Posted in Of Bloggingly

Of Blogging and Money

WordPress (Courtesy: Pixabay)

I wanted to call this Of Blogging and Commerce, or The Commercial Side of Blogging, or to be more specific, The Commercial Side of Blogging (Or Lack Of). I could have called it Making Money By Blogging, but that would be too click-baity. And obviously, inaccurate.

It’s my three-year blog anniversary this week. Technically, it would be four years in July, but it was in late May, 2014 that I started to randomly ramble here, for an average of two times a week till now. I know I should celebrate in some way, but I feel bittersweet about the whole situation.

Bittersweet, isn’t that an interesting word? It’s like you take something unappealing, and add just a dash of pleasantness to it, to make it digestible. Not that that is exactly the way I feel about what I’ve been doing here. I would have chucked it without a second thought if that was the case. The number of times I’ve been moved, excited, challenged and straightforwardly entertained by some of the things here, are enough to make me want to ask for more. Which is why, I am asking for more.

Today I’d like to share some of the things that may not be bitter, but aren’t sweet enough either. Mind you, much of that is my own lack of expertise in balancing flavours, but not everybody’s a natural chef, are they?

First then, the title. My blog has never been SEO-friendly. That simply means it doesn’t show up on the internet all that much. None of the posts do, and I’ve written over 550. It’s the title. If I had called my essay today by the click-baity title above, I know many more people would have read it. But, there’s a choice I make with every title. I do make the URLs more internet-friendly sometimes, but my content in general is usually too niche, and individual, to get broad attention. I’ve been doing this for three years now, and though people tell me lovely things in the comments about why they read my blog time to time, if I had to present what makes Of Opinions work in a board meeting, I’d have a blank white board, throw my hands up in dismay, cry out “Baah!” Blackadder style, and walk away.

Blog (Courtesy: Pixabay)

But, I do know that new people drop by nearly everyday, and some people stick around and sample what’s on offer from time to time. And for that, I’ve been largely dependent on the WordPress Reader. But, the WordPress Reader has become less and less text-friendly over the years. I’m sorry, but words are all I have to take your heart away. Of Opinions has never been a visually-driven blog, nor is it likely to be. However, before I could depend on an attention-grabbing opening paragraph, with or without visuals, to entice readers, which just doesn’t work anymore. I’m so grateful that WordPress still offers a seemingly unlimited word count, but I’d like it to practise some technical wizardry in making the words count themselves.

Although, that might have something to do with me too. In three years, I would have expected my writing to grow. Especially in a medium like this, where you have to make compromises to grab as much attention as possible. But, I haven’t. If anything, I’ve become even more self-indulgent in my writing. I want to write more lucidly, succinctly. Write shorter sentences, make every word indispensable. I’ve always suffered from this. It’s not just for the social media attention span that I want this for myself. I am a critical reader, and I can’t bear fluff in things. I like brevity, straightforwardness, minimalism in everything. Something I don’t get in anything I do.

A good habit I used to have, and perhaps the main reason I accumulated my readers in the initial year and a half, was consistency. I published, as much as I could, on certain days, at certain times. I don’t know exactly which American time zone WordPress operates by, though of course, there will be a vast difference from it with the Indian Standard Time. This matters, because I miss out on many community activities, or don’t always get to post my content at an optimal time. The highest number of readers I get are from the US, followed by India, and though I don’t write thinking of a specific audience, it would still be nice to know when would be the right time to schedule these things.

Writing (Courtesy: Pixabay)

What has all this got to do with money, you say? Ah, well, I thought I would be making some. Not that this has ever been a job, or a business, but I would have liked it to be an established brand by now, a platform for branching out into different things. I always placed value on interaction. That was the only thing I measured the success of a post, and this blog in general by – comments. Not likes, not views, but comments. And that has massively deteriorated over the last year and a half.

I write these things to start a conversation. And it’s just as dissatisfying to get little to no response as it is in real life. I am an avid commenter. I have no qualms in sharing my thoughts, and learning something from the other person through the process. I have learned so much through WordPress – I’ve been turned on to so many books, concepts, ideas, artists etc. – that I don’t think I would have anywhere else. It’s a great place to discover things that are underground. And I love sharing my enthusiasm for that with the other person.

I felt this most when I released Of Opinions – the book – on the last day of February. It really felt like the culmination of the Of Opinions project. Like I did not have anything more to say on the subject, it’s all done and dusted. Even if I paid 35 dollars for my domain, which reminds me from time to time that I should keep Of Opinions going. See, it’s investing money that is making me stick around rather than making money, for I always knew Of Opinions would never make money, book or blog.

But that shouldn’t be the reason to go on doing this for another year, should it? I haven’t written anything since March. Well, maybe an essay or two, but I haven’t been feeling it. I have posted a book review, will be posting more in the next few days, but as far as whatever it is that makes Of Opinions what it is, I am stumped.

