November 30, 2011

The Best Blogs Directory is out!

 

We have uploaded the Directory of Best Indian Blogs.

If your blog is there in this directory, be ready for surprises. You – with PR 6 Google ranking, 1000 followers, 1000 Face Book fans -  could be sitting next to  a newbie but promising blogger. You could be a columnist, analysing heavy political or economic stuff and your blog might have the company of a blog sharing a jilted lover’s heart's pains. You could be a grandpa sharing your life’s experiences and you might find a neighbour blog talking of gadgets and blogging hacks. Maybe, you believe in using only the most respectful language; we give you the opportunity to sit close to a highly irreverent teenager’s blog. 

Do read the disclaimer given at the end of the Directory listings.
Do put a badge on your blog if your blog happens to be in the Directory. The html code for the badge is at the end of the Directory post.

You can see our posts on the process of compilation of the Directory and what the Directory contains in these posts:

 

Indian blog directory: an effort to list the best blogs

This is fourth post in the series on compilation of Indian blogs directory 2011. Today we share with you the results we have been able to achieve in compiling the Directory of Best Indian Blogs.

Believe us, we worked really hard in our effort to include as many good quality blogs as possible in the second edition of the Directory of Best Indian Blogs. At the end of the exercise, which we call Indian blogosphere survey, we scanned 30,000 blogs and ended up with about 650 blogs. As happened last time when we issued the first edition of the blog directory, we will be criticized for omitting some high quality blogs and including some ‘poor’ blogs. We sincerely apologize to the bloggers whose excellent blogs we could not reach, but we insist that each entry in the directory is a valuable blog.

See, what makes the task so voluminous
and why the 650 blogs are indeed so valuable

We admit that we have only been able to browse a small portion of Indian blogs – but we’re
sure of having seen a significant proportion of active Indian blogs. We have not come across any other such exercise in India. 


We had to leave out the majority of blogs that we browsed, for valid reasons. We also had to drop about a quarter of the blogs from the first edition of the Directory of Best Indian Blogs. Being irregular in posting was the biggest single reason for rejection, followed by major issues relating to loading, advertisements, navigation and readability. Some blogs had inappropriate content, some had turned totally into static websites, some had become private. 


We’ve accommodated blogs looking like web-magazines or non-blog sites when we found that they were regularly updated and had some element of interactivity.

Part of our data-sheet [blurred]
most blogs got rejected
on 1/more parameters

On quality, we need to concede that we couldn’t be too strict. We used a software and some statistical tools last time, but we realized that measuring quality in quantitative terms was fraught with strange inconsistencies. This time, our approach was more traditional. Bloggers whose blogs we’ve reviewed so far would vouch for it that we are very demanding when it comes to quality, especially of design and language. But if we applied those parameters in compiling a blog directory, we’d be left with only a dozen blogs. We didn’t want our exercise to be self-defeating. Hope, we make sense.


Some will question our calling the directory as Directory of Best Indian Blogs. We must make our stand clear as we do believe that the 650 blogs we have included in the directory are indeed among the best Indian blogs. These blogs meet a minimum standard of quality. They are regularly updated. They don’t have issues relating to readability. They do not have inappropriate content. Their design is not weird. They have at least some level of interactivity. Finally, the only site that manually checks so many Indian blogs has found them the best among the 30,000 that it scanned.  Hope, you don’t mind giving the ITB team a small bit of credit for their common sense, fairness and hard work. 


PS: In later years, the number of blogs in the Directory has come down to about 300 or less as we have applied stricter standards in scrutiny of blogs.

bedazzledeternally



Bedazzled
 http://bedazzledeternally.blogspot.com/
A blog by Bhargavi

Funny posts, personal rants, book reviews, art-related posts... the blog has evolved over the last three years I've been writing here.

Like me, the blog has many alter-egos and even I don't know who'll come out to blog next. Right now, the sarcastic one, Zulu is out on a rampage...


November 28, 2011

The vast variety of Indian blogs

This is the third post in the series on Indian blogs. Today we share with you the variety of Indian blogs and their categorisation in the Directory of Best Indian Blogs coming out on the 30th November.

Based on our experience while compiling the Directory of Best Indian Blogs in July 2011 and its updation now, we have tried to categorise the blogs according to their main theme(s).

