December 31, 2012


Ranjana's Craft Blog

In this blog I try to share my experience and experiments with different forms of arts and craft. 
"Vastra-Abhushana" talks of the dress and ornament design, "Temple" gives a glimpse of temples and their sculpture and "Paat-Shala" contains links to tutorials on craft.

December 26, 2012

a blog by Sachi Mohanty
Sachi describes her content as 'Random reflections from an Atheist Indian'. She keeps changing her blog title, description and display. This is how her blog looks at present:

I take a critical and cynical look at contemporary events. I try to be funny and ironic at times. I take pleasure in slaughtering religion and other holy cows.

December 20, 2012

Blogger's special features: updates

I often advise bloggers to create their blog on Blogger as It has numerous features, that too completely free. I had published a series on the often ignored but very useful features of the Blogger platform.

All the features given there are still available on Blogger; just the links to use them appear in new places. So, I won’t repeat the content again but add to our earlier suggestions. I have avoided tweaks and tools that need caution and technical knowledge.

There are a few new widgets that Blogger has added, and these relate to Google+ integration. Adding Google+ button / Google+ badge / Google+ followers’ thumbnails on the blog is likely to improve your social networking. But I am not sure of it unless you use Google+ as your main social networking platform.

When I talked about Dynamic Views in an earlier post, I had advised that bloggers should refrain from using this option as the blog lost more value than it gained by using it. I am still not convinced  about that, but I also agree that Blogger has been working hard to restore functionalities of the standard blog in dynamic views. It has restored some widgets in the sidebar and now displays Adsense ads too in dynamic views. You can also customize a blog’s appearance to some extent within a dynamic view.

Settings menu [Settings> Search Preferences> Meta Tags] allows you to put a description meta tag. This is a useful SEO tool. You should write a description of your blog in the given text-box in such a way that it clearly tells search engines about the key content of your blog.

In the Post menu [Post>Edit], Search Description tab in the right-hand column gives you additional facility to tell search engines about your post. You should post relevant keywords here. This function is also available on Pages.

Within the settings menu, you also have the facility to put the Google Analytics ID [Settings> Other> Google Analytics]. Google Analytics is a very powerful tool provide by Google for site analysis. When you sign up for this [Google Analytics link here], you get an ID that you need to paste in the box provided under the Settings menu.

Google Analytics tells in detail how, from where and when people visit your blog, what search terms they use and so on – in a much more detailed way than the Stats menu of Blogger. This information can be used to improve search and Adsense performance of the blog.

Blogger also gives you the facility to give your posts a more meaningful URL. For example, if I wrote a post in March, 2012 on ITB with the title ‘Mentionable items on a photo blog’, it would automatically name the post something like this:

Look at the last part of the URL; it does not tell what the post talks about unless you see the full title of the post. Here comes the customizable URL option of Blogger: In the Post menu [Post>Edit], on the right column, there is a section named ‘Permalink’ and under it, there are two options: the automatic option is the default option and the other one is ‘Custom Permalink’. If you want to customize the post URL, type the desired URL here and click on ‘Done’ button. 

In the present example, if I wrote the following URL in the given box, it will reflect the content of the post much better – more so, to search engines: 

Note that you have the liberty to change the last part of the URL only. You can use only dash, underscore or dot in addition to alphabets and numbers in the URL.

For bloggers using the Blogger platform in the US and the UK [not in India and other countries yet] and interested in earning through blogging, there is more good news. You can allow Blogger to give affiliate ads with your posts. For this, you need to have an Adsense account where you are given choice for affiliate ads. Select the types of ads relevant to your post and there you are: earning a few bucks if someone makes a purchase through your post’s affiliate ad link.

Blogger allows transliteration. As of now, our experience with computer-based automatic translation / transliteration has been awful, and so I do not recommend bloggers using translation widget on the blogs except when the blogger is convinced that the blog really needs translation facility, however rudimentary it may be.

December 15, 2012


A design blog by  Anu Varma. Anu likes to call it a lifestyle blog and global marketplace.


A lifestyle blog, it chronicles my everyday thoughts on design and decor. I like to think of my home as a canvas bringing my thoughts to life.

December 10, 2012

A blog can convert stress into happiness, believe it!

When one is excited, sad or depressed...
  • How do you come to terms with yourself after your boss has badly scolded you for a big blunder that occurred in company accounts, even though you had hardly a role in it?
  • What do you do when you feel bored of everything in life, and you feel like breaking your head against a wall?
  • You are extremely happy with your performance and there is nobody with whom you can share the best aspects of that success.
Happy, unhappy and uninteresting moments in our life come again and again: some pass by and some leave you either hyper-excited or frustrated. In either case, you need to give vent to your feelings so that you do not end up doing something injurious or stupid but return to your normal self.

Blogging is a great way out for immediate calming or nerves as well as long-term emotional well-being!  Personal blogging we mean, not the professional or corporate one.

How about making the blog the 'virus vault' of your life's anti-virus program?