And on that note, I would just like to say, thank you for reading Of Opinions for the last year!

What are the blogging troubles you face? Any ideas for mine?

I’ve joined Instagram. Come and say hi!

Check out Of Opinions on Goodreads here, or read a free sample/buy a copy on Amazon here.



Writer, Blogger, Kate Bush Fanatic

25 thoughts on “Of Blogging and Money

  1. I have never blogged for any other reason than to share what I think. (OK< my first blog, which still exists, is for family. When the eldest was in the military it was better for him to check one site on his 'time' at a fob than go to emails and try to download photos.) I know people can make money doing it. One of my favorite daddy bloggers now writes his blogs around some product he is 'advertising' (and I don't enjoy them as much). I purchased your book, haven't read it yet…but don't feel bad. I often buy books and they sit around for months before I get them read! The only trouble I have had is not being able to interact properly on WP the last month.

    1. Oh, take your time Kris! At least, you want to give it a shot, unlike many people who aren’t interested!
      I think having a blog for your family is a lovely thing. Those are the reasons blogging began anyway. It was just for people you know, who share similar interests. Like people used to make cards, or little gifts and treats for their family, friends or neighbours, and now they can just send something similar on the internet!
      I have stopped reading/watching so many bloggers once they’ve started pushing products. I was worried whether I’ll come across as that whilst promoting my book. That’s why I haven’t gone overboard with the promoting.
      Why have you been unable to interact here? Is it a wi-fi issue?

  2. Goodness, where to start on this one! First, congratulations on the milestone. No matter where your state of mind or your writing is regarding Of Opinions (and I’ve been there on my blog too) you should be proud of doing this for so long. That is something to celebrate. I started my blog merely to express some ideas, and with a few exceptions, my first year of blogging I would say leaned more towards the pretentious side, and its hard for me to read those ones these days. I didn’t engage with many other bloggers so I had no baseline to compare with. Gradually that started happening, and I became aware of writing shorter and more focused posts. I also started hearing about SEO, and monetizing for the first time. I was never convinced that anything I did could ever be construed as anything more than niche, so I eventually came to the realization that those were wasted efforts on my part. I know other bloggers that do, and I don’t begrudge them anything, but they also tend to write the types of blogs that are geared to sponsoring contests…or getting people to work with them because they are lifestyle or travel type blogs. You and I are more of the dreamer type of writers, and its okay to dream big, but I think I just realized that I’d rather keep my dreams small…and maybe be surprised when something unexpected happens. For me that has been becoming friends with some of the artists I have written about. Never saw that one coming, but its a good feeling.

    Your work never ceases to amaze me. I’m not just saying that. You have so many ideas where I just say-WHOA! My world has been rocked. I say keep doing what you are doing. I just found you on Instagram, but I will say that the big one for social media, and getting your work out there more is, and probably always will be Facebook. I know you have some trepidation regarding it, but truthfully, were it not for that, I probably would have given up awhile ago. The disappointment of WordPress is real. I shouldn’t have to monetize my blog to compete with the ‘big boys’. I feel like words are starting to matter less on these pages sometimes. I have a visual blog, but it doesn’t necessarily help either. Monochrome Mondays has gotten me connected with some more photographers, which is good, but I’m not connecting with pure writers like I once did it seems. I knew when a new blogger told me regarding one of my posts that maybe I should consider writing shorter posts that it was a problem. Yes, I did write longer posts but I eventually decided to try keeping them 1000-1200 words. The one he commented on was one of my Photo Shuffles, which are even shorter than that! Honestly I was so incensed at the suggestion and thought, what is the point then! How dumbed down do we have to get.
    In any case, happy blogoversary.

    1. There definitely is a dumbing down, which irks me too. That’s one of the main reasons I wanted to do a book, these posts would actually be “short” in that medium. I don’t enjoy it either, and I’m not sure whether I want to do things this way anymore, especially when WordPress keeps changing so much.
      I don’t want to do this on Facebook because this blog feels like a secret life (albeit very open!). I am much more reserved in real life, and I don’t think most people I associate with will understand why I do this. I want to protect it, even if I am connected with people who could take it far. I told some people about my book, but the words “Amazon” and non-academic essays did not interest them. I like writing for strangers, because there are no expectations from either side. Facebook just seems to be the place where there are expectations, everyone has to have a glittery life, and I refuse to be a part of that.
      I actually wrote SEO-friendly articles for a living for a long time. I know how to make them, but I DETEST them, and will not participate in doing them for my own writing. I like to believe there is a more intelligent internet (I got inspired to write my blog by watching TED Talks), and that is the audience I seek, though it seems it’s going to take me a long time to get there. The thing is, I got them right from the start here on WordPress, but it’s becoming harder and harder to come by.
      There have been quite a few videos in the past week or so on Youtube talking about how it has changed from just being a personal, relatable form, to something more professional, a business. Like a low-budget advert by a non-celebrity. I think that applies to other social media too. All the ones who are doing well are doing a business, even if it’s using a constructed personality, a carefully curated life, to sell a lifestyle. Of course, there are some genuinely cool and authentic people you can find who are doing well too, but social media has become more and more of a traditional media, which makes me sad.

