September 30, 2016

Releasing the Directory of Best Hindi Blogs for 2015-16

Friends / मित्रो,

We are glad to present the Directory of Best Hindi Blogs for 2016. The Directory has 130 blogs that we found to be the best among those we could browse. And we browsed no fewer than 10k,  leave aside the dud ones we rejected earlier.

हमें आपके सामने हिंदी के सर्वश्रेष्ठ ब्लॉग्स की डायरेक्टरी पेश करते हुए बहुत ख़ुशी हो रही है. 2016 की डायरेक्टरी में  130 ब्लॉग हैं जो हिंदी के सर्वोत्तम ब्लॉग कहे जा सकते हैं. डायरेक्टरी के संकलन में हमने 10,000 से ज़्यादा ब्लॉगों को देखा-परखा, जिनमें वो ब्लॉग शामिल नहीं हैं जो नष्टप्राय हो चुके हैं. 

We are proud to announce that we are the ONLY people who survey the Hindi blogging world so carefully and manually, year after year. We are also the only people who do not bring extraneous factors such as registration, fee, use of badge or any type of reciprocation in selecting blogs for the Directory.

हमें इस बात पर गर्व है कि केवल हम ही हिंदी ब्लॉग-संसार को इस तरह साल-दर-साल काफ़ी मेहनत से खंगालते हैं और बिना बाहरी कारकों के प्रभाव में, जैसे कि ज़रूरी रजिस्ट्रेशन करवाना, बैज लगाने की शर्त लगाना, पैसे लेना.

Yet, as always, we must give a disclaimer because all listings are subjective. We have listed blogs in the Best Hindi Blogs Directory only with the aim of showcasing good Hindi blogs to the public. If any blogger does not want his/ her blog listed here, they may kindly contact us and we'd be pleased to remove the blog.

यह डायरेक्टरी मूलतः अच्छे ब्लॉगों को लोगों के सामने लाने के लिए प्रकाशित की जाती है, लेकिन यह कहना ज़रूरी हो जाता है कि इस तरह के संकलन कितने भी निष्पक्ष हों, उन्हें तटस्थता का प्रमाणपत्र नहीं दिया जा सकता. साथ ही, कुछ ब्लॉगर मित्रों को इस तरह की लिस्टों में होने से परहेज़ हो सकता है, इसलिए अगर किसी ब्लॉगर को डायरेक्टरी से अपनी ब्लॉग हटवाना हो तो हमें लिखें. हम उनकी भावना का पूरा सम्मान करेंगे.

The blogs listed in the Directory come in a range in terms of subjects, looks, quality of content, regularity, navigation, readability, engagement and so on. Some excel in some compartments but have another one a bit wanting. So, we have gone by the overall quality of the blog and the contribution the blog makes in enriching or promoting Hindi blogging. In that respect, we have [grudgingly, though] include blogs with high quality content but rather poor design elements.

इस डायरेक्टरी में आपको ब्लॉगों का एक बड़ा रेंज नज़र आएगा, और निश्चय ही कुछ ब्लॉगों में आपको पठनीयता, नियमितता, डिज़ाइन आदि का स्तर कमतर लगेगा, लेकिन ये ब्लॉग यहां इसलिए आ सके हैं क्योंकि ये हिंदी ब्लॉगिंग को बढ़ावा देने में या अपने लेखन के स्तर से ब्लॉग-संसार को समृद्ध करने में महत्वपूर्ण योगदान दे रहे हैं. 

In the present edition, we have not included blogs that have become more of web magazines in content and/or design.

ऐसे ब्लॉग भी इस डायरेक्टरी में नहीं सम्मिलित किए गए हैं जिनका स्वरुप वेब-मैगज़ीन का हो चला है. 

We had to remove blogs on a popular newspaper's platform except a few eminently readable ones as the newspaper has made a mess of looks and navigation of blogs. 
Some very good and popular blogs of earlier years have gone out of the Directory as they have become too irregular. 
At the same time, some good blogs that had gone into hibernation last year have revived.

