Wednesday, 15 November 2017

English Vinglish Haye Rabba

English Vinglish Haye Rabba - The Neha Agrawal Blog
Though born and brought up in humble India, we all consider ourselves as the first cousins of Americans. Our face beams with joy and chest fill with proud if we are able to speak fluent English. It seems to have become our primary language, where a person communicating in regional dialect is seen and considered dumb.

I have seen people making a sorry face and giving an agonizing look as soon as they hear that the person standing next to them doesn’t know English. “Arrey tumhe English nahi aati?” is the most innocent question people ask, as not knowing English is some crime.

I agree that English is no longer the third world language, and we all (including me) use it daily; but why impart it such a coveted status? And more importantly, why disgrace others who are not that familiar with it?

Most of us don’t know Mandarin, Greek, French or Spanish. We don’t consider ourselves stupid or ignorant about this fact but show attitude to non-English speakers. My problem is not with the English language, or its special status (It is earning me bread and butter), my problem is with the way we look at others who can’t speak, read or write this language.

The purpose of any language is to let people express their feelings, and communicate with each other. We need to respect the fact that a person is capable of expressing himself/herself, else everything should be secondary. One should not be shy to accept if he/she doesn’t know any particular language; and this will happen only when we start giving respect to people irrespective of their region, culture or language.

Many foreign languages including English have been derived from Sanskrit and Devnagiri, and we all should be proud of it. We should also take a lesson or two from China and Japan who prefer their national language over English, and are making others learn Mandarin and Japanese.

I get amazed by the fact that most of the people I have met in South India know 3-4 languages, excluding English. Trust me; it’s not less an achievement, as I can manage to speak and read only two. There is no age and limit to learning, and I strongly advocate that we should learn as many foreign languages as possible. However, we should also make it a point not to disown our mother tongue in the quest for any other language.

I have seen many instances of children speaking fluent English, but not knowing how to communicate in their native language. Language is a part of our identity and culture; showing it our back will not only harm community at large but also deprive our younger generations of their rich cultural heritage.

Let’s pledge that we won’t let our languages die a miserable death and pay the same respect to every individual irrespective of their color, religion, region, culture, and language.
Read my post originally published in  
Live and love,
Neha Agrawal

Thursday, 2 November 2017

4G Technology In a Nutshell


Telecommunications standards are constantly evolving to feed the public hunger of getting more content delivered to their portable mobile devices in the shortest possible time. Gone are the days when PC, laptop, and mobile phone owners were satisfied with the download speeds of 3.6 to 7.2 Mbps, connecting to the 3rd generation of mobile telecommunications networking technology. Anywhere, anytime is the buzzword these days, with people demanding browsing experience akin to their work environment, albeit on a larger scale, and that too, integrated to their desktops and mobile devices. 

What is 4G?

Fourth Generation Mobile System or 4G, the successor of 3G, 2G, and 1G mobile technologies ably caters to this demand. It empowers users with “always on” secure broadband access to streamed multimedia, voice calls, and data on their smartphones, laptops, netbooks, and other devices at an unbelievable 100 Mbps speed which goes up to 1 Gbps when stationary! 4G has incredibly revolutionized the way people access internet by drastically lowering the cost of voice calls and bringing a huge leap in terms of download speed at relatively lesser bandwidth. 

4G - History of its Evolution

Why opt for 4G?

·         Faster internet access to both stationary and mobile users
·         Higher bit rates and bandwidths
·         VoLTE (Voice over LTE) along with 4G has considerably brought down the call and data prices, providing low cost-per-bit
·         Scalability and service portability
·         Interactive multimedia, video streaming, teleconferencing, VoIP, and wireless internet support
·         Enhanced gaming, chat, and location services
·         Efficient integration with cellular technologies
·         Mobility and service portability
·         Better scheduling and spectral efficiency
·         Interoperability with existing wireless standards
These are just a handful of benefits that 4G, a miracle in the field of communication technology offers. The features and applications of 4G are aplenty, and that’s the reason behind the popularity and worldwide acceptance of this spectrum.

Road Ahead

The plan is to create a secure and robust infrastructure model that allows smooth functioning of applications and devices interlinked with 4G, and scalable enough to successfully migrate to 5G when it rolls out in the year 2020.

Happy Blogging!

