October 30, 2014

Want to advertise your blog on Google network?: Blogger has inbuilt provision for it

This is the seventh post in the series on Blogger's features. Blogger is a wonderful blogging platform with many lesser-known but fantastic features, and bloggers on this platform should make use of them on their blogs for better looks and functionality.

Blogger offers bloggers a way to easily advertise their blogs on the web, using its own AdWords advertising platform. 

A non-Blogger can use  AdWords and its associated tools, for blog SEO. Though AdWords is primarily for advertising on Google, it has many tools that can be accessed by bloggers to improve their blog's popularity and to optimise it for making money. We'd discuss these sometime later and not in the present series. In this post, let's just remind our blogger friends that they can use AdWords for advertising their blogs, especially if they are on the Blogger platform.

For starting an ad campaign, go to the main dashboard of your blog and click on 'Campaigns'. You are taken step by step to making an advertisement for your blog, setting terms of advertisement (e.g. whether you want to pay when people click on your ad or when they buy; how long should the campaign last; in which locations and languages it should be shown; your expenditure limit; etc, etc),  and then bidding for advertisements. Though we'd come with a simplified guide later on this subject, you can visit this link if you want to try out AdWords without waiting for our guide. 

You can consider AdWords if you are in a hurry to make your blog popular, and you must if you intend to sell your services or products through the blog.

October 27, 2014

Hindi blogging resources and web magazines

We brought out the third edition of the Directory of Best Hindi Blogs on 30th September 2014. Unlike previous editions, we did not include Hindi blog aggregators etc in the Directory itself, and are now listing them separately. This is being done as (i) there are many types of communities on the Hindi blogosphere, and (ii) a good number of blogs have turned into web-magazines or portals. We thought that these need special mention and it doesn't do justice to them if we include them at the tail-end of the main Directory.

Like the Directory, the present listing keeps only the websites that meet a minimum standard of blogging. We have tried to judge them on the criteria that are close to our hearts: content, regularity, design, navigation, engagement, resources...

A. Blog aggregators एग्रीगेटर / समूहक


blogalaya  ब्लॉगालय
blogkalash ब्लॉग कलश
blogparivaar  Blog parivaar-ब्लॉग परिवार
blogprahari  blogprahari
blogsetu ब्लॉग सेतु
blogvarta ब्लॉग वार्ता
hamarchhattisgarh  छत्तीसगढ़ ब्लॉगर्स चौपाल
hamarivani  हमारीवाणी
hindiblogjagat  हिंदीब्लॉगजगत
hindi-blog-list  The Best Hindi Blogs - सर्वश्रेष्ठ हिन्दी ब्लॉग सूची
sankalak  चिट्ठा संकलक

B. Blogging platforms ब्लॉगिंग प्लैटफ़ार्म

jagranjunction  जागरण Junction
navbharattimes नवभारत टाइम्स ब्लॉग्स

C. Blogs on blogs ब्लॉग्स की चर्चा करते ब्लॉग

blog4varta  ब्लॉग4वार्ता
blogsinmedia  Blogs In Media
bulletinofblog  ब्लॉग बुलेटिन
charchamanch  चर्चा मंच
nayi-purani-halchal  नयी पुरानी हलचल


D. Web magazines 

This is a new section in our compilation of Hindi blogs and related web-resources. We have included here blogs that have turned into web-magazines and e-magazines that have been created as such. We have included only those mags that are at least 6 month old and are being maintained regularly. Commercially inclined mags, web editions of print mags and mags run by institutions, newspapers or companies have also not been included.

abhivyakti-hindi अभिव्यक्ति 
anubhuti-hindi अनुभूति
anunaad अनुनाद
arthkaam अर्थकाम
genderjihad जेंडर जिहाद
hindikunj हिन्दीकुंज
mohallalive मोहल्लाLive
navgeetkipathshala नवगीत की पाठशाला
poorvabhas पूर्वाभास
pratilipi प्रतिलिपि
pravakta प्रवक्ता
rachanakar रचनाकार
srijangatha सृजनगाथा

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'.


October 18, 2014

Blog find: Dudhwa Live

We are happy to present to you DudhwaLive, an outstanding blog-turned-emag in Hindi [also partly in English]. It started in 2010, and over the years it has turned into a good information and news portal on environmental issues in India and beyond. 



On 11th October, the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, an Indian State, presented e-Uttara award to DudhwaLive.

October 15, 2014

Blog's html and money making: Blogger's great free features

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

Unlike Wordpress.com blogs, Blogger (blogspot.com) blogs give the blogger the option to make html changes and to put advertisements for making money. These functions remain intact even when the blog has been given a new URL (detailed posts on this aspect are linked below).

