Oduntan Stephen may appear as your regular guy, as young as he his, but the 21-year-old Pharmacist, a typical Nigerian Dude from Ogun state Nigeria, Studying in Kakatiya University India, is the founder of one of Nigeria’s biggest Blog websites, Gistsvilla.com. He speaks with TOMTUNEZ MEDIA on his plans to reinvent the platform, challenges he has had to deal with and a whole lot of other issues.
HOW did Gistsvilla come to be?
I have actually dreamt of owning a website long back when i was in ss2 that was back then in Nigeria. But unfortunately school was so strict then so i had to stay focused. I have never dreamt of becoming a science student, I had passion of becoming a computer student but things just turned out differently. I am good internet user and I was actually undergoing some training in web design. And then, I did a check and I discovered that most bloggers have no knowledge about web designing.
What they do is, they outsource their design and programming jobs to outsiders and those ones build based on their own understanding. But as one who has the knowledge, I know what is lacking in different platforms in Nigeria. So I built a website to address those challenges. That was how we started. I have opened several websites starting from Using Wapka.Mobi Platform, My first website Was Steveprofile.wapka.mobi, That was a forum site, But i had issues of marketting and having traffics because global communication was too low and expensive then. And also I just want a more advance portal website.
To be honest i learnt all this myself, I started learning all this Using 2go and i had lot of webmasters friends there. So i always write down HTMLS, CSS scripts on papers, I always tear my sheets from school and write Codes everywhere, I was just fond of Coding, Whatever i dont understand i take my time to search it on google and learn new things, It became part of me. I have created other download portal websites such as Loyalcheats.tk, Steveplanet.com which they no longer existed And others that i cant remember before i finally wanted to have a permanent site. Owning a website is my passion, I am not after the Fame and Money. So When i got to India, I decided to stick with blogging and thats how Gistsvilla Came Up.
Why Did You Give It The Name GistsVilla?
Lets talk about mother tongue, because i have been to some places where they dont know the meaning of ‘Gists’. I think the word ‘Gists’ is a slang which means Gossips, oR Latest Trends happening around etc. So i tried to form the word with it. ‘Villa’ means a small Place, be it a community or a village. So i decided that why cant i make my site a ‘Latest Trend happening in the community’, In my Case i took Nigeria as Somewhat ‘Villa’ because We are in a small world and i also discuss about things abroad. So Gistsvilla is just like The Latest gists community as a whole website.
At what point did you realise it was something big?
I never Knew how it blew Up. I just use to hear my friends telling that my website always show up on google so i would be laughing taking it as a normal thing, Until all of a sudden i started seeing my pageviews getting higher like above 3000 views per day, When i noticed i got so much comitted.
I did most of the hardwork, then get most of the information we think Nigerians want to know. I have been doing it alone, I have only one person (Adelabu Israel) working for me. Its been 3 years now and i still believe we are just getting started.
How were you able to fund it at the beginning?
There is a quote that says ‘start anyhow’. When I started Gistsvilla back in 2015, there was no finance power. I just started anyhow I could. I started with Blogger. I was able to build a very good traffic with them. After one year, I saw that this is something promising. Then I started looking for how to raise money. I started with google adsense but with its was something i could’nt handle because i got banned 3 times. So i started with music promotion, Banner ADS, Text ADS, Artist Promotion, and Others. That was how i started getting funds Up till now and it’s really been good. I just hope one day i will start officially advertising for big companies, but that is when my website grows big like Lindaikeji or Naijaloaded. I am having a big competition with them.
What other concept are you exploring?
What i am trying to do is that i am trying to develop some of our already existing contents to build another platform of its own like our football highlights and our Comedy Videos. We want to be bringing Members more of that because i observed it is really lacking in Nigeria, I.e Where to download latest comedy videos, Or Immediate Goals Highlights.
I want to make the website More entertaining so i decided to be based on many niches to keep members entertained. I am also a Filmmaker, Graphics Designer differently from my career as a Pharmacist. Most of all I am a gospel artist and Planning to be a professional keyboardists. I have dreams above me because as an entertainer, I must try to participate in many sections.
Who do you regard as your biggest competitor?
Let’s say I never started because of competition. I don’t play football, I don’t play games, I don’t do a lot of things. The only thing I know how to do is to surf the internet and probably send out information. I don’t really think I’m competing with anybody because what i am doing is Gistsvilla, i don’t think anybody does it. We do music, videos, football highlights, Comedy Videos , news and such, and delivering the latest concept of this in a row. I don’t think there’s any platform that combines all of them together. So we are our own competitors.
What i am trying to do is that in the next four years, I will grow all these categories. I want them to have different templates, different interface, and different audience. So I don’t think I am competing with anybody.
How do you get songs for your website?
The Nigerian entertainment industry has become more flexible. More companies are coming in. Over the past years, Nigerian musicians actually call up bloggers to put their songs on their platforms. Some even pay to have their songs in blogs. The only way they used to monetise their content was by performing in shows or tours. But for their music, they hardly make anything from it. Today because of some music streaming sites, they can monetise. Once they put out a single, they send it out to bloggers, but some top artistes like Davido don’t do that anymore.
Have You Ever Encountered Some Issues While Dealing with Gistsvilla?
Of course, The issue came up back from home when i was addicted to Mobile Phone. It gets seized many times because i blog alot, I have had sleepless nights just doing my thing. Its just passion. I have also faced many discouragements from my closed friends because i wasn’t earning at first, And i waste up money just to get tools for my website. They saw it like throwing Money away and wasting time but i didn’t give up. Hardwork and prayers really pays, and thats what got the website famous.
Sometimes i am also busy with school schedules, So i always get delayed to publish posts that are breaking and relevant, But i have fixed that issue. “Consistency is what has taken us to where we are today, Gistsvilla has over 96 per cent of its views on direct visit. This shows how vision driven we are”.
As a successful blogger, could you give us advice about blogging?
Well, I am not well successful until i am worldly known, That is my dream. I am still upcoming. Firstly, I would like to emphasized about being a consistent blogger. That is the backbone of blogging. A blogger will always face discouragement times, Lack of tools, More Insight Less Interested or Lack Of passion. But Trust me when you are very consistent without giving up, You will surely be known somehow.
Secondly Dont be too much in hurry to fame or money, Just do your thing, Everything takes time. Make sure your have backup websites that can publish your contents and have backlinks, Its a way of Getting started.
Lastly, Make sure You have a unique niche, Soemthing you know its not common, Be it In Nigeria or worldwide, You will be ranked very well because these days there is nothing new, You just have to be focused on what you want.