This time, we have put blogs in more than one category when they have a good number of posts on a particular theme and will add value to that category if included there.

The categories are: art – audio-visual media - comments - culture - current affairs - economics – environment – expatriates - fashion - finance - food - health - improvia - information technology - personal - photo - social issues - sports - technical subjects and niche areas - travel
  • Blogs of general nature come under personal blogs category if they talk about 'me', 'my kids', 'my house', 'my life' and so on. The ones with posts that talk of 'you' and 'they' rather than 'me' tend to be categorised as comments blogs. Such blogs have opinions on anything on the earth – so this category is ‘free for all’. When personal blogs talk less of physical matter and mundane thoughts and more on self-improvement, life's aim and spirituality, they come under the category improvia. When personal blogs have comments on topical matters more than others, they get clubbed with more newsy blogs and make the category of current affairs blogs. Blogs that discuss social problems or promote social cause come under social issues category.
  • Art includes design and décor, drawings and cartoons. Culture  includes heritage and history.  Environment includes wildlife. 
  • A blog has been categorised as photo blog only when it either deals with the subject of photography or photography as an art form, or its primarily  content is photography. A blog using photos for supplementing travelogues, recipes etc is not included in this category.
  • Literary blogs include authors’ blogs, blogs with a large number of posts on fiction and poetry, and blogs with book reviews.
  • Economics category also includes blogs on business and finance, advertising, marketing and management.
  • Information technology blogs deal with software, hardware, gadgets and web. Highly technical IT blogs come under technical subjects category.
  • Technical subjects and niche areas is the category that includes blogs of highly technical nature and those with very narrow subject area.
 Beyond the Directory of blogs,

  • We have listed Indian blog platforms, blog aggregating sites and forums of good quality.
  • In addition, we have compiled a list of blogs on (i) jobs and exams related information and (ii) stock-market analysis. These blogs serve a useful purpose, are updated very frequently and need a good deal of effort on the part of blogger, but it is difficult to analyse their content for quality as they have a set language repeated over and over. Ignoring these blogs altogether seemed unfair, so we have listed them separately.
Many bloggers have not archived their blogs in a way that allows a reader to see the complete listing of their posts. Though we went back and forth inside multifaceted blogs to get a sense of content – and we also made site search - we might have missed a major topic in some cases. 
We had started with some more categories such as product reviews, management, poems, hobbies and religion, but had to give up mid-way when we faced too much overlap among categories. Personal and comments categories too could not be dissected beyond a point.
If your blog happens to be in the Directory and you feel that it has not been given proper category listing, do write to us by sending an email to kp.nd.2008@gmail.com.

The next post in this series will be on how much of the Indian blogosphere we could cover in our latest survey.

November 27, 2011

Trends in the Indian blogging scene

This is second post in the series on Indian blogs. Today we share with you the blogging trends we noticed while doing survey of the Indian blogosphere for updating the Directory of Best Indian Blogs.

