Let’s promote blogs that promote a social cause!

Today, we are taking another humble step towards promoting quality websites and blogs, especially Indian blogs.

On Indian Top Blogs, we are offering the following support to organisations, websites and blogs that promote social cause.

We believe that the work of a good Samaritan generates positivity which, if supported by people, generates a momentum in favour of the underlying cause. Our contribution may not matter significantly to big websites, blogs and organizations; it will nevertheless be a sincere appreciation for their good work. To not-so-big ones in this arena, it might act as a much needed - and much deserved - honour. It is our way of saying, we stand by you and your cause.

Here goes our offer:

1. We have reserved a space in the sidebar for free display of a website or blog supporting a social cause. It is under ITB supports this cause: bar. As of now, we are rotating social ‘advertisements’ among themselves and with stand-alone social messages. We’ll not restrict this space to only Indian websites / blogs / organizations. [If you want your social ad to come here, do send an image of 250 pixel width and up to 260 pixel height.]

our first list of Indian blogs
promoting social cause
2. Among the websites mentioned above, bloggers will be invited to send matter for showcasing their blogs on Indian Top Blogs.

3. We have identified some Indian blogs that promote social cause on a regular basis. We’ve listed them in the Directory of the Best Indian Blogs as a category and also specially highlighted them in the alphabetical list of best Indian blogs.We'll keep adding more such blogs as they come to our notice.

We have also created a badge for blogs that feature in the 'social advertisement' space or blog directory or blog showcase. Bloggers may copy the following code and paste it in html widget of their blogs.
<a href="http://www.indiantopblogs.com/2011/12/blogging-websites-blogs-for-social.html"><img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-N86eLmjjgTM/Tvgk--nDe8I/AAAAAAAAAtA/j6AmKMDB2ms/s200/social-cause-indian-website.png" style="border: 0;" /></a> 

Do support our initiative if you like it. Do write a line if you’ve any suggestion to offer, either by commenting below or writing to kp.nd.2008@gmail.com. Do suggest Indian blogs that promote a social cause, for directory listing.


'What a life!' by Anish is the Indian blog on showcase today. This blog has thought-provoking articles, travelogues with personal touch, and much more. 

What a life! Opinions, ideas, thoughts and more...

A blog about anything and everything that I feel is appropriate to write about, though I  usually tend to stick to genres like travel, marketing, employment, politics & society and relationships.
I don't not claim to be an authority in any of these areas. When I visit different countries, I write experiential accounts of my trips. Mine is a rather atypical Indian take on local social situations I had to deal with and other topics that get me going.
I believe that frankly expressed opinions lead to debate and discussion, and their outcome quite often is change, both personal and professional. We are able to at least understand, if not deal with situations that life throws up. After all, there is only one life... What a life!

Favicon: the cute image for your blog or website

Seen the cute little letter on the browser’s address bar just before the URL of a website or a blog? Like the tri-colour kite next to the Indian Top Blogs URL or the blue birdie next to Twitter URL? These are examples of favicon [short form of ‘favourite icon’].  Though old browsers are not able to display a favicon, all updated browsers can display it well.

Alexa favicon,
zoomed to show pixels

Favicon is an important, and often ignored, design element of websites and blogs. It acts as an unobtrusive logo for your website or blog. People relate it immediately to your web-product, much like they relate a logo to a product in the physical world. 

Typically, favicon is a 16x16 pixel image file with .ico extension. Its small size does not allow for elaborate design or play of shades. By seeing the zoomed Alexa favicon on the right, you'll appreciate the limitations of favicon.  

Favicon can either have a single picture or an animation made out of a set of pictures [as in Indian Top Blogs site]. Animations allow display of more than one identitities associated with the blog or website. 

What looks best in a favicon?

Favicons look the best when they are simple and clear. Favicons displaying a single alphabet or simple geometrical shapes come up very clear. Single or at most 2-3 strong colours with high contrast lead to strong favicons while grading colours – only if applied with care - lead to smooth, graceful favicons.  

Some companies and institutions have beautifully captured their logo in the favicon. Others have used only one or two letters or a shape that express their organization well, without trying to stuff every part of their logo into the favicon.

Look at the following strip of favicons. [Just in case you don't know some of them, they are: Alexa, Apple, Chrome, Doordarshan, Twitter, Wikipedia, Facebook, Unilever, Firefox, IndianTopBlogs, United Nations, Bing, Yahoo and Blogger.] Notice the number of colours and simplicity of design. Also note that when a complex design or more than one letter are used, due care has been taken to use contrasting colours.