      As for Instagram, I just joined because my phone wouldn’t allow me to look at other people’s pictures unless I made an account! I am a hopeless failure at twitter, I doubt I’ll be an instagram queen. I do like the fact that it’s all about technique, no matter the subject. You can take a photo of anything, even your own nose day after day (I’m sure there is an account of that) and just be creative with it. I’ve just been taking simple pictures of books, because I’ve jumped onto the book blogging bandwagon (to have a niche, and to read more books), but it’s a very small community and I’m very unlikely to be a hit.
      However, in keeping with what you advised, I am amazed that *thousands* of people have read what I’ve written here over the years. That’s just unbelievable to me. Whether they liked it or not, they did clap their eyes on it. Hundreds did choose to engage with it, often leaving very perceptive comments. I can hardly believe it now, I would not have believed it three years ago.
      And I thank you very much for being one of them!

      1. I certainly do understand your feelings on social media, FB especially. I suppose I do better with it because I can tag the people I have written about, or post to fan pages which help with my views. Beyond that though, my work is strictly niche. People have asked me why I don’t sell my photos via the blog, or why I don’t become a professional photographer, and I think the answer to both is that I feel doing so would be a dumbing down of a different sort. So I decided awhile back to just write for me, and enjoy whatever results and feedback I get. It has been an evolution of course, but it feels so inexorably tied into me now that I cannot imagine not doing it in some form. I am working on my book slowly. It is something that will see the light of day sometime, but that doesn’t mean I want to force it.

        I completely understand also what you say about the reasons for writing a book. And I think in a way that is why I want to as well. Rambling on in a blog doesn’t translate to an entire chapter in a book. I wish it were not the case, but it is very much true. I will say that I have enjoyed your IG posts thus far. I know I haven’t commented yet but I like the interaction you are providing! I thought for sure Instagram would be a good medium, but I’m finding it less so, but I hope you find it works for you. I’m ambivalent about Twitter. Partly I think because you inevitably miss so much, or have to endlessly scroll to keep up with it.

        I am not surprised to hear the origins of your blog, and your desire for finding intelligent corners of the internet. I think WordPress can still be that depending on who we follow individually, but it can be hard to locate the kinds of bloggers I want to engage in. I think the search factor within WordPress is actually pretty lousy. It should not be so difficult to find engaging writers. Also, I think there is an ebb and flow to blogging in general, and I think this might be a downward trend right now. Hard to put my finger on it, but its just a gut reaction. I think you and I have discussed that before actually, but then again, we do have some enlightening conversations and its hard to remember everything!

      2. I have that feeling too. I really think the kind of platform WordPress provides maybe a thing of the past soon. There is no other blogging platform like it. Blogger doesn’t allow you to find readers or engage as easily as WordPress does. Plus, I’m so dependent of The Daily Post team to explain everything, which you don’t get anywhere else, not even Youtube. And all that costs money, which I don’t think investors will see the point of. Free blogging of this nature might indeed go away.

        You should definitely be a professional photographer! There are dimensions to your overall artistry, of course, but I really think your photography is outstanding. I hope NYC is the place that allows you to showcase it.

      3. I agree. There are positives, don’t get me wrong. The platform and ability to do things is great. The storage for images and videos is extremely good. Coming up on 150 posts that all have media and I’m nowhere near running out! Thats a very good thing. There are times I consider monetizing but ultimately I don’t think its for me.

        Thank you for saying that about my photography. I do enjoy it, but its such a competitive field. Not to mention that the kinds or methods of my photography are not where the market is today. Look at photos on Instagram that have thousands of likes. They have a style to them. I don’t dislike it….but its not the kind of photos I want to take. I am thinking of doing a gallery show again though 😄 Thank you for the kind words in any case!

      4. I am repelled by what is fashionable in images today. I hate glossy covers, unless they are actually on beauty magazines. I hate 90% of the book and album covers out there. I don’t use the word “hate” a lot, but you know the aesthetic I’m talking about.
        Which is why Just Kids even as a physical object appealed to me. That’s my aesthetic, and I don’t see much of that out there. I mean, it’s all so obvious. Why don’t some popular things just try to make you work a little? That’s why I don’t get why some book bloggers say they read comic books because they want something “quick”. I’ve read them all my life, and I take my time! You can pore over a panel for several minutes, and there are so many imprinted in my brain.