Love and live,
Neha Agrawal

About the Author: A wordsmith and a storyteller who fell in love with information technology and did masters in computer applications, only to go back to her first love, writing! She is among the privileged few who know how to think and ink; loves her craft only second to her lovely daughter. Her friends and family love her funny side, which acquaintances seldom get to witness.

Thursday, 26 October 2017

15 Tips to Write Persuasive Web Content That Always Works

Why is it that in the sea of content, some web pages hit the bulls eye while some fail to make a mark?

Writing a persuasive content is not as easy as it seems. There are many things that web content writers should keep in mind to create flawless and impressionable web content that delivers. This post provides 15 web content writing tips that can help you fix your web content strategy, and give it a new lease of life.

1.    Focus on Keyword Research
There are no takers for content which does not rank! Writing an informative web content is worthless if can’t find any audience. Web content has no life without a well-executed SEO strategy, so before you plunge into writing web content, focus on keywords which can help you rank and get noticed.

2.    Avoid Keyword Stuffing
Adding multiple keywords in a line just for the sake of SEO is not going to fetch you any goodies, rather it will make your content look fake and unpolished. Smartly add keywords if it logically goes with your content flow. If the reader can spot a word put randomly in a well-meaning sentence, you have lost your plot!

3.    There is No Substitute for Credible and Exhaustive Research
The amount of research put into writing, differentiates a page from good to bad. Readers are smart enough to analyze content quality with just a glance, so, it’s better to put your best foot forward if you want to create a lasting impression. Personal tip – I give 65% of my time to research and 35% to writing, and trust me, it works!

4.    When in Doubt, Look it Up
Giving incorrect and unverified information in your content is a crime. Whether it is checking word context, spelling, grammar, or usage, if you are not sure, look it up. It’s always better to know your follies first-hand and correcting them right there, rather than making a fool of yourself.

5.    Pay Utmost Importance to the Beginning and the End
Visitors don’t read each and every line they see on the page online. They read the introduction, and if it’s good enough, glance through the content body, and finally read the CTA. Like a good movie, beginning and end is what defines the content, if you go wrong here, rest seldom matters! So, pay great attention to these parts.

6.    Mind the Content Flow
Aristotle’s quote seems perfect for a well-thought out content strategy - “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts." The key to writing an interesting piece of web content is to ensure that all different smaller pieces of your narrative combine effortlessly into a bigger piece to form a cohesive story.

7.    Let Go the Style Guides At Times
Style guides keep evolving with time, and it’s important to use “popularly accepted words and phrases” rather than the ones mentioned in the style guides, so that your web content doesn’t look jaded

8.    Use Simple and Easy-to-understand Words and Phrases
Calling Banana a sweet yellow elongated fruit which comes in various sizes doesn’t always make you sound intelligent! Overtly using words straight out of the Thesaurus will prove you have a good vocab, and perhaps an MBA, but may not hold your reader’s attention in the long run. Don’t write to showcase what all you know, but to explain what others should know!

9.    Write What Your Audience Expects You to Write, but Occasionally Surprise Them
Each writer has a style which becomes synonymous with their identity, and makes people coming back for more, each single time. It is, therefore, natural to fulfill your clients’ expectations and write for them, but, once in a while, experiment. Surprise your loyal audience with something that sweeps them off their feet. It not only will help you hone your craft but may encourage you to discover and master a new style.

10.Brevity is the Key When it Comes to Web Content Writing
The sooner you realize that online visitors won’t READ each line you write, the more you will appreciate brevity! Your audience will parse your web content, so WRITE FOR SCANNERS.

11.Establish Yourself As a Thought Leader
In an age where everyone is producing Zettabytes of content, it’s important to have a distinctive, sensible voice, else your hard work will be lost in the sea of overflowing content. Speak when you have something new to offer, and speak with facts to establish your domain authority.

12.Stay Away from Crutch Words
Overtly using fillers reflect poorly on your language skills and can ruin your web content. Know which 15 crutch words can ruin your well-framed sentences.

13.Always Cite Your References
Plagiarism is a formidable sin. It’s not cool, period. You need to give credit to get credit. Citing references is not only morally and legally right, but providing source also increases your credibility as a writer, so ALWAYS add references at the end of your page.

14.Interlink Intelligently
Intelligent Interlinking can help you make your content user-friendly and informative. It’s also an excellent way to promote related articles, and add years to your content and prevent it from turning it into an orphan. You can try these handy tips to extend your content’s lifespan & get rid of orphan content.

