IndiBlogger V3 is out!

indiv3-preview

Merry Christmas everyone! What was meant to be our usual Xmas update to IndiBlogger took us much, much longer than we expected it to, thanks to more ideas getting added to the mix every day. Our quality control team having OCD didn’t help us very much with the deadline we set for ourselves, but they sure made a difference to IndiBlogger. We finally decided to forget Christmas, take the whole site apart, throw old parts out the window, and put it back together with gentle love and care. We’re finally done, and here’s what’s changed:

Global changes

  • IndiBlogger is now lighter and much faster (as already confirmed by the community), thanks to several changes to the user interface as well as the way things are handled behind the scenes.
  • We’ve built version 3 on a custom framework, which means we can bring in new features much faster and with less bugs.
  • IndiBlogger is now W3C valid, except for the pages which integrate with Facebook, Google maps and other third parties. Most sections can be used on smart handheld devices now, and for the not-so-smart devices, we still have the recently launched mobile version.
  • Email alerts are now sent via Google’s app engine – which means they are delivered faster, and are less likely to end up in your spam folder.
  • Consistent (and better looking!) user interface elements are now used all over.
  • Pagination has been numbered on all pages. A few users have reported that they’re missing the “last” button – we’re working on that right now.
  • Default gravatars are now much better looking. We wondered what we were tripping on when we made the old ones.
  • New IndiMail notifications are now displayed on the IndiMail link in the header. If you see a yellow alert icon, that means you have unread messages.
  • The footer section is more organized, and doubles up as a sitemap.
  • Improved browser compatibility. We’ve decided however, that IE6 is not a browser.

New Theme

  • Inspired by our most recent partner Cleartrip.com, we decided to see what IndiBlogger would look like in a lighter color scheme – and we liked what we saw.

The Home Page

  • New Jquery slider, showcasing everything that’s new on IndiBlogger. Tip – try using the arrow keys to navigate through the slides.
  • Popular posts from IndiVine are now showcased on the homepage as well. The new blogs on the network have been pushed to the sidebar.

Improved Search

  • IndiSearch now uses an Ajax interface to search for blogs by subject, as well as bloggers by name or location. Results are ordered by IndiRank. Blog content is also indexed, powered by the all-powerful Google search.
  • We’ve fixed a bug wherein the search results were inaccurate. For example, if you had searched for the word “rave”, you’d also see results for “travel”. Not too smart, that was.

Dashboard

  • Your dashboard now has a facebook-inspired activity feed, showing you stuff like network activity, blogger meets in your city, new IndiMail, replies to forum topics you’re tracking, and votes for your posts on IndiVine.

Blogger Meets

  • The main blogger meet page highlights upcoming blogger meets in your city.
  • Organizing your own blogger meet is now easier, with an updated suite of organizer tools and better customization so you can have your blogger meet like you mean it to be.
  • Now that we have over 200 bloggers attending our blogger meets, our attendee list was taking ages to load over slow connections. Gravatars are now turned off by default, and you can enable them if you want to.

Turn off gravatars

IndiBlogger Drives

  • We’ve decided that “contests” were not the right word the initiatives we have planned. We needed a term that was more generic, yet with greater purpose. The IndiBlogger Drives page showcases all our latest campaigns and the latest winners from the IndiBlogger of the Month archives.

The Directory

  • The directory is now gravatar enabled – so if you’re looking for someone you know elsewhere, let’s say on twitter, you’ll find it easier to find them on IndiBlogger.

IndiForum

  • IndiTalk, which was recently integrated with the forum, can be used on mobile devices.
  • Replies to a forum topic can now be sorted by time, so you can see the latest replies at the top without having to go to the last page.
  • Forum alerts were disabled months ago when we exceeded our hosting service limits. Moving to a dedicated server didn’t help much in that regard, and now, thanks to a little help from Google’s infrastructure, they’re back.
  • You can track topics faster, without having to reload the thread.
  • Forum pages have an on-page search filter similar to iTunes, so it’s easier to find relevant replies or subjects.

New & updated Pages

There are a more changes we’ve not mentioned – it’s better to leave a few surprises for you to discover. A HUGE thank you and hugs to all of you who have supported IndiBlogger – you have no idea what it means to us. IndiPolice – the time you spend making IndiBlogger a better place for thousands of bloggers is priceless.

IndiBloggers, please post your feedback on Hemal’s thread and let us know what you think. :-)

What’s next?

