October 23, 2014

Season's greetings, 'Clean India' Campaign, blog review offer

Happy deepawali to all our blogger friends and other visitors. For non-Hindus, let us explain this occasion a bit. Deepawali is a Hindu festival of lights and its spirit is to fill all human beings with light in their lives. We wish your life full of light: prosperity, good luck and wisdom.

ITB's small contribution to 'Clean India Campaign' and a blog review offer to bloggers

We have updated the terms on the suggestion of a blogger friend, so that such blogger friends can also participate who do not want to write a pledge on their blogs as this does not suite their subject.

India's PM, Narendra Modi, has been taking a number of grand initiatives and seeking public participation in such initiatives. One of these, in which everybody can participate, is Swachh Bharat or Clean India Campaign. Those of us who have seen filth in Indian cities and villages alike will understand why this campaign is so so important.

Indian Top Blogs would like to contribute to this initiative, in a small, bloggy, way. For the next few weeks, we are generally free from compilation of various blog directories, so we'd initially run this campaign for one full month - from 23rd October to 22nd November.

You can participate in the campaign if you are:

  • a blogger who'd write a pledge on his /her blog. In that case, follow the guidelines below and we'd review your blogs.
  • a blogger who does not want to write a pledge on his / her blog. In that case too, we'd review your blogs if you follow the guidelines below.
  • not a blogger. In that case, just write a pledge to help clean your surroundings in whatever way, by making a comment on this very post. We value your support too.

The pledge need not be so difficult that you will not be able to honour it. In fact, it could even be a small commitment to inculcating the sense of cleanliness among those around you, e.g. teaching your children not to throw wrappers and polythene bags anywhere other than dust bin / trash can and pick up every bit of trash that they create during picnics.

To participate in this campaign as a blogger, you just need to do the following:
  1. Create a good post on your blog on any aspect of cleanliness. Better if it is informative. 
  2. Somewhere in the post, add a small pledge to contribute to keeping India clean. 
  3. Somewhere in the post, do also mention that you are contributing to the Clean India Campaign of IndianTopBlogs. Do link this to the present post on ITB ( http://www.indiantopblogs.com/2014/10/diwali-and-clean-india.html ) so that more bloggers know about it.
  4. Send the URL of that particular post, by making a comment below. Please do not forget to include your email ID in the comment as we'll use this email ID to send blog review to you.
  5. Another task, which is totally optional: If you like, you can ask your blogger friends to participate in the campaign. Ask these bloggers to also write in their comments:'I was encouraged to participate in ITB's Clean India Campaign by .....[Your blog /email ID]'
  6. If you do not want to write a post on your blog, you need to write a pledge as a comment to this post as given in the screen shown here. However, you will need to give URL of your blog and write a pledge on the comment itself.
Blog review giveaways from IndianTopBlogs
  1. We'll do quick review of all blogs that participate in Clean India Campaign as per the above guidelines. Our quick reviews will bring to your notice some aspects of your blog that need to be improved.
  2. We'll do detailed blog review of 3 top posts . [Remember our highly acclaimed blog reviews that we carried out during 2011-13?] We'll send the reviews in confidence to email IDs of winning bloggers.
  3. We'll also do detailed review of blogs of bloggers who encourage other bloggers to participate. You get one detailed review for every 10 blogs that participate in this campaign due to your efforts. We'll send you an email at the end of the campaign period asking you to send us the names of blogs that you want us to review in detail.
Now some terms and conditions
  1. We'll accept multiple blogs from a blogger but will review only one blog in detail if more than one of his / her posts are adjudged the top posts. 
  2. However, we'd review more than one blog of a blogger if he / she  encourages more bloggers to participate in the campaign. For example, a blogger whose post is adjudged one of the top posts and makes 20 other blogs to participate gets 3 detailed reviews from us.
  3. There is no limit to quick reviews of the same blogger's blogs.
  4. We'll announce the top posts and top referrals in a post on ITB around 25th November.
  5. We'll keep the quick / detailed reviews of blogs confidential and not share these anywhere other than with the email ID given in the comment.
  6. Our critical comments in blog reviews are meant to be friendly advice given with the sole purpose of improving the blog. It should not be taken as berating of the blog.
  7. Cross-references (A giving the name of B, and B giving the name of A) will not be counted for blog reviews.
  8. Commercial blogs and blogs by institutions will not get reviews from us.
  9. Any post written before or after the campaign period will also not count towards reviews.
  10. Pledges made by copy-pasting others' pledges will not qualify for blog reviews.
  11. If a blogger does not want to be identified when his / her post is adjudged one of the top posts or he / she gets blog reviews by way of eliciting others' participation, he / she may write so in the comment itself. We fully respect privacy concerns of bloggers.

October 20, 2014

Give Blogger posts relevant URLs and search terms

This is the sixth post in the series on Blogger's great features. The complete list of these posts is given at the end of this post.

Giving the post a relevant URL

Do you know that Blogger lets you give a URL that is search friendly? Or that you can tell Google what the post relates to? It is so simple, you'll feel why you didn't discover it till now.

First, let us show you what we mean. Suppose you have a blog on Indian spices and your latest post is titled something like this: 'Grinding too fine robs dry ginger and cinnamon of flavour'. Blogger would automatically give the post a URL something like this: 'www.genuinekochinflavours.blogspot.com/2014/10/grinding-too-fine-robs-dry'

Now, if someone looks for Indian spices, ginger, cinnamon or cooking, there are chances that this post will not come quite high on the search page.

Let's play two tricks here: One, give the post the following name: 'www.genuinekochinflavours.blogspot.com/2014/10/Indian-spices-cinnamon-ginger'. Two, tell search engines that the post is about Indian spices, cooking, dry ginger, cinnamon and aroma. You will agree that the new arrangement picks up a very relevant post when somebody searches with keywords related to cooking and spices. In addition, it also compensates for a rather confusing blog URL in the present case. 

Note that changing the post's URL is different from changing the blog's URL In the above example, changing from genuinekochinflavours.blogspot.com to greatIndianspices.blogspot.com or still better greatIndianspices.blogspot.com] requires owning the new domain name and then linking the blog with this domain name. We have talked about domain names in detail in this post: Giving the blog an independent domain name

On the other hand, using the post editor, you can change only the part of the URL which relates to the post. Still, it is a great value addition from SEO point of view, isn't it?

For doing so, go to the post editor and click on 'Permalink' in the column on the right. It will give you two options: 'Automatic Permalink' and 'Custom Permalink'. The automatic one is default URL and you can see it right there. If you click on 'Custom Permalink' and, in the text-box under it, put a sensible and relevant expression, that will replace the automatic URL. Click on 'Done' below it and you have given a new URL to your blog post!

Making the post even more search friendly

You can further make your post SEO-friendly by giving a search description to the post. The text-box to put 'search description' lies just under 'Permalink'. Google likes you to put a human readable description of the post and not a list of keywords; however, you can play with keywords in an intelligent way. In the present example, you can write 'Indian spices, cinnamon and ginger, give great aroma when cooked right'.

All posts in this series:
1. An introduction to common features of Blogger platform 
2. Some Blogger features explained
3. Labels, widgets, themes and blog permissions
4. Export, import and back up your blog
5. Blog's html, and money making from Blogger blog
7. ... to come soon