A blog post of significance: from Narendra Modi

updated in September 2018
 
In our series of blogs of significance, we bring to you the blog Narendra Modi, arguably the most talked about political leader in India today. For those not well-versed with Indian political affairs: He is the prime minister of India since May 2014 and has taken many bold decisions and started path-breaking social and economic schemes in India.
Narendra Modi post on Gujarat riots 
Narendra Modi's blog is a prominent Indian blogging site with high web reputation. It receives thousands of visits every day though he has many official sites as the prime minister of India. 

The blog was earlier a simple blog with no finery but has now been made into sort of portal. 

Modi does not talk to the press by way of press conferences as earlier prime ministers used to - sometimes with disastrous results. He uses his Twitter handle @narendramodi for immediate communication. On the blog, Modi puts his thoughts in detail on various governance and political matters.

In the post for which we chose his blog for showcase way back in December 2013, he had emotionally responded to the court verdict in 2002 Gujarat communal riots case. Just to recall, Modi was accused by his legal and political opponents for having acted on the rioters' side, and the opposition leaders keep hammering on this even sixteen years after the episode.

Two updates on SEO and Google’s search capabilities

1. Well, if you as a blogger, have regularly been watching the growth of your Google PageRank, you might have noticed that it remained constant or even dipped by a notch [in case it had 3 or higher PR] in the last 9-10 months. We have seen this happening with many blogs in our database. So, reports that Google has started giving PR a lesser importance in search results seem to be true. A report recently appeared that Google has updated the PR in December. Chances are that if your posting and linking habits have remained constant, your blog might have shown a lower ranking.

But, isn’t that a piece of good news for bloggers who concentrate on sharing good content rather than on link-building and excessive SEO?

Fashion Blogging: Look at 7 hard realities before you jump

It goes without saying that if you want to succeed as a blogger - whether in beauty or fashion or other niches - you will need to act professionally and take blogging as business rather than hobby. It is also expected that you are choosing the fashion niche for blogging because you are passionate about fashion, you love looking beautiful and you keep yourself  updated on fashion trends.

Though blogging into beauty and fashion looks easy - especially to beautiful ladies - fashion blogging poses many challenges born out of very high competition form brands, retailers, fashion magazines and websites, and established bloggers. 

fashion blogging for earning money
It is not that you cannot succeed if you are starting a fashion blog now. You can indeed succeed very well. However, for that you should take the right steps and also be aware of the challenges so that you can tackle them effectively. This post is devoted to these challenges and how to overcome them.

1. You'll need to be one step ahead of competition by being up-to-date on new fashion and lifestyle trends, new products, changing consumer preferences and so on.

Just browsing the net does not take you too far because all fashion bloggers do that. If you want to be one step ahead of them, you must regularly visit fashion events and product launches, read fashion magazines and develop the art to catch early signals from everywhere. Of course, make it a habit of regularly browsing prominent fashion websites. Go to Google and subscribe to Alerts so that you get a regular dose of posts on your email. 

You can safely ignore this advice if your blog is on fashion in ancient Egypt or India!

2. Fashion by its very nature needs celebrity endorsement. Do you have celebrities in your pocket?

The celebrity could be a socialite, a film personality, a brand ambassador, a top model or a top fashion designer herself. 

As a fashion blogger, you must have connections with celebrities. It greatly helps when you get a quote from them, are able to interview them, get a preview of their next appearance, and get a back-link to your blog from their websites/ blogs. 

3. Are you a known expert or celebrity in your niche? 

best fashion blogs need passion
If not, you are at a disadvantage as compared to celebrities who are keen to occupy social media space themselves. 

Moreover, if you are not an established face in the fashion industry, people will ignore you and not take your content on face value.

If you intend to offer advice, do you have a degree / certificate in that area?

Writing well
and networking are not sufficient for beating the competition in the long run because you will always have to be on your toes to come to the level of the established ones. You must get a label of expert as soon as you can, so that you have a minimum level of traffic and following from people wanting to hear you. 

Being a real expert in your field is of paramount importance. If you do not have a degree that is valued in your branch of fashion, grab that. If you can confidently put your view on something big, or able to predict future trends correctly, such things give a big boost to your image. When you give honest opinions on products and services, people start trusting and following you.

Since you are in a show business, you also need to be seen as an expert. So, showcase your greatest achievements. Be seen in a big action, e.g. participating in a big event, becoming a brand ambassador or being on a jury, people take you as an important person.

4. There are advantages of having a good domain and hosting it on an independent web host. But top domain names are already taken and good web hosting costs money. 

Do not be satisfied with a domain name that does not represent your passion and your strengths. Do not go for one that will become restrictive when the blog has grown to a higher level. 