15.Spare a Day Between Writing and Publishing
You are so convinced about your thoughts and content that you are most likely to ignore errors while writing, so, sparing a day between writing and publishing is a boon for writers. It helps you review your content objectively and find errors (if any).

Apart from being persuasive, it’s also very important to create user-friendly web content. Read 5 Rules to Create User-friendly Web Content that Delivers. These are time-tested tips which have helped me over the years, and I genuinely believe can be of great help if you want to improve your content strategy.

Happy Blogging!

Love and live,
Neha Agrawal

About the Author: A wordsmith and a storyteller who fell in love with information technology and did masters in computer applications, only to go back to her first love, writing! She is among the privileged few who know how to think and ink; loves her craft only second to her lovely daughter. Her friends and family love her funny side, which acquaintances seldom get to witness. 

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Happy Teacher’s Day!!

Today is the day to cheer for all the mistakes I have committed, as they taught me more than anything else in the world.

And a bigger cheer for my parents, teachers, and friends, who infused sense in me to realize my follies and emerge as a better person and writer (I would like to believe that I am progressing on that front)

Finally, the biggest cheer for my readers and clients, my biggest critics ever, who give me the much-needed reality check.

All of you are an important part of my existence, and I am truly grateful to have crossed paths with some of the most amazing and gifted souls who have enriched my life and writing in one way or the other.

Happy Teacher’s Day!!

Love and Live,
Neha Agrawal

5 Rules to Create User-friendly Web Content that Delivers

When a web user lands on your website through organic search, he/she would be browsing through many websites simultaneously. So, you would have very less time at hand to captivate their interest and make them browse through your text. If you want your content to communicate your intended message and give you the desired ROI, but have been wondering how to achieve this feat, we have cracked the code for you.

Rules You Should Follow to Create User-friendly Web Content

1.    Most important information should stay on the top – Being a writer you would be tempted to go verbose, and feel like giving a detailed introduction and a build-up before actually diving into the topic. But, if this sound likes you, hold your guns right now. Web content writing is different from Academic writing, and it’s important to get to the point in the beginning itself; so that your readers remain interested. You can then tell readers that going forward they can expect other useful details (tips, details, related information, etc.). basically, follow the Inverted Pyramid Approach.

2. Know your audience – The key to writing effective content is knowing:

·         Who are you writing for?
·         What are their problems and areas of concern?
·    What would interest your audience more – a detailed technical know-how of the solution or just the fact that you have a solution (just explaining your process, advantages, and that you can provide a solution)
·   Whether you have the expertise and knowledge to impart value to your target audience through your content?

3.    Address the Pain Points of Your Audience -  Let your audience know in the beginning itself how your service can resolve their woes, or how your product can change the way they work. People are always looking for a solution, and if you can address their problem spot on, your readers would be more than interested in reading your solution.

4.    Write for Scanners – 90% of the web users don’t read the entire content. What they do is glance through the page, scan the title and headings, and click on a link that vaguely matches their search criteria. Therefore, use –

·         Headlines which best describe your content
·         Appealing Images which also communicate your message
·         Add a lot of easy-to-scan bulleted points
·         Indentation and page breaks wisely

5.    Serve Your Content on a Platter – Web users are spoilt for choice, and they can really afford to be lazy and not put in an effort to read your text. So, it becomes your responsibility to ensure that your text is easy to consume. Hint – presentation is the key.

·         Use captivating headings – H1, H2, H3, H4
·         Write small paragraphs – 3-4 sentences at a maximum
·         Write small sentences – 12-15 words on an average
·         Avoid jargons, complicated words and passive voice, as you may not really want them to sit with a dictionary while reading your page
·         Avoid redundant and generic lines

I can vouch from my experience that practicing these rules can help you get a better response for your pages. Give these rules a try, and comment below if you practice some other rules which have improved your web content and made it user-friendly. 

Love and Live, 
Neha Agrawal

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

15 Crutch Words that Can Ruin Your Well-framed Sentences


Read a very nice write-up in about common 6 fillers in the English language, and I can totally relate to it. I have come across many people who like to use crutch words or fillers in their sentences. Not only is the excessive usage of these words distracting, but also takes away the essence of your content, and makes it sound unpolished.