Use your personal blog as your punching bag. Make it the place where you spit out hatred, greed and guilt so that they don’t damage your pancreas, liver and kidney. Make it your secret vault where to give vent to your nastiest feelings so that they don’t come in the way of your experiencing the beautiful aspects of life.

In times of stress, even if it is over-excitement due to a great achievement, write down whatever comes to your mind. Abuses and expletives, threats and submissions, curses, painful details, unspeakable acts, bitter feelings about the relationship that the other person didn’t value, ambitions that you can’t share even with your husband/ parents/ girlfriend, confession, a plan of action,... If that does not satisfy you, put ugly photos and videos. Morph your boss's photos to look like a moron, put a shoe over it and animate the shoe to hit the boss's head. After putting the photo or sketch on the blog, remove it from elsewhere; give it a befitting caption full of slangs. Make the font extra-large and ugly. Record an abuse [or a song in your broken and shrill voice] and put it on the blog...

Save the post. If composing the post has made you even more excited, write another post. At the end, when you have had sort of orgasm, leave the keypad. Don’t publish the post(s) yet. Don’t be in a hurry to put in action if your post has a plan of action. Don't email the video or audio to your friends or enemies. Not yet.

If you have a deep-seated sense of emptiness or depression / remorse / anger or hatred / excitement, keep writing such posts till you can no longer write them.

Look at these posts when the excitement has subsided. Not necessary on the same day: it can wait a week or a month. Tell yourself before opening the post(s) that these were written when you were disturbed and you will use the post(s) only if they are harmless to publish. Ask yourself this question again and again, till you are convinced that you are making a sensible choice.  

In ten out of ten cases, you will have dealt with the emotional event moresensibly than you could do so otherwise; in eight cases, you would know how much poison [or over-estimation, ego etc] your mind had accumulated and needed to be washed away; in five cases, you would get valuable insight about how to deal with such situations in future or not to repeat the mistakes that led to that situation; in two cases, you would have written some of the best writings in your life – maybe with some editing.

Is it not a win-win situation? Don't blame us if it works wonders for you; we didn't discover blogging.

In this earlier post, you can see our take on blogging and living happily ever after.

November 30, 2012

The Directory of Best Hindi Blogs is out!

We present to you our bouquet of outstanding Hindi blogs. Like flowers and foliage in an appealing bouquet, you will find in this directory blogs in a range of hues: established and new… experimental and conservative… very informal and very serious… too personal and too social-minded… by top professionals, PhDs and professors and by kids and not so educated adults… highly content-rich and still developing…

We are also conscious that we might have left out some excellent blogs. As in the case of the Directory of Best Indian Blogs, we’d make amends in subsequent updations of the Directory of Best Hindi Blogs if such blogs are brought to our notice.

We are a small team and our resources are rather limited. We possess only ordinary IQ and are error-prone. Yet, two things we can assure you of, and we are very proud of them: we are sincere with our job, and we are fair.

ITB team

So, here is the Directory of Best Hindi Blogs. It has nearly 200 blogs, listed alphabetically [according to the operative part of the URL. Alphabetisation is in Roman alphabets, as URLs are presently available in Roman script only]. At the end of the list of blogs, we have listed top-quality blogging platforms, aggregators and blogs about blogs. Multi-blogger blogs and community blogs are included in the main directory.

November 25, 2012

Hindi best blogs directory: what's there in it?

A short take on how we are compiling the Directory of Best Hindi Blogs

We started with collecting as many Hindi blog links as possible and in about six months ended up with around 4000 blogs in our database. We shortlisted the blogs, based on a simple algorithm that gives values to a number of parameters. We subjected these blogs to detailed filtering for content, design and regularity, and simultaneously kept looking at the links on the blogs that we were surveying: blogrolls, entries in aggregators, comment links, multiple blogs, community blogs… This exercise landed another 3000 blogs. We left it at that since it bloated our database with hardly any good blogs showing up.

Left with around 1800 blogs, we scrutinized them all for many parameters, sometimes visiting a blog twenty times over. We are now left with around 600 blogs; most of these blogs, except the top 50, suffer from many infirmities [given in the second section, below]. We have tried to find blogs that have high quality in terms of content, design, navigation, regularity and interactivity, with as few infirmities as possible. At the end of this effort, likely by 29th evening, we’d have included all such blogs about which we have a consensus in our team that they are among the best blogs in Hindi.

Forgive us, friends, for not being ruthless in this first edition of the  Directory of Best Hindi Blogs [out on 30th November, 2012] and do tell us if you find some undeserving blogs in the Directory. You can do so by making a comment on this or any subsequent post if you have a view on the Directory or its entries; but if you want to be abusive, do use this email link because on ITB we won’t be able to publish comments with too hard-hitting a language: We’ll have one or two minor updations based on your feedback, before we update the directory thoroughly around May 2013.

Kindly forgive us also for being judgmental and immodest about our views on what constitutes ‘the best blog’. We feel humble looking at some top quality blogs in the Directory – blogs that do not need our certification.

We are unable to write in Hindi the detailed posts that we have published about Hindi directory compilation. We’ll feel obliged if some helpful soul translates them in Hindi. We’ll give credit and a link too if the translator maintains a good blog. Do write to if you are interested.

