2019 Indian blogosphere survey

We are producing a detailed blogogsphere survery of Indian English blogs after a long gap. If you want to see our earlier ones, we have given links to them at the end of this post.

Let us break the survey into sections for easy readability. You can jump to the section using their hyperlinked headings.

1. How many blogs are there in the Indian blogosphere?
2. Are the Indian English blogs driven by the intent of making money?
3. What are the main blogging niches of English blogs in India?
4. How long will blogging survive the onslaught of other social media formats?
5. What are ITB's summary observations on the Indian blogging scene [in English]?


Number of English blogs on India and by Indians


First of all, it is difficult to define blogs. All sorts of long-form posts on social sites are now taken as blogs. Then there are video blogs, websites maintained as blogs, blogs maintained as websites, and a range of other combinations that make it very difficult to come to even a working definition of 'blog'.

Next, what are Indian blogs? Blogs written on India? Blogs by Indians? Blogs that are located in servers within India? Perhaps a mix of them all.

Let us assume that a good number of 'standalone' blogs or those on purely blogging platforms such as Blogger, Tumblr, Wordpress[.com], Medium and LiveJournal have closed down and their number has not been compensated by new blogs because such blogging is no more a priority activity among the youth. Let us also assume that a large number of people on social networking platforms, especially Facebook and LinkedIn, also write long-form content that qualifies as 'blog'. Add the regular postings on video channels on YouTube and new video sharing platforms, and also on Instagram 'blogs'. This new blogging activity could be much more than the loss of numbers in mainstream blogging on blogging platforms and standalone blogs. 

In view of this, it is almost impossible to give even a rough guesstimate about the number of Indian blogs. However, it can safely be said that blogs of all sorts occupy a significant part of social media.

Intent of Indian bloggers: money making from the blog is not still the prime goal


Indian bloggers have generally been slow in seeing blogging as a viable mode of earning. Many people, especially techies, started their blogs soon after the advent of blogging and made money by applying SEO tricks. Many started blogging to express themselves and for online networking. Only a few bloggers maintained their blogs professionally and moved along with or ahead of search technologies.

In the recent years, these general blogging trends continue:  opening a blog on a free blogging platform, maintaining it with zeal for some time and then ignoring it; opening multiple blogs and experimenting with genres, SEO etc; language blogging; associating blog with social networks; opening blog on social networks rather than opening one on free blogging platform or as a standalone blog; vlogging on YouTube or regional versions, and blogging on Instagram; etc. 
 
Indian blogging behavior
Only a few bloggers sustain the blog beyond initial spurt.

What is rather new to Indian blogosphere is an urge among the young ones to open blog for earning. This has led to many distortions in regional language blogging (This is important because India is a land of many languages, some of which are spoken by many million people), but not much in English blogging in India.

The 'blogging for earning' trend has resulted in many top-class blogs from individuals, couples, friends and their small businesses. Many of these bloggers manage their blogs as business rather than hobby, and add other streams of earning such as selling courses, opening a service agency, offering discounts on purchase through their blogs, and various forms of affiliation. In this respect, Indian blogosphere is fast becoming a mirror-image of more mature blogospheres.


Main blogging niches of English blogs in India


For this, we re-checked our old database that had once swollen to over 50,000 blogs. After removing blogs that had become inoperative or had been removed, we were left with a few thousand. Together with this, we looked at our old directories as well as compilations by others. We find that the following niches are popular among Indian bloggers in English:
  • Self-expression (usually current affairs or creative writing)
  • Technology (mostly coding, advice, news and updates, gadget reviews)
  • DIY, tutorials (mostly video blogs/ channels on YouTube)
  • Lifestyle, fashion, beauty and fitness (the topics are often mixed, but all relate to looking good and maintaining oneself)
  • Book reviews
  • Finance (mostly details of financial products and updates, taxation, stock market)
  • Travel (often with photography and cultural aspects)
  • Food (traditional and/ or contemporary recipes)
Indians are great fans of cricket, Bollywood music and films. Yoga has originated in India and has become popular too. However, there are not many blogs on these areas, not to speak of good blogs.


The future of blogging


Well, this section relates to blogging everywhere, not only in India.

Blogging in its old form and format has undergone a big decline - in India as elsewhere. People no longer throng to blogging as they used earlier, for social networking. Social networking sites and apps have definitely impacted this form of blogging - and therefore questions arise on the future of blogging.

We believe that in its new avatar that focuses on new technology and monetization, blogging will remain a prime segment of social media. Since blogging has permeated to other social media formats (think of Facebook and LinkedIn pages), this is growing in new formats. In addition, blogging as a concept itself has undergone change (for example, now you blog on Instagram when you post photos there, blog on Facebook by creating stories, blog on Pinterest by maintaining boards), blogging is blooming all around.

For those who blog professionally, the stand-alone blog is often the fulcrum of social media activities while landing pages, social networking etc revolve round it so that they work in synergy.

For savvy businesses, blog now occupies a place of pride in their web/ mobile ecosystem. It draws traffic, helps in SEO, brings in customer loyalty and helps the brand in many other ways.

Other observations on Indian blogging


Our other observations, which we could not include in above sections, are:

Earlier, there used to be many good blogs on portals of major media houses. Now there are very few good blogs on media platforms. What they call blogging now is re-publishing of their columns. Some even do not allow commenting on these posts, but all have social buttons for easy sharing.

Many old bloggers who used to write thoughtful posts regularly, without caring for earning, have died. Many others have become quiet. A part of this can be explained by the fact that many of such bloggers were in their 40s and 50s when blogging was at bloom and have now become old. But in other cases, it could be their frustration with standalone blogging: they were getting good comments earlier but not so anymore. Unless you have a high level of passion towards your subject, e.g. social service, you cannot sustain blogging: this level of passion is hard to live by without perceived returns. 

size of indian blogging
The total number of traditional blogs might be static with almost no growth.

In short, Indian blogging in English appears to be maturing and is now more goal oriented (the predominant goal being earning money). The number of standalone blogs and those on blogging platforms might be static or going down slightly while creation of long-form content on the web 2.0 (blogging in broad sense) is definitely going up.



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