Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Yipeee! I am going home!!!

After almost one and half years I am finally going to Sikkim, my home. It feels that it has been ages since I have been home. A lot has happened since the last time I had gone, my brother promoted himself from school to college, the expiry of my grandfather and so on....
A file photo of the "RAI Brothers"

Well today was a nice day as we had gone to the airport to see off Bawa n Dinesh.They are going to Delhi and from there to Shimla... I asked "when are you coming back Bau?"
and he said "In march"... So enjoy their presence Delhiites, till he is there...
And a superb lunch followed at Hema didi's place. I am now packing to leave for Sikkim. I will be back to Bangalore on 5th Feb. And a rocking Yes+ course is starting on 9th Feb at Malleswaram,Bangalore which will be taken by noone other than the uncomparable "Mr. Rashmin Pulekar".
But before I land up at home I am making a brief one night stay at Malda which is a small town in West Bengal.
Ashish from IISc has organised a satsang there and i would definitely like to soak myself and to soak others in the divine music, before I head on to the Himalayan Mountains.(And also give a feel of what YES+ satsang is..)
So guys, I most definitely would like to post something from Sikkim and not to forget some stunning photographs of the landscape there(but all these will depend on the availability of an internet connection there).
So until further notice, KEEP SMILING!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Track visitors to your blog in real time(LIVE)!

Google Analytics is great to track your blog statistics at the end of the day. However it would be interesting to know how your visitors drop by to your blog IN REAL TIME.
This is specially important if you want to know how quick the response is to any traffic generation method you are using. For example, how quick the response is if you are declaring that you have a new post in Facebook?
or How quickly people know about this if you are using Twitter?
You not only get to know the location of your visitor and the source( e.g. twitter,entrecard,google etc) but also lot of other statistics such as the browser and the operating system used and also how did the visitor exited from your blog i.e. after clicking which link. This service is provided by FEEDJIT and the page looks something like this:

The best part of all this is, it is a completely free service and you don't even have to give your email or register or any such thing. You get the result instantaneously.

So are you eager to try this for your blog. Follow the following steps:

1. Cut and paste the following url in the address bar:
( Replace 'yoursite' in the above url with your website name)
       For blogspot blogs use:
2. Click on the 'Turn Sounds On' button.
3. Now start a discussion in some Blog Directory such as Mybloglog,Blogcatalog etc, or send a Tweet giving a link to your blog, or submit an article to Stumbleupon or digg or do something so that visitors find a link to your blog NOW!
4. That is it, just enjoy the sweet sound everytime a visitor drops by .

Was this post helpful? reply in the comments!!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The blue planet.

Today I went up to my terrace. The sun was about to set.A few bunches of cumulo-nimbus could be seen in the distant horizon.Suddenly a sense of awareness dawned on me and I smiled, I just noticed how beautiful is this place where we are living right now. Most often we are so lost in our own little worlds that we forget that we live in the BLUE PLANET. The third planet from the sun. In a solar system in the Milky Way. We forget to notice its beauty and the joy of living in the BLUE PLANET!

A little awareness about our own identity in this vast UNIVERSE can give a lot of solace and put a halt to the constant bickerings,complaints and worries of our little minds.

Just now somebody tweeted this link which I would like to share with you all. After a glimpse of these images, I think you will appreciate this post better.


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

How often do you post?

Though it is important to keep up the posting on your blog in a regular pace but I find that it is not at all necessary to be posting twice a day or even everyday.
Though this is a delicate topic and some may argue that the most successful blogs have many posts coming up in a day, I feel that it is a matter of your convenience and the target audience.If your blog is about blogging tips then it makes sense to post daily because the readers will be very active online and may visit your blog even several times a day,  but if you blog about your holiday adventures then I don't see the urgency to post everyday.

Regular readers of this blog might know that I keep up posts roughly around 2 days apart because I simply don't feel like writing everyday and also quality suffers if I force myself to write something just to make up for that day. But I also make it a point that two posts are not very apart. Long absence from posting may make your readers feel that you are disinterested and you can lose loyal readers.(there are always a few)

So guys , the bottom line is QUALITY and also your interest.If you don't feel like posting today,just don't do it! I see several blogs where the posts are simply written to cover some space. I never visit those blogs again!

What do you do? Do you post everyday?

Monday, January 12, 2009

What Twitter can do for your blog?

It picked up like a wave in 2008 and according to my humble prediction it is the next level of social networking where everthing is short and instantaneous.
Well, if you have not signed up for twitter or don't know what twitter is the you may direct your browser here(Caroline has written it lucidly).

First things first, lets look at cold hard facts.Ever since the service started in late 2006,it has seen tremendous growth of the number of users maximum of which is in late 2008.According to the data provided by Hubspot, an estimated 5,000 to 10,000 new accounts are registered each day.And there were more than 5 million visitors in September 2008.I suspect it is much more right now.