November 19, 2012

Hindi blog observations II: who, why, when...

 (updated in 2017)
This is the second post in the series on what we saw in Hindi blogosphere during compilation of the Directory of Best Hindi Blogs. You can see the first part here: What’s there in the Hindi blog world?

Hindi bloggers, as bloggers in other languages, represent the population to which they belong. So, they are of different ages and backgrounds, speak different dialects, have different customs... Both the sexes are represented almost equally, and we didn’t come across even one blog on/from the third sex.

Children have their first tryst with blogging when they are in post-primary school, but not many children take up blogging; they are even less attracted towards blogging in Hindi.

By education and profession, the majority of Hindi bloggers seem to have studied humanities [as against technical or science subjects]. Similarly, while many working and retired Hindi literary teachers/ practitioners have adopted blogging, not many scientists, technical professionals, experts and medicos have got attracted to blogging in Hindi.

There are numerous housewives adorning the Hindi blog world. Indian housewives are amazing cooks and have also mastered folk art and craft, but that too is not reflected in Hindi blogs. Besides mainstream bloggers, Hindi bloggers come in some very striking shades: a lonely lovelorn soul, a village girl trying to adjust in a metropolis, a parent passionately blogging for his /her kid, a grandpa narrating his lifelong experiences, a retired professor and a judge trying to help the society by sharing their worldly wisdom, an expatriate emotionally connecting himself to his ‘maati’…

We can group majority of Hindi bloggers into these four overlapping categories: i- housewives, ii- grown up males, iii- young adults, and iv- retired and aged persons.

Why does the Hindi blogger blog?

Blogging is the universal new platform for self-expression, and Hindi blogger are no exception in lapping it up. However, unlike their English counterpart, their main muse seem to be love [real or imagined], morals, religion and nostalgia about a life that has changed fast.

In Hindi, blogging with literary tinge gets appreciation and encouragement. Many bloggers get awarded in public functions, quite a number get kudos on other blogs, and some get mention in the print medium. This seems to encourage others to join ‘blogger associations’, write about other bloggers, participate in blogger meets and do blogging.

Thinkers, dreamers and shouters are not expected to think of money, so there is hardly any effort to write blogs as a money-earning activity. Most Hindi bloggers also do not think much of popularity beyond the word-of-mouth type, perhaps because it involves a bit of mundane technical tweaking. This trend, however, is changing. Many young bloggers are now experimenting with monetization.

Where do Hindi bloggers blog?

A significant proportion of Hindi bloggers run their blogs on Blogger - the free platform from Google stable. Only a handful bloggers choose WordPress, and hardly anyone goes to Live Journal, Typepad, etc or have a self-hosted blog.

A few blogging platforms – mostly provided by newspapers – exist in Hindi. A couple of them are very popular, both in terms of the number of people blogging on them and the number of comments received by such blogs. However, not all such platforms give the blogger an identity that he/ she can relate to.

There are a number of community blogs and multi-author blogs. Contributors to these blogs have their own blogs too; hardly anybody seems to write exclusively for community blogs.

Where do Hindi bloggers live?

Hindi bloggers come from not only the ‘Hindi belt’ but all around the world. They mostly come from small and medium sized towns.

How do Hindi bloggers blog? How much do Hindi bloggers blog?

Most Hindi bloggers leave blogging after an initial burst [It is universal: You can see this post on Indian bloggers’ behaviour], but majority of Hindi bloggers who do not fall into this state of inaction are very disciplined. Not only that, a number of bloggers maintain a good frequency for years.

As we shared earlier, the Indian blogosphere has a large number of blog aggregators, community blogs, multi-author blogs and web-magazines. The last genre is often a mix of portal, curative and blog formats.

Many bloggers have made their own little communities of bloggers who support one another’s blogs by way of friendly follow up, links, excerpts, blogroll, etc. It sometimes goes to the extent of ugly fights and formation of coteries. Some of them also run various types of ‘associations’.

Quite a number of Hindi bloggers have many blogs. Some of them are able to maintain all or some of their blogs well, but others seem to be squandering away their energy in more blogs than they can handle. In some cases, they have linked their sleeping / dead blogs on their main blog(s). A couple of bloggers have tried to promote their multiple blogs awkwardly, by listing all of them on top of each blog and repeating the same content in different blogs.

In brief, a large number of active bloggers write [or are seen even without writing] on other web spaces in addition to their own blogs due to aggregation and cross-linking.

New bloggers seem to be eager to get a pat from the active few who are everywhere.

When does the average Hindi blogger start blogging?

Blogging being a rather new platform, almost everybody has taken to blogging almost simultaneously. As such, it is difficult to say when people start blogging in Hindi. Yet, because blogging is more serious an activity than being active on Facebook and such other social networks, those who feel settled [even if in particular phase of life, e.g. getting employed] tend to take blogging seriously. 

