July 22, 2011

Blogosphere surveys, the blog directory and a sham!

We are extremely busy in reviewing the blogs that many Indian bloggers have sent us in good faith. We are clearing them at the rate of about 6-8 a day and yet the list is growing.

But we are forced to find time to write a hurried post to explain our sincerity and genuineness. We do not blame those who feel we are a sham; they must have had bad experience with the world-wide-web before. We owe the blogging community baptism by fire.


We have received some very uncharitable comments; only two mild ones on this blog so far but many on some blogs. We are not sure if some of the hatred is being spread by sites that feel threatened by our presence.

There must be many sites where we are being called names, but the one that we came across yesterday is worth sharing. The post and the many comments on this blog, in short, find us unworthy of judging others' blogs and even call us/the exercise a sham. Without having a look at all the numerous explanations we have given about the process we have adopted for our February Blogosphere Survey, June Blogosphere Survey and compilation of the Directory of Best Indian Blogs, and our admission of our weaknesses, they have declared us a sham.

These comments made us sad and one of us shot off a response to the post [and the blogger so large-heartedly put it there]. But when we discussed the matter among ourselves, we thought that we should rather invite criticism through a post on our own blog. Let us put our effort and our product to the harshest public scrutiny. So, this post.

So, visitors to this post, we pray to you not to leave the page without making a comment on what we are doing. Make it as harsh as you can, if you really feel like that. If you do not want to disclose your identity, do write anonymous comments. In case your blog is in one of our lists and you feel that it lowers the standing of your hugely popular blog, do tell us either through a comment or by emailing at kp.nd.2008@gmail.com and we'll immediately unburden you of that. It is no farce and we are serious, because we want to come clean - as clean as one could be - before we start our next survey.

[If you have landed here through a search and do not have the background of what we are talking about, do click here: Blogoshpere Surveys and the Directory of Best Indian Blogs.

July 18, 2011

The Top Blogs Directory: thumbs up to the best blogs !

This Directory of Best Indian Blogs has been created from the database compiled during Blogosphere Surveys conducted by us periodically. We did the first such survey in Feb 2011 and the second in June 2011.

What all is included in the Directory?

The blog directory includes Indian blogs with good quality of content by our reckoning. We have selected blogs in the Directory with care, and only the blogs that meet a minimum standard of quality of content, design and regularity have been included.

We are starting with a small directory of about 270 entries. We’ll keep expanding it and tweaking the categories. When the list goes up to about a thousand, we’d probably have to consider applying more stringent norms. We’ll not be able to include blogs that are not in English and those not being updated of late.

We have included Indian blogging communities and blogging portals too in the Directory.

Categories

Blogs have been listed under different categories. Many blogs tend to belong to more than one category, and we have included them only in the category to which they primarily belong. The expression in bracket [ ] after a blog’s name denotes the other category which the blog’s content predominantly pertains to.

Within a category, blogs have been arranged alphabetically. The operative part of the blog name has been used to index blogs. We could not take the blog title or tagline as these are likely to change over time.

Platinum, Gold and Excellent ranked blogs’ entries are in bold and in color.

As you might notice, the Personal musings category happens to be the biggest. It is partly due to the very nature of blogging and partly because many blogs are on so many topics that they could not be included in any specific category.

This Directory is a dynamic listing of great Indian blogs

Unlike Blogosphere Surveys, which close on a particular day, this directory is dynamic; if we find a good quality blog, we’d be glad to include that in the directory at the earliest. This also explains why you will find some very good blogs here that are not there in the latest Blogosphere Survey; we might have noticed them after the Blogosphere Survey.

If you feel that a blog belongs to some other category or the blog has changed its tagline, do write to us. Do also suggest a good blog for inclusion in this Directory. The email ID for correspondence is: kp.nd.2008@gmail.com.

If your blog is listed in the Directory of Best Indian Blogs, you may consider putting this badge on your blog. For this, just need to just copy the code below and paste it into an html/java widget on your blog. 

<a href="http://indian-blog-list.blogspot.com/" title="Indian Top Blogs"><img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/tRl8BxyNLm8ZYQq9DgT7m_HwKcnVqv2o6h8Dh461YfUWey5cY2ITpMxsmTtaPAAxsS8swGzS13NOZg=w1708-h960-no" style="border: 0;" /></a>

 It will appear like this on your blog:


Do link on this to visit the Directory of Best Indian Blogs.

July 13, 2011

Directory of Indian Blogs: top blogs we noticed

the directory badge
Thanks for the overwhelming support you - the Indian bloggers - gave to the June Blogosphere Survey of Indian Blogs. We are committed to bring quality blogging in India to the fore, though with limited resources. We’ve decided to go slow, but steady.

We told you long back that a blog directory was in the offing. We had a list of over 900 blogs that had passed our computerized filtering based on content, design and regularity. After a visit to the blogs again and again to see that (i) they continued to carry good content, (ii) they were being updated regularly, we came out with around a hundred blogs that had not been ranked as Platinum, Gold or Excellent blogs. 

Our search further into the blogosphere gave us many more blogs that were excellent by all standards, some so good that we’d have given them top ranking had we discovered them before June. After a while, we had to stop surveying the blogosphere and start screening our new finds.

