June 30, 2012

2011-2012 Indian Blog Rankings

We are before you with our second edition of Indian blog rankings, for 2012 [We like to call it 2011-12]. Like last year, this year too kept us busy in the process of ranking blogs but we were better prepared. We also did not have to compile a directory simultaneously. As we said in our post announcing the blog rankings, the competition was much tough this year and so we can say with a lot of confidence that the rankers are truly the best-among-the-very-best blogs on India and by Indians.

Only one rank – Platinum – is being given this time because we have overhauled the Directory, and the blogs in the Directory itself are among the best Indian blogs due to heavy pruning.

We can claim that all the Platinum rated blogs are among the top-most blogs on India and by Indians. We’d also like to claim that in ranking blogs, we have been as fair as is humanly possible. What we cannot claim is that there are no other blogs as good as these ones. One, because we might have missed them. Two, because we might have excluded blogs that are outstanding for some parameters but average for some others. Three, all ranking is subjective. Four, we wanted to limit the number of niche blogs as declared in this post on the blog ranking process: this means that a superb blog in a highly competitive category might have lost while a similar blog in another category might have come in.

During the ranking process, we noticed some trends in the blogging habits of Indian bloggers, and we have shared with you while announcing updation of the Directory of Best Indian Blogs. Before that, we also carried three posts on IT blogs, celebrity and columnists’ blogs and food blogs.

All the best!

ITB team

You can find all posts relating to the blog rankings and Directory updation for 2011-12 here.

We have also created a new badge for the Platinum rank for 2011-12. If your blog is ranked Platinum blog by us, you may like to put the badge on your blog. How to put a badge on the blog?

Please click here to access the Platinum rankers’ list and the Directory of Best Indian Blogs.

June 25, 2012

Indian Best Blog Directory is out!

We are pleased to release the 2011-12 edition of the Directory of Best Indian Blogs today.

The 2011-12 Directory has 523 blogs. This edition is much smaller than the previous edition, which had 706 blogs. We have given the reasons for this in this post on compilation of Indian Best Blog Directory. We have also removed lists of blogs on jobs and stock advice that were appended with the Directory.

If you have questions in your mind about the Directory and us, do visit this post on FAQs about ITB blog direcory, rankings, etc.

As earlier, the Directory is alphabetical as well as category-wise. We’ll bring out the category-wise list after releasing the Indian Blog Rankings on June 30th.

We’ve created a new badge for the Directory. If you happen to be the one whose blog finds place in the Directory, you may consider putting the badge on your blog. How to put an Indian Top Blogs badge?

June 22, 2012

Badges to show your association with Indian Top Blogs

Over the last two years, we have brought out two editions of the Directory of Best Indian Blogs and one edition of Platinum Blog Rankings. The thoroughly updated edition of the Directory is coming out on June 25 and the second edition of Blog Rankings is due on June 30. In addition, we have reviewed in detail over 500 blogs, showcased over 40 blogs and promoted  - in a little way - a dozen blogs devoted to social cause.

We have created a number of badges for most of our activities so that bloggers desirous of showing their excellence and / or associating with us could place them on their blogs or websites. We find that the number of such badges has gone up to 5, as you can see below. So, we thought of standardizing our badges. Though many bloggers have shown their love for ITB by placing our big badges on their blogs, we feel that our badges in future should be small, as some of them already are.

We give below the badges along with their code. You are free to USE or  NOT USE a badge or DISCONTINUE using it if you so like. We have put a small code behind each badge. The advantage with the code is that when someone clicks on the badge, he or she is taken to the ITB site and it associates the  blog or website with ITB and shares the goodwill and authority that goes with ITB.

How do I place a badge on my website / blog?

Just copy the code and paste it anywhere where html or Java can be rendered [e.g. on a post while editing it in html mode, or on a html/ Java widget].

Do put this badge if your blog is in the Directory for 2011-12 [came out on June 25, 2012]

<a href="http://www.indiantopblogs.com/p/directory-of-best-indian-blogs.html"><img src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-vK4IvbRF4no/T9GX9bhXCFI/AAAAAAAABAs/lmLxlg7Fw7c/s140/blog_directory.png" style="border: 0;" /></a> 

Do put this badge if your blog has been Platinum ranked for 2011-12 [came out on June 30, 2012]

<a href="http://www.indiantopblogs.com/p/indian-blog-rankings-2011-12.html"><img src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-LFcL916cqZU/T9GX-IBLfiI/AAAAAAAABA4/oop6UstSHlQ/s140/blog_platinum.png" style="border: 0;" /></a> 

Do put this badge while submitting a blog for detailed review

<a href="http://www.indiantopblogs.com/p/get-your-blog-reviewed-by-us.html"><img src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-S--WjGqb30M/T9GX8OxvjhI/AAAAAAAABAg/WgdeXib1G3A/s140/blog_review.png" style="border: 0;" /></a> 