You can expect upgrades to IndiVine, IndiRank, a few new initiatives and a new product that’s going to change the way you use IndiBlogger. For now though, our team is off to Kolkata for another blogger meet.

Keep blogging!

Launch of IndiMail

Our Christmas update is here – albeit a few days late!

Our last two Christmas updates were blogger meets in 2007 and the forum in 2008. Considering how successful both these features became, we sure did have a lot of pressure to come up with something really useful. Thankfully, as always, there were bloggers who came to the rescue and told us what they needed. The discussion evolved into a plan, and the plan evolved into our latest feature, IndiMail.

If you’re thinking “who needs another email service?”, allow us to clarify. IndiMail is not a wannabe replacement for Gmail, nor does it provide you with an email address. It’s a simple, private, 1-to1 messaging system that bloggers can use to communicate with each other, similar to the messaging on Facebook . IndiMail can only be sent between bloggers who are on each other’s networks, giving the networking feature a greater purpose than before.

Here’s a screen capture of my inbox with a couple of messages from Anwin, our team’s tattooed bug-finder.

But wait, there’s more!

  • We’ve revamped our homepage.
  • We’ve made an all-new dashboard. You can use it as a starting place for all your IndiBlogger activity.
  • The ETA of the next IndiRank update is now shown on the dashboard.
  • Mutual connections are now shown separately on the network as well as directory pages.
  • A little email icon now sits beside the mutual connection icon; allowing bloggers to easily send messages to people in their network.
  • Notifications are now sent when a post on IndiVine gets a vote.
  • An updated settings page allows you to control the alerts you receive from IndiBlogger.
  • Fixed an error on the IndiRank stats page: if a new user who doesn’t have a rank as yet tries to access the stats, it used to say that there was an error with the blog’s feed.

We owe a big thank you to Sudama and all the others on the forum who gave us their support and made IndiMail possible. IndiBlogger would be nothing but a simple directory if it wasn’t for all of you.

We hope you all had a great Christmas, and we wish you an awesome year ahead.

Keep blogging!

Renie & The IndiBlogger Team

IndiRank gets an upgrade

After completing the successful upgrade to IndiVine, we got down to the next task in our list – the big IndiRank updgrade. Apart from several small bug fixes and performance tweaks, all bloggers who have an IndiRank can now view detailed stats about their blogs under their account.

The new dashboard will tell you:

  • If we were able to crawl your feed properly
  • Your IndiRank history
  • Your Pagerank performance and history
  • Your Alexa performance and history
  • How often you blog
  • Tips on how you can improve your IndiRank

Of course, this dashboard is still pretty basic, and will be updated based on community feedback. Hope you all find it useful!

One major bug that some of you wrote to us about has been squished; the bug where a newly approved IndiBlogger doesn’t find his/her blog in the directory until the IndiRank crawler hits their blog. Now bloggers will find themselves on our homepage the second that they are approved – just like old times.

IndiRank gets an upgrade Sep18

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Announcing the all new IndiVine

We’re pleased to announce a major feature addition to IndiBlogger- the completely revamped IndiVine.

IndiVine originally started as a knee jerk reaction to the Mumbai terror attacks, as a collection of blog posts on the crisis and it’s aftermath. In fact, the original IndiVine was built in a day and had more than 100 posts before the Taj stopped burning. Since then, we added more topics to IndiVine such as the “Pink chaddi campaign”, the elections and the Tata Nano. IndiVine in it’s present avatar is a direct result of the collaboration among bloggers on the forum, where Vipul Grover and all the usual suspects decided how it should be in order to help the Indian blogging community. Now bloggers can submit their blog posts to virtually any category, and vote for the most deserving blog posts.

The IndiVine voting system is integrated with IndiRank, where a vote for a higher ranking blog gets more weightage.

We hope IndiVine is a useful tool for bloggers and readers alike!

New badges: MoBlogger and IndiNaturalist

new_badges_for_blog

IndiRank & IndiBlogger of the Month

Friends, Bloggers and Countrymen – we’re pleased to announce the launch of IndiRank, an automated system to identify the best blogs in the Indian blogosphere.

IndiRank is a system we built to rank the blogs in the IndiBlogger network. Although we manually verify every blog before it’s allowed into the network, the IndiRank system is completely automated.