We are almost ready with about 260 blogs that go into the Direcory of Best Indian Blogs. We are alphabetizing and linking them in different pages as the list would become unwieldy if we put them all together in one page. The directory should be out in a week’s time.

What have we learnt during compilation of the Direcory of Best Indian Blogs that we can share with you? 

July 7, 2011

Blog and live happily ever after…

Before I take you to the joy of blogging, may I ask you three question? 

Let me begin by asking: Why at all do you blog?
You purpose or provocation could by any - informing people, sharing thoughts, keeping in touch with friends, selling products and services, making money, or just keeping an online diary of whatever comes to the mind. 

My second question: What do you gain from blogging? Your answer could be any - getting dollars, supplementing business, helping build brand, informing people about your latest activities, promoting a social cause, or just satisfying your urge to create something. 

Lastly, may I ask you: What do you lose in blogging? With so many free blogging platforms available, I don’t think you will lose in terms of payments for site designing and ISP charges. If you are a regular blogger, chances are that you have spend a lot of time and energy in starting and maintaining the blog. If you have done so without enjoying blogging, you have definitely lost a lot as blogging became a monotonous drudgery for you and probably it also did not give you enough monetary returns. 

Blogging should be a win-win, rather than win-some-lose-more exercise. The blog should flourish and it should give you joy. For that to happen, you need not spend huge sums or great amount of time learning technology. You just need to look at your attitude toward blogging. 

You need to love three things about blogging: the subject matter, the process of blogging and the blog itself.

First and foremost, you must love the subject of your blog. Don’t blog on a subject that does not interest you. A friend of mine opened a blog on technology only because he felt it would give him great number of visitors and big money. Well, yes, within a month, the hard labor paid: he started getting over a hundred visitors a day and some visitors even clicked on his advertisements. He was so enthused that he started writing one post a day and tried some tricks to make it more popular. When I met him after about a year, he had abandoned the blog and started one on high heel shoes. I had known that he would leave the first blog sooner or later and I also know that he will leave the second blog too. [If it gets him good dollars, he might continue blogging, though.] I am no astrologer but I knew of his first blog’s fate because I also knew that he had no real interest in technology. He started the blog only to earn quick bucks. He was influenced by some advice on the web about making a blog popular and earning big dollars from it. He now tells me that writing posts day after day on technology was a frustrating experience and towards the end he had started just copying and pasting matter from other websites to keep the blog going. His second blog? Well, he found lots of photos of women's shoes popping up on sites he visited, and after a bit of research, found that it paid well too (It handsomely paid at one time.). No particular interest, no expertise.

I have many such examples. I also have examples of blogs that produce quality stuff because the blogger is in love with the subject. No wonder, such blogs are running quite well. For these bloggers, money is often not the aim; the blog gives them the satisfaction nothing else would give.
When you love the subject, you tend to create original stuff and give expert advice. Even if you are not an expert, you can generate spirited discussion. You get fresh ideas and viewpoints when you compose a post. Chances are that over time, you get good number of visitors. On top of good posts, if you use the tricks of the trade to get more traffic and place advertisements to monetize the blog, you might get really good sums of money too. Whether you get great traffic and money or not, you have already earned a great deal if you have been enjoying writing the stuff.

It may not be practical to think of a ‘paying’ subject and then start loving it. And it seldom works that way. So, do the reverse: blog on topic(s) that you love. If, however, you are blogging for business and have been suffering because you don’t like the subject, do carry on with the blog – but when you prepare the profit-and-loss account, consider the hours you spent in cursing the blog... that is your loss.



Second, you must love the process of blogging. You must love composing posts, responding to comments, experimenting with the blog's design, adding elements to improve readability and visual appeal, and so on. If you love the subject but do not get joy in writing good quality posts, adding a much-needed graphic and interacting with your visitors, it will show badly on your blog. 

Unless you maintain the blog for secretly writing your diary, the blog is for sharing your world-view with people. If you do not love the creativity associated with blogging, you are probably in a wrong place; you should be maintaining a static website where you keep stuffing information without caring whether anybody likes that or not. So, if you want to derive happiness from blogging and sustain it for a long time, you must make blogging your hobby.

Third, you must love the blog – the end product. You must be in love with your blog. It must reflect your thoughts and, if possible, your personality. If it is a personal blog, it should be your online alter ego. If it is a blog on your profession, it must present your ideas and knowledge in the best possible way. 

You must feel good when you visit the blog. You must love it the way a child loves her toys. Only such an involvement with your blog will give you the incentive to maintain it in good shape, update it regularly, and keep working for its improvement. You must be satisfied with the blog to the extent that you would like to show it off as a piece of art, a creation. [Though in reality, it’s good to be modest about it, isn’t it?]

By the way, in a blogosphere survey in 2012, Technorati found that about two-thirds of regular bloggers did blogging for the love of it, not for money. Things have changed since then and more people are blogging as business, some making good money. Yet, let me tell with about ten years of blogging experience and after browsing thousands of blogs while compiling blogging directories that blogs that die an early death or that somehow linger on belong to those who do not love the three essential loves of blogging. 

So, fall in love with your blog and live happily ever after.

P.S.: Browse this post in a hurry or leave it unread if you are approaching blogging with the sole motive of making money. Being here longer might harm your short-term monetary interests!