June 19, 2018

Showcasing a reference book on blogging

The Manual of Blogging

This is the first book that ITB has showcased in the last 8 years, but we could not resist showcasing it because it is perhaps the first and only such work on blogging.
Produced below is the book blurb. 

"Starting as a simple online diary two decades ago, the blog is now a versatile and full-featured website. It now encompasses all social media and is used for information sharing, expressing thoughts, publishing research, doing business and more. And the future of blogging looks even brighter!
The Manual of Blogging covers different aspects of blogging and related social media activities. A compendium with latest information, theoretical concepts and practical advice, the Manual is a must for libraries, media institutions and those interested in blogging, media and social media."
-Manoj Pandey

We have requested the author to send us a copy of the book (not free but at a discounted rate), and once the book is in our hands, we'd like to speak further about the book. On Amazon, we could find just three pages of excerpts which are not good enough to judge the book. 
The book is priced $19 which, when converted into Indian Rupees, comes to Rs. 1200 which is OK for libraries and institutes but looks to be on the higher side for common readers.

June 16, 2018

Category-wise version of the best Indian blogs' directory 2018

The eighth edition of the Directory of Best Indian Blogs was released on 1st June, 2018. We are glad to announce that the category-wise version of the blog directory is now out.

This year, as discussed in the directory release post last year, we have added lifestyle as a new category. A large number of bloggers, mostly women bloggers, have come to this field. Considering that 'lifestyle' is now in vogue in blogging, we had earlier talked about lifestyle blogging in this post:  Lifestyle blogs are highly professional. We would be grateful if lifestyle blogger friends engage in discussion around this theme so that those attracted by this niche have a clear understanding of where they stand.

We have another new category, hyperlocal, that lists blogs that talk about the life and culture of a small geographical area, e.g. a city.

A blog with good resources in different categories is likely to be included in more than one category.

If your blog figures in the Directory and you would like to change the category in which it is included, please write an email, telling why the blog is better placed in a different category.

June 15, 2018

What should your cookie policy say?

After the GDPR regulations came into force on 25th May this year, there is a lot of concern among website owners about using cookies on websites and among users whether to accept cookies or not.
In the present post, we have collected useful information from highly authoritative sites so that you, the blogger, can yourself take informed action on use of cookies and displaying your cookie policy on your blog. 

What is a cookie?

A cookie is a small piece of information that websites leave on the visitor's browser. It helps the website in many ways such as assessing the user behavior so as to give the user a better 'user experience' later on or tracking how he/ she has responded to an advertisement placed on the website.

Typically, cookies are small text files with a small piece of information in characters and digits. They are not malware and do not contain viruses or malicious code.  

A cookie can be session specific or permanent. The permanent cookie resides on the hard disk of the user's computer. On the other hand, the session specific cookie just collects the session data and is deleted at the end of the session. For example, e-commerce websites collect data about login by the user, so that he/ she does not have to enter the data again when he visits other pages of the same website or performs different transactions. This cookie is deleted after the session or a small period of inactivity. Then there are 'third-party cookies' that are not created by the website itself but by other programs or links used in that website. Mostly it includes advertisments.

What Automattic, the company behind Wordpress, has to say about cookies?

Wordpess has posted a very informative article on its cookie policy page. You could visit the given link in case you are interested in details about how cookies function and what type of cookies a Wordpress blog/ website posts on user's browser. 

If you are a business, you can adapt the Wordpress policy for your purpose, editing it the way you like.  Wordpress page on Cookie Policy

On wordpress.com blogs, the cookie policy statement automatically comes at the bottom of the webpage. On free blogs, you cannot modify the notice but on paid ones you can. In addition, on premium accounts, you can also place cookie and privacy policies through plugins.

Cookie notice at the bottom of Wordpress blogs


How does Blogger show up the cookie policy notice on free blogs?

Blogger does not have a standard cookie notice. However, for EU-centric blogs or those opened in the EU zone, it shows a cookie notice as claimed by the platform. 

Cookies by Google AdSense

When you serve advertisements on your blog through Google AdSense or other CPC/ affiliate marketing services, the user data becomes very important for choosing ads and tracking user actions. Therefore these programs use cookies extensively. If you are interested in seeing details of how Google uses cookies and collects other data for serving advertisements, visit this link: Google Privacy and Terms.

Cookie information on self-hosted and custom-domain blogs 

Blogs created on Wordpress or Joomla or other CMS or custom domain mapped Blogger blogs are usually monetized through advertisements and other ways. In all these cases, there is even a bigger need to have a clear cookie policy displayed on the blog. This can be done through a plugin or by simply taking these actions:
a. Having a notice about cookie (and privacy) policy of the blog. This can be put as an item on the  side bar/ bottom of the blog or a pop-up.
b. Having a page giving details about the actual policies. If your blog does not have advertisments or has those from only compliant networks, or it does not have widgets/ plugins that capture user data, you can keep the page simple.  Otherwise you need to explain things in greated detail, as given in the Wordpress document linked above.

You may like to visit this related post on GDPR regulations issued by the EU last month. The cookie policy page of the Guardian is very elaborate and it can be emulated by professional bloggers, with necessary modifications.