The charm of technology, seeing the published word and easy typing in Unicode make people – especially students – experiment with blogging. The charm fades away when they realize that sustaining the craft needs hard work. This results in one obvious trend: blogging is the first casualty when the blogger gets disturbed or occupied, whether physically or emotionally. We have seen that young ones seldom pick up the thread again once they lose it, while old ones often come back.

How big is the Hindi blogosphere?

There are likely around 4 lakh Hindi blogs, out of them, 1.5 - 2 lakh blogs have maintained varying degrees of blogging activity in the last two years. Both these numbers are our guess, based on a number of postulates. Or are we off the mark?

November 12, 2012

Hindi blogs: our detailed observations: I

Now that we are in the last leg of compilation of the Directory of Best Hindi Blogs, we present before you our detailed observations on the Hindi blogosphere.

Like they say in journalistic parlance, we can get major details on a news event by asking 5 W’s and 1 H [what, who, why, when, where and how], we’ll try to share our findings in that manner, answering the first question here and the rest in one or two next posts.

ITB’s is perhaps the only team that has manually checked over 35,000 blogs, examined a quarter of them for specific attributes and reviewed nearly 600 blogs in fine detail. We tend to be very nasty in our comments when we review blogs. However, in these two posts, we will avoid sharp value judgments or advice.

What types of blogs are there in the Hindi blog world? What is written in Hindi blogs?

In blogging, Hindi-speaking people seem to have found a revolutionary medium of self expression. Since blogging is free, simple, unfettered and almost limit-less, the author within a guy can express himself the way he likes, without an editor looking down upon him with professional arrogance and dumping his creation in the slush-pile. This perhaps explains why a significantly large proportion of blogs in Hindi are on poetry and free-style discussions on myriad themes in one’s surroundings – the physical world, the society, the chaos, the issues of mis-governance. Out of the over 5,000 Hindi blogs in our database now, nearly 4,000 relate to creative self-expression and free-style commentary. 

There are, understandably, not many blogs on technical matters, photography, stock market and western music, but for some reason there are very few blogs on beauty and fashion, DIY & craft, food, art and culture and social cause. One another big miss is quality children blogs. We had expected many blogs helping Hindi speakers with English, but found only a few. On the other hand, there are far too many blogs on literary discussion, compilation of classic poetry and ghazals, and religion. A good number of bloggers indulge in spreading ancient and self-created wisdom on worldly as well as ethereal matters by preaching ad nauseum.

Anything special about the content in Hindi blogs? – you might ask. Yes, quite a few.

One, the ubiquitous blogroll. Nine out of ten Hindi blogs have a blogroll on the blog. Many bloggers who themselves are very regular and popular, and also write good content, have put long blogrolls with links to blogs that have not been updated for many years, have been taken off or have decayed over time. One regularly updated blog has a blogroll in which there are two blogs with no post at all! Do pick up a popular Hindi blog and check the entries of its blogroll; chances are that you will find many irrelevant and sleeping blogs in it.

Two, unattributed graphics and video. We found a large number of Hindi blogs with photographs taken straight from the web without even an attribution to the source. Even audio and video [especially ghazals and movie songs] are copy-pasted with no regard for copyright issues.

Three, great commenting culture. Hindi bloggers comment a lot. As is universal in blogging, this gets bloggers a lot of return comments. A number of blogs generate good, sometimes amazing, discussion on current topics. Many regular and popular blogs have threads of discussion that run into over a dozen responses.

Four, matra and other spelling blunders. Hindi bloggers have to grope with matras - little ligatures - which go crazy if one is not careful. Some bloggers also make grammatical and spelling mistakes, but such mistakes are fewer than those in English blogs by Indians.

Five, different shades of Hindi, and regional flavor. Hindi being the mother tongue of the majority in at least ten states in India, people write different shades of Hindi [It’s no brainer that khari boli happens to be the most prevalent]. Together with it come the local icons: Kanha in Braj, Ganga in eastern UP and Bihar, hills in Uttarakhand… Some bloggers have passionately been writing about their region, city, caste and other identities.

Six, blog-design aspects. Hindi bloggers are as good or bad in blog design, e.g. matters relating to readability, navigation, placing of widgets and page-length. When it comes to experimenting with colors, fonts etc, Hindi bloggers seem to be more passionate than their English counterparts, generally speaking.       

Seven, vulgar self-praise or self-promotion in many popular blogs. Because of their perceived expertise in, and success with, blogging, many popular Hindi bloggers tend to go overboard in promoting themselves. We mention it here as this show off often mars the content quality of their blogs. We’ll talk  about other aspects of this conduct in some later post.

You can read all ITB posts on Hindi blogging here. The second post on observations on Hindi blogosphere is here.

November 7, 2012


Pristine Perceptions
A blog by Anish Bhalchandra
A blog that is most often humorous, satirical and witty, though serious at times. 
Humour in Pristine Perceptions contains a message that the readers can take from it. 
The posts in the blog relate to the current socio-economic and political scenario in India. 

November 3, 2012


a-pot-pourri-of-vestigesA blog by Murtaza Ali, a film critic, for whom cinema is a passion, even an obsession.