After you have taken the domain name, give the blog a very attractive title. This is totally in your hand, and can compensate for a not-so-good domain name.

The other challenge is to spend money on web hosting even when the blog has not started earning. Yes, that is the reality. If you go for a poor web host, you may suffer later. So, go for a good web host; initially buy a shared plan and when the blog starts getting traffic and you want to introduce new features on the blog, upgrade to a more premium plan. 
fashion blog on children
5. Like it or not, you will need to invest on technology and SEO.

Blogging with the goal of earning money needs solid technical base and search engine optimization. Many bloggers ignore them. On the other hand, some bloggers go overboard and fall into the trap of unethical techies or fake professionals promising the moon.

Have a solid website, created on Wordpress or some other CMS. Consider design as an important aspect of the blog. Apply an appealing, modern and optimized theme. Make the blog responsive to mobile browsing.

However good a blog may be, it needs to be served before people. SEO and social media are two prime ways we attract traffic to the blog. If search engine optimization and technology are too much bother for you, hire a techie who is down to earth and not too experimental. But ask him to take only ethical actions. 

You may like to visit this ITB post: how to create a beauty/ fashion blog [and make it fantastic!]

6. You must be good at social media management. Most bloggers fail at it even if they have amassed a large number of followers [by mutual follow-unfollow or outright purchase]. For many, social networking and sharing end up draining their energies and time.

Choose the social network carefully. Go for just one or two. Instagram and Pinterest suit fashion, beauty and lifestyle blogging more than other platforms. Have a plan and a strategy to make the best use of these platforms. Apportion time to social networking and sharing. Use automation software to post on social networks. Frequently analyze how well or badly a particular platform is sending traffic to your blog and resulting in useful engagement.

7. Patience is the biggest asset to have, but is is in short supply among bloggers, especially when things do not happen as planned.    

New fashion bloggers often turn impatient when they do not earn money from blogging, more so when they started the blog with a bang and spent a lot of money on making the blog, buying equipment etc. 

Keep working according to a well-thought-after plan. If that does not seem to work, analyze and change the weak areas. Take advice from fellow bloggers and experts, and apply that carefully. 

Patience is required even when things work fine, because the niche is too crowded. Technological developments or change in policies by different platforms sometimes create havoc (Remember Google Panda algorithm and Facebook page-view changes?). Also because people's opinions might change suddenly and what you had been advocating might go out of fashion. 

These challenges are not posted here to frighten you. These are like good friends that caution you against pitfalls. You should visit them now and then, take corrective actions and move forward.

All the best!
updated in October 2018

Creating, reading and modifiying PDF files

In our series on sharing web utilities and computer tips with bloggers and other visitors, we bring you free programs to handle PDF related jobs. The utilities we recommend here are free.

Before coming to the tips, let's spend a para on PDF itself. PDF [=portable document format] files are a special category of files that are intended to be viewed across platforms in the same format in which these were created. So, this is a preferred file type when you want to share a final presentation, report etc with others. Though a PDF document is like a printed copy of the the document, and behaves like an image, its content can be extracted and a number of edits can be done on the document itself. More complex PDF documents are interactive [e.g. forms, buttons, links] in different ways. PDFs are superbly scalable and have very high fidelity, and so are used by designers and printers.


READING A PDF FILE

There are a number of programs that can read a PDF file. In many cases, the Adobe PDF Reader comes bundled with the computer / laptop but is quite resource heavy. This and many other such programs take a lot of  RAM and slow down the computer. After testing numerous such programs, we find that the free version of Foxit Reader (as of 2013 end) is one of the most handy and light-weight PDF opening program. In addition, it allows you to make some edits, highlight text, put markings and so on. 

We suggest that you configure your web-browser not to read a PDF file when you click on it. Instead, download the file and open it with Foxit or whichever program you like to use.


WORKING ON A PDF FILE

If you need to often put a bit of text [=annotation] on a PDF file or put some markings / highlights  etc on it, PDF Exchange Viewer is an excellent program, better than Foxit in some ways. But we'd rather prefer Foxit for just opening files because that is lighter on computer memory. 


EXTRACTING TEXT FROM A PDF FILE

Almost all PDF readers now have an option to extract text from PDF files [only if the text appearing on the PDF had been saved as text and not image]. A number of PDF-to-DOC converters are available on the web. But we found that Zamzaar's online PDF to DOC conversion gives you the best results [Btw, this website has facility for file conversion in many other formats]. 

CREATING A PDF FILE

New versions of major document processors including MS Office and OpenOffice come with the option to save document files in PDF format. There are a number of standalone PDF writers that use the print command to create a PDF file, and we find Primo PDF among the best. When you install it on your computer, it sits there as a printer. You can print any document or almost any other type of file into a PDF file by selecting Primo PDF from the print menu of any program.