So what does this mean to an average,not so geek blogger? It means that more and more people are meeting and will continue to meet at Twitter. The same concepts which made social networking sites like Facebook,Orkut,Myspace so popular etc may be applied but twitter has even more advantage. It is short,sweet,easily loaded, and you get the ideas of several people simultaneously.
So when most bloggers are busy discussing ideas,promoting products,driving traffic to their blogs/sites do you want to be left out?
Friends, twitter is the place to be in 2009!
It can do wonders to your blog in terms of traffic,ideas and networking.Most of the professional bloggers have a large following in twitter. Even Barack Obama has an account(though it was hacked some time earlier).Most of the professional networking bloggers have already taken twitter seriously and are religiously working to make the best use of this next big thing!
Darren (of Problogger fame) has even launched a separate blog for twitter called

So my advice to all the bloggers out there who are not twitting, is to create an account and start experimenting with this powerful social media network.
A few tips just to get started:
1.Just get to know more people with similar interests as you and start following them.Most of the blogs have a 'Follow me' button like you see on my left sidebar.If they like you, they may follow you too.The whole point is to increase the followers who actually is interested in what you have to say.
2.Twitter asks 'What are you doing?', my suggestion is not to include irrelevant act of yours such as 'I am eating' or ' I am scratching my itch'.
It might turn some of your followers off and may stop following you.
3.Learn more about Twitter etiquitte or Twitetiquitte(if you may), by reading some great articles written by Darren.

And don't forget to Follow me!:)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The art and joy of Commenting!

Going by the statistics, for a majority of blog readers commenting is a pain! That is why for every comment maybe more than 50 people must have read the same article.So the topic I want to deal with today is why we should comment ? and equally important is How we should comment?

As with most of my articles, even this article focuses on the so called 'small blogs' or 'new blogs'.
When your blog is very new or attracting very less visitors then comments to your posts will be very less or virtually non-existent. I remember when I started blogging then I would check in several times a day to see if someone have commented on what I have written or not.Most of the times I would be sad to see 'No comments'. Then what did I do?
I started visiting likeminded blogs with interesting contents which matches my frequency and left a piece of my mind wherever I felt appropriate. I noticed that suddenly all those bloggers visited me back and left comments on my articles. As you can see there are lot more comment on my recent posts than what it used to be 3 months back. In fact I have grown a small community around this blog. The ratio of comments on my posts are much more than the global average considering the fact the daily page views of this blog is not so much.(maybe around 100).
So what are the benefits of commenting on other blogs? Here are short one liners:

1.Your own blog gets more visitors and more comments on each post.
2.If the blog is a 'do-follow' , you get a valuable backlinks which works wonders in the long run.
3.You build a small blogging community of your own .
4.You learn more because you need to be totally involved in the discussion to leave an effective comment.
5.If the blog is an 'A-lister' blog( the Big Boys), and if you happen to be among the first commenters, it can drive massive traffic to your blog.
6.By commenting frequently you build your own brand in the blogging community.People recognize you and therefore your blogs value increases.
7.You have the satisfaction and pride of participating in a discussion.

Equally important is the quality of your comment. There are a lot of spammers out there who just say a 'Good' or a 'Great' just because they want all the goodies that come with commenting. Your comment should be well thought over and if you are praising or voicing an opinion against an article or something , it is a good habit to explicitly state what you liked/disliked about the post.
And don't forget to respond to the comments on your post. The readers read the conversation on the comments and if they find it interesting then they might leave a piece of their mind too.
The bottomline is "Commenting is an art which if practiced with patience becomes joy."

By the way, you can start practicing the skills you read above by commenting on this post . he he :)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

7 things to do after making/creating/starting a blog.

When I just started blogging, I was bewildered by the sheer amount of information to digest and apply it. At that time I would have been very happy if someone gave me a list of to-do things that would get me started to make my blogging effective as well as would be beneficial in the long run.Thus, this post is born.
This post is not meant for people who are seasoned bloggers but for those who have just started blogging and trying to figure things out.Hope it will be useful to you. Some of the things here are specially written keeping blogger blogs in mind but most of the tips apply to any type.

1.Use Google Analytics and start using Reader.

  The benefit of registering your blog with Google Analtics is that you can track the progress of your blog from the very day it is created and it feels great to see those spikes.If you have never heard about Analytics then it is a free tool provided by google where Webmasters can track a lot of site statistics like no. of visitors,visitor sources,keywords etc etc. This is a must use for all people who own a site or blog . To know more about Analytics you can visit here.

 When I started blogging I had not been using Reader, when I actually came to use it I found it to be a great tool to use.So a Reader of your choice(I prefer Google Reader) is a great way to keep track of the new articles published in your favorite blogs.More about reader here.