Do put this badge if your blog has been showcased on ITB

<a href="http://www.indiantopblogs.com/search/label/blog%20showcase"><img src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-RdOEWudOvfs/T9GX71B7FlI/AAAAAAAABAc/lvct8juEE5k/s140/blog_showcase.png" style="border: 0;" /></a> 

Do put this badge if your blog espouses a social cause and has been talked about on ITB and/or listed in the Directory

<a href="http://www.indiantopblogs.com/2011/12/blogging-websites-blogs-for-social.html"><img src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-gDRBGhWB6tE/T9GX9_1cOTI/AAAAAAAABAw/B2eE71u7Zgg/s140/blog_social.png" style="border: 0;" /></a> 

You can see here the logic for changing the year for blog ranking and directory from 2011 to 2011-12 rather than to 2012 .

June 17, 2012

Indian Blog Directory 2011-2012

The last edition of the Directory of Best Indian Blogs, as you know, came out in November 2011. We added some more blogs in the Directory in January and February this year out of those suggested to us or discovered by us after Nov ’11.

While thoroughly examining blogs for Blog Ranks in the last about two months, we have noticed that many blogs that figured in the Directory have suffered on a few counts: poor regularity in blogging, odd experimentation with design, shift to a new platform and consequent mess-up, adding useless pop-ups and irritating widgets, changing to poorly functional dynamic views, turning overly commercial, and so on. Out of 706 blogs in the Directory, as many as 207 had to be taken out due to these factors! We have also removed lists of blogs on jobs and stock advice that were appended with the Directory. We have, however, spotted many new good blogs and included 51 of them in the Directory of Best Indian Blogs.

The Directory has changed so much from the original 2011 Directory that we’d like to call it the Directory of Best Indian Blogs, 2011-12 edition. We also realize that since the Directory and Ranks are not co-terminus with calendar years, relating them to two adjoining years is better.

If you are a blogger whose blog has been removed from the Directory, we advise you to please have a re-look at the quality of your blog, and do update your blog more regularly. You’re sure to find a place in the Directory again when we review it next. 

Blogging habits of Indian bloggers

In the last one month, we have published a number of posts on how blogs of some prominent categories  [IT blogs, food blogs, celebrity and columnists' blogs] are being maintained. We have some observations to share:

We were disappointed with many celebrity blogs, especially those created en masse in the blogging platforms of large media houses. While they got a well-crafted blogging platform, most of them have turned irregular after an initial burst.

Columnists, techies and food-bloggers remain very regular. Columnists tend to paste their newspaper columns on their blogs; however, to the extent that they have a presence on the blogosphere and their posts lead to further discussion on the topic makes the blogs relevant independent of the print column.

A large number of personal bloggers tend to be infrequent, even those with a long history of maintaining the blog. A significant proportion of personal bloggers carry their entries in response to competition held by some website onto their blogs; of many bloggers, such competitions seem to be the muse to write something. Some bloggers also use handles such as 'weekly photo', 'Friday musings', 'one post a day for a month' to keep themselves in blogging mood.

Very few of Indian blogs are monetized and a still lower number optimized for search engines. Some Indian tech blogs have claimed overnight success in making money by blogging, but we’d take that with a pinch of salt as their blogs do not bear a stamp of that.

We’ll post the new Directory in a week’s time. We’ve also made a new badge to go with the  Directory.

June 13, 2012

India's best celebrity blogs

A large number of bloggers with a sound grounding in polity and politics, business and economy, justice and security systems and the society do enrich the Indian blogosphere. It is heartening that many of their posts generate a good debate around various topics. Some important media organizations have their own blogging platforms, and their editors / reporters / columnists / experts contribute regularly on these blogs. Add to these other serious blogging platforms / aggregators and their bloggers.

Another category of bloggers who drive good traffic to their blogs and generate good level of discussion are celebrities in various fields, e.g. politics, television and cinema. Among celebrities, we noticed that many  start blogging but either stop it altogether or do so infrequently. It could be a coincidence, but we have found that usually the celebrities who are serious about their profession are usually serious bloggers too – it is a different matter that some of them might be engaging ghost-writers.

Now, we have had a problem in ranking this class of bloggers. After eliminating the non-serious ones, it was difficult to select the best 5. For example, how do you compare between the top columnists of a leading newspaper who use their newspaper’s blogging platform – there is absolutely no difference in their designs, and they all write good prose, are experts in their own areas, write regularly and get a good number of comments.

