February 22, 2012

Widgets make a blog great or they mar it

Widgets are those stand-alone elements in a blog that take care of all matters other than the core content. Technically they are small programs that are attached to the webpage's code and are executed from the webpage. They cull out matter from myriad sources, process it and present it on the blog. 

Since widgets are not the core content of a blog, they compete for attention with the core content and other elements on the blog. There has to be a compromise between the value added on one side and space taken / conflict for attention on the other. Widgets and such other elements have the potential to ‘make or mar’ your blog in a big way, so you must have a look at each widget and the whole blog separately for these two aspects - value rendered and cost in terms of space / attention / conflict.

Do not put too many widgets on the blog. Once they become a crowd, they put off the visitor. 

Even a few widgets can be annoying if they are too flashy, irritatingly animated or out of shape.  

Also consider the placing of widgets. Do not stuff sidebar(s) with a large number of widgets. If for some reason you must keep some widgets that do not add great value to the blog, put them down in the sidebar or at the bottom of the blog.

Many free widgets on the web have a link to the creator of the widget. This is true also of badges. Use such widgets and badges if you think that associating with them enhances your blog's value. 

Usually do not put widgets that trick the visitor into clicking on it and take him to a website selling widgets or other items.  Even when hidden sale is not involved, a big link-text can be irritating. While reviewing blogs, we recently saw a cute fairy widget on one blog, with a witty remark coming from the fairy. But just below the remark was this irritating, animated text: ‘If you liked me, you can visit me for more such widgets, at www...’.

We have seen blogs with many widgets that contain links to other posts, labels / categories, and external sites, but a number of these links don’t open. Some widgets stop working or updating content after some time. Therefore, do check every few months whether the links and widgets [especially those not provided by the blogging platforms such as Wordpress and Blogger] are working or not. 

The worst of the lot are those with malicious code or a code that pulls the visitor's private data. Be wary of such widgets as these not only damage your reputation and popularity, they can harm your and others' personal lives and lead to your blog being banned from reputed directories. Before copy-pasting widgets from the web, check their code and/or Google them to know their authenticity.

Avoid these:
- widgets with text that is difficult to read because of its style or size;
- widgets with colors that pop up too much or completely submerge the widget content in the background;
- a few too light or too dark widgets in the sidebar of the opposite contrast;
- widgets needing scrolling [e.g. a newsreel that needs you to scroll a bar to read the news];
- more than one heavy widget [e.g. video bar] on a page;
- audio / video widgets that start playing on opening the blog [e.g. playing of a tune];
- too many advertisements, especially those between posts, and big ones;
- pop-up widgets [especially those needing action before they let you go further]. 

- content – popular posts, related posts, latest comments, labels, profile, search box, archives
- community – social media, subscription, feed, blogroll, polls
- utilities – clock, calendar, currency converter, map, tips, translator
- dynamic updates – daily quotes, newsreel, trends, stock quotes, stat counters, visitors, weather
- fun and show – game, jokes, celebrities, slide show, photo-stream, video bar, songs
- advertisements

February 20, 2012


A fine, beautifully crafted and well maintained, Indian blog on travel and photography.

Shadows Galore

fine-indian-blog-shadowsTravelogues, Photography and Memories and More! 

This weblog by Puru, Ekta and friends is a look at the world around us, the places we have been to and the experiences we had, through our eyes behind the lens and our memories translated in words. 

Shadows Galore is dedicated to the beautiful twin passions of travel and photography.

February 16, 2012

New bloggers enter the best Indian blogs directory

Since we issued the updated Directory of Best Indian Blogs on November 30, 2011, we have discovered a number of blogs that meet our listing criteria of content, design and regularity. Most of them are the ones suggested or submitted by fellow bloggers while some are our own finds.

We are trying to consolidate rather than expand beyond our limited resources.  We had thought of drafting two more people to our gang to take care of social media and expert posts on SEO  and monetization; unfortunately, we have not been able to do so, so far. We have, nevertheless, made our notional presence on social media by opening accounts on Facebook, Twitter and Digg [update: removed after Digg's 2012 structure change]. We are reducing the frequency of showcase to thrice a month and not accepting blogs for detailed review for another month.  This has saved us some time for detailed reviews, adding  new blogs to the Directory and writing posts. We hope to have more time from the next month but then our work on examination of Indian blogs for blog rankings will begin.

Too much of blah blah about ourselves, you'd say. So we stop. Hope, you approve of the new additions to the Directory of Best Indian Blogs. The blogs being added are:

aartiharish   Aarti Harish
akriti91   Brown Penny
aksindiblog   One Stop Blog
alkanarula   Deep frm my heart!!
arnabmaity   Arnab Maity
bollyhooha   Bolly Hoo Ha
chennaifocus    Chennai Focus news
fashion-bombay    Fashion Bombay
feistypad    The Feisty Pad
firaszphotography   Firasz Photography
inspirationaldaily   Inspirational Daily
nascentemissions   Nascent Emissions
onemint   One Mint
personal-lovediaries   Secret diaries of a girl in love
pickyc   Picky C
rachit91   Sentimientos
recommendbooks   Recommend Books
squamble   squamble.com
srayyangar   Ayyangar’s blog- “VYANGYAM”
subhorup   Subho’s Jejune Diet   
subramoney   Subramoney
sushmaspage   Sushma's Page
tflguide   The Financial Literates
vevisia   Vevisia - Circles in the Sand

You might like to visit posts on different aspects of the selection process for the Indian blog directory.

February 6, 2012

Top Blogs is happy to keep serving you!

Anniversary is the time to gloat over one’s achievements, talk about failings and take stock of the journey. We complete one year of our existence as a blog [on Blogger platform] and six months as an independent website.

It has been painful year in some respects, but a lot more rewarding. 

The first thing we did just after starting the blog was to issue rankings of top Indian blogs in February 2011. We received a few kudos but many brickbats. We were equated with link exchanges, listings for a fee, outright cheats. We now know that many of them did so with the good intent of cautioning co-bloggers, but some were hell-bent on berating us. Some had a proof of our dubiousness in that we were not associated with a known name. On a few blogs, we also read that the bloggers were embarrassed that their blogs had found a mention in our blog rankings! 

We responded with this post explaining our position. We commented on a few blogs to clarify our position. We offered that if a blogger wanted his/ her blog to be deleted from our listings, we’d do so. We also learnt quite a few lessons from some very well-meaning criticism. 

The hard work soon started paying in unseen and pleasant ways. 

One of the most delightful experience of our team was when we sat to analyze the conduct of our initial critics - 50 of them.   We discovered that nearly half of them had submitted their blogs for a detailed review by us.  Six had submitted their blogs for showcase on Indian Top Blogs. Eleven were in the updated Directory of Best Indian Blogs, but nobody asked us to remove their blogs from the Directory. At least five had put our badge on their blogs! 

We have received immensely encouraging and kind words from bloggers whose blogs we’ve reviewed in detail. Some blogger friends have asked us to expand to related activities such as issuing e-books, accepting guest posts, offering paid services etc. Our Directory and listings have found mention in many respectable websites. Our badges can be seen on over 300 blogs (after that we stopped counting), despite the fact that half of the bloggers whose blogs are listed in the Directory might not even be aware of this. There is a long list of blogs we’ve received for showcasing. We had to stop accepting requests for blog review as our pendency started going beyond 110 days.