यह भी बता दें कि एक प्रमुख समाचार पत्र के कई ब्लॉग पिछले संस्करणों में थे, उन्हें हमें (एक-आध बहुत ऊँचे स्तर के ब्लॉगों को छोड़कर) हटाना पड़ा क्योंकि इस समाचारपत्र ने ब्लॉगों को उनके हाल पर छोड़ दिया है.
कई ऐसे ब्लॉग भी जो पिछले वर्ष तक बहुत उत्कृष्ट और लोकप्रिय थे, अब अनियमित हो गए हैं. 
लेकिन अच्छी बात यह है कि कुछेक अच्छे ब्लॉग जो पिछले साल सो गए थे, अब फिर से जाग गए हैं. 

You can visit the Directory at the link given below.
आप डायरेक्टरी पर नीचे दिए लिंक से पहुँच सकते हैं. 

Link for the latest edition of the Directory of Best Hindi Blogs: हिंदी के सर्वश्रेष्ठ ब्लॉगों की डायरेक्टरी के नवीनतम संस्करण का लिंक ऊपर दिया गया है, इन ब्लॉगों को देखने के लिए ज़रूर जाएं.

September 25, 2016

On the blog, should you have more posts or pages?

We received a query on Quora, How do I know when to post an article into the website page or post it as a blog post? Then a blogger posted this query on an ITB post, Whether we should have pages or posts on a blog that is not too frequently required to be updated.

We thought, let's have some discussion around the topic of 'blog post versus blog page' so that the matter gets clarified.

The concept of post is inherent in the concept of blogging. Pages arrived when the need for some static content was felt. So, different platforms have their own definition of what is a page and what's a post. Over the years, a lot of convergence has taken place among platforms but at the same time, the concept of pages, posts and blogs has widened to include all types of long-form content that is regularly updated

All things considered, there are some common properties that differentiate blog pages and blog posts on major platforms and on blogs independent of blogging platforms.

What really is a blog post and how does it differ from a blog page?

  • Posts are the regular articles on a blog. 
  • Posts are time-stamped (even if you hide the date-time) and are arranged reverse-chronologically (=latest one on top). 
  • They have a short shelf-life; they are pushed down or sent to archives as newer posts take over, unless you pin a post at the top of the blog (also called sticky posts). 
  • Posts are made for interactivity (unless you remove that) and people can comment on them.
  • Pages are standalone articles which are not pushed down. 
  • On a blog, there are not many pages, and pages are not the articles to be seen on top. (A page can be made the homepage if the blogger decides so, but then the blog looks like a static website in the first look. 
  • Because of their once-in-a-lifetime type nature, pages are mostly  used for information that does not update over a long time, such as contact details. 
  • Because of their being updated, posts - and not pages - are sent to subscribers via feed or subscription.
  • On Blogger and Wordpress, posts have a stacked URL pattern so that posts can be identified with month and year of posting. On the other hand, pages have straight URL. (e.g. vs. On independent blogs, you can have a URL pattern of your choice.
  • There is no technical reason why pages cannot be tagged/ labeled/ categorized, but major blogging platforms allow labeling of only posts because these articles keep updating information on different aspects.
  • Wordpress allows creating sub-pages under a page and has no limit on the number of pages per blog. Blogger, as of now, has a limit of ten pages and does not have a sub-page facility.
Livejournal and HubPages present a form of blogging that draws strength from communities of people focused on some shared interest. Quora allows blogging too, besides being a question-answer platform.

Many other popular platforms allow a non-traditional form of blogging. These include Facebook, Medium, HubPages and LinkedIn. Their long-form content is broadly referred to as 'post', even 'blog' (e.g. His blog on Facebook today talked about...). Only Facebook uses the expression 'page' but in a different context. 

On Facebook, regular entries on timeline are posts while a full-fledged entity full of articles is called a Page. You can write long articles on Facebook through Notes, a long-form publishing service like a traditional blog.