  • There do not seem to be even a lakh [a hundred-thousand] blogs run by Indians and on India which are over a year old and are updated at least once a month in most part of their life.
  • A large number of bloggers have more than one blog. 
  • Most of the bloggers lose steam midway [details in this post on blogging habits]. 
  • Young adults – who have to deal with major turning points such as leaving school / college, getting / losing job, marriage, conception, birth of the first child, break-up - often give a pause to blogging and when they re-start it, they tend to shift the main theme of their blog.
  • Of all blogs, personal blogs seem to have the highest longevity.
  • Among niche segments, tech, travel and cookery bloggers flourish well. A large number of blogs on these subjects are well maintained and have supporting photos and large archives. They have high search rankings and get a good stream of visitors.
  • Indian bloggers have a strong presence in the global information technology blogosphere.
  • A good number of celebrities / public personalities stop blogging after a while or - if they become popular -  pose restrictions on interactivity by making the blog private or login-only.
  •  In most Indian blogs, the language quality is no issue. In sophistication, the language ranges from just passable to literary and academic.
  • Indian bloggers tend to be serious writers. They have opinion on any conceivable matter on the earth, especially India’s problems, social issues, human nature and life.
  • In personal blogs, young mommies like to write a lot about their growing kid(s) and their discovery of a new relationship.
  • Overall, money does not seem to be the prime motive behind blogging by Indians.
  • Only a few Indian blog have Google Page Rank more than 5 and respectable ranks in other search engines, Technorati and Alexa. Only a few get comments in hundreds.
  • In blog search, a few blogs appear again and again on the first page [or in the top 10-20]. As not many new blogs maintain high quality and regularity, established blogs face very little competition for popular search terms.
  • Most Indian bloggers are on Blogger platform [*.blogspot.com]. Wordpress is the second most-popular blogging platform. A small number of bloggers shift from Blogger to Wordpress platform; some of them come back. [The movement from Wordpress to Blogger is very rare.]  A few blogs on these platforms graduate to websites and/or website-like  independent URL. 
  • Bloggers from India usually forget to make their blog a part of their overall web presence; they rather shift to new formats such as Facebook and Twitter, and reduce or stop blogging. On the other end of the spectrum, some bloggers seem to get too pleased with their presence in 'modern' platforms and they over-burden their blogs with social media widgets.
  • The distinction between blogs, websites and blogzines is further diminishing as more blogs and websites have similar look and feel.
  • Most bloggers either do not care for design and search optimisation or do them excessively. A good number of blogs have too many widgets and animations. Some bloggers over-indulge in widgets and hurt the blog’s functionality.
  • Teens are the most experimental of all bloggers, in all aspect: technology, variety of topics, use of language and embellishment.
  •  A large number of bloggers make their own small communities and tend to visit only the blogs that belong to their 'kitty party'. Going by their commenting habits, it appears that they often play 'You scratch my back, and I'll scratch yours'. Many bloggers reciprocate badges.
  •  A number of competition sites operate in the Indian blogosphere. Some established as well as many new bloggers contribute to these sites on regular basis. In return, they get noticed and get to add badges on their blogs.
  • Some Indian portals offer blog pages. Bloggers on such portals become part of big blogging communities and tend to interact regularly with blogs within their community.
  • Blogs by newspaper and magazine columnists are usually well-composed and regular. In many cases, their blogs are replicas of their columns. These blogs have a big following.
 The next post in this series will be on the vast variety of Indian blogs that we noticed.

November 25, 2011

wherehopelives



Life Unlimited
A blog by Shreya

When the world seemed to come to a standstill, an old blog was shut, and with it an old life. This blog holds onto the tiny bit of hope inside me, and pulls it out to ensure I strive each day to live a new life, unlimited. 


Raves and rants about the everyday life, of a 20-something girl from Delhi, trying to make it in this roller-coaster of a city called Mumbai.

November 23, 2011

Where do Indian bloggers stand?

The countdown to the November 2011 edition of Directory of Best Indian Blogs has begun. From today till about 5th of the next month, we plan to share in a series of posts our experience during the blogosphere survey for the directory.

In the first article in the series, we share with you our joys and frustration with Indian blogging habits

Blogging regularity


We shared some trends that we'd noticed in our surveys, in these posts: Who does not blog in IndiaFebruary blogosphere surveyJune blog rankings and the July 2011 directory compilation.

How many Indian blogs followed which pattern 
over a year? [data of 30,000 blogs]
In our earlier post on the November 2011 directory,  we had indicated that this time, we’d do most of screening work manually. In doing so, we have had time for going in detail into the blogging habits of Indian bloggers. Our findings only confirm, statistically, our earlier observations.  The majority of Indian bloggers start a personal blog with a lot of enthusiasm and then leave it to die. Some carry it forward, but their quality and quantity pale over time. Some seem to get blogging fits now and then. Many bloggers believe in commenting more than creating posts. A good number of bloggers join blogging to test waters in their professional field or hobby. After giving out their best in some posts, they give up. Some join blogging just for money-making. They write less and advertise more. Soon they get frustrated and either give up or botch up the blog further.

Well, there are some who persevere. Some of them have become expert bloggers [especially in IT field]; some have made a huge collection of quality analyses, photos, travelogues, and recipes; some have branched out to consultancy; some – we hear – earn quite handsomely from affiliate marketing, advertisements and professional activities started through their blog(s). A few established Indian bloggers have huge following, and they synergise it superbly with their other social media accounts. 

Regularity is related to the effort needed. Some blogs, e.g. on news updates,  have numerous posts, but unless the blogger adds his own analysis, such posts need only a little effort. On the other hand, a well-rounded economic analysis, a passionate travelogue, a moving short story and an elaborate  recipe take time to create and cannot be as frequent. 