Some of the notorious fillers I have come across are:
  1. Actually

  2. Basically

  3. Literally

  4. Really

  5. Apparently

  6. Obviously

  7. Honestly

  8. Like

  9. So

  10. To be fair

  11. You Know

  12. I mean

  13. You Know

  14. Kind of

  15. Hmm..
I am sure you would agree that using these words repetitively in the sentence can get amusing for the listeners or readers, and mar your credibility as a writer or speaker.

If you also have come across any other such crutch words, leave a comment below and share your experiences.

Happy learning!

Love and Live,

Neha Agrawal

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Plagiarism – The Formidable Sin

Writercommits_Plagiarism_the_formidable_sin_Neha_AgrawalTo cite Wikipedia, Plagiarism is the "wrongful appropriation" and "stealing and publication" of another author's "language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions" and representing them as your original work.

 What Constitutes Plagiarism?

However, plagiarism has many forms and facets. Let’s have a look –

  1. Copy pasting the entire text without bothering to change even one word

  • This is the most common form of plagiarism. Well, if you are lazy to write your own stuff, or can’t afford to rephrase the original text due to any circumstances, the least you can do is quote the author and give them credit in any of the following ways:

    • Incorporate it into your writing (“According to James, in his biography...”) 

    • Add footnotes or note towards the end

    • Next to your paragraph, add an in-text citation in parentheses

    • Add a Works Cited List

    • Add Bibliography

  1. Changing some random words in between

  • Do you really think that changing every fourth word in a sentence written by another writer, will make it your own work? Not really. If you really want to escape the tough route or can’t write afresh due to any reasons, why take the pain of changing random words?

    • Use the original text verbatim, and give them the credit.

  1. Changing the sentences (paraphrasing), but, keeping the essence of the original text intact

  • Yes, this is also a form of plagiarism, though a bit more involved than the former. Remember the Wikipedia definition - publishing someone’s thoughts, ideas, or expressions as your own is plagiarism! Most of the writers (including me, at times) are guilty of this form of plagiarism. This is unethical, as even though you have changed, paraphrased or rewritten the sentences into your words, but the core subject idea or the content structure is still not your own!

    • So, cite the author for his/her idea

Does Referring Always Means Plagiarizing?

 Referring any information or fact that constitutes common knowledge or practice is not plagiarism. For example -

    • Quoting historical facts in your article

    • Suggesting correct grammar

    • Using Idioms, Phrases

    • Incorporating Mathematical formulas, etc.

 Plagiarism is Not Cool. Period.

Plagiarism is not just a sin, it’s a crime. How would you feel if someone steals your prized possession, and flaunts it the very next day as his own? You don’t even have to reply to that, as I am sure you will be full of anguish and hatred!

Plagiarism or stealing someone’s intellectual property is a similar offence. If it is not your idea, and you are working around it without giving credit to the original writer, you are plagiarizing.

People take plagiarism in a lighter vein and don’t understand its gravity. I have heard some writers justifying copying by saying that everyone seeks inspiration, as not all thoughts are organic. Some say that imitation is the best form of flattery, so it’s kindda fine!

I have a suggestion for writers who want to take the easy route - If you really want to flatter people by imitating, don’t forget giving them a due credit towards the end!

Use safe text. Respect, and be respected.

Live and Love,

Neha Agrawal



Tuesday, 6 June 2017

What's Your Identity?

what is your identity - WriterCommitsThe world we are living in is changing. People are less tolerant and more vocal about their opinions than ever before, thanks to the easy access to technology. It’s very easy to voice thoughts on Facebook, and disagree with others in the name of freedom of speech, but when we do that, we forget that we are somehow intruding into somebody else’s freedom of speech!

There was a time when I used to voice my opinions and try to justify with people who disagreed. But, I have realized that it’s all very trivial. The bigger problem in doing so on a regular basis is that it soon becomes your identity!

Yes, it’s not just your name, caste, religion, ethnicity or skin color that forms your identity. Our thoughts and actions actually form a bigger part of who we are.

I am not against voicing opinions, but assuming that everyone would and should be on your side is na├»ve. The beauty of living in a society is accepting different views and finding a middle path. Don’t let your identity be pigeonholed by preconceived notions. You have the capability to grow much beyond and let your actions do the talking.

Live and Love,

Neha Agrawal

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

#BeOriginal #BeCreative

If you are not prepared to be wrong, you can't be original.

#BeOriginal   #BeCreative

Love and Live,

Neha Agrawal