Give your blog an Indian identity

A website should have its own identity. It should not only look distinct but also be identifiable with its main purpose, activity, location, etc. 

Indian tricolour
Most popular websites and blogs pile up a great brand value, and their brand is such that people relate it with one or more of the sites’s basic attributes. This also applies to Facebook and other social media sites. 

Tiger: Indian national animal
India has some superb national symbols. For example, its tricolour. The saffron-blue/white-green colour combination looks fine on website and blog design. It can be used for a blog or website’s theme, fonts, title bar, frame outlines and so on. The colours can also take the shape of flags, balloons, brush strokes, animations and patterns. The Indian Top Blogs website uses it as a kite in the favicon. The badges of ITB and the Directory of Blogs Indian Blogs are in saffron and green colour. 
Peacock: Indian national bird

If you have a blog or website on nature photography, travel, Indian flora and fauna, etc, you can display tiger and peacock. Both make powerful visual elements. While tiger is majestic and forceful, peacock beats all animals with its fan of colourful feathers.

Travel, culture and nature sites can also display the Himalayas and the Taj. Culture, history and travel websites can use photos of Rajasthani folk dance, a classical dance, dancing Shiva, Ganesha, yoga, lotus and other cultural icons of India. 

The Taj Mahal
India’s map can also be used. Do use the full map as authorised by the Survey of India. If your website or blog targets audience beyond India, do place India in a globe or world map. You should not show flavour of a particular location or culture if your theme is global; identifying oneself with a particular location, etc might hurt your global image. Even if you want to show your Indian identity, you need not do it routinely but on special occasions only. You can think of colouring your website or blog in the tricolour or having a flag animation on the independence day or when Indian cricket team wins the world cup. 
Kathkali dance:
face decoration

Avoid visuals showing poverty, icons of a particular religion, people – especially the poor, handicapped and socially backward - in bad light, superstitions, crime and filth. India has a good share of these all, but displaying them serves hardly any good purpose while it amplifies India’s negatives at the cost of its strong cultural and social traditions. 

This post is addressed specifically to Indian bloggers, but those from other nations can think of similar actions on their websites, blogs and other social media. 

photo courtesy: India portal, Kerala Tourism, Wikipedia

Selection criteria for the Directory of being included in the list of best Indian blogs

Updated in October 2018.

We have been compiling the Directory of Best Indian Blogs for eight years and have made a number of changes in selecting blogs for the Directory, which is the who's who of good Indian blogs in English. 

Starting with a complex formula that used Google PageRank, Alexa position, page views, etc, we changed to manual picking and have made our criteria stricter over the years.

We believe that blogging is both a personal and social activity, and we do not hold a case against blogs on very personal matters as long as they meet our selection criteria. So, while a spirited, well-composed and regularly updated blog on one’s kid, dog or garden may get included, an extremely dull blog with copy-pasted newspaper columns, not allowing any sharing or interaction and not caring to provide any archive would get left out even though its content prima facie might look substantive.

If we find a great Indian blog, we’d not bind ourselves to a maximum number of blogs in the Directory. However, we intend to have a strict filtering for quality [as explained below] and end up with about 300- 350 blogs, no more.

Blogs as young as 6 months are eligible for inclusion in the top blogs' list. However if they are not regular or slip on quality, we'd remove them in the next six months.

We are unable to include more than one blog from a blogger.

We’d include blogs that are suggested to us and those explored by us only till April 30. We normally bring out the Directory on May 30/ June 1. We have delivered on all our promises so far, and would strive to meet the deadline this time too.

Now the selection criteria. 

Our limited resources do not allow us to go beyond Indian blogs and blogs only in English. [We produce a separate list of top Hindi blogs; we tried with a Bangla blogs directory but had to abandon it as we could not cope with the additional work.] Non-English blogs are not included. Bilingual blogs are OK if the other language is used unobtrusively and English is the main language. 

We consider the following content as inappropriate and reject blogs with such content: unacceptable levels of nudity and violence; vulgarity; pornography; abuse; racial, casteist or communal denigration or hatred; rumor-mongering; slander; criminality; and other content not considered acceptable in responsible writing and visual/ audio/ audio-visual presentations. Propaganda is not welcome; promotion of universally accepted social and moral values or a just cause with wide appeal is. If the blog or its content is found indulging in plagiarism or copyright infringement, it is blacked out. 

Commercial blogs and blogs of corporate bodies are not included. 

Blogs with advertisements making more than a third  of their homepage content are also filtered out. 