Using IndiRank, the IndiBlogger community will choose one blogger every month to be the “IndiBlogger of the Month“. The final winner will be chosen by the bloggers on our forum. The “IndiBlogger of the Month” will receive the following:

  • A plethora of prizes sponsored by Microsoft, of which the winner gets to pick one that they want the most. Check out the prizes here.
  • Promotion across the IndiBlogger network
  • A custom designed badge for their blog

Read our FAQs for more info, join us on the forum to talk about it and as always,  send us your feedback!

New logo, interface and blogging widgets

It’s been a little more than a month since we launched the forum, which has really spurred the IndiBlogger team on. We’ve just completed an update:

  • We finally have a logo!
  • The site has undergone a major facelift in terms of design and usability.
  • We’ve launched widgets, which show the latest topics from the forum.

We can’t wait to hear your feedback!

IndiBlogger.in now in 3 flavours!

Friends, bloggers and ice cream lovers! IndiBlogger.in now comes to you in three flavors.

Use this button at the top of any page to select your theme:

thisbutton

We have the original blue, the new Indi-Red, and a theme for those days when you feel… well, a bit dark.

flavours

Send us your feedback, and let us know which theme you like the best on the forum.

http://www.indiblogger.in

Thank you again, dear blogger

It’s time for another special post, where we thank our bloggers for the support, encouragement and enthusiasm they have shown. At the time of writing this post, the IndiBlogger forum we launched 2 weeks ago has over a hundred topics and 400 replies.

As a techie, I’ve noticed that the average Indian who frequents various forums only does so to seek help – and does not do much to help others. I’m glad to say that Indian bloggers are different, cause the spririt shown on the forum is simply inspiring!

Special thanks goes to the most active bloggers on the forum: Sriharsha, Amitabh, Binaryday, Shanker, Ram, Ankit, Kabeeranban, Debajyoti, Pavan and Archit. Your ideas and suggestions which resulted in several new features to the forum will benefit the Indian blogging community for a long time to come.

Here are a few excerpts from the forum:

“We need to have a nice blog ranking system only for Indian Blogs. Then we can have beautiful badges to show off our rankings too!”

“The quality of discussion is the best I have ever found on any forum. But how do we bring in more people to participate here?”

“Renie, I would like an e-mail to be generated if someone responds to a thread that I am interested in. Basically, a small box appears at the bottom of each thread and I should be able to check it, if I want a trigger (similar to Xing, if you are aware of that platform).”

“For me, I love this forum because it is the only one that allows me to communicate with other bloggers. For a change I do not feel like an alien or rather as I said earlier, I feel like an alien in a land of aliens :)”

“But what I would really like to see is the time spent by each visitor as a factor in the popularity besides the ratio of comments to posts. Thus, popularity = function of (no. of hits, duration of stay per visit, ratio of comments to post).”

“Some Blog collection sites allow readers to ‘rate’ blogs (5-stars or Thumbs up & down). This does come with the risk of ballot-stuffing. Note that ranking of blogs is also subject to the power-law behaviour (i.e. the rich-get-richer). In other words, only the highly rated blogs get read and continue to be rated.”

“Well, I like this forum because, this is the first place I’m feeling “at home”. All other forums didnt appeal to me so much so as to post more than 2 or 3 threads.”

What more can I say? Go on and check out the forum!

Thank you, dear IndiBlogger!

Indian Blogger Forum launched!

Our Christmas update is here again!

Last Christmas, we announced the launch of blogger meets on IndiBlogger, aside from a number of bug fixes. This time around, we’ve just launched our discussion forum for all of you Indian Bloggers in the IndiBlogger community. We think it’s the perfect place for bloggers to:

  • Help out and inspire new bloggers
  • Connect with other bloggers over shared interests and social causes
  • Discuss ethical issues such as plagiarism
  • Get feedback from the community on your blog’s design, content and strategy
  • Promote yourself as a blogger within the community
  • Exchange tips on monetization and SEO

Also, since only registered bloggers can post topics or replies – no spam! (Fingers crossed)

Besides the forum, we’ve replaced the old Tag, Name, City and Google search boxes with a single search box that achieves the purpose of all four. Internally, this somehow became known as the “4 in 1 update”!

As always, please do send us any bugs you may encounter, or any ideas you may have which would help IndiBlogger.in do it’s thing a little better.

The big difference between this year and the last – we’re going to refrain from the usual Xmas wishes. We have not forgotten Mumbai.

Start a new topic at the discussion forum now >