Making html changes

You can make changes to the blog's html directly in two ways:

On the blog's template, widgets etc. What it means is that you can change everything - almost everything - on the blog's looks and functionality if you know the underlying computer languages, mostly .html. You need to use this option for putting tags, tracking scripts from affiliates etc on the blog. For doing so, you need to got to 'Template' menu and then click on 'Edit HTML'. 

On posts. For this, you have to check the 'HTML' option next to 'Compose'. This can be used to format the text content, placing special types of links, many types of bullets and table structures, and so on. 


We must again remind that you should edit html of the blog only if you have at least a basic knowledge of html and a sense of how codes function. If not, you can still put some scripts in the header portion of the blog from reliable websites for tracking purposes, adding tags, etc. Whenever making changes to the html of the blog, you must keep a backup of the blog (visit the previous post to know how to back up and restore a blog).

Putting AdSense on the blog

As a blogger you might already be aware of AdSense and might have put it on the blog to make some money out of it. If not, read on.

AdSense is Google's (=Blogger's) own advertisement system for websites, and it is totally free! When you put AdSense ads on your blog (or any other website) and people click on them and/or make purchases, Google pays you a small sum. In general, the more number of visitors come to your blog, find useful ads on it and surf them, the more money you make. 

For putting AdSense ads on your blog, you must apply to Google. Visit this website to apply for AdSense. Google puts some conditions on 'publishers' (bloggers) so that they do not misuse the system. Once Google approves your application, you can put AdSense ads on your blog. You can put ads on many blogs with just a single account. When your application is approved, you can sign in on the same website and you will be guided how to maintain your account and track your payments.


Once your application is approved by Google, you can place and customise ads by going to 'Layout' menu, clicking on 'Add a Gadget' and then selecting 'AdSense' from the gadget list.

Putting affiliate ads on the blog

Many websites make blogs their 'affiliates' in selling products. Amazon and Commission Junction are two such popular sites. You can put their ads on the blog by going to these websites, registering yourself and then copying their product code in an html widget ('Layout'... 'Add a Gadget'... 'HTML/JavaScript'). These sites also ask you to put a tracking script in header section of your blog's html so that they can track purchases made through your blog. 

We have talked about money making and affiliation in some earlier posts including these: making money from a food blog; fake expert advice on making money from blogs; blogging from passion to dollars


October 12, 2014

You must backup your blog; it's easy to export, import and back up blogs on Blogger

This is the fourth post in the series on Blogger's features. Blogger is a wonderful blogging platform with many lesser-known but fantastic features, and bloggers on this platform should make use of them on their blogs for better looks and functionality.

In this post, we'll talk about exporting a blog, importing another blog's content into one's blog, backing up the blog and restoring a deleted blog.

Importing, exporting and undeleting a blog


Go to 'Settings', then 'Other' and then 'Blog Tools'. You will find here the options to export and import your blog.

You can export the blog so that you can then import it into another blog on Blogger or other platform. On other platforms, you might have to do some tweaking to adjust the imported content according to the new blog's settings.

You can import contents of an existing blog to your present blog through the 'Import blog' option. By default your imported posts are not published on the new blog unless you click 'Publish' on each of them. This is desirable especially if you import contents from a non-Blogger blog. However, if you want that posts and comments are published automatically, tick this option while importing the blog.

During import and export of blogs, Blogger and other similar platforms use .xml file format which is compatible across platforms. Do remember that mostly it is posts and comments that get imported or exported but not widgets and design elements.

We strongly advise you to periodically back up your blog and its template (see below for saving template). Make a folder on your computer and put the newly backed up .xml files in it so that if something goes wrong with the blog, you can use the backed up data.

That takes us to another fantastic feature of Blogger: undelete. If you delete a blog by mistake or in frustration and later want to resurrect it, you can do so within 90 days of deleting the blog! For this, go to the main dashboard of Blogger where all your blogs are listed. At the bottom of the page, you will find a list of deleted blogs that can be restored.

Saving the blog design 

For backing up your template, or applying another template to your Blogger blog, you need to go to the 'Template' tool. On the right top corner, you will find a 'Backup / Restore' button which will take you through the process of backing up the Blogger blog and applying a new template to an existing Blogger blog. We caution you here that if html has been added manually in the blog or if the template has many design tweaks, you might get unsatisfactory results.

October 9, 2014

Blogger's great features: third post in the series

This is the third post in the series on great features of Blogger platform. We had to pause this series during the last phase of compilation of 'the Directory of Best Hindi Blogs'.


Labels and widgets: two major features of a good blog


Labels play an important role in bringing different categories of posts together. Blogger allows you to put any number of labels on any post and then displays the label list prominently so that visitors wanting to see that type of posts can find all such posts. For example, ITB has put a number of relevant labels on posts. We have displayed the labelled posts in different ways, e.g.:

If you are new to Blogger, let's tell you that you can put labels by clicking on 'Labels' in the right menu bar on the post editor.