If more than a quarter of content in the blog is automatically generated, the blog is not taken in. [Content in widgets such as recent comments, archives, followers and advertisements are not counted towards this.]

Blogs that have not been updated [by way of new posts] at least once in 9 out of the preceding 12 months are not included. 

Blogs that pass through the above filters are checked for a number of qualitative attributes. The broad categories are content, design and regularity. We place high value on content, followed by design and regularity.

Effort made in blogging, as evident from big and small steps taken to improve the quality of presentation, proof-reading of text, use of widgets, etc. find favor with us. Value addition [e.g. background information and external links] relating to the subject matter are considered additives to the resource base.

Qualities relating to the niche of the blog [e.g. selection of subject and depth of analysis in case of current affairs, clear depiction of recipe and display of cooked food in case of cookery blogs, mastery over subject in technical subjects, and unbiased advice in case of blogs on share-markets and review blogs]. 

Grammatical correctness of text content is expected but is ignored if it is minor and the content quality compensates for it.

Various aspects of visual appeal [e.g. whether the blog is clean or cluttered, how well is the opening screen composed, elements introduced to break monotony and make the content interesting, use of widgets, appropriateness of colors and titling, etc suited for the category of blog] are a plus point.

Quality and size of visuals, their appropriateness, attribution in case of content drawn from others are considered a positive. 

Ease of navigation and interaction, and engagement with visitors, especially in the case of personal blogs are rewarded. 

That's it. You can visit the latest listing of top Indian blogs in English at the link given above. Happy blogging!

Who does NOT blog in India?

This post has been updated in September 2015
There are supposed to be about 4 million Indian blogs. If we take that one blogger maintains only two blogs in India, only about 2 million bloggers would be operating in India. So, 1,198 million people [plus-minus a few million] in India do not blog!

But the question is not that, it is – who do not blog, out of those who are active on the web? That gets us a more sensible number if we take that half the bloggers have quit blogging for ever: about 19 million of them do not blog out of 20 million [plus-minus a few million] people who contribute content on the www. So, what do these web-active guys do if they do not blog?  Who are the ones who spend a lot of time in front of web- enabled computers and mobiles but don’t blog? And why do they not blog?

Let’s see.

We asked and observed our Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp friends. We talked to many people who use these modern social media platforms. 
Facebook is quite popular among young persons, especially college and school students. Twitter now is omnipresent for getting news, tracking personalities, supporting or lambasting political and social opinions / personalities. So is WhatsApp, for quick connect and posting photos and videos instantly. Tumblr, Instagram.... there are dozens of them, who serve the purpose for which people visit the web - instant information on matters they love, instant chat with friends, instant multi-way gossips, instant commenting on controversies, instant sharing of photos and videos, and so on.
Most young web users have jumped to the latest platforms without graduating from static websites and blogs. So, the less dynamic platforms such as blogs and websites do not offer them what they need. This group comprises people who do not blog, unless they are thinkers too. In India the contrast gets magnified as internet penetration is rising fast only now.

Let’s share our own experience of surveying the Indian blogosphere. After exploring it  for over five years now, we can say that we must be among a handful of people in the world who have manually [not using software for popularity check etc] examined over seventy thousand Indian blogs. What we found among Indian blogs, in the context of the present question, is this: 

A very large number of the blogs have only a couple of posts that were created when blogging came to fashion.  Some bloggers opened dozens of blogs and gave up all except a  couple. Some bloggers opened their blogs and ran them with lots of passion, but they got bored because of the discipline it demands. When it comes to discipline, bloggers can get influenced by any conceivable excuse: change in job, marriage, birth of a child, a small health issue, real or imagined busyness… 

Some bloggers have automated their blogs, so they themselves do not have to do anything to run them. Some copy passages and photos from the web, paste them into their blogs and do nothing else. 

In our opinion, this group of ‘bloggers’ must belong to ‘the people who do not blog’. They must be over a million or half of those who have taken to blogging ever and stopped blogging in true sense.

Blogging requires hard work and discipline. It demands an urge to write / create.  Blogging demands much more work than just typing out one or two casual sentences or making a pithy comment on a recent event. Blogging survives only when the blogger's motivation survives; the motivation can be passion or getting money / fame, archiving of one's resources, or a mix of these. Not one out of ten  bloggers can remain motivated, and this is the one survivor who reaps the joy of blogging.
Does that answer the question?

Will you like to visit a related post: How blogging progresses: habits of Indian bloggers?