ITB has no commercial dealings with the creators or distributors of the programs recommended here. We also advise that you do not download extra programs that sometimes come bundled with the main program, unless you are sure that you need them. There are a few free programs with greater functionalities, such as splitting and merging PDF files, OCR etc but we found them with malicious content or untested bundled programs and so are not recommending them.

Should I submit to blog directories?

We got an email this week, reading like this: I have a blog where I am putting everything that I like, mostly music, children and travel, to different places within my state. Can you advise if I should submit my blog to directories. My friend suggested four good ones and I checked them and they are fine. Are Indian directories OK?

We replied to the lady by email, and then thought we need to expand the subject and write a post on ITB.


WHY SHOULD I SUBMIT MY BLOG TO DIRECTORIES?

  • Of course you want to be discovered by others. This is more significant (i) if your blog is on a particular subject and (ii) if you want to make money out of it. For example, a blog on a research topic, photography, cooking...
  • You want traffic. All bloggers want traffic unless someone wants to keep the blog hidden for a purpose.


PLACES ON THE WEB, WHICH TAKE SUBMISSIONS

.BLOG domain coming, wanna go for it?

A new set of domain suffixes are being made available  by the international body for this purpose (ICANN). .blog is one such domain name extension. Called gTLDs or generic top level domains (common examples: .com, .net, .org),  these represent the broad category to which a website belongs.

A large number of registrars have started pre-registering .blog domain names. Pre-registration is free and non-binding; but it does not guarantee availability of that name. If you are interested in a specific domain name and that name is not available with.com or such other popular extension, you can consider going for .blog. Or, you might like to have an additional extension. If you are new to this subject, you might like to see our earlier post on why you should have your own domain name

It is not that once with a a .blog URL, your blog will get a great boost in terms of popularity and authority. It may happen or it may not, depending on factors such as whether searchers look for your type of content among blogs. But it will definitely help in people easily recalling your blog if you choose the URL with some thought. It will also help you if you feel that .com and other currently available extensions do not represent the type of blogging website you maintain.

#Cobrapost, #Kapilsibal, #SheilaDikshit and other social media updates

Some interesting updates on the Indian social media today.

One, Cobrapost, a website claiming to clean India by exposing scandals, and run by Aniruddha Bahal of #Tehelka fame, has published an expose, Operation Blue Virus. 

According to it, many companies are running ‘reputation management’ business, which means offering to boost social media popularity and destroy an opponent’s reputation. According to Cobrapost, it uncovered two dozen such companies by posing to be a politician’s agent. Among the offers made by these shady companies were for generating fake followings on Facebook and Twitter accounts, stopping negative comments, making YouTube video go viral and doing negative publicity against somebody – all with utmost anonymity.  

What makes this expose a bit suspect is that all those exposed (for such unethical and illegal activities for politicians) work for Modi, the prime ministerial candidate of the country’s opposition party, the BJP. Consider how politicians of all hues have been indulging in undesirable social media conduct (check this ITP post: web presence of Indian politicians) and you see the bias. Beyond that, this expose does bring into highlight the rot in politics and social media, once again.

el3ction-photo-india
Ready to vote: photo from eci.gov.in 

Beware of comment spam

Bloggers love comments and we need not tell the reasons. And all bloggers hate comment spam: comments sent by people for the sake of advertising or link building or with some other motive.

Unfortunately, many bloggers welcome all types of comments either without realizing that many of the genuine looking comments are not really genuine, or in the hope that a large number of comments is a mark of their blog's high popularity. On the other hand, may bloggers get so pissed off with unwanted comments that they make it difficult for a genuine commenter to give his feedback.

What do they get by making irrelevant, irritating comments?


Unscrupulous spammers comment on blogs with the misplaced hope that people will buy the product they shamelessly promote. At times, they are not the real sellers but an agency on their behalf; this agency convinces the seller about the usefulness of this type of commenting. 

Spammers also flood blogs with comments to get backlinks (and so, more backlinks and then higher placement on search pages). They also get publicity when other visitors see these comments on the genuine blog.

Some spammers also are innocent bloggers who have been told by unethical SEO guys to put their blog's links on others' comment boxes to get backlinks. 

These commenters get what they want, because most bloggers are not alert enough to prevent or remove useless/ harmful comments. 

Sometimes the blogger takes the comments as genuine and starts engaging with the comment maker.

After Google and other search engines started identifying repeated or unrelated comments as spams, spammers have become smarter. Now in their comments they do not put rubbish or matter that would be automatically removed as spam by web filters. They write biggish comments and also place links as part of the comment. Smarter ones even put some text that makes it relevant to the content of the blog.

In the image here, we give examples of some real comments that we got on ITB. Look how sincere they look in the first glance!