        Wow, a rant. I suppose there’s a first for everything!

        Anyway, before I display my self-absorption further, good luck on doing a show. Your photos definitely need to be seen bigger than a computer/mobile screen.

      5. So agree about comic books/graphic novels. I don’t read a lot of them but there are individual panels that might deeply move me the same way a passage in a book might, and I will be transfixed by it. Its been awhile since I looked at it, but Art Spiegelman’s Maus has many panels I can remember exactly that just….they just kill me for how beautiful they are.

        I do know the aesthetic you mean. Occasionally someone will get it regarding my photos and say something like, it looks like the way photos used to be. To me that is a massive compliment! It tells me that others are tired of the photoshopped force fed approach that is popular now. That’s my rant! Why spend 4 hours tinkering with one photo on your computer to make it allegedly ‘perfect’. I’d rather be taking more photos in that 4 hours. Thank you again for that compliment. I have been working on getting them printed onto a larger physical format so I can do a show. I’d actually love to do a mixed media show related to my blog posts but that may have to wait! I love our conversations Amrita!

  3. Last week in my Grade 9 business/computers class, I got the students to put together a “Dos & Don’ts” of Social Media presentation.
    And I was really surprised when they said ‘comment, no like’ on an instagram photo was a major faux pas.
    As for me, anyone can ‘like’ – but a comment feels like someone actually took the time to read. But it seems like I was a minority there!

    I seem to go through ebbs and flows of inspiration (and I know I’ll hit a wall in the next couple years when the project end will be so close/so far away) so you’re not alone in not feeling it.
    In any event, I always appreciate reading Of Opinions, whatever it is!

    1. There are so many social media things I don’t understand and am unaware of, that I am not even surprised by it anymore. I’ve been bookstagramming this week (I’m so hip, I know what it is), and it’s amazing how readers have so little time to read captions that come with a picture! I gave an actual thumbs up to a young person a while back, and he said I “like” him!

      Your style of blogging is definitely much more challenging than mine, so I understand that you must struggle with it sometimes (though it doesn’t seem like it!). I’m a bit of a reviewer now, and that is much harder than the frivolous, chatty thing I usually do. Don’t ever quit though, until you finish it!

      1. Well I’m guessing you’d take instagram by storm with your, at least, 1001 physical copies of albums! I’d suggest bottling up and preserving all that awesomeness (and I only use that word on special occasions) for us, old WordPress folks.😁

      2. Louis CK has a good bit about preserving the term ‘awesome’ for when something actually inspires ‘awe’ – so I’d agree that ‘awesomeness’ ought to be saved for only the most special of occasions too!

      3. I find it so hard not to be that annoying person who frowns the moment someone uses that word incorrectly. I hope it’s like smoking, something that goes out of fashion soon.

      1. Omg that is one of the most touching comments I have ever read. I’m just a normal person, like you. Keep up the great work!! ❤️❤️ I wanted to leave an encouraging comment to let you know that your words are not unseen. 😘

  4. hello dear Amrita!
    and so many congratulations to you on your anniversary!
    I’m sorry I haven’t read or commented for so long! My life has drastically changed in the past 8 months, please check out my blog if you want to learn more…
    Thank you for tending the fire of your own inspiration, it is its own beautiful prayer to live this way, expressing yourself to the world, and please don’t ever wonder if it is all for naught, it is meaningful, and so are the gifts of your soul. I have thought of you often and send you my love, no longer from the state of New Mexico, but now from Oregon, USA…

    1. Thank you very much Elka! I think we last spoke just before I had an operation, and you had very kind words to say to me about coping with my health. Thank you for your kind words again today. It does feel like I’m speaking to a void, but I tell myself, “grow up” and continue to write what I want!
      I hope you are well and happy in Oregon.

  5. Hello. I more or less stumbled upon your site via WordPress Reader. I began my blog about two years ago. I’ve discovered that I enjoy the writing process. Sometimes I have trouble coming up with story ideas, but so far I’ve kept plugging away.
    Like most/all of us, I don’t want to write in a vacuum. I like having a decent number of readers. I’ve found that finding and maintaining readers is a big challenge, an ongoing one.
    Anyway, I’m not sure if any of this relates to your concerns. I’ll end with this:
    Like anything else, writing can have a bunch of complications. But it’s a good thing to do!
    Take care —

    1. Yes, it is! Ideas come to me easily, and the scope of my blog is broad enough for me to ramble about practically anything. But, I was so continually spoiled by engaging and perceptive comments for the first 1.5 year, it’s been very hard to do without it! I still get ideas for blog posts all the time, but I rarely feel inclined to follow them through. But, that’s being defeatist, while writing is a privilege!

      Thank you very much for reading and sharing!

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