Status of blogging in India: a quick appraisal in mid-2023
After two decades of constant rise, blogging in its original form has plateaued all over the world, and India is no exception. For self expression, content sharing and social engagement, individuals have hopped over to other platforms such as social networks and content sharing platforms (Facebook, Twitter/ X, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, etc.) in addition to instant messaging platforms/ apps (e.g. WhatsApp and Telegram). In fact, content creators do a form of blogging on these platforms.
Mainstream blogging is not growing, and in fact it is declining in terms of numbers. However, it has evolved into a powerful tool for various purposes, including journalism, marketing, education, and activism.
Indian blogging has transformed from personal to professional in a big way in recent years. That has led to a greater proportion of well-maintained blogs, blog monetization and blogs as a medium of commercial/ corporate communication. Individual bloggers who have professionalized their blogs have been earning good sums in some niches, and many bloggers have written books and launched their own product lines.
During the course of compiling the latest issue of the Directory of the Best Indian Blogs, we came across many blogs that had started as part-time blogs and have now turned into brands and their bloggers have become influencers in their area of expertise. But these are exceptions.
Like elsewhere, blogs in India have also significantly impacted traditional journalism. They provide a platform for independent voices and citizen journalism. Bloggers often cover stories and issues that mainstream media overlooks, and some of them offer a personal, detailed perspective on events. Their presence has increased transparency and diversity in the media, which is important in the present global trend of mainstream media acting biased this way or that. Of course, individual blogs tend to be more biased, sometimes indiscreet, but that is their nature; they provide public opinion, not editorial wisdom.
India's blogging ecosystem is incredibly diverse, encompassing various niches and genres. In English, the trend is towards professionalization. Blogs on technology and gadgets, finance and business, travel, fashion and beauty now dominate the scene, and most of these are professionally managed. Some of them are supposed to earn in millions. On the other hand, in Hindi and other Indian languages, blogs remain mainly a medium of self-expression. Literary blogs and blogs on ethnic subjects make a good part of language blogosphere. But they too earn, some or more, as explained later.
We have also noticed that new bloggers, especially those who are not too comfortable with writing, prefer visual platforms. Since YouTube and Instagram are free platforms and are very popular in India, opening a channel or account on these platforms is much more rewarding than a mainstream blog, that too with less effort.
Another small observation is worth sharing. Though it pays better to monetize a professional blog on which search engine optimization has been done, many popular Indian bloggers do earn substantial sums even from personal blogs and non-English blogs. Thanks to Google AdSense, popular individual blogs on some niches such as news and politics, gadgets, food and cooking, health matters, and fashion and beauty are reported to be earning many thousand rupees, if not more, from their blogs. Some bloggers have reported mentionable earnings from international affiliation platforms, and Indian companies and ecommerce platforms that offer affiliation. Some Indian bloggers in travel and technology niches compete well with international travel bloggers.