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.
It gives us satisfaction that in the last six months, we have written nearly two dozen exhaustive posts highlighting different aspects of blogging. These range from blogging-bloomers to content quality, putting images and labeling.

We’ve fumbled too. On a friend’s advice we started search engine optimization (SEO) tricks-of-the-trade. We are glad that we’ve discarded them all except for a very few sensible and natural practices of cross-referencing, etc. We also thought of giving a thrust to interactivity by encouraging comments on our posts but soon found ourselves unable to even reciprocate greetings. We do comment on other websites/ blogs, but too infrequently. We also tried to plunge into social networking but when we realized that we had no time for activities beyond our core commitment, we gave that up except for having a token presence on a few social networking/ bookmarking sites. When we brought out the first edition of the Directory, we informed individual bloggers about their being on it; we discontinued that when we found that some recipients took our gesture as spamming. We do make proof and linking mistakes though we are harsh on others when we review their blogs in detail. We were suggested to ‘nofollow’ links to conserve ‘link juice’ and guard against spammers getting better of us. We did it on some links but soon realized its futility.

What next

We are bound by our core commitment: helping bloggers with advice - especially non-techie bloggers; and promoting good blogs – especially Indian blogs. This is our strength too. We can claim to be the only team that has reviewed over 400 blogs in detail, browsed over 30,000 Indian blogs for quality checking and critically examined over 5,000 blogs. 

As we said in this post on  Directory-related FAQs, we’d keep surveying Indian blogosphere for quality blogs and add good blogs every month to the Directory of Best Indian Blogs.

We’d keep publishing analytical and educating posts on various aspects of blogging, especially tips on blogging.

We’d continue to showcase good blogs and help Indian bloggers with detailed blog reviews

We wish all our blogger friends all success in their blogging endeavors!