June 25, 2013

Guest blogging on Indian Top Blogs: an invitation

July 30, 2013 update:
We have temporarily suspended guest posting on ITB. Will announce when we open it. Mostly because we are unable to handle the rush.

After getting many requests for guest blogging from other bloggers, we intend to flirt with this idea. As we’ve always done [for review, showcase, directory compilation etc], we’d start with a list of do’s and don’t for blogger friends who want to submit articles to ITB.

Our plan.

  • We’d accept articles for ITB for a period of 6 months, i.e. till end 2013. Based on our experience, we’d decide to continue or stop it.
  • We’d not be able to pay for guest posts. [We don’t charge for any of our activities, so we don’t have money to reward others. So sad, no?]
  • Guest posts once published on Indiantopblogs.com will become the property of Indiantopblogs.com to the extent that the post will not be reproduced elsewhere without giving link to the ITB website.
  • ITB can’t guarantee publication of a post on the site. We’d select guest posts based on the quality of content, originality, post’s relevance to the ITB themes and also proven expertise of the author.
  • The themes would include the craft of blogging, web designing, social media analysis, Indian web scene, SEO, monetization, and impact of new developments in web media sphere.
  • We’d give full credit of the article to the author and provide a link to his / her blog [or any other web property such as Facebook account, but only one link]. We’d also put the author’s photo and a one-two sentence write-up on him / her.
  • We’d reply to all submissions. If we accept an article, we’d compose it and send a pdf to the author to have a final look. We’d expect the author to say yes before we publish the article on ITB.


What should the contributing blogger do?

  • Please send only original articles [not composed by copying and pasting matter]. Please also ensure that the article serves the purpose of informing and/or advising ITB’s viewers. If we receive recycled matter or copy-pasted matter or we notice this after publishing the article, we’d blacklist the author. We reserve the right to speak about the contributor’s committing such unethical practices, on ITB, public fora and social networking platforms.
  • Please ensure that the article is formatted properly, with subtitles if required, and has a relevant heading.
  • Please proof-read the article thoroughly to rid it of spelling, punctuation and grammatical mistakes. We use UK English but will accept US English too. Please do not use slang words or sub-standard English.
  • Please send the article by email to kpnd2008@gmail.com. Please give the email the following subject: ‘guest article’, and in the message state the following: ‘I have understood the terms and conditions about submission and publication of guest posting mentioned on ITB site and I promise to abide by them. The following is the article for publication on indiantopblogs.com:’ After that, please paste the article in the body of the email.
  • Please give the link to your blog / facebook/twitter or any other web account [only one] and state one or two sentences about yourself [preferably your experience] which we’d place alongwith your article on ITB.
  • If you like your portrait to be published on the face of the article, please paste the photo [ only a small thumbnail of size 100x100 px or so] in the email message itself.
  • No attachments please! We won’t open any attachment with the guest post submission email.
  • Articles should be in the range of 500 to 2000 words. Please add photographs/ graphics if they add value to the article. Give captions of images separately. If the images are your own, do write that at the end of the article; if not, tell us whether you have taken permission from the owner of the image. Also give a credit line in the case of others’ images. Please do not add video or audio.
  • You can send more than one article, but please send only one article per email and wait for some days before submitting another article. If we are particularly impressed with your articles, we might associate you as a regular contributor.


Why contribute to ITB?

  • It will get you a genuine, high value, authoritative back-link from a trustworthy website. Any SEO expert will tell you that one good back-link is much better for your reputation than a thousand from a spammy or trash site.
  • It will popularize you and your blog. You are likely to get more traffic to your blog. Your link on ITB will be a permanent link and not a one-time link hidden somewhere in the body of some post.
  • It will increase your web authority. You can quote and link the ITB article on various platforms. As the web authority of ITB grows over the years, your association with ITB will keep adding to your reputation too.
  • You will have an external editor to tell you whether you write well and with authority. It will help you in improving your writing.
  • ITB is NOT an article farm or an article directory. So, an article on ITB matters many times more than one on an article submission site, and you have no risk of being penalized by search engines for ‘writing solely for the sake of back-links’.


We are sorry for the longish procedure but, you’d appreciate, we are taking precautions to discourage fake and unethical authors.