What is the right way to handle comments?


You have many options:
  • Stop accepting comments. Or accept comments through a form that is not part of a post.
  • Accept comments from people who register with you.
  • Accept comments only from people with proven identities such as Google / Wordpress ID.
  • Moderate comments. That is, comments are visible only when you approve them.
  • Put a tough captcha - e.g. text mixed up with images - which the commenter must put before he can publish the comment.
  • Use a mix of the above.
You may like to want commenters to go through a captcha before they comment. But captchas are notorious for becoming too irritable at times. If you are keen on using a captcha, don't put other limitations on commenting. In any case, captcha does not stop a spammer from manually commenting on your blog.

Allowing comments only from those with proven identities is like telling others that you care a hoot for them. If you insist on allowing only the people with Google ID etc, consider making the list wide: stop only anonymous comments AND allow Disqus, OpenID, FB or Twitter apps.


Asking the commenter to register with you is tolerable if yours is a highly reputed website [e.g. a magazine, a newspaper, a reputed company] or if you operate in a niche in which you are an expert.


We have learnt with experience that moderating comments is the best way to ward off spammers and not irritate commenters.

Related resources:
What is captcha and whether to use it?
Whether to stop receiving comments?

Blog helps Stella expose wrongdoing

Seen the post by Stella James about sexual assault on her by a recently retired judge of India's top court, the Supreme Court? She has exposed the wrongdoing by narrating her experience in a post on the blog of JILS

JILS blog is run by the student body of the National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata, India.

Stella says, the incident occurred a year back but she chose to expose it only now. 'The more I thought about it, the more I realized that the crux of my unease lay in my inability to find a frame in which to talk, or even think, about my experience,' she writes. She shared her trauma with friends and colleagues, wrote the post, shared it again with them and finally posted it on the blog. Had she told the experience to a TV channel, it would have made a spicy 24x7 news-programme out of it, embarrassing her and many more, and editing her version to suit its own agenda.


The blogger pours her heart out in the post and says, she feels liberated after 'allowing myself to feel more than just anger at a man who violated me'. We feel, she must also have felt liberated after having pressed the 'publish' button on the blog's post-editor. On the blog, she has got many responses, some  outright insensitive. The Supreme Court has taken cognizance of the matter and have set up a committee to go into the matter. As we publish this post, the committee has asked her to appear before it.

ITB is not pre-judging the case. We just brought this to the notice of bloggers and social media thinkers as an example of how blogs offer a platform to people who would not otherwise be able to share their experiences with the people, the way they want.

Best offline dictionary and thesaurus

There are many dictionaries available free on the web. Some are available online and some can be installed on the computer and can be used offline.

wordweb-screen
Of course, word processing programs come loaded with a dictionary. For example, Microsoft Office has an in-built dictionary which you can access by right-clicking on a word in Word, Power Point etc. New versions of MS Office are quite intuitive when it comes to suggesting corrections. MS Word also supplies a list of synonyms through right click. 


Blogs and websites of popular Indian politicians

A study of the blogging and web habits of top Indian politicians makes interesting reading. We have some general observations to make before we discuss individual websites / blogs:

First, on social media as a whole. 


Indian politicians are a confused lot when it comes to their understanding of social media. Most of them have heard that front-running social media giants such as Modi, Digvijaya and Tharoor are on Twitter etc and are good at it, but they don’t know what social media really is. They know that the young generation is tech savvy but are confused about what they themselves are required to do to engage with the youth. They are also not sure how much influence it can make to their political prospects. For some, it is something to be handled by back-end techies; bigger politicians of this ilk think, it is something to be handled by either back-room boys or their party or government staff. Most of the politicians seem to think, web media is just Facebook and Twitter or a website which they can boast of. Left parties don't allow [as of now] their politicians to open their personal social media accounts.

Second, on why they hate blogging. 


Politicians want quick return on the time spent on social media. So, Twitter is the best, followed by Facebook. Serious discussions that a good blog demands, in any case, is not in most politicians’ priority.
On Twitter, they mostly react instantly to witty comments made by one they are in competition with. Look at this Twitter 'dialogue':
A: Visited constituency today. Went through heat and dust.
B: People borne with silver spoon in mouth melt in one day’s heat.
A: Only he knows about dust and heat of village who goes there. Others make comments sitting in AC rooms.
B: Heat and dust picnic zindabad!!