Widgets (or gadgets) are used to add many features on the blog, which are not possible through posts and pages (e.g. listings, badges, buttons, follower-ship and other dynamic statistics). Bloggers should make the best use of these elements. But too many or unimaginatively put widgets harm rather than improving the blog.

For putting gadgets on the blog, go to 'Layout' menu on the blog's dashboard and click on 'Add a Gadget'. When you do that, Blogger suggests a number of in-built gadgets, and you can look for many other types of gadgets  by clicking on 'More Gadgets' in the pop-up gadget window.


Sprucing up one's blog with inbuilt themes


Blogger's 'Template' tools are just wonderful for sprucing up blog in a hundred ways: putting background colours or photos; changing width of different columns; making new columns; colouring text, links etc; playing with fonts; etc etc.

To get the best out of 'Template', click on various sub-menus. Don't forget to click on 'Advanced' as many features are hidden here. 

Experiment the way you like and see the result in the preview pane under the menu area. When you like one or more new features, click on 'Apply to blog', otherwise the changes will be lost.


Sharing your latest post automatically on Google Plus


For automatic publishing of your latest posts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc, you can use apps on these social networking sites or web-based utilities such as bufferapp. Do you know that Blogger has its inbuilt app for automatic posting on Google Plus account? For this, you need to open a Google Plus account if you don't have one, and then go to 'Google Plus' menu on the Blogger. It gives you the option of automatic publishing of new posts on Google Plus or having the option to choose which post you want to update on Google Plus.


Multiple authors, permissions and private blogging


These features of Blogger give you options to control who can publish on your blog and who can view your blog.

Multiple authorship allows your friends / colleagues / relatives to blog directly on your blog. It also allows you to give administrative permissions to any one or more of them so that they can change settings etc on your blog.

By default, your blog is public. That means, anybody can visit and surf your blog. The option to control who can view your blog gives you the power to restrict the blog to only a group of bloggers (who will need to join by logging into their Google account) or only the blog authors or to yourself.

Go to 'Settings' menu and then 'Permissions' sub-menu. You will find at the bottom of this page the options to have more authors and to restrict viewership of the blog.


8. Search box, language preferences, feed and contact form

October 6, 2014

When social media helps build political bridges

Indian PM, Modi, is known for making good use of social media to achieve a range of objectives: connecting with people, responding to important matters, sending messages and greetings and so on. Shashi Tharoor, an ex-UN diplomat and ex-minister, too uses social media with great finesse. What happens when they, though in opposite political formations, send positive vibes to each other? It results in a politically mature discussion. It also results in political rumours.

Modi, in one of his rare foul-mouthed remarks, had once commented on Tharoor's glamorous wife (who later killed herself by consuming some drug) and he seems to be regretting that. So, after that remark, Modi has never publicly criticised Tharoor. 

By the way, Tharoor is a rather lower-rung Congress politician who does not deserve a mention by Modi, but his international diplomatic experiences, oratory, books on a number of social and political subjects and appeal as a noteworthy intellectual have made him larger-than life, especially on the social media.

About four months back, Tharoor had told a US news website that Modi was becoming an avatar of modernity and progress. He had to deny having praised Modi and his party had described his comments as Tharoor's personal views. That was the time of elections, and Tharoor's Congress and Modi's BJP were breathing down each other's neck.

When PM made an energetic speech at the UN last month, Tharoor tweeted 'Strong speech by @PMOIndia at #UNGA2014. Soaring internationalism, support for democracy & environment, anti-terrorism. Good reply to Pak'

Now PM Modi has chosen Tharoor as one of the nine public figures whom he has sent the broom challenge. Broom challenge is being spread on the lines of the recent Cold Bucket challenge; one takes the challenge to vow for cleaning India of filth, and passes on the challenge to nine others. Tharoor immediately tweeted that he felt honoured. He has given a detailed response to NDTV  in which he has also hit at the talks of his joining the BJP that arise whenever he praises Modi. In fact, Tharoor has been even more gracious in supporting the cause of cleaning India and praising Modi for giving it top national priority.

We don't know if Tharoor will one day join Modi. As of now that looks unlikely but newspapers are reporting that there is palpable unease in his party over their overtures to each other. What ITB is trying to highlight is that social media can be an effective tool for building political bridges.

October 4, 2014

hfareensspace

The Mommy Blog
http://hfareensspace.com/
mommy-blog-photo






"I'm Haajra, a momma to two little girls. I blog so I can share my journey of motherhood, my musing and fun things in from my life, with my readers."