On LinkedIn, you create articles on its long-form post publishing platform. Rightly, these are called posts.

On Medium, individual articles are called stories. Stories can be seen on the timeline or on the Publication, which is akin to a blog. 

What purpose do pages serve on a regular blog?

Pages are used for publishing information that is not time-barred and which visitors might like to visit for reference. Pages are suited for:
  • Creating a static homepage so that the blog looks more like a traditional website, or for keeping some important information upfront.
  • For information about the blog and the blogger: e.g. 'About Us', 'Contact Us', 'About the Blog', 'Our Advertising Policy' pages.
  • For giving link to some very eminent reference: e.g. a blog for giving information about a nation might have a page on the Constitution, which is displayed prominently on the blog.
  • For giving information that visitors are likely to seek about the subject: e.g. 'FAQ' and 'Glossary' pages.
  • To act as a landing page: If you want visitors to take some action (e.g. to buy your book), you can create a page on how to get the book and link it from posts and other places.

How can I create a page on Wordpress or Blogger?

On Wordpress as well as Blogger, you get the page option next to posts on the sidebar when you go to the blog's dashboard. 

Finally, the often asked question,

Which is more SEO-friendly, a page or a post?

SEO is a sum of many factors, so a page can be much more SEO optimized than a post or vice versa. 

Generally speaking, search engines like fresh content and therefore a blog regularly updated with good content will get favorable treatment as compared to a static website or a blog with mostly static content. In that respect, Google likes posts more as compared to posts.

On the other hand, individual pages will generally get more traffic over a long time than individual posts because the posts get nudged down by new ones.

We have stated above that a blog can be made to look like a standard static website, especially with the help of pages. However, please read this article in case you want that change on your blog: Should I go for a blog that looks like a static website?

September 21, 2016

Professional blogging and social media presence show you are an authority!

People look at your digital footprint to judge your value

"Does he have a blog? How good is his LinkedIn profile? What does he tweet and how big is his following?" These are some of the questions people looking out for experts in a field are likely to ask. HR managers and HR firms in the look out for senior level advisors/ consultants and all levels of employees also are asking these questions more and more

Some years back, web presence of an expert started to be seen as supplementary information. Now, some HR firms say, they use one's social media profile as first source of information for judging a person's suitability for a job or an assignment.

Being an expert blogger in a field of specialization gets the blogger the tag of authority when he constantly works on it and proves it through the blog and other means (tutorials, ebooks, guestposts, etc). 

You could be an expert (and then an authority) on any subject however commonplace or specialized it might be (e.g. as an expert plumber/ chef/ football coach OR an expert on West Asia affairs/ nano-technology). 

Being expert is one thing and being SEEN as an expert is another. To be seen and recognized as such, you need to nurture your 'brand'. The tips given below, especially being thorough with the subject and being helpful to others, help greatly in building a strong brand. 

Expertise and social media can supplement each other any time in one's professional growth. If you are a newbie, you can use various web platforms to showcase your skills, then grow your reputation, then turn into an expert and finally be seen as an authority and influencer. If you are an established expert, you must get involved with social media. The involvement with social media - at whatever stage - has to be professional (more on it below). 

Blogs and social media as secondary proof of authority 

Social media, especially your blog, presents your best assets because it shows rather than tell: people actually see your worth than having to believe what you claim on your resume. They see how you think, how much you know, how you behave (your attitude), how you solved someone's specific problem... These make an overall impression about you that goes beyond your expertise, because people wanting in the business of engaging or recruiting people also look for qualities other than expertise. 

A properly maintained blog help greatly when one is looking for freelance assignments as well as job opportunities. CareerBuilder, a well-known HR firm, has reported that about 65% recruiters look at web presence of job seekers. As most young people these days communicate a lot online, social media helps recruiters in checking their skills as well as social traits.