Governments worldwide abuse or stupidly use social media

Updated in June 2017

On IndianTopBlogs, we showcased the linked article long back as it enriches our own discussions on the social media especially as it supplemented our own post on how world leaders use social media

On this link, you can find the full article: Governments and Social Media

Come 2017. We now see that all major national governments are on social media, and many provincial governments, government bodies and local governments. However, what has not changed is the amateurish use of social media by most of them. They either don't use it effectively or abuse it. Some, which are too preoccupied with good image on social media, have employed a huge army of backroom boys and techies to bombard the social space with propaganda. Some have a good number of dedicated followers who immediately promote any post (be it tweet or FB post or Instagram image or YouTube video or a post on website/ blog) and shout down any negative comment. To cap it all, a good number of leaders and governments have fake or in-house followers/ bots. 

So, instead of using this wonderful medium for propagating good, socially relevant messages - what elected governments are supposed to do, isn't it? - most of these self-serving social media entities end up corrupting the medium itself. 

social media by governments


Any thoughts?

wholesomemamma

Wholesome Mamma
http://www.wholesomemamma.in
 

wholesome-mamma-blog-Indian

"A health and fitness blog by a Mumbai mom following an alternative lifestyle called the paleo or evolutionary lifestyle. Find out how to have a fit pregnancy and raise kids healthier, fitter, stronger by defying the rules, questioning wisdom, and living life by following your instincts the way we were meant to. This mom sprints, does bootcamp and yoga, and provides her family with real food.
A lifestyle change for the better for mom, for baby and for the family."

- Aloka Gambhir

5 habits for success in blogging

People start blogging under a variety of influences and with a variety of goals. Whatever the initial provocation, majority of bloggers either quit blogging altogether or reduce it  significantly. Some do so in six months, some in a year. Only about twenty percent of bloggers persist with blogging beyond a year.

Yet at any given time, the number of bloggers and blogs is quite large: it includes a large number of those who are waiting to fall into low or no activity.

There are two main reasons for frustration or boredom with blogging: One is that most of us bloggers take up this activity as a hobby; so when its initial charm recedes, we find it dull. Another big reason is that we expect too much from blogging in terms of popularity and/or money. When it does not happen, we take it as a waste of time.

As we elaborated in this post on the love of blogging, one can gain a lot by way of professional reputation, expertise, personal growth, self-realisation, promotion of one's products, money, and so on, if we take up blogging seriously and systematically. Here we give a check-list for bloggers, which they should refer once in a while to ensure that they are in the right path.
Have you defined a goal for your blogs? 


Just 5 blogging habits that will give your blog a long, purposeful, life


Indian Top Blogs. Talking about ourselves.

Once in a year or so, we indulge in self-talk. Bear with us, friends, as we need to tell about our changed priorities. Hope, we are able to serve you and the blog-world better.

Now that we have some comparatively free time, we will furiously clear the backlog of detailed review of blogs. Hope, we are able to resume this highly appreciated activity next year.

We have been publishing blog-showcase for some time now. We need to clean the list by looking at old entries. We intend to remove blogs that have not maintained good standards of blogging in the last one year. In future, we are going to be more choosy about which blogs to showcase. We are also going to showcase good discussions and blog-posts more than blogs per se.

A friend has asked whether we intend to upgrade ITB to a higher level. Another well-wisher wants us to monetise it aggressively and offer paid reviews. At present, we are happy with the little way we are able to contribute to the blogosphere. In fact, we'd like a low-profile, high-content lifestyle for ITB with the exception that we'd allow our teammate, Prabhakar, to contribute more on social media by way of discussions and comments - of course, depending on the time he can spare.

We have published some posts on free software and tools. We will keep doing so. We also intend to offer some stock photographs and other types of images for free use by bloggers.


Facebook friends: fake smiles?

A survey conducted in the United Kingdom reveals that one out of three Facebook account holders don't feel too friendly in real life about their virtual friends! Yet, guys who admit not liking their Facebook friends won't delete them from their 'friends list' because they want to keep updated about such people or they are scared to unfriend them.

Why bloggers must have a Facebook or Google Plus account?

Let your blog and social network complement each other

We would advise active bloggers to necessarily have a Facebook / Google Plus account.  Conversely, active Facebook / Google Plus account holders must have a blog.
Why, you might ask.

Well, serious bloggers should legitimately expect that more and more people look at their content. It is more so, in the case of bloggers who want to promote their personal products [e.g. book, research papers]  or monetize the blog by carrying others’ advertisements. For them, just having a blog will not get good amount of traffic unless they are seen by more people. Though SEO and having an offline community helps, there is no substitute for traffic coming from social networks.

People who are active on social networks such as Facebook, Orkut, Google Plus and Twitter need a strong knowledge and resource base so that their visitors take them and their content seriously. Nothing beats a well maintained blog. No social network site matches blogs in this respect, though some platforms have tried to mingle the two [e.g. Tumblr].

Manually carry info across web platforms


Common web design issues in Hindi blogs हिंदी ब्लॉग डिज़ाइन में खामियां

updated in October 2018

We have talked in detail in the linked post about the peculiarities of Hindi blogging and Hindi bloggers. In the present one, we'd share some very common web design and readability problems we found on Hindi blogs. 