Now look at the following strip of favicons of DD News, FAO, UNICEF and US government.

See the DD News favicon? The favicon could have looked much better if they retained the clear, iconic Doordarshan one and coloured it in their own shades.

See the FAO and UNICEF favicons? In trying to copy their logos in full, they have messed up the favicon while their big brother, the UN, has done a great job by just using its initials.

How do I create a favicon and put it on the blog?

You can make a favicon using any of the dozens of free online favicon creators, using an image editor or with the facility provided in the blogging platforms. If you create a favicon using a favicon creator or image editor, you will need to place it in the header of the html file of the website. Though not a big deal, but if you are not comfortable with this, use the method given below.

A quicker and easier way to create a favicon – if you use Blogger - is to use the favicon-making widget of the blogging platform itself. [Go to layout; it is on top of the header menu] In the case of Wordpress, there is no widget available right now but there are plugins to do this job.

We have seen often during detailed review of Indian blogs that many bloggers use a high-quality portrait or a scenery or photo of a product to create  favicon. It usually results in a favicon trying to imitate the details of the original photo. Obviously, a photo of a million pixels cannot be replicated in an image of 256 pixels [i.e. 16x16]. The blogger, used to seeing the original photo, feels that others would also relate the icon with the photo, but the reality is that others see it as a blob of coloured points. 

You need to process the photo before creating a favicon out of it. The first thing to do is to reduce the size of the photo as much as you can, in terms of pixels. Crop the image and select a rectangular piece out of it. Next, do save the rectangular photo as a new photo and work on it.  Remove unnecessary background. Also remove elements that have muted shades, if you can. After that, adjust light and contrast as much as you can do without harming the image quality too much. Now try to reduce colour depth to 256 or even 16 colours. If the results are OK, move forward; if not, go one or two steps back and re-try changing light / contrast / depth. The resultant picture should have clear outlines and strong colours. Now your picture is ready for making favicon using either the online favicon maker or your image editor or Blogger widget / Wordpress plugin.

Happy blogging!

Indian blog directory, rankings, showcase: FAQs

This information has been updated repeatedly. The 2018 update is at this link: FAQs on Directory compilation
We have received a number of queries on the Directory of Best Indian Blogs that we updated on 30th November 2011. We are not able to respond to each email, and we feel that some visitors might have similar queries to ask and so we’ve imagined some questions ourselves! We’ve included related FAQs on blog ranking and blog showcase also.

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. We intend to include new finds on the last day of every month starting January 2012.

Why have you mentioned blog rankings along with Directory entries? You have included many more blogs that might be very good but were not seen by you during your last ranking?
Blog ranking mentioned along with an entry is for June 2011 ranking; we’ll mention 2012 ranking when we rank blogs in the middle of 2012.

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 and we’ll automatically consider it for inclusion in the Directory.

My blog was there in the July edition of the Directory but is not there now, while I find many other blogs in the new Directory. Why?
Do have a look at this post on selection criteria for the blog directory. Does your blog meet these criteria? For blogs already in July 2011 edition of the Directory, the main point for consideration was regularity of updation. 

My blog is there in the Directory and yet in your review of the blog you have listed out many problems. Do you apply different standards for blog review?
As mentioned in this post on blog directory compilation, we tend to be very uncharitable when making a detailed review. We hope, that helps bloggers much more than just praising the blog or making off-the-cuff remarks.

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, foreign blogs and websites maintained blog-like. We are stricter in the case of Directory and even more strict for blog ranks.

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. How come?  
We have tried to be as fair as is humanly possible. Have you checked all the blog selection criteria mentioned in this post? If you think, we have made an error of judgment in your case, do write to us at kp.nd.2008@gmail.com.

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?
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.
No, friends, 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.

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.

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.

You have written in the disclaimer about someone wanting to get his blog removed from the Directory. Does anyone really 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 Directory. Someone may feel slighted that his blog is placed next to a blog of much lower standing. If the blogger does not want his blog in the Directory for any reason, we feel that the Directory as well as the blogger are losers. We are here for a win-win game, not the other way round.
Three, we offer this to bloggers who suspect our intentions. When we published the July 2011 edition of the Directory, some bloggers did write on the web that we should be taken with a pinch of salt. Some even took offence 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 wrote very flattering emails to us and a few even have ITB badge on their blogs! We’re humbled by their kindness.] 