Adecco, 'the largest staffing firm in the world',  brought out a 'work trends study' in 2015. It found that the use of social media by recruiters for finding and judging candidates is on the rise. Roughly about a third job seekers who accepted interviews had personal and/or professional blogs. "Job seekers with a professional or personal blog have a higher percentage of being contacted online," it said.

FindLaw, a Thomson Reuters company, has found in a recent survey in the US that about 54% adults would hire an attorney who is active on social media platforms such as FB, LinkedIn and Twitter. People of younger age (18 to 44) were found to be more likely to do so. 

We have interviewed some bloggers on ITB and they have said on record that blogging helped them in getting recognized in the field and they've been getting new assignments using their blog as their talent showcase. 

Tips on being seen as an authority, using blogging and social media

  • Concentrate on content. Show your best. If you are an expert service provider, have tutorials, do-it-yourself guides and tips on the blog. If you are an academic or researcher, post great analytical stuff. 
  • Review and improve old posts. You will realize that as you grow in profession, your ideas as well as expressions mature. If you look at your own 5-year old writings, you might find them lacking something. So, you need to bring such writings to today's level, so that you are judged by today's standards and no less.
  • Let people like you for your resources. Quickly build a library of resources. Also link to your own resources elsewhere (e.g. websites of research publications where your papers have been published/ hospital where you work as consultant/ organization in which you are a key functionary) and  others' authoritative resources on the web.
  • Authority comes from thought, not just listing of resources. This tip might look contrary to the one above but it is not. What we are telling here is that your posts should not just be like glossary or updates but your original creation. (e.g. A legal blog that just lists out latest court decisions might be very popular but it does not show the blogger's expertise; a blog that discusses such decisions comes out as an expert blog.) 
  • Choose the niche after a lot of thought. Don't fear if you are expert in a very narrow area. We have seen highly successful blogs on narrow themes such as diabetes cure through ayurveda, SQL, MS Excel, mountain uplift, local recipes. In the case of such themes, you have less competition, more chances of quick expertise and sharp focus. 
  • Care for design. Let it suit your area of expertise. Generally, make it simple. Let it be easy for visitors to find what they want.   
  • Post regularly. In case of very serious matters, you need not post very frequently; decide the best pace according to your niche and your goal.
  • Engage with commenters, especially if you are active on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Also engage outside the blog and mainline social accounts. For example, answer to queries on Quora and be on a professional forum if that is relevant for you. If you are a big blogger, you might not find time for such engagements and might even find such engagement useless, but unless you are that big, don't ignore this aspect.
  • Choose the social platform carefully. Check if Linkedin Pulse and Facebook Notes serve you better than other types of webspaces. Or, a website and a blog inside it. Or just a blog on Wordpress or Blogger free platform. Or a standalone blog [on a paid/ premium platform]. You can also think of 'guest posting' on standard web publications. If you are into photography, art and video, why not Instagram or Pinterest?
  • Don't be everywhere but nowhere. Don't spread your time and resources thin. Choose 2-3 main platforms. A main blog with 1-2 social network accounts is generally a good combination
  • Be sober, courteous and helpful rather than arrogant, aloof and too critical. Don't show off your expertise but let it be seen and felt.
  • Analyze leaders in your area of activity; follow their best practices without copying them.
  • Give your contact information and make one page [on the blog] on 'about us'. On Facebook, create a page rather than having just an account, and don't forget to display contact information and other details. Same goes for Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Medium etc.
  • Do not put too many advertisements on the blog. They not only clutter the blog, they also make it look unprofessional. If too many, they imply that you are a greedy blogger rather than an expert.
  • Get references and endorsements. This comes down in this list because you need others' pat much less when you are a genuine expert than when you are not. If you are a real expert, chances are that you will be quoted, copied, linked to and talked about. However, it helps in early days if you get an endorsement from a leader in your field. For that, whenever you write a great post, mail it to people superior to you, even seek their critique on your writing. Similarly, comment on their posts.
  • That takes us to networking. Social media helps greatly in professional networking, especially LinkedIn. Blog helps in networking too, when you  exchange thoughts with experts using their and your own blog posts as the playfield.
  • Use the strength of keywords to spread word about you. Whether on the standard blog or social networks, you remain unnoticed unless you promote yourself, and [besides great content and networking] keywords are one of the best ways to do that. Give a suitable title to your blog, tag/ label your posts, give your posts relevant headlines, give 'alt tag' and captions to your photos,... so that people looking for great content discover you through references and search engines. However, don't overdo that or you will look cheap and search engines will also dislike you. You might like to visit these useful resources on search engine optimization.
  • Most experts have a strong offline presence as they are well-known professors, artists, celebrities, even motor mechanics and plumbers. Even if you are not such an expert, you can leverage the power of social media also for getting to the real world. For example, many expert bloggers are invited to conducted tours/ events and contribute posts to big websites; interviewed by mainline magazines and TV channels; called for public speeches; sent products for pre-release review; offered book proposals; and so on.
 Before we close... 
Being an authority takes time and energy - lots of these. There are only a few persons that can be called an authority on a subject, so the competition is very high. Yet, achieving it becomes slightly easy if you are a step ahead of others in using the social media. Use that! All the best!!