We feel bad when we find that many Hindi bloggers ignore some very elementary web design aspects and it makes their blogs shabby, unprofessional, kiddish, unreadable... sometimes even ugly and irritating. 

It is ironical that many young ones who start their blogs in Hindi to earn from the blog do not have good appreciation of design concepts. They feel that their blogging would succeed on the strength of search engine optimization (SEO) tricks that they learn from others, and some of them succeed too. We would advise bloggers who want to make an earning from blogging in Hindi not to go for such shortcuts. SEO is useful and desirable, but when the blog is rich in content and good in design.

Let us show some common web design and readability issues by real examples. We have, however, masked the blogs' identity by smudging, blurring or shading some parts. We have given links to posts on ITB on related aspects.


Hindi blogging
A

A. The first image has screen shots of two blogs. The main shot shows a large number of elements all around with hardly much real content. The inset is a blog in which the opening screen has a huge photo and the link to main blog is hidden at the bottom - and this is not a photoblog.

ITB's view: Don't clutter the blog. Give prominence to the main content. Show up the best or the most current content in the top 10 inches of the blog.
For advice on these matters, you can visit these ITB references: 

B. In the image below, the top screen shot is a post supposed to be in Hindi but when it was posted by the blogger on the blog in native font, it became abracadabra. The lower [red] text is a part of the huge label list at the bottom of a blog. The text [blue] in the right column is a portion of a massive label list in a sidebar.

Hindi blog design
B
ITB's view: In Hindi blogs, use Hindi in Devnagri script and in Unicode font, not Roman script or native fonts. Use labels wisely; when the label list is too big, it not only loses its utility it badly clutters the blog.

ITB detailed tips on using labels/ tags/ categories: use labels effectively   

C. Have a look at the screen shots of text as it appears on two blogs. These shots show spelling errors or matra issues, indicated with arrows.

Blogging in Hindi
C

ITB's view: Before you push the 'publish' button for a post, have a final look at grammar, punctuation [especially the usage of ending marks and indentation] and matras [especially कि/ की and bindu as in है/ हैं ].


Hindi blog designs
D



D. The next image is a collage of four columns taken from different Hindi blogs. Note the first one: it has a thin columns that cannot even list the month-wise archives properly. There is a widget under it [a red arrow pointing at it], which does not open as it cannot be accommodated in the column. In the second one, the sidebar is comparatively wider but is so much filled with text that you cannot comfortably read it. The third shot [dirty yellow] has a sidebar hanging beyond the main content and the blog's bottom is full of badges and an empty looking social widget. The fourth one has enormous blank space [grey] and a few links and widgets scattered here and there. 

ITB's view: We have seen very long and thin sidebars in a large number of Hindi blogs, including those listed in the Directory of Best Hindi Blogs. Sometimes the sidebar hangs down much beyond the main content. We advise that you keep a decent width to the sidebar(s) and keep only those widgets in the sidebar which add value to your blog. Do not over-stuff the sidebar(s) with text and long lists.
Many bloggers stuff long text and long lists, blogrolls, badges etc in the sidebar which makes the blog look unkempt and childish. Widgets that do not open or go beyond the sidebar also spoil the looks. Blog's bottom is not a sink or dustbin; it should be kept neat and clean, and it should be used purposefully. 
ITB reference on good use of widgets/ plugins: using widgets with impact  

top Hindi blogs designs
E
E. This collage has three parts. The top left screen shows a huge popup covering the entire page. The rectangle below it shows a post that is an image of the blogger's article published in a magazine, which is not readable. The third shot, in blue, is an example of (i) text that is unreadable due to poor contrast between the text and the background (i.e. black text on dark blue background), and (ii) long sidebar that goes on and on. 

ITB's view: Pop-ups are OK if they serve a purpose, for example, asking the visitor for some action that will help him in some ways. Even there, pop-ups should not be too big and should go away if the visitor does not take any action in 5 seconds or so. 

Use scanned images for text only when it is unavoidable. 

Hindi blogs
F
F. The collage above has four screen shots. Look at the readability of each of these portions: light blue text on green; black on blue; light text on background that has text and also nearly the same color value as that of the text; and [at the right bottom] text and background of almost similar color.

ITB's view: Text is there to be read, so do not ignore text color in relation to the color of the background. Avoid experimenting too much with text coloration. [More on this after image 'G'.]

ITB has a detailed post with tips on how to choose text color for blogs and websites: taking care of text color  

  G. This picture is even more interesting when it comes to reading and use of text colors. Look at the top pink bar and notice how the text becomes unreadable because of wrong choice of colors. In the two left columns, do you notice the use of bright green, pink, cyan, orange and yellow colors? 