2.Get a nice template.
Customizing the template can give a great look to your blog.I have already written about this which you can find here.(blogger).
3.Install a nice favicon for your blog.

I have already written about this here. So follow the link and get a nice favicon for yourself.

4.Submit your blog to blog directories.

This is one of the most important things to do if you want to take your blog to professional levels.Whats the benifit of doing this.
Well, first of all people will come to know that your blog exists and you will get some visitors who are interested in what you write.
The other thing is you will get a valuable link which helps to grow your page rank,technorati rank and also helps in search engines rankings.
So which all directories you should submit.
You can find a list of directories here.

5.Use Entrecard.

At first when your blog is very new, very few people will know that it exists. Entrecard is a free service where you can advertise your blog on other people's blog by earning Entrecard credits. I have been using this consistently and it is needless to say that it is a great source of traffic. But along with that I have made many precious blogger friends through this platform.
Learn more about Entrecard here.

6.Claim your blog on Technorati.

Technorati is a directory of blogs where you can find some really cool blogs on any topic you want. It has a system which gives Technorati ranks and authority to blogs.Claiming your blog in Technorati will make your blogs presence felt in the blogosphere and you can also compare how well is your blog doing by checking your authority and rank.
Learn more about Technorati here.

7.Social Networking.

Every successful blog uses social networking to some extent to promote the blog.It not only brings quality traffic but also makes a sort of following for your blog. So start promoting your blog through the many social networking sites like Facebook,Orkut,Hi5 and many more...
Perhaps the most happening thing in networking now is Twitter. So if you haven't started twittering you can sign up here.Don't forget to follow me.
Know more about Twitter here.

I hope you gained some tips reading the above topics.Leave your feedback in the comments.I must have left out some important points, don't forget to point them out too.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

The storming of Pashupatinath! The end to an unbroken tradition since 6th century A.D.

After reading about how the Maoist Government of Nepal most hurriedly replaced the centuries old tradition of offering the 'Nithya Puja' at Pashupati Nath temple I could only imagine how far the maoists will go in grossly vilifying the faith of the people of the only Hindu Nation in the world.
If you are not aware of what I am talking about then you can read this article.

Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu,Nepal
The Pashupatinath temple along with Badrinath and Kedarnath is one of the holy pilgrimage temple highly revered by the Hindus all over the world.
The prayers at the Pashupatinath Temple has been conducted by Brahmins from South India in an unbroken lineage since 300 years.Not even one day of prayer has been missed in these 300 years that is until now!
When the temple was created, India and Nepal were one country and there was no division.This ruthless act of the Maoists government to end the tradition initiated by Adi Sankarachary in the 6th century B.C only projects how indifferent the government is to the sentiments of not only the people of Nepal(about 80% of people in Nepal are Hindus) but also  to 850 million Hindus around the world.
If acts like these from the Red Army are allowed to be committed without meaningful opposition from the people, a day will not be far when the communists will systematically destroy the temples,mosques,monasteries and churches of whichever country they succeed in forming a government.(I am forced to remember Tibet here).
Being an Indian I want to send a message to the people of Nepal that not only you but all the people of India(Hindu or otherwise) deeply condemn this insensitive act of the Maoists...

Friday, January 2, 2009

What am I going to do in 2009?

Most of the personality development books today highlight the technique of "declaring your resolutions" to achieve efficiency and a sense of responsibility towards the goal which you have set.
This technique has been practiced in India since time immemorial wherein if a person realized a mistake then he would declare to everyone he meets that he would be doing so-and-so penance.
I feel this is a very powerful technique because when u tell the world your resolutions then there is a positive( maybe subconcious) pressure for you to work towards that goal and also the benifits of putting a goal in black and white cannot be emphasised enough.
So what are my plans for 2009? I have a fairly rough idea which I will try to explain as clearly as I can.
I have split the resolutions into two categories:

1.More Sadhana(meditation), More seva(service) and ofcourse Satsang.
2.Start learning the flute.This is one of my foremost priorities and a deep wish as well . I am planning to learn the indian bamboo flute which is called Bansuri. So don't be surprised if after a year I am able to play the flute as well as I play the guitar now.
3.Work more on my fitness.

For this blog
Here are some goals which I want to achieve for this blog by the end of 2009.
1.Technorati:  A technorati authority of 100 or more.
2.Google Page Rank: I should be happy with a pagerank of 3 by the year end.
3.20% visitors from search engines. Well as of now it is only to the tune of 5% so a lot of SEO has to be done(sigh!, SEO is such a boring job).
4.Have 100 feed subscribers.
5.Increase the daily unique visits to 100.(As of now it is only around 30).
6.Make more use of Blog directories(Digg,Stumbleupon,Blogcatalog etc).

Well, a lot of work!So I better get started. Wish me luck!