We had announced that we’d reject outright the blogs that do not have at least one post each in August, September and October 2011. However, we relaxed this criterion when we saw that long-established and quality-rich blogs too miss postings in some months. So, wherever we found that the blogger had been otherwise very regular and missed posting in only one of these months, we brought back such a blog though rejected earlier.   

Quality and design of blogs


We had, in our earlier post on the present survey for the blog directory, mentioned what quality criteria we’d keep in mind while short-listing blogs. We have observed that in quality, Indian blogs generally score over non-Indian blogs. English may be an issue, but can we be too finicky about that as long as there is spirit and substance in the content? As for design, we ignored minor flaws, except when design considerably hampered a blog’s navigability, loading time and readability. 

Let's share another observation – mostly from our detailed review of individual blogs - about Indian blogging habits. [We stand by what we said in the para above, generally speaking.

A large number of Indian bloggers tend to preach, even on intimate type of topics. When they do not preach, they tend to analyse their life’s failings, human values, human sufferings and such other serious matters. While taking life a bit too seriously, they ignore to care for their blog - the place where they pour out their heart. They ignore design. They also stuff the blog with quirky widgets. They comment 'sweet nothings' on other's posts probably to get compliments for their hurriedly composed posts. 
To many bloggers, language doesn't matter. Not that they don’t know good [Indian-] English, they either don’t want to re-edit their posts or introduce alien colloquialism and jargon for effect. 

If Indian bloggers just observe the way good bloggers conduct themselves, blogging will evolve further in quality. But in the age of SMS and Twitter, when even Facebook and Google+ look too demanding, asking bloggers to take blogging a bit more seriously is asking for the moon, isn't it?


Our next post will be on the trends we discovered during the present Indian blogosphere survey.

November 20, 2011

capturedalive



Throo Da Looking Glass
https://capturedalive.wordpress.com/
A photo blog by Pheno Menon



This is a photoblog with the tagline 'I came I saw and I shot' and describes my way of looking at life.. through my camera of course !!

I am running a project 365 whereby I will post one picture everyday about anything I have taken for the rest of my life (wishful thinking that is).

November 15, 2011

bemoneyaware


Be Money Aware Blog 
Awareness empowers

We would not allow one to drive a car without getting a driving license, yet we allow people to enter the financial complex world without any financial education. An uneducated individual armed with a credit card and access to a mortgage can be just as dangerous to themselves and their community as a person with no training who is given a car to drive.

BeMoneyAware Blog empowers people by making them aware of money-related stuff in simple terms. We cover the basics  in a way that readers find it interesting and are excited by it.

November 11, 2011

Why showcase your blog on Indian Top Blogs?


You have a beautiful blog on India, things Indian, your child or your pet subject. You write well. You also write regularly. You have many visitors. What more you need to grow as a successful blogger is regular hand-holding and support.

While the Indian Top Blog does the hand-holding, its blog showcase is a powerful platform for improving your blog’s popularity and reputation. 

How?

  • The blog showcase gives you at least 3 backlinks, one of them of high quality! This means, your Google pagerank improves.
a collage of some blogs showcased recently
  •  The showcase URL and photo tag have your blog’s signature. It means, if you post the link on your blog and tell it to your friends in the real world and on Facebook, your popularity grows by leaps and bounds. It is like a third-party certificate to your blog, at your own terms.
  • You have been recognized by a site that is growing fast in reputation and authority on blogging in general and Indian blogosphere in particular.
  • The best in you comes out when you write the punchline for the showcase. It acts like a blurb on the jacket of your own book.
  • It is free! You are charged $’s for getting a link from a website with Google page rank 3 or above. We not only give the link free, we do not remove it, like the charging companies do when you stop paying them. 
  • When we receive a blog for showcase, we have already noticed that blog for the next blog ranking and blog directory.

Look, how the Indian Tiop Blogs is growing. When you link with it, you also grow.
  •  Has Google Pagre Rank of 3. It is likely to grow significantly in the future.
  • Has Alexa page rank of 6.9 lakh. It was 105 lakh when we started the site 3 months back. It is coming down faster than we imagined. By the time you read this post, it might already be much lower.
  • Is on the top pages already, when you search on Google, Yahoo, Alta Vista and Bing for the best Indian blogs.