Another, and opposite, problem relates to comparing these blogs with other blogs. The columnist / political celebrity bloggers usually choose a very functional platform and do not have to bother about design, visual appeal, linking, sprucing up with relevant display elements and so on. Yet, their content is so compelling that these blogs can’t just be neglected.

With these constraints in hand, we had to devise a balanced approach – to select up to 5 blogs in these sub-categories: blogs by columnists / journalists on media platforms, blogs by columnists / experts on other platforms, blogs by celebrities. We are tooth-combing each of the selected blogs for many more parameters such as engagement with commenters, selection of topics and writing style.      

We also had problem with blogs whose posts were a replica of a columnist’s column elsewhere. Yet, we had to let such blogs in as these arguments outweighed other considerations. Look at this one: Good columnists write syndicated columns and once you let them in, how can you eliminate columnists who post the same content in their print column and their blog?  In addition, the content is their own, not copied from others’ writings, and the blog is just an extension of their regular writing, and it also allows for reader response.

We had to reject good blogs belonging to one popular organisation as its platform didn’t have good way to  categorize content and proper archives. Moreover, the blogs opened with a promotional audio. A big media-house does not give a proper identity to its bloggers and the posts become part of the platform itself – we were forced to filter out such blogs, though sometimes with great content.

So, here we are: a select few blogs from clelbrieites and colunists in the Indian Blog Ranks. Rich picking!

PS: It is the job of columnists and journalists to weigh others in their balance and it is the rare privilege of celebrities to say whatever they like and get away with it. Ranking them was, indeed, helluva job.

June 9, 2012

The best Indian IT blogs

 By now, we have thoroughly examined blogs on a number of niche areas such as food and cooking, finance and economy, travel, photography, movies and music, and current affairs. One important category of blogs happens to be those on Information Technology. This is special because most of IT bloggers are much more familiar with technology than other bloggers. They know not only coding, they have also often got education and training on other web matters. Leaving aside a few, all IT related blogs score high on design and navigation aspects. This has made our task quite difficult in selecting the best five blogs.

Too much familiarity with tools and technology can be a drag too. The adage ‘familiarity breeds contempt’ seems to apply to many IT blogs and websites. Their focus on web-design and content – and the hurry to monetize the content – often leaves the reader out of focus. Ironically, in the long run, this has started telling on the quality of content and design in some erstwhile excellent IT blogs. We were constrained to keep out many blogs that have overdone this from the Directory of Best Indian Blogs, leave alone the Platinum Ranks.

Well, you have been bearing with us for so long; so let us keep the final list of IT Rankers to ourselves till June 30th, when the Indian Blog Rankings for 2011-12 are published.

Vineet Nayar, the blogger

We could not resist taking a break from our busy ranking schedule and pay our regards to an avid blogger, Vineet Nayar, for his latest contribution to the society.

If the name is not sounding bells in your ears, as happens often to all fogetful people, let's introduce him in his own words as they appear on his personal blog, http://www.vineetnayar.com/:

... I am working hard to catalyze my leadership theories and business strategies to spread the magic of education through the non-profit organization, SAMPARK. I have no doubt that over time, we can “create a million smiles” through improving the quality, infrastructure and opportunity for education to the underprivileged. ...

Though he has been donating his money for the good cause, always in substantial amounts, this one [as it appeared in the Hindu Business Line today] makes us salute him for his his latest act of philanthropy. If you intend to skip going to the news item, let's not dprive you of the essense of this post: Vineet Nayar, who happens to be the Vice Chairman and CEO of HCL Technologies and is supposed to be a highly respected global business leader, has sold his entire stake in HCL Tech and is donatng the proceeds to Sampark.

June 5, 2012

The Best Indian Food Blogs

The Indian Blog Ranking exercise is on for the last 45 days. After screening blogs on a number of paprameters, we are now examining blogs in different categories in detail. We started with food blogs, going by  the small number of such blogs. We’d thought that it would be the easiest section to finish. 

We are thoroughly stumped by the richness of these blogs, and the dedication of these bloggers to not only the craft of cooking but blogging too. A large number of food bloggers have taken care to keep their blogs regularly updated and to reply to readers’ comments, categorise recipes, give detailed cooking instructions, illustrate them with a series of photographs, and also keep their passion largely non-monetised. 
While we are deeply satisfied that the five food blogs that we have finally selected are the best-est-est of the food blogs available on the Indian blogosphere, we are also sad that we had to leave out some great blogs – with some aspects even better than some of the selected ones. The last stage competition – among the top dozen blogs – was so hard that we had to dissect each blog for no fewer than 30 attributes. The only things we didn’t check were the culinary skills of the blogger and the taste of the food presented. Well, none of us is a foodie or a chef or a grandma.

Allow us to keep the final list to ourselves till June 30th, when we’d come out with the Indian Blog Rankings for 2011-12.