Blog ranking and blogosphere survey – Feb 2011

The Indian Top Blogs ranking of blogs of Feb 2011 is over. As we said before, we kept quality of blogs much higher than their popularity. We have been able to look at about 12,000 Indian blogs and properly examine about 1,000 of them. It was a big task for our 4-member team. Instead of including a few thousand more blogs, we thought to rather stick to our deadline. We admit that it is only a minuscule of the Indian blogosphere but we could not go further. We will add more blogs to the ranking when we do it next.
Interestingly, in trying to rank blogs we ended up doing a sort of survey of blogs. With this sample, we found that most of the bloggers have been very occasional bloggers or they post in spurts only to go on hibernation for long times. One main reason for waning of the initial enthusiasm of these bloggers could be that they found blogging more demanding and time-consuming than they had thought. The return, monetary or in terms of satisfaction, perhaps did not match their expectation. Another important reason for this could be their new-found love with social networking sites such as Facebook, Orkut and Twitter, and new apps on their devices.
Quite a number of bloggers do post frequently, with a remarkable discipline. Some have monetised their blogs by offering photographs, using AdSense, affiliate advertising, etc. and some have blogs as extension to their main sites.
Blogs on information technology, partly automated blogs and blogs run by large groups or corporates are quite regular. A number of blogs with travelogues, routine photography and musings too are very regular. Unlike what came in papers a few days back, we found that most of Indian bloggers we encountered are young – mostly in their 20’s and 30’s.
Except for some, not even highly popular and regular blogs have taken care to design the blogs with care. Some have done a good job in the beginning and never thought of refreshing the dated-looking design.
We had disabled comments for some time and have opened them. We will appreciate your comments and suggestions for good blogs.

How we compiled the first edition of the directory of topmost Indian blogs

Let the best blog win, irrespective of its popularity

We have tried to be fair in our ranking, but we are conscious that ranking per se is a subjective activity. We are deliberately keeping our identities anonymous. Maybe, if our team of bloggers stays stable for about a year, that will be the time to announce ourselves.
We started with seeing only those blogs that are either personal or run by small groups or NGOs in a collaborative spirit rather than commercial activity. After some discussion, we excluded blogs that needed registration and collaborative blogs on non-Indian affairs in which some members were Indian.
There were too many blogs on IT, gadgets, hacking etc and we had to discard majority of them in favour of those where the blogger had made special personal contribution rather than aggregating material from other sites. Some IT and news blogs had too much automated content and too little personal effort by our reckoning. We also had to exclude niche blogs, such as those on pure science, medical specialities and software codes. We have also not included non-English blogs, because we are not proficient in many Indian languages.
Of the blogs we did not exclude this way, we looked for regularity of posting. Blogs not regularly updated and whose posting was less than once a month consistently were rejected. We had to reject many beautiful, high quality blogs but we could not help that. Of the blogs so shortlisted, we looked first at the quality of content. This included the text, its presentation, language, grammar, use of graphics, etc. Then came the design elements including readability and length of posts.
To reduce subjectivity, all of us four gave marks to each of the shortlisted blogs [978 in all] on these parameters and came down to about a hundred top blogs. We sat together to have a final look at the blogs and reduced the list to 32 and gave ranks to these blogs based on a fair mix of marks given by individual members on different parameters. We are still not sure whether we should have given a higher or lower ranking than what we have given to some of these blogs.
As it was the first such exercise by us, and because we realised that we must have missed thousands of top quality blogs and made errors of judgement in various parameters, we have deliberately not given Diamond and Platinum rankings this time. As such, our rankings are limited to bringing to the fore very good quality blogs, generally personal blogs in which bloggers have invested good amount of time, energy, thought and imagination.
At the end of this exercise, we find that individual bloggers with zeal for presenting their worldview in an interesting way do ignore certain essentials of blogging. Based on our collective understanding and experience of blogging as well as what we learnt during this exercise, the Indian Top Blogs will soon come out with posts to help individual bloggers in sprucing up their blogs.