A Potpourri of Vestiges is a movie blog dedicated to cinema, in particular its Art form. 
The blog aims at acquainting viewers worldwide with the true purpose and potential 
of cinema, especially as a great source of learning and enlightenment, by trying to keep 
alive the cinematic gems that are rapidly fading into obscurity owing to commercialization. 

October 28, 2012

Common blogging mistakes: the topic re-visited

A blog is a diary, fine; but a blog is also a public space [except for private blogs] on the www. In the latter sense, blogs are a form of media, like newspapers. Therefore, blogs are expected to maintain minimum standards in terms of web ethics, design, content and updation.

We have numerous posts on how IndianTopBlogs scrutinises blogs for putting them in directories and ranks them as ‘Platinum Blogs’, so we won’t repeat the process here. We have also a number of posts on various quality aspects; in fact our ‘blogging tips’ section is full of tips on maintaining quality in different aspects of blogging. 

In this post, we give a list of practices / features that spoil the quality of a blog,  and we add to that our experience with Indian blogs that we've checked for the last nearly two years of blog ranking, reviews, showcase, etc.  

Major blogging mistakes

  • Poor navigability
  • Too many - and useless - widgets
  • Too long pages
  • Pages wider than about 1200 pixels
  • Blog’s top portion [=opening screen] full of links, advertisements and other stuff that is not the core content of the blog
  • No effort towards making the blog appealing [Does not apply to individual blogs on standard platforms provided by newspapers, community blogging platforms, etc.]
  • Experimentation that has badly hurt the blog’s looks, readability, navigation, etc
  • Too long lists of any type such as label list, blogroll, latest posts and popular posts
  • Not caring for checking entries in lists for their current status, and thus having lists with dead / sleeping  entries
  • Not having a link for comments or having a link that is difficult to find
  • Not responding to comments
  • Blogger fighting with commenters about critical comments
  • Copy-and-paste content presented as original analysis [Copy-and-paste is accepted within limits for critiquing or for illustration of a point  or as a listing.]
  • Many spelling mistakes; in the case of Hindi, too many matra problems
  • Writing long passages in Roman script when writing in a language that does not use Roman script
  • Too long paragraphs
  • Content that makes the website / blog slow [e.g. big photos and heavy video]
  • Unreadable text due to colour, font, size and contrast issues
  • Widgets bleeding out of columns; columns overlapping
  • Pop-ups [unless they carry a very important notice] and self-playing music [unless very much relevant to the theme, e.g. on a music or movie site]
  • Promotion of obscurantist thoughts
  • Inappropriate content [as defined by us in a post on selction criteria for blog directory updation]
  • Too much commercial content
  • Biased product reviews, that too without disclosure
  • Too many, too flashy advertisements; advertisements seeking unusual, unreasonable favours
  • Static websites and archival content sites in the garb of blogs
  • Not updating the blog for a long time [For ITB listings, not writing for two consecutive months in a span of a year  and being quiet for any three full months amounts to too infrequent blogging.]
  • Giving links that do not open
  • Too much bragging; I, I, I… and again I
  • Too many promotional badges or too many certificates from run-of-the-mill certifiers

 Relatively minor blogging issues

  • Not showing archives of old posts
  • Not giving contact email on the blog or keeping it too much hidden
  • Not using graphics and text-variation to break monotony of long text matter

Why do we like or dislike some aspects

During directory compilation and ranking of blogs, we do consider some other aspects. We reproduce them below as they might help bloggers analyse their blogs from some new angles.
  •  Too narrow a subject of the blog. It makes regular posting difficult as you will run out of matter and original thoughts. On the other hand, appropriately ‘niche’ subjects lend themselves to detailed analysis and also focused monetization. So, choosing subject with care helps, unless yours is a personal / all-encompassing blog.
  •  ITB has no issues with blogs that are not very popular. If they maintain quality, they rank higher than very popular blogs of poorer quality. Quality should rank higher than quantity, no?
  • We don’t give weightage to the number of comments received. However, we have problem when a blogger doesn’t acknowledge comments even once in many months. If you can’t respond to each and every comment, respond to them collectively.
  • ITB does not go by others’ ranking of blogs. Not to speak of certifications and accolades by other directories and critics, we are not swayed by Google PageRank, Alexa Rank, dmoz listing etc. At the same time, we advise that you submit your blog to dmoz, a free directory of good websites.
  • We don’t care whether a blog is over 5 years old or is there for only a year. [However, just to see that the blog is stable over a  reasonable period, we shortlist blogs that are at least six months old.] Many search engines do feel that your blog / website has a higher standing if it is running for a long time.
  • ITB doesn't hold very frequent blogs in higher esteem than those less frequent. So, a blog that comes out with 1-2 quality posts every month is better in our eyes than (i) a blog that updates once a day with copy-pasted content, (ii) a blog with mostly auto-updated content, and (iii) a blog that updated 30 times three months back and is not updating any more.
You may also like to visit these posts on IndianTopBlogs and of course all blogging tips if you have more time:
5 things most Indian bloggers tend to ignore
Ignore these 5 blogging basics at your peril
10 deadly flaws in blog posts: blogger's sins!
Review your website or blog yourself in a few minutes!

