startup world, I came across some stats showing the startups that had managed to raise a significance amount of money in Kenya. The most noticeable characteristic is that almost all of them were led by white people.

This was already raising complains in the Kenya startup ecosystem, with people concluding that there is a racism problem in the way startups were funded. I also concluded so.

Last month, there was an uproar after Kune Foods raised 1 million USD to help solve the problem of lack of great food at a cheap price. The major concern was that a non Kenyan came to Kenya, identified a market gap which most Kenyans think does not exist, went ahead to raise an insane amount of money, then went ahead to publicize the raise by peddling half-truths, lies and a few info that are outright insults to Kenya.

Where is the Problem?

After I wrote this article about a ‘white male CEO need,’ I decided to further do some research about it and talk to the people who had received funding due to their association with a white person. I did not manage to get many people, but at least I talked to one.

From the discussion, it was clear that it is not about skin color, but other dynamics at play. The guy said that when he was looking for capital, he was not looking for black or white capital, but people who could afford to invest in his business. Unfortunately, he lacked a relationship with such people, and the person who helped him was a white guy from UK, who knew people who were willing to invest in the business. In exchange, he made him the executive chairman of the board.

With this guy as an executive chair, it was easy for him to bring on board people who were willing to invest because they knew the white guy. They were comfortable because they had one of their own who they could trust. It would have been impossible for the investors to leave UK, come to Kenya for the first time, identify a business and invest in it. That would just be too much risk.

This script looks very familiar.

Do Nairobians Invest in Businesses in Marsabit?

How many of us have helped an entrepreneur in Marsabit, unless if you were born there, or work in an NGO where supporting entrepreneurs in Marsabit is part of your work?

Even when we do it, it is about relationships. I have helped someone based in Marsabit, because I know them, and I got to know them because they are from Kisumu and we met in Nairobi. He is running a good business in Marsabit, and my support for him is not a vote against the locals in that area. I cannot support any local business unless I get to know them first.

How would I get to know them? They would need to reach out, or I would need to go there. I would also have to spend a lot of time doing some due diligence, in an environment and culture that I am yet to familiarize with.

Racist Capital?

Startups with expatriate founders seem to get the funding, but we need to find way to help local founders get the much-needed funds.

How do we create those relationships? How do we create structures that allow local founders to get funded? How do we create the right image as a country? How do we guard investor interests? I do not know, but we need to. Investments will not be done based on emotions, and it is not a matter of the rich helping the poor – a wide anthropological question that is beyond the scope of this article.

Unfortunately, the whole debate is reduced to skin color, something that shifts the responsibility of finding the solution to ‘other people’ because we are not the problem. If the problem is racism, then it is the racists who need to change. This shifts the burden of finding a solution to ‘them,’ and it does not help the situation.


When it Comes to Data, The More, The Merrier

Posted on 2 min read

What if I gave you a list of all the phone numbers that are registered in Kenya? What would you do with this information? Nothing much, unless if you wanted to blindly text every Kenyan. Perhaps, you could if you are running a presidential campaign, or sell Kensalt which is a product used by almost all Kenyans, but this would not even be a good marketing strategy.

What if I added the names in addition to the phone numbers? You could easily search for the phone number of any person you want, as long as you know their name. This could be useful, although you would need time to sort out through the different John Does. There would still be limited commercial uses.

Add the date of birth, and the data becomes more useful. You can now target people on their birthday, and you can as well decide to text all the people aged 18 years telling them of the great courses you are offering.  The data begins to make sense.

If location data is included, the data becomes a real asset. You can SMS people of a given location telling them about a new hospital that you opened. You could SMS residents of a given ward to ask them to support your political ambitions of becoming a Member of the County Assembly. Through a combination of age and location, you could text people who are likely to be parents and tell them about a new school you started.

Add gender, and you could message ladies of a certain region, telling them of your beauty products shop and the offers that you have. Since you have their names, you would be addressing them by name and it would feel even better.

We can add more and more data which can help make the data even more useful. For example, if we added work related data, something better can even happen. You could contact all the teachers and tell them of useful resources for their students. You could contact all the farmers and offer to sell them effective pesticides. You could target people just about to retire and help them invest their pension funds. Data becomes even more valuable.

If we added some information to that data, like the information on who is expecting a baby, we could easily sell to them various baby products. If we add information about who loves football, it would be easy to tell who to tell a sports jersey to. If we add information on who loves to travel for holidays, we can message people who are likely to take a vacation and give them irresistible offers.

The more the data points, the more useful is the data. Better, if one can have a real time access to that data, the more it would be easier to make use of it. This is one advantage that platforms like Google, Facebook and Twitter have.


Is Kenya Becoming a Retail Deathplace?

Posted on 3 min read

Kenya is quickly becoming a deathbed for giant retailers. In a period of about six years, several retailers that had a national presence have met their grave in what appears to be a national curse that befalls whoever attempts to win the retail

The state owned Uchumi Supermarket has died multiple deaths, and everyone knows that the remaining shell is just a cash cow for many corrupt stakeholders. Nakumatt followed suit, although it is not fair to call Nakumatt a supermarket, but a retailed supported money laundering platform. It was once the biggest retailer in Kenya but met its death in 2017.

Ukwala was rescued by Choppies, but this later found its death in the Kenyan Market. Shoprite also exited Kenya, although it was also exiting many other markets outside South Africa. Ebrahims closed down in 2019.

Tuskys Supermarket is on life support.

