May 11, 2012

June 2012 blog ranking parameters

It is mid-May already and we are in the midst of ranking Indian blogs for our second Ranking of Best Indian Blogs due end of June. Thought, let’s clear the rules of the game before the results are out. We feel even more accountable this year as a large number of visitors have reposed their faith on us by visiting us and sending emails with appreciation, submissions and suggestions.

We are going to be much more strict this time than we were while compiling last year’s blog rankings  because despite the much bigger Directory [from which we select the blogs for ranking] we’d like to restrict the total number of blogs selected in Platinum, Gold and Excellent categories to 100.

We find that some types of blogs tend to dominate the blogosphere in quality, display, regularity and other parameters, and if we apply uniform criteria, we’d have a large number of blogs from these niches only. So we are restricting the number of blogs in each of the following categories to 5:
•    Blogs  by columnists
•    Blogs by celebrities
•    Blogs on cooking
•    Information Technology blogs
•    Travel blogs

The following are the criteria we are applying:

The blog should have high quality content. We are conscious that content would have different standards in the case of different categories of blogs, and therefore we check blogs again and again to ensure that blogs with overall high quality of content and the best quality of content in their category get a rank. Content quality includes the quality of information and thought, readability, correctness of language and proper treatment of non-English content, but is not limited to these parameters.

The blog should be maintained regularly. We have filtered out blogs that have not been updated every month in the last twelve months [May 2011-April 2012]. We'd give a concession of one month if a blog is very regular but for some reason could not be updated in one month out of the twelve mentioned above. It should have at least 5 postings in the immediately preceding and following months.

Though we have a milder criterion for inclusion in the Directory of Best Indian Blogs, we believe that a blog – however good it may be in presentation and content – does not deserve to get a rank if it is not updated even once in a month.

The blog should have a good quantum of original resources. What we look for is the number of original content in the form of posts, photographs [photblogs, travel blogs, blogs showing a process, etc], other graphics [arts, cartoons] and so on. We’d also appreciate content – even if not always original - presented in a thoughtful way.

The blog should have a minimum standard of navigational ease. We are looking at each blog for ease of navigation, by way of use of menu bars, labels, widgets, etc. For example, if a blog’s opening screen / ‘ top 10” / ‘above the fold’ is confusing / cluttered and does not guide the viewer well about the blog, we downgrade the blog on this parameter.

The blog should have a minimum Google Page Rank of 2. We are using Google PR for filtering blogs because Google is known to be applying a number of criteria for calculating the PR. Two is not too demanding a value but it takes care of blogs that look good and have good content but have issues relating to age, relevance, community appreciation, etc.

The blogger should have taken care of the blog’s upkeep. We are not downgrading a blog for its simple, no-nonsense, approach to layout and design; however, we intend rewarding bloggers who maintain their blog with as much consideration as a good house-keeper has for her drawing room.

In addition, we’ll use the following for last-leg filtering of blogs to further lift the standards of blog ranking:
•    The blog should have a pleasing display.
•    It should not take too much time to load.
•    It should have at least some interactivity in the form of comments. We’d be happy with 12 comments, excluding the blogger’s responses, in the last 12 months.
•    It should not be too cluttered, especially with irrelevant widgets and advertisements.
•    It should maintain decency in text as well as various forms of display and audio.

We are currently not in a position to include blogs other than Indian blogs for our blog rankings. 
UPDATE: The Indian blog rankings came out in June 2012 as scheduled.