October 25, 2012


Cool Funny Jokes
A humour blog by Siddharth Jhala, an Indian blogger.

A blog made with the sole objective to spread smiles and laughter around the world.
The content of the blog is scrupulously selected to suit people of all ages and faiths.


October 17, 2012

A blogroll on your blog

We are prompted to write this post on maintaining a blogroll on the blog as we’ve  found that quite a number of blogs carry a blogroll without applying their mind to its utility. (We are presently scrutinizing Hindi blogs for compiling the Directory of Best Hindi Blogs. We find that this tendency to have a blogroll at all costs is quite prevalent among Indian bloggers and even more among Hindi bloggers.)

Why a blogroll?

Blogroll is just a list of blogs (and other websites) that you display on your blog. A good blogroll should serve one or more of these purposes-
  • First and foremost, it should enrich your blog’s content by providing additional resources.
  • It should link your blog to good and relevant blogs over the www.
  • It should help build a community. If you put someone’s blog on your blogroll, he /she would put your blog too on their blog unless there is a reason for their not doing so.
  • It should get relevant back-links to your blog. When those in your blogroll link your blog on their blogs, your blog gets those many back-links. Back-links are a prized asset for a blog’s listing on search-pages.


How to put a good blogroll on the blog?

The blogroll can be placed in a sidebar, at the bottom of the blog or as a separate page that is linked from a tab anywhere on the blog (preferably on the menu-bar). You can also put a blogroll in your profile page.

The placing of the blogroll should go with the basic design of the blog. In a typical 2-column blog, a small blogroll fits very well in the sidebar. However, if the blogroll grows long, it is better placed in a separate page.

Blogroll can be put using a widget (in-built in the case of major platforms such as Blogger) or can be created manually by typing each entry individually. You can put just the URL or title of the linked blogs or can give some details about them; it depends upon the space available vis-à-vis size of the blogroll, and your personal preferences. 

Though manual lists need labor, and sometimes re-arranging entries, they give you the liberty to arrange entries according to their importance or relevance, put blogs into various categories, and even put them arbitrarily. You can also play with color and font size of individual or group entries.


Do’s and don’ts

  • Not all blogs require a blogroll, so don’t force yourself to have one only because a blog that you like has a blogroll.
  • When compiling a blogroll, do ask yourself whether it will serve a good purpose. Even if so, a blogroll should not spoil the design of the blog.

In our blogosphere surveys of Indian blogs, we have often come across many blogs with very long blogrolls, as if the blogger wanted to show off his / her range of links. Instead of serving the intended purpose, a poor-quality blogroll looks like a burden on the blog. It also shows the blogger in poor light, as an un-focused, scatter-brained , unprofessional person.
  • Keep only the blogs you really want to keep there. The criterion of selection of entries could be any: your friends’ / relatives’ blogs; blogs on related subjects; blogs by blogger friends; blogs and websites that you like your visitors to read because of their very high quality or because they complement your own content…
  • Check each entry for its link to the correct resource. Re-check links when you re-arrange entries later.
  • Remove ‘%20’ and such other html codes for special characters, which are not part of the URL but sometimes come in when you paste a link.
  • Keep only blogs that are regularly updated. Check the blogs every 3-4 months to see that they are not only alive but also are updated and have not become restricted to registered visitors.
  • Keep the blogroll small. In case you want to have a longer list, give it a separate name and put it separately (e.g. a small blogroll on the blog’s main page and a ‘list of blogs that I often visit’ on the profile page). 

How big is too big, you may ask. Depending on the subject and the space available (see the next point), we would recommend that the list is no bigger than 10-15 lines if it is in a sidebar. On a separate page or on the profile page too, 50 should be the extreme upper limit. Bigger than that would deserve to be called a directory, no?
  • Keep uniform the number of lines each entry takes. It should ideally be only one line or two [e.g first line gives URL and the second line a brief caption]. Shorten the expression in the link to fit in the width of the column where the blogroll is placed.
  • Arrange entries with some logic, even if you want to look random. The most popular way of listing blogs and websites in the blogroll is alphabetical. You can also list blogs / websites according to their importance or relevance – starting with the strongest. You can group them in sub-categories if you find a widget that has this feature; otherwise you will have to do that manually.
  • The blogroll should not pull the entire blog or the sidebar down the screen. For this reason, avoid putting a blogroll bigger than 5-7 lines or any other long list at the bottom of the blog.
  • Give each link in the list an expression that the viewers can easily associate with the linked blog or website (e.g. URL of the blog / title of the blog – but it’s likely to change over time / a relevant caption such as ‘Rita’s blog on her child’).