Design Hindi blogs
G

Have a look at the Chrome warning. Your visitors are likely to get such warnings if you put on your blog links and widgets that have malicious code. Will a visitor getting such an alert visit your blog again?

ITB's view: Let us repeat that being playful with colors is OK, but we should not take too much liberty with TEXT colors. Whether in text or otherwise, avoid using garish colors, especially the primary colors - red, green, yellow and blue. In blogs and websites that has a large amount of text content, one should use a sober color scheme in which text is eminently readable. 

Text should also not attract attention to its looks such as curious font, variations in text size, and too bright and gaudy colors.

We have a detailed post telling us how much is too much when using colors on blogs/ websites: when a blog is too gaudy.

Well, we have talked recently about the risk of putting malicious code on the blog. This is not a design issue but we put it here to illustrate that widgets must be chosen with care. You can visit this ITB references if interested in knowing about bad code that can hurt your blog: beware of harmful code     

Other annoying issues we found on Hindi blogs: 
  • Use of too small or too big text.
  • Too big footers after each post, giving details of other blogs of the same blogger etc.
  • Use of photos of sizes that are too smaller or bigger than the width of the column in which they are put.
  • Childish use of text inside title images.

यह पोस्ट अंग्रेजी में है, लेकिन चूंकि ज़्यादातर बातें चित्रों के माध्यम से समझायी गयी हैं, हमें आशा है कि हिंदी के ब्लॉगर्स उनका लाभ उठा सकेंगे. हिंदी के बारे में बड़ी पोस्टें हिंदी में नहीं लिख पाने के लिए हम क्षमा चाहते हैं.

10 tips for high blog authority

If you are a university student, which book would you read – the one recommended by a learned professor or the one you can get cheap from a second-hand book seller? Whose advice would you take for buying a sophisticated gadget – a gadget-guru or a grandpa? 

The short point we are trying to make here is that you seek advice from those with authority on the subject in question. You respect opinion of those you trust.

This applies also to website / blog visitors. If you have a blog with a high perceived authority on a subject, say, ‘water purification’, your blog will be listed high on major search engines and more people will discover it while searching for this subject. And if your content is authoritative and useful, they will visit your blog again and again and recommend it to others. The blog’s authority is likely to rise over time not only because you will continue to enrich it but also because more people will promote it on the web and perhaps in the real world too.

Now don’t tell us, you don’t care for your blog’s reputation. If that were the case, you would not be blogging at all or keeping your blog private to yourself. You might not be blogging to make money out of it, but you still need appreciation, audience, social engagement and feedback. No? And if money making is your primary aim for blogging, you cannot live without high authority.

What we are discussing here is NOT how to add a thousand visitors a day or get the top place in search pages. We are advising that you make your blog valuable; number of visitors will go up without asking for that. In any case, if you are after numbers, we have a question to you: do you want a crowd of casual visitors or people who care for what you say? What type of visitors will give you correct feedback and [if you keep the blog for business] buy your product?

What adds value and authority to a blog?


What is in the Directory of Best Hindi Blogs हिन्दी के सर्वश्रेष्ठ ब्लॉगों की डायरेक्टरी में होता क्या है?

Year after year, the Directory of Best Hindi Blogs comes as a bouquet of blogs of various hues. Blogs on social topics, poems, religion and spirituality, literary history, personal musings and what not. The bouquet is as rich as the Hindi blogging world is: a blog by an 83 year old grandpa and one by a kid; a blog by a professor and one by a village boy lost in a metropolis; a police office updating people about its activities and an NGO seeking people’s cooperation… [Do look at these posts on what the Hindi blogsphere looks like.]

We’ll leave the variety aspect here, and use the present post to discuss a more touchy aspect - quality.

We must admit beforehand that the Directory has some blogs that are so good, you silently salute the blogger for his passion, wisdom, aesthetic sense  and hard work. But if we picked up only such blogs, we’d end up with a listing of not more than a dozen blogs. We did this exercise for English blogs and brought out a directory of best-of-the-best for many years but it had started shrinking and lost its purpose and so we discontinued that. We don't intend to do that in the case of Hindi blogs.

So, the question arises, where do we draw the line?  We have shared our dilemmas in the last post on the subject; let’s tell you how we resolved them.

Knowing the problem Hindi web writers face relating to typing in Indian scripts, we have been liberal regarding मात्राs. Since most Hindi bloggers never had a chance to learn design and have been living in small towns and are influenced by local use of colors and design, we have ignored minor design issues too. When the content is good, we have ignored other aspects of blogging craft too. But when there are too many such blemishes in a blog, we are forced to take the blog off the listing.

For the benefit of Hindi bloggers, we have come out with posts on design issues in Hindi that can be avoided.