Why didn’t you send an email or make a comment on blogs to announce that my blog is in the updated Directory? You did that the last time.
As mentioned above, when we did this last time – in good faith – some bloggers took it amiss. We are doing our job with sincerity and are happy about it. Let good bloggers get a surprise when they discover their blog in the Directory.  

My blog is listed only once in the category-wise listing of blogs while a similar blog has been mentined twice. Why?
Could be that your blog had only a few posts or most of your posts belonged to a focus area or you write on too many topics. We have tried our best to accommodate blogs in their proper place(s) in the category-wise listing of blogs. If you want your case to be reviewed, do write an email to us; just give reasons why you feel otherwise. Before sending the email, do see this detailed post on blog categories in the Directory.

'Dynamic views' on Blogger platform: does it suit your blog?

This is a hurried post on the dynamic views by Blogger. We were provoked to write it because when we started reviewing individual blogs today [after a long time-gap during which we were busy compiling the Directory], we found many blogs on Blogger platform having shifted to dynamic views. This is a rather new feature of Blogger, allowing the blog to be seen in any one of the 7 templates that the dynamic views function offers.

We liked the many excellent features of the dynamic views: its aesthetic appeal, clean presentation of content, smooth scrolling of posts and their listings in many ways, and so on. Earlier Blogger did not allow any personalisation in dynamic views but now you can change the header image and background colour. You can even fix a particular view, if you fall in love with that.

Why we've written this post is not to share our joy with the great stuff that dynamic views is, but to give you a caveat.

The dynamic views feature is excellent but the superb personalisation that you have carried out and all the widgets of the old blog will not be there for others to see. Though they all remain in the background, your viewers will not be able to see your cute label cloud or month-wise archives or followers or blogroll or advertisements or ... That is a big big loss for a gain in appearance of content. Don't you agree?

Well, if you have only content pane to show, without frills, you may consider switching to dynamic views altogether. Otherwise think twice.

If you have already changed your blog into dynamic views, you can revert back to the old view.

If you have changed to dynamic views but want to stay with it, do at least leave a link on the blog to allow for the old, traditional, view too. People used to the old view may like to see your blog in that shape.

Blogger team informs that it would soon come up with widgets re-written for dynamic views. When that happens, the Indian Top Blogs would perhaps shift to the dynamic views, not before that.


What Kapil Sibal has done is right!

Btw, we’re not saying he’s right, we’re only saying, what he has done is right.

Kapil Sibal is doing the right thing for himself, and blogging and other social media, on three counts.

One, because when his boss, Mme Sonia, is attacked even slightly [We hear, she was lampooned, her image was morphed and there were even nasty remarks about her. Very bad, indeed.], do you think he should keep mum? So, what he did was just right for him.

Two, he is Kapil Sibal. True to his name, he must botch up things as much as he can, and create controversies where there are better ways to deal with a situation. Remember his dealing with Baba Ramdev and Anna? The final result almost always is that the government turns defensive and apologetic.

Three, what he did in the case of social media will be highly counter-productive. This indiscreet act of his serves the purpose of social media more than anyone else. So, he couldn’t have done better. The service that Indian politicians like Tharoor, Omar, Sushma and Advani could not do to social media, the savvy Kapil has done in one stroke.

Thanks #Kapil!

Google Chrome emerges as the top internet browser in India

As per data released by Statcounter, Google Chrome is fast becoming the browser of choice and has toppled Firefox to become the second most used browser after Internet Explorer. In India, it has surpassed even IE!

In India, where the usage of net has risen fast only in the last couple of years and most net users are of younger age, the percentage of users of Google Chrome has gone up to 34.75% as compared to Firefox 34.29% and IE 26.9%.   

Though we have been Firefox fans for many years, we welcome this development as it will lead to (i) more commitment from Google for improving Chrome, and (ii) more competition to other browsers, in turn improving them.

Good news for bloggers using Chrome

Chrome browser, like the open source Firefox, gains in functionality with use of add-ons. For bloggers, Chrome has many add-ons in its ‘Chrome Web Store’. With its popularity rising, we hope that more add-ons will be available on this browser as they are in Firefox. We do not use add-ons for writing blogs, but a number of bloggers use them to find topic ideas, monitoring traffic, uploading photos, commenting, etc. They range from quite functional to weird, by some are worth trying.