September 16, 2016


HappyMomentzz Crafting

The main focus of my blog is on  personalized handcraft, one of a kind cards and gifts - just for you and your loved ones.

I have been scrapping for more than 6 years. Staring as a card maker, I got addicted to mixed media techniques with a sense to detail and layering. Now my passion are albums- mini and with bookbinding. I love that one can incorporate so many techniques and tips in a project. I also love creating art on the canvas and it allows me to think that I am a true artist ;)

- Sharada Dilip

September 9, 2016

6 blogger worries and how to conquer them

Most bloggers, especially when they start a blog and are in the first few months of blogging, develop self-doubt about their capability and fears of myriad kind. Some bloggers keep worrying when despite their best efforts, the blog does not succeed the way they had envisioned.

Some fears and a bit of anxiety are acceptable as they prod you to remain alert and active. However, they pull you down when baseless and excessive. Or when they blunt your creativity or urge to grow.

We have grouped bloggers' worries into six groups as we found that most worries can be bundled in these groups. Let's see whether these are baseless or symptomatic of some serious problem.

1. Am I wasting my time in blogging? I am not earning enough in comparison to the effort I put in blogging. Is blogging helping me achieve my goal? Have I not spent too much time/ effort/ money on blogging, which would have given me much more than what I'm getting from it? Should I keep publishing on the blog or should I post my writing elsewhere for a better impact?

This group of worries question the very purpose of blogging and are dangerous if not tackled in time. If you have such doubts and worries, take a pen and paper and jot down answers to 'Why am I  blogging?' Don't leave this until you get an answer. The answer could show that you are worrying unnecessarily but are on the right blogging path. It might show that you have chosen a wrong niche (=subject/ area) or are not putting in enough effort or are doing blogging the wrong way. You might even find that blogging is not your cup of tea and you should quit it and utilize the time saved in more productive activities.

Occasional self-doubts are natural if your blog is not giving you great value in terms of money/  happiness/ recognition. You should do the 'Why am I  blogging?' exercise whenever this worry hits you. If it happens too often or you are not reaching anywhere even after great effort, take major decisions.

2. Will I be able to sustain another year of blogging? I am feeling fatigued. I often find deficient in writing. I have to work hard to think of a topic.

This group of symptoms show anxiety, and boredom added to it. Naturally, these have serious implications. If you are not passionate about your blog and its subject, and you are not expert/ knowledgeable/ creative enough to write regularly, you are bound to lose interest completely one day. Before that day comes, check where you stand in terms of passion and your capacity to keep writing for a long time. Also see that writing for long does not mean somehow filling pages; all writing must be meaningful.

You are a blessed blogger if you are in love with your blog after five years as much as you were when you created the blog. You can sometimes have this type of anxiety and/ or exhaustion even being passionate about your blog and the craft of blogging, but that should pass soon. If it lingers on, ask the same question, "Why am I blogging?"