Why does ITB not charge for blog showcase?

By the way, it also does not charge for rankings, inclusion in the Directory of Best Indian Blogs and blog review.

Well, the ITB team work with a passion. They also get some good words that seem to come from people’s hearts. ITB also grows while you grow, because many bloggers write about us and our genuine effort. Many bloggers whose blogs we review keep a small badge about this on their blogs, voluntarily. Our commitment grows as we find ITB growing.

Well, if you insist on knowing our monetary rewards, let’s share our secret with you that we also have a few AdSense advertisements on the website. A very small number of people do click on them but that comes to almost nothing. We, however, tend to think that it will pay us in the long run.

You can see here our earlier posts about guidelines on showcasing your [Indian] blog and how to submit the blog for showcase.

November 10, 2011

neelamings



whimsical me
 http://neelamings.blogspot.com/
a blog by Neelam Kamdar Bhamani 

'Whimsical Me' is an attempt at finding humor and satire in day-to-day situations.

It's entertainment in the form of wisecracks on age, addictions, adventures, mishaps and life in general, all packaged up neatly in self-deprecating humor.



November 7, 2011

Google's Indian initiative for small businesses

Google has given a gift to small businesses in India by offering them a platform to open a website for free. The site is also hosted free on HostGator for one year.

Thanks Google.

[The links given by Google stopped after about a year so these have been removed.]

November 5, 2011

animeshkmishra



Just like that...
 
 http://www.justlikethat.info/

A blog by Animesh K Mishra and friends
जब जो चाहा, दिल में आया, लिख दिया... 
just like that...

The blog with this tagline aims at presenting honest opinions about current social affairs. Even the short-stories and humour pieces represent some face of our society.


The straight from the heart writing style is loved by its readers.

November 2, 2011

Use labels and tags effectively on your blog

While reviewing blogs and checking them for inclusion in the Indian blog directory, we found that majority of bloggers do not effectively use the facility of labeling blog posts. Labeling, we reckon, is a great tool to highlight content and make the blog more functional.

Most of the blogs [Indian as well as others] that we have come across are of personal nature, with posts on all conceivable topics. Since blogs are regularly updated – and that is indeed their strongest point vis-à-vis static websites - the content has to be arranged chronologically and not subject-wise. This makes it difficult for the visitor to find the matter he / she might be interested in.

tags-on-blogs
overlapping items in category 
and tag clouds; and a category list.
  a bit too much!
Think of a blog as the ‘latest arrivals’ rack of a library where new books are added everyday.  If books of this rack are not sent to their assigned places, it will become difficult after a while to find the book of one’s choice. While in physical world, we need to place the books in their subject racks, in the electronic world we have the choice of tagging / labeling – it allows the objects to be grouped in many ways while they remain placed in a particular sequence. For that to happen efficiently on our blog, we need to give thought to how we’d use the tagging facility.

Different blogging platforms have their own ways of doing this job. Wordpress has the facility to put posts in different categories and apply tags to posts. Livejournal has tags only. On Blogger platform, we have labels on posts.  Community blogs often use tags to place individual blogs in different categories. Blog aggregators and blog directories use categories that are often assigned manually at the level of blog submitter or administrator. We’ll talk here about the use of categories / tags / labels on Wordpress and Blogger blogs, and we’d use 'tag' and 'label' interchangeably.

Difference between category and tag in Wordpress

Some bloggers are not sure of the difference between 'category' and 'tag' on the Wordpress platform. From a blogger’s point of view, there is just one difference as far as their basic function goes: Categories are used for major categorization [e.g. a blog on Indian websites can have these categories: English language sites, websites in native Indian languages OR Indian travel sites, finance & economy sites, sites for NRIs, etc]. Tags, on the other hand, are used for pin-pointing specific information or an information that spans across posts but does not deal with the subject of the post itself or an information that relates to specific events and will not occur again and again to justify a broad category [e.g. bringing up child, angry retorts, my spiritual side, Ritu’s wedding, grandpa]. Let’s admit that depending on the blog’s posting quantity and style,  any of the names given above can be of a category or a tag.  Wordpress mandates that each post is given a category but keeps tagging optional.

Putting a tag / label