October 11, 2012

Hindi blogosphere / हिंदी ब्लॉगों की दुनिया: क्या देखा हमने

कल इंडियन टॉप ब्लॉग्स पर हिंदी ब्लॉगों के बारे मेँ एक त्वरित टिप्पणी की थी। ज़रूरी है की जो हमने इंग्लिश में कहा है, उसे हिंदी में भी कह डालें।  इसलिए नहीं कि हमारे हिंदी पाठकों को इंग्लिश नहीं आती बल्कि इसलिए कि हिंदी ब्लॉगिंग के ऊपर लिखी गयी पोस्ट हिंदी में तो होनी ही चाहिए।

हमने पहले बताया था  कि हम हिंदी के सर्वश्रेष्ठ ब्लॉगों की डाइरेक्टरी संकलित कर रहे हैं। हमने अबतक करीब 3000  ब्लॉग देखे हैं और उनमें से करीब 400  ब्लॉगों को चुना है। इनमें से करीब 100-200 ब्लॉग ही डाइरेक्टरी में आ पाएंगे। हम हिंदी ब्लॉगों के बारे मेँ अपने विचार बाद में विस्तार से रखेंगे, अभी तो अपना पहला इम्प्रैशन आपके साथ बाँट रहे हैं।

हिंदी ब्लॉगों की दुनिया सच में इतनी परिपक्व हो चुकी है, हमने नहीं सोचा था। कई विषयों पर काफी समय से ब्लॉग लिखे जा रहे हैं और पुराने ब्लॉगर इस विधा में पूरी तरह निपुण हो चुके हैं। हिंदी ब्लॉग-जगत में कुछेक ब्लॉग छाये हुए लगे। इनका स्तर काफी ऊँचा है और बहुत सारे ब्लॉगर्स इनकी सम-सामायिक विषयों पर टिप्पणियों और स्तरीय ब्लॉगिंग के कायल हैं।

हिंदी ब्लॉग डिजाईन के मामले में इंग्लिश ब्लॉग्स पर भारी पड़ते दिखे। हमें लगता है कि हिंदी ब्लॉगिंग में [इंग्लिश के मुकाबले] कठिनता उन्हें अपने ब्लॉग से और ज्यादा जोडती है। 

चूँकि हिंदी ब्लॉग लिखने वालों की मातृभाषा हिंदी होती है, ब्लॉग उन्हें आत्म-अभिव्यक्ति का अच्छा माध्यम देते हैं। शायद इसीलिए हिंदी ब्लॉगों में आपबीती, आसपास के विषयों पर टिपण्णी और कवितायेँ ज्यादा देखने को मिलती हैं। जैसा कि हमने सोचा था, तकनीकी विषयों पर हिंदी में बहुत ब्लॉग नहीं हैं।

ग़ज़ब का भ्रातृ-भाव मिला हमें हिंदी ब्लॉगों में देखने को, जो कई रूपों में प्रकट होता है  जैसे, ब्लॉग-रोल, कमेन्ट और ब्लॉग-सूचियाँ। ब्लॉग एग्रीगेटर (समूहक) भी अच्छी पोस्टों को एक साथ लाने का सराहनीय काम कर रहे हैं।

काफी समय हो गया है हिंदी में ब्लॉगिंग को शुरू हुए, लेकिंग फोंट्स की समस्या अभी भी कई ब्लॉगर्स को  परेशान करती लगी, विशेषकर मात्राओं का छूट जाना, गलत लगना या गलत जगह में लगना। अच्छा नहीं लगा यह देख कर कि कई ब्लॉगर इस ओर ध्यान नहीं देते।

अभी इतना ही। हम मूल-रूप से इंग्लिश ब्लॉगर हैं, इसलिए हिंदी में लिखना कम ही होगा, लेकिन कोशिश करेंगे, करते रहेंगे।

क्या  आप यह भी देखना चाहेंगे?:
भारतीय ब्लॉगर क्या गलतियाँ करते हैं
भारत पर और भारतीयों द्वारा लिखे गए उत्कृष्ठ ब्लॉग्स की सूची

October 10, 2012

Best Hindi blogs and those not so good: how do Hindi bloggers run their affairs?

This is going to be the first edition of the Directory of Best Hindi Blogs. We have examined nearly three thousand Hindi blog sites and short-listed about 400 for further examination. In the coming weeks, we plan to prune the list to between 100-200.

Hindi blog sites
We’d present our detailed observations later but we thought we’d share with you our quick ‘first impression’ of the Hindi blogosphere.
  • Overall, we find Hindi blogosphere as mature as the English one, with blogs on a variety of topics, and older bloggers quite at ease with blogging.
  • Hindi bloggers take care of the design and navigation aspects of their blogs better than their English counterparts. The difficulty in setting up a blog in Hindi, we suppose, makes Hindi bloggers more attached and committed to their blogs.
  • Hindi bloggers seem to have great community feeling. Many of them comment often, have lengthy blogrolls on their blogs, and they have listed their blogs on more than one directories. Then there are many blog aggregators showcasing latest posts from good blogs. These aggregators have, we’d like to believe, helped the Hindi blogging community grow in quality and numbers.
  • A few good Hindi bloggers dominate the scene and have developed high reputation as good bloggers and commentators on the contemporary politics and society.
  • Blogging in Hindi, obviously, is done by those whose mother tongue is Hindi [unlike Indian bloggers in English – their mother tongue is seldom English]. Perhaps this is the reason why a large number of Hindi blogs have become a means of self-expression: writing about one’s travails, sharing joys and sorrows, commenting on surroundings and writing poems. We did not expect many blogs on technical topics, and we have not been betrayed.
  • Hindi font seems to be troubling many bloggers even after years of blogging, especially missing, wrong and wrongly-placed matras. Sadly, many bloggers are not bothered about correcting matra-related errors in their posts.
You can see the Directory of Best Indian Blogs here.
We take great care in selecting blogs for our lists of quality blogs by Indians and on India. Care to know?