3. Most of my acquaintances/ colleagues/ clients are on Facebook, LinkedIn etc; so blogging is no longer the platform of choice. Should I shift to social networking sites such as Facebook? Should I have a website rather than blog? Am I using an obsolete platform?

If you are a blogger who is not sure of the relevance of blogging in the face of social networking and chatting apps, you are not alone. In fact, during compilation of directories for ITB, we have noticed that many fantastic blogs of yesteryears are either left to decay or are closed altogether. As you would expect, this happens predominantly with hobby blogs, as bloggers quickly experiment with newer forms of social media which are more 'social' and easy too.

If you are one whose purpose of being on the web is better served through Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn etc, you should shift to these platforms. However, don't take that decision in a hurry. Yes, after FB and LI have introduced long-form posts, these platforms serve the purpose of blogging to some extent. Medium also is a good cross between social networks and plain blogging. All things considered, none of these can replace blogging when it comes to having a serious presence on the web. On these platforms, you can't customize the blog or individual posts, can't monetize them, can't have your way with promotion/ optimization.

If you feel that you are losing because your blog does not look like a standard website and therefore is seen inferior, go for the normal website design, by all means. Just have a look at this post before deciding that: website like design for the blog?

4. Do I write well? Is my language OK or it is boring or grammatically wrong? Do people laugh at my writing? Does my writing look professional/ well-researched? Are my facts OK? Does it get me respect or people feel I ramble without rhyme or reason? Does my writing look like copy-pasted from somewhere else? Are people reading my article or leaving it after headline or the first para?

This is a case of self-doubt and happens when you are not confident of (i) the subject you are dealing with or (ii) your writing skills.

You have many options to deal with such worries. Master the subject by reading and practicing. Over a period, your expertise and so the confidence will grow. If you already are a fairly good expert, get rid of the self-doubt right now. 

Regarding your language skills, you can improve these by practice and writing more and more. Some successful bloggers of today have admitted that they find their initial posts childish when they look at them now. Another option for non-English bloggers is to shift to their mother tongue if they find English a hindrance to their creativity. You can always hire freelance editors to edit your posts before you publish them; they are available at a very small fee on Fiverr. Alternatively, you can ask your colleagues or friends to edit and proof-read your posts.

5. Is my content legitimate, legal and acceptable? Is my writing controversial? Will my writing or photos not lead me into legal or other issues?

We have received some such questions from visitors to ITB. These seem to arise from press reports about bloggers being jailed or receiving threats. Some bloggers get trolls and abuses in their comment boxes or have got notices for having used others' music and videos on their blogs.

The best way to avoid legal or abusive social actions against you is to not pick up subjects that are likely to hurt sentiments/ reputation of individuals, ethnicities, faiths, races. Do not copy-paste others' content into your blog. If you take these precautions, you need not worry about getting hurt through the blog. For further guidance, you might like to refer to this ITB post on the importance of attributing and disclosure when using others' content.

Some blogging and SEO advisers ask bloggers to stroke controversy to get more traffic. If you are influenced by such advice, be sure you can handle that. Similar is the case with 'inappropriate' content such as nudity, child porn, gambling, etc.

6. Will people steal my content?

Many bloggers we meet are concerned about use or misuse of their content and its copyright. Some are worried that once they post their poems, content from book, research papers, photographs, videos or paintings on the web, they would lose earnings from their original creation.

Well, plagiarism and copyright-infringement are part of a creative blogger's life. In most cases, it hardly matters if people copy your content. But, yes, it hurts when a valuable creation is stolen - and it hurts financially too. If so, instead of worrying on this count, why not take some preventive actions? Why not take strong action when piracy hurts you badly?  We recently published a detailed post on what actions to take when you fear others stealing your content.

If you found this useful, you might like to follow us through the link (given in the right column) and tweet this particular post by clicking below.

Tweet: Do you worry about your blog's success but can't do much?