June 23, 2013

MBAnetbook

MBAnetbook.co.in
http://mbanetbook.co.in



indian-blog-on-management-education


"
India’s Leading Blog for Management Students for MBA notes and Project Reports.

MBAnetbook.co.in provides a wide range of free notes on management subjects and has a rare collection of project reports which are helpful in completing management degree and securing high grades in management exam. 
"

June 20, 2013

Narendra Modi or Rahul - who's the social media lord of India?

A study conducted by Blogworks.in shows Narendra Modi leading Rahul Gandhi hugely when it comes to their presence on the social media. Manmohan, Sonia and Kejriwal follow them. 

Blogworks call themselves ‘one of the most respected social media consulting firms’. The study findings can be seen in their  report, ‘India’s Most Mentioned Political Leader on Social Media', for January to April 2013.

While Rahul and Modi have been ‘mentioned’ predominantly by the youth in the age group 18-34 years, Kejriwal, Sushma Swaraj and Nitish find higher number of mentions from people in the age group 45-54 year age.

Godhra Riots and Akbaruddin Owaisi’s arrest drive the highest number of negative mentions for Modi; development and economy drive the most positive conversations for him, says the report. Good governance and his youthful image get Modi good social media mentions.

Rahul gets beating with negative mentions on the theme of corruption. People also seem to feel negatively about him being portrayed as a youth icon.

Arvind Kejriwal gets positive mentions for his anti-corruption campaign and efforts to push the Lokpal Bill. Rahul keeping mum after Delhi gang rape case got him good beating while his visiting the rap victim’s family got him favourable mentions.

Nitish Kumar gets bricks as well as bouquets in the social media on the themes of development and economy, going by the number of positive and negative mentions about him.

Interestingly, the study did not do thematic analysis for Sonia and Manmohan.

To number crunchers, these figures may look interesting:
Social mentions: Narendra Modi 10,49,063 > Rahul Gandhi 3,41,937 > Manmohan Singh 1,56,970 > Sonia Gandhi 1,41,451 > Arvind Kejriwal 1,10,940 > Nitish Kumar 55,419 …

June 19, 2013

Indian Blog Ranks 2012-2013: Search for the 'best among the best' blogs is on!

Happy to announce that we'd bring out the Platinum Rank listings of Indian blogs in the middle of July 2013. In brief, our Platinum ranked blogs are the very best of Indian blogs: best among the best!

You can see the current list of Platinum Ranked blogs here and a note on the blogs in the listing here..   

Criteria for selection will be as given in this post published last year: June 2012 blog ranking parameters.

We are not issuing a badge for Platinum ranked blogs this time. It's because we found some blogs that were in the Directory putting this badge on their sites. By the way, we're also abandoning 'Reviewed by ITB' badge too. 

June 17, 2013

angelasbangalore

Angela's Adventures in Bangalore
This blog offers up a fresh and bright perspective on everyday life in India, seen through the eyes of an expat mesmerized by almost everything.  It shares the observations and ups-and-downs of a single white female living and playing in upscale Bangalore ... and working as the only foreigner amongst 2,000 employees in an Indian BPO company.
"

June 13, 2013

Indian top blogs directory: category-wise listing

We are happy to issue the category-wise listing of the Directory of Best Indian Blogs, 2012-13 edition. You can see at this link the alphabetical listing of blogs, issued on 30th May, 2013. The category-wise blog listing is theme-segregated version of the Directory.
We have categorised blogs according to their dominant themes. Many blogs find placing in more than one theme.

The themes / categories are as follows:

  • Art: This category includes blog on arts and crafts, design and architecture. 
  • Audio-visual media: Blogs on music, movies and theatre find a place here.
  • Cricket: We added this category this year as we found a number of blogs devoted to this most popular sport of India.
  • Current affairs: Blogs predominantly dealing with news and giving opinions on topical issues are kept here. 
  • Economics: Blogs on economic and financial matters, business management, leadership, entrepreneurship, jobs and product reviews [except beauty products] are placed in this section. 
  • Environment: This section also includes blogs on wildlife. 
  • Expatriates: This category has blogs by foreign nationals living in India. 
  • Fashion: Blogs on fashion as well as the beauty business and reviews of beauty products. 
  • Food: In absense of a category on health, blogs on nutrition have also been kept here. 
  • Humour, satire: Blogs with humorous content, including in graphic and video formats.
  • Improving self n society: Blogs on self-improvement and also those on social issues have been put in this category. 
  • Information technology 
  • Literary: This section also includes blogs with a significant number of book reviews. 
  • Local matters: This category has been added this year to showcase blogs that talk of matters specific to a location.
  • Niche: When we found a blog on a very narrow theme, we put it here.
  • Personal matters, comments: This omnibus category includes blog in which bloggers write mostly on personal subjects and also where they comment on any / many subjects. [However, where bloggers discuss mostly topical matters, such blogs find place iin current affairs category.] 
  • Photography 
  • Travel and culture: We had to mix these two subjects ans we found a good number of blogs with content that overlapped travel and culture. Also includes history blogs.

June 10, 2013

LK Advani’s blog and NaMo NaMo

The two leaders grabbing top headlines for the last four days in Indian newspapers and news channels are the BJP patriarch LK Advani and the newly chosen chairman of BJP’s election campaign committee, Narendra Modi [NaMo* for short]. BJP happens to be the main opposition party in India and is hoping to overthrow the ruling UPA in 2014 general elections, riding on the charisma of Narendra Modi.

By the way, both Advani and Narendra Modi maintain blogs and their blogs happen to be among the very few blogs by politicians in the recently released Directory of Best Indian Blogs.

Being marginalized in the party for opposing Modi’s elevation, Advani has been sulking in his home in Delhi. In BJP’s tradition, leaders kept on mollifying him and bringing him round to accepting Modi through telephonic discussions throughout yesterday (9th June). Senior BJP leaders are known to communicate their displeasure in subtle hints and so Advani’s latest post in his blog, published yesterday makes an interesting reading. Supposed to be ailing, Advani did find energy to write about a film ‘Vishwaroopam’ that features Adolf Hitler’s descent to hell while wanting to reach the heaven, and to flip through a book on Hitler. He also had time to minutely explore a carving in his house in which various scenes from Mahabharata are depicted.

All through the last week, when BJP’s national executive was in session, tweets were used to announce developments, to deride Modi and to felicitate him, to publicise Advani finally blessing Modi [Modi tweeted this, obviously], to show solidarity with Modi [look at BJP leaders’ tweets]. Advani used his blog to caution about Hitler like tendencies in Modi and how elevating ambitious leaders leads to fall. Modi will definitely bring out a post in the coming days about his vision for the party and the nation and possibly some nuanced comments on his opponents in the party. Keep watching interesting political blogging!

*namo namo is also used by Hindus as a chant to hail deities.

June 9, 2013

More on blogging sins: what screws up a good blog

This is second part of the list of blogging flaws You can see here the first part, 'Blogging sins: things a blogger should avoid'.
These posts have been updated in December 2015, with new research and survey inputs. We have also added links to help visitors with additional information.

C. Can a blogger afford to be this rude?

  • Too much of self. I, I, I and just I.
On social media, we need to respect 'you' and 'he/she' more than 'I'.
  • Disabling right click. Worse, responding with a rude pop-up when someone right-clicks on the blog.
Right-clicking has a hundred purposes, and stealing of content is just one of them. You do not gain much by disabling right click. 

D. Unethical blogger behaviour

  • Plagiarized photos. Not even giving credit to the source. Copy-pasting content without permission.
It is not only a sin, it is crime too. People are known to have faced legal suits and arrest for web crimes.

Attribution is a must when you copy somebody's web property. This relates not only to photos and videos but text content too. Only attribution may not suffice in many cases; you must ask for permission.
  • Links to advertising or commercial sites by deceit. 
If you indulge in this [mostly done to make a few dollars], you'll lose potential clients faster than by abusing them on face. Google says, this badly damages website rating.
  • Product reviews that are paid for, but without any disclosure about that.
Visitors will hate you from the beginning or - if they discover it later - hate you more for being made a fool. You must disclose when you promote a product.