Impossible Failures

When Nakumatt shutdown, details of how the supermarket was operating shocked many. The supermarket was sustained by suppliers who supplied goods on credit and would be paid months later. Almost all the assets the company was using were leased, leading to a situation where the company was in debts worth billions of shillings but had very little assets. Disgruntled suppliers had nowhere to turn to.

This is the puzzle of the retailers that get goods on credit, sell in cash but suffer cashflow problems. What is killing them?

Bad management, fraud and outright theft are to blame.

Fraud in Family Businesses

One of the problems that have plagued major supermarkets in Kenya is that they are family ran businesses with little external oversight. There have been cases where directors and shareholder would get interest free loans from the businesses or simply get money transferred to their other companies.

In the case of Tuskys, this seems to be the cause of death. Nakumatt was also bleeding for the same reason. This could be a general pointer to how family owned enterprise are run in Kenya.

Theft in Retail

The retail sector is also a beneficiary of the rampant corruption that plagues the country. Kenyans holding political positions are extremely corrupt, but that is just a celebrity bias. Kenyans are corrupt at all levels, and any retail service provider will have to work very hard to stop their employees from stealing from them.

This is one reasons that were cited for the closure of Ebrahim supermarket, a 75-year-old retail chain in Kenya. Dishonest employees had milked it dry; never to rise again. I have personally witnessed an employee stealing from a supermarket and I have heard from a supermarket owner talking about the pain she went through as employees looted her business dry.

If you want to do retail business in Kenya, you must invest in good control mechanism.

The Future

Retails in Kenya seems to be a zero sum game. When Nakumatt died, Tuskys sprang up and grew quickly. With Tuskys on the deathbed, another giant is rising fast. Naivas now has 64 stores in Kenya, followed by Quickmart with 34 stores and Chanadarana with 20. Naivas and Quickmart have diverse ownership that includes foreign investors, and we hope that they will survive the curse that has stalked the Kenyan retail giants. Carrefour is also doing well, but they are all always doing well until the first domino moves and the whole thing crumbles.


2020 KeNIC Awards

Posted on 3 min read

The 4th annual .KE Registar Awards was held virtually on 2nd December 2020. This is an event that brings together all the .KE domain registrars together and is organized by KeNIC, the registry in charge of the .KE ccTLD. This year’s event had been postponed due to the Covid-19 Pandemic and was eventually held virtually.

In the awards, KeNIC CEO Joel Karubiu said that 2019 was a good year for KeNIC where 47k domain were registered, an improvement from the 39k domains that had been registered in 2018. Currently, the registry has already surpassed the 100k domain mark and prospects for 2020 seem to be even better.

The CEO also said that KeNIC has made a number of changes such as strengthening its governance by bringing more people into the Board. In addition, the support to the registrars has been improved and there are regular newsletters and webinars that are done by the registry.

Bob Ochieng’ who is the Stakeholder Engagement Senior Manager – Eastern & Southern Africa with ICANN talked about the resilience of the DNS during the pandemic, noting that this is something that had kept the world moving during the Pandemic. He said that KeNIC is a major stakeholder in keeping Kenyans online, and also noted that ccTLDs formed 7 out of 10 TLDs in the world, although none of these is from Africa. He argued that Africa needs to grow these numbers to strengthen its voice on the global scene.

Others present include Barrack Otieno – the General Manager Africa Top Level Domains Organization (AfTLD), KeNIC staff, Board members, registrars and other stakeholders who participated remotely.


Some of the awards given were:

.KE Registration award

Those nominated were the registrars with more than 2500 registrations during that period and were Truehost Cloud, Global Internet Fortunes, Safaricom, EAC Directory, Sasahost and Kenya Website Experts.

The winner for this award was Global Internet Fortunes with Kenya Website Experts as First runner’s up and Truehost Cloud as the second runners up.

Customer Support and Retention

For nomination to this category, a registrar needed to have more than 2000 domains, have a 24/7 customer support line, actively sends renewal notifications to clients, registered growth in the new registrations and renewal of domains, and has an automated domain renewal process.

The winner for this category was Kenya Website Experts with EAC Directory as first runners up and Sasahost as second runners up.

.KE Marketing award

Registrars were awarded for their marketing effort, which includes actively engaging with potential clients, running adverts, online marketing campaigns, direct sales and holding events to promote the .KE brand.

The winner for this category was deepAfrica with Kenyaweb.com as first runners up and Peak & Dale as second runners up.

New Registrar of the Year

This was for the new registrar who had been a member for at least six months and showed a remarkable growth.
Winner: HostPinnacle

Registrar of the Year

This was for the top registrar in sales who showed consistent growth with significant registration of new domains.
Winner: Global Internet Fortunes


Android Tax?

Posted on 1 min read

Can you imagine Google squeezing out 1.8% of all income from the poorest of all people in the developing world? It sounds crazy, but it could be happening.

Word going round is that Android phones exchange 260 MB of data every month with Google servers. This happens in the background even when no applications are running and even when using cellular network.

If this allegation is true, then Google has a big case to answer. 260 MB of data would easily go unnoticed in a world where people have access to a dedicated bandwidth of internet connection. But for the many parts of the world where people depend on cellular networks to access the internet, this is something of great concern.

According to the Alliance for Affordable Internet, the average cost of 1GB of mobile broadband in Africa was 7.12% of average monthly income in 2019. This implies that this background data transfer by Android phones would cost people 1.8% of their total income, if they have the data and keep mobile data enabled on their phones.

This is a major heist!

It could be the reason why many people suspect that telcos such as Safaricom steal their mobile data. It would be the reason why most people will keep mobile data disabled on their phones, unless they are actively using it. Android users could be paying a form of tax!

Is it true, Google?