In deciding the quality of content, we do not go strictly by the literary quality. We give high value to the standard of language, the quality of discussion it evokes and the social purpose of the blog. In doing so, we have to filter out blogs that promote obscurantism, hatred and personal attacks. We also feel, the Directory is better without blogs with too much self praise and in which parents write superficial stuff, posing as kids. We have also removed blogs -though good in quality - in which we found malicious content in widgets.

The Hindi world of blogging is full of collective blogging and multiple blogs by the same person. We have tried to pick up the best blog among multiple blogs by a blogger. We have no issues when a blogger has one blog but also contributes to collective blogs, but when he uses the collective blog to further himself, we have taken the collective blog as his own blog and taken only one of his blogs.

Hindi blogging is rich in literature. Though there are blogs on literary discussions, book reviews, literary history and original story-telling, poetry is the dominant genre. Please don’t blame us if you find many poetry blogs in the Directory.

Finally, our warm regards and best wishes to bloggers. Hope, in this Directory we have been able to present the best of Hindi blogging. If you, a discerning visitor, find that we have gone wrong in assessing a worthy blog, or included an undeserving blog, do guide us – and we’ll recheck our facts.

best Hindi blogs

     

हिन्दी के सर्वश्रेष्ठ ब्लॉगों की डाइरैक्टरी में क्या है और क्या नहीं


क्षमा कीजिएगा, हिन्दी में हम खुद को पूरी तरह व्यक्त नहीं कर पाये हैं; विस्तार के लिए इंग्लिश में ऊपर दिया गया विवरण देखें।

हिन्दी के सर्वश्रेष्ठ ब्लॉगों की डाइरैक्टरी विभिन्न आकार और रंग के फूलों के गुलदस्ते की तरह निखर कर आपके सामने आती है; इसमें होते हैं सामाजिक विषयों पर गंभीर बहस से लेकर कविता, कहानी, घर-बार, धर्म और आध्यात्म, वगैरह वगैरह विषयों पर ब्लॉग। अगर आपको एक ब्लॉग 83 वर्षीय दादाजी का मिलेगा तो शायद एक बच्चे का ब्लॉग भी मिले; एक प्रोफेसर का भी होगा, एक गांव के युवक का, एक गृहिणी का भी... [हिन्दी ब्लॉग संसार में क्या है, इस पर विस्तृत जानकारी आप यहाँ पढ़ सकते हैं।]

इस पोस्ट में हम चर्चा करेंगे गुणवत्ता पर।

हमें हिन्दी में कुछ ब्लॉग इतने अच्छे हैं कि हम ऐसे ब्लॉगर्स के उत्साहज्ञान, सौंदर्य-बोध और कड़ी मेहनत के लिए उन्हें सलाम करते हैं। लेकिन सब ब्लॉग तो ऐसे नहीं हो सकते, सो हमने  ऐसे ब्लॉगों को भी डाइरैक्टरी में शामिल किया है जिनका स्तर काफी ऊँचा है मगर कुछ कमियाँ भी हैं, जैसे रंगों का फूहड़ प्रयोग, पूंछ की तरह लंबी लिस्टें, मात्राओं का गलत प्रयोग इत्यादि। हाँ, जहां इस तरह की कमज़ोरियाँ कुछ ज़्यादा मिलीं, हमें ऐसे ब्लॉगों को छोडना पड़ा चाहे उनका लेखन कितना ही बढ़िया क्यों न हो।
लेखन की गुणवत्ता तय करने में हमने साहित्यिक गुणवत्ता के बदले विचारों की गहनता और भाषा के मानक पर ध्यान दिया है। अंधकारघृणा और व्यक्तिगत हमलों को बढ़ावा देने वाले ब्लॉग हम इस डाइरैक्टरी के लायक नहीं मानते। कुछ ब्लॉगों में विज़ेट चलाने या गाने डाऊनलोड करने पर नुकसान-देह कोड कंप्यूटर में आ जाने की शिकायत मिली; ऐसे ब्लॉगों को हमने यथासंभव डाइरैक्टरी से निकाल दिया है।

एक ही ब्लॉगर के कई ब्लॉगों में से हमने सर्वश्रेष्ठ ब्लॉग को चुनने का प्रयास किया है। जहां किसी ब्लॉगर ने सामूहिक ब्लॉग का सहारा लेकर खुद को आगे बढ़ाया है, हमने इस तरह के ब्लॉग को उसी ब्लॉगर का ब्लॉग माना है।

अगर आपको लगता है कि इस डाइरैक्टरी के संकलन में हमसे चूक हुई है, तो कृपया बताएं ताकि हम अपने तथ्यों की पुनः जाँच कर इस संकलन में उचित संशोधन कर सकें।