October 8, 2012


Showcasing a fine blog by Indian blogger, Sujatha Sathya.

This is what she has to say about her blog:

"The blog is a conversational peek into my life and times and does so with as much honesty as I can muster at this point in time. 
The blog's best features are not its design or template but its clarity and simplicity."

You can visit here all the blogs showcased by us so far. Indian Top Blogs loves fine blogs, and that is not limited to Indian blogs.

September 30, 2012

Directory of Best Indian Blogs: 2011-2012 updation

We have updated the Directory of Best Indian Blogs 2011-2012 today. We have used the same blog inclusion criteria as we used while compiling it  in June 2012. You can see all our posts on blog directory compilation process here.

The ITB team is lucky to have discovered some blogs that are so good they can go straight to the Platinum Blogs' list. On the other hand, we have also given chance - as before - to blogs that have content of high quality but are new and with very few visitors and comments and a poor Google PageRank.

It is not that we  have no issues with all the blogs in the Directory. Some do have ordinary designs, some don't have to care for design as they are on blogging platforms such as indiatimes, some have messed up navigation with amateurish experimentation... yet they excel in terms of blogging habit and content quality, and we found them of high overall value.

On the other hand, we had to ignore high quality blogs that tend to be irregular. In fact, in the last two years of compilation of the blog directory and rankings, some blogs have come in and gone out of the ITB listings because of their posting patterns. We are constrained to ignore blogs that habitually hibernate after some activity, however good their content may be.

We looked at nearly five hundred blogs and could select only 0.8% of them for the Directory. Let's share some of our observations during this shortlisting exercise.

'The talkative Indians,' as Nobel laureate Amartya Sen described us all, seem to be interested in talking about ourselves - our childhood, family, village that we have left behind, daily struggle, profession, even our lives after death.
Yes, we do have many good blogs on niche areas. Hats off to Indian food bloggers. They write their posts with a lot of care, take photos of their recipes and put them on the posts, are very regular and maintain the blog on and on. 

On the other hand, we have not noticed many good Indian fashion bloggers and bloggers on health aspects. Tech bloggers, though they have  much more technical knowledge than a common blogger, tend to talk of technology without caring for the blogging aspect of it. A new crop of Indian travel bloggers is establishing itself firmly on the web. They work hard to create excellent posts.

As in the past, we have not seen many Indian bloggers monetizing their blogs.
We had earlier observed that BJP politicians seemed to be better bloggers among politicians. Now that the first blog in the list of new directory entrants is from the Congress, we reserve our comments on that. Yet, we take the liberty to make a general observation: In India, politicians are still learning to use social media. It seems that the engagement through blogging and other social media platforms suits politicians who are in a position to comment freely while it looks risky to those in government? Contrast Modi, Advani, Mamta with Manmohan Singh / PMO, the new Tharoor.

The Directory now has 564 blogs. The following blogs have joined the existing list of prime Indian bloggers. Our felicitations to them.

b00kr3vi3ws b00k r3vi3ws
bbeautilicious Be Beautilicious
bonnenutrition Bonne Nutrition
easiestrecipes mittoo cooking love
everydaygyaan Everyday Gyaan
explainingindia God Sucks
fashion-opolis Fashionopolis
foreverfoodfantasy From My Kitchen
gurcharandas Gurcharan Das
hindicinenglish Hindi Cinema Blog
indiadevelopmentblog India Development Blog
indiasutra India Sutra
indiawildsdiary Diary - Tales from wild India
indyabeauty Indya Beauty
kaarasaaram Kaarasaaram
luciferhouseinc Lucifer House Inc
mashedmusings Mashed Musings

mindfiction A beautiful mind!!
mycardclub My Card Club
mytastycurry My Tasty Curry
nisahomey Cooking is easy
onecentatatime How to be rich…
passey Passey
rksinghpoet R.K.Singh...
roughebook Rough eBook
shalusharma Travel tips to India
sharmispassions Sharmi's Passions
shoooonya …shoooonya…
speakbindas  SpeakBindas
tastyappetite Tasty Appetite
the-shooting-star The Shooting Star
thesongoflife The song of life
tickertalksfilm Ticker Talks Films Articles
tricksmachine Tricks Machine
velsaoc Vels Arena of Cricket
voiceofavillagegirl Voice of a village girl
whenmysoupcamealive When my soup came alive
wotthetech WotTheTecH
yin-yang-india The Yin and Yang of Life…