E. Sub-standard content makes a sub-standard blog

  • Fake expertise; copy-pasted advice.
A mask does not stick for too long. Even in very ‘practical’ terms, honesty is the best policy as it pays in the long run.
  • Too didactic on personal and social matters.
'I'm holier than thou' attitude is good for Dalai Lama. Are you that?
  • Kid blogs written by parents posing as kids.
Let the kids do their own blogging. You  must do what they can't do but no more. Create a beautiful blog, tell on the blog how she is growing, click her photos, respond to good wishes from others... but stop short of writing on her behalf. 

Yes, there could be times when you do the hand-holding for the kid. Be clean about your role; say you are her mom when writing on her behalf, don't pose as the kid. 

Like to read our detailed posts on child blogging?
  • Bilingual blogs.
They generally end up doing injustice with both the languages and also the visitor. Divide the blog into different sections or have separate blogs for different languages.

This post shows what we noticed about blogging in two languages on Indian blogs and how it hurts such blogs. The post also shows why local and vernacular expressions need to be explained to those not familiar with these.
  • Poor readability: small text, poor contrast, text on image, wrong font.
Remember, everybody doesn't have 6/6 vision and perfect color recognition score. 

If I find it difficult to read your post, it has no meaning for me even if it is a masterpiece.
  • Smart or witty but confusing titles on menus and widgets. 
On two blogs, we found 'What's she holding?' and 'My heaven, my hearth' used to refer to blogger's other social media accounts. For a moment we had inferiority feeling about out intelligence.

Some quirk is OK but if you take it too far, the chances are that only you will be able to understand the pun.


F. Improper blog navigation 

  • Unending scrolling design.
The unending scroll might be OK, but how do I open the links etc at the bottom of the blog? 

Don’t go for unending scrolling only because it is in fashion; it has many disadvantages relating to navigation, SEO, and clarity about placement of widgets.
  • Blogroll with links to dead blogs, or links not opening.
Personal blogs seem to be more prone to it: having blogrolls on which the bloggers keep on piling entries but forget to ever check their linking behavior. Broken links hurt the blog in many ways.
  • Design that does not allow navigation from one post to the other, so one needs to come to the homepage for going to another post.
We saw this happening on blogs even by techies. A bit too smart?
  • No archives.
Again, we saw this happening on tech blogs. Fear of entire blog being hijacked in one go? If so, please go to a publisher rather than writing on a blog.

You may choose not to display the total archives per se, but at least give an exhaustive list of categories and labels so that visitors can browse your hidden but valuable resources.
  • Archives by pages only. You see at the bottom of homepage, something like this: 'Go to page 2..3..4.....123' 
No problem with such compartmentalized archiving but how do I know what you wrote on Samsung Galaxy-I and when you wrote that?
  • Lengthy and senseless URL.
On a newspaper site, we found URLs of blogs like this: 'http://freemypresspage/p/author/reg/x325Ju6tB'.

The operative part of the URL should be intelligible, memorable and related to the theme of the blog.

Though some free Content Management Systems (including Blogger's) automatically add year and month to URLs of individual posts, the operative part is still in the hands of the blogger. Make it as relevant and search-friendly as you can.

Just in case, you want to visit the first part of this series, the link is here: 'Blogging sins: things a blogger should avoid'.

June 8, 2013

Blogging sins: flaws a blogger must avoid

We have been publishing posts about what bloggers should avoid in different compartments of blogging. We list below the blemishes we found in many blogs during the compilation of the Directory of Best Indian Blogs and otherwise. As the list was becoming quite long, we broke it into two parts. The first part is here and the next one is more on blogging sins..
These posts have been updated in December 2015, with new research and survey inputs. We have also added links to help visitors with additional information.

A. How people spoil their blog's look and feel

  •  Not caring for blog design at all.
If you write well, you are a good writer and thinker. But if you ignore all other aspects of blogging, you are NOT a good blogger.
  • Plain design without even archives and bio.
Wearing plain clothes is OK, but wearing nothing is too much, isn't it? Google says, when you do not give away your identity, it reduces your site's web reputation.
  •  Only one post or photo on the home page and almost nothing else.
It makes the blog look clean, but deprives the visitor of other resources of the blog. He should now look for links that would take him to older posts, etc Navigation is one important aspect of any website design.
  • Too big image in the top portion of the blog.
It is like hiding the entry gate of your house under a huge billboard. However good the board is, will you like visitors to crawl under it for entering your house? Showcase your best resources in the top 10 inches ("above the fold" part) of the blog.
  • Collage of photos as top image.
It often leads to your blog starting with clutter. A bad first impression. If you want to make a collage, use a good photo-editing tool suited for blogging.
  • Too much clutter due to numerous small and oddly-colored elements in the body of the blog.
Colorfulness is OK, but people should not be lost in the mêlée. A bigger 'no' in blogs dealing with serious subjects.
  • Sidebars hanging much beyond the main column, mostly due to a series of badges or a long label list or an unending blogroll.
Does it make sense to unbalance the design for the sake of lists that are only supplementary to the main content of the blog?
  • Dynamic views on Blogger platform: keeping an unsuitable view as default.
All views do not suit all types of content. Check what suits you; in case of doubt, go for the standard design.
  • Popups and songs playing automatically.
Unless you want to irritate the visitor, don’t indulge in these gimmicks. A popup or self-playing song is suitable only in very rare cases If you insist on having a popup, delay its arrival
  • Blogs in portal, magazine or website format.
Well, blogs often grow into portals and mags. But they should not lose interactivity and diary type arrangement of posts. If a portal subsumes a blog, let there be a menu item ‘blog’ and a click on it should open the blog, rather than everything getting mixed up in one giant platform.

Having a blog designed like a normal static website has its problems as given in this post.
  • Wrong sized photos and widgets.
Different sized photos and elements too much broader or narrower than column width irritate, and they show you are sloppy.
  • Fixed width of columns rather than in percentage terms; not responsive design. 
This is slightly technical. Choose a design in which column widths are in percentage terms. Otherwise, when a visitor has a small monitor, if he reduces the window size, or when he browses on a smart phone, only a few columns will be displayed. If he has a wide monitor, the site will leave space on its sides.

When a blog or website automatically fits into the small screen of hand-held devices, its design is called 'responsive design'. Websites not designed with this flexibility make browsing difficult.
  • Too many badges.
Each badge must prove its worth or it should go out. Even if you must have a number of badges, there are more sensible ways of keeping them than cluttering the page. Why badges, any widget (Blogger calls them Gadgets) that does not suit the context is not welcome. More on effective use of widgets here.

 

B. How bloggers end up making blogging a one-way affair

  • Disabling commenting on posts; no way to contact except through social networking links such as Facebook.
What does one do if the visitor has a query to make privately? No email ID or contact form on the blog makes him feel the blogger is not interested in his suggestions, feedback or a business proposal. You are also denying the visitor the facility to comment on your post right where it is located. Does it make sense for the visitor to read your post here and go to your Google+ account to comment?

Commenting on blogs, however, is on decline. If you are a big blogger, you can think of stopping comment facility on the blog or restricting it but not when you have just started a blog or need a community who will regularly visit your blog.

If you have no commenting facility and no social networking links either, you are too big for a blog; you should open a Twitter account so that your fans follow you. 
  • Writing email ID as: kpnd[dot]2008[at]gmail[dot]com.
What do you achieve by doing so other than making life difficult for a guy to say hello? If you thought it will kill spam, do look for better ways.
  • Insisting on too many entries or clicks before one can comment; a form with many text boxes / captcha / need to login / comment moderation.
Only one or two of these should suffice. More than that is rude. 

Like to visit this post on putting captcha on the comment box or not?
  • Keeping comment placing away from other interactivity buttons such as for G+ and Facebook. For example, keeping commenting link under post heading but other such links in the footer.
It is a bad idea to offer tea to the visitor at the dining table and keep snacks on a different table. No?  
  • Taking profile / 'about me' link to Google+ and not giving any details in 'about' link even there.
It is worse than not telling anything at all about yourself or the blog.

You can visit the next post in this series here: more on blogging sins

June 4, 2013

Indian Top Blogs: Frequently asked questions about directory etc

You can see here the latest edition of the Directory of Best Indian Blogs. As we keep receiving queries about compilation of this (and other) listings by us, we have tried to answer them in one place. 
This post has been updated on 6th February 2017.


1. Are you honest when you say, you don't charge or expect something in return for a blog's inclusion in your listings?
ITB does not charge for any listing. It also does not seek any favor of any kind. If you want to see our stand on  that, you can see this post on our ethical commitments

2. Why do you mark your directory etc as 2016-17 instead of 2017?
It is because we come out with our listings around middle of the year.

3. I have applied for blog review/ blog showcase. Do I need to submit the blog also for inclusion in the Directory?
No. Your blog has already been seen by us if it was submitted by 30th April. We keep visiting blogs submitted to us for review and showcase, and those suggested to us through email.

4. Will you include my blog in the Directory even now if it meets your terms?
Why not? We are open to inclusion of high quality blogs in the Directory whenever we spot them. However, updating the Directory on a daily basis is not possible.

5. My blog was there in the last edition of the Directory but is not there now. Have you changed your selection criteria?
Do have a look at this old post on selection criteria for the blog directory. Does your blog meet these criteria? Whether your blog was there in earlier edition(s) of the Directory or not, we looked at all blogs afresh for the current Directory.

6. My blog is there in the Directory and yet in your review of my blog you have listed out many problems. Do you apply different standards for blog review?
When we compile the Directory, we tend to ignore some blemishes if the blog is outstanding as a whole. 
On the other hand, we are very uncharitable when making a detailed blog review. We hope, that helps bloggers much more than praising the blog or making off-the-cuff remarks.
In our 'quick review' of blogs, we look at only the obvious blemishes and inform bloggers about them, but here too we are not forgiving.
  
7. My blog has been showcased on ITB website but is not in the Directory. Why?
Blog Showcase is meant to display good blogs and let their owners talk about their best features. We showcase even very new blogs, blogs in other languages, non-Indian blogs and websites maintained blog-like. We are stricter in the case of Directory and even more strict for Ranks.

8. Though my blog is not listed in the Directory, the blog of a blogger friend is there. I consider my blog much better in design and content than hers. 
We have tried to be as fair as is humanly possible. Have you checked all the blog selection criteria mentioned in the post mentioned in FAQ-5 above? If you strongly feel that we have made an error of judgment in your case, do write to us at kp.nd.2008@gmail.com.

9. Can you help improve the layout of my blog? Can you guide how I can improve a photo? Should I go for Wordpress or Blogger? Can you do this for a fee? Can you suggest a web designer who’d help me with designing my blog professionally? Can you suggest an SEO expert?
We are not in a position to guarantee that we’d respond to each specific request, though we try to respond to emails with specific requests, when time permits.
We keep guiding bloggers on many aspects including improving photos. You can click at this link to see all our blogging guidelines and tips.
We don’t charge fee for the work that we do. We can’t recommend a web designer too; that is beyond our ethical boundary, as mentioned in FAQ-1.

10. Can I see reviews of some blogs for my guidance?
No, that’s private. However, if a blogger passes on our review to you or places it on his/ her blog, you are free to use that.

11. Do you mind sharing the raw data captured by you during compilation of the Directory?
No way. We also request marketing firms not to ask us for this.

12. You have written in the disclaimer about what should one do if one wants to get his blog removed from the Directory. Do bloggers do that?
Till now, no one has asked us to remove his / her blog from the Directory.
We have made this offer for three reasons:
One, some people might really not need publicity to their blog so that they are not disturbed by too many visitors.
Two, a blogger might have the feeling that his/ her blog is too important for the ITB Directory. Someone may feel slighted that his blog is placed next to a blog of a lower standing. If the blogger does not want his/ her blog in the Directory for any reason, we feel that both the Directory and the blogger are losers. We are here for a win-win game, not the other way round.
Three, some bloggers might suspect our intentions. When we published the first edition of the Directory, some bloggers did write on the web that we should be taken with a pinch of salt. Some even took offense to our sending them an email to announce inclusion of their blogs in the Directory. [We understand their cynicism. We are happy to share that some of them later wrote very flattering emails to us and a few even have ITB badge on their blogs. We’re humbled by their kindness.] 

13. How do you categorise blogs for the category-wise listing of blogs?
We try our best to accommodate blogs in their proper place(s) in the category-wise listing of Indian blogs. Since a blogs can relate to many genres, we put such a blog in more than one place. If you want your placing to be reviewed, do write an email to us; just give reasons why you feel we're wrong.

14. When will you release the Platinum Rankings? What criteria do you use for selecting blogs for that?
We plan to bring out the rankings on 15th July. Please have a look at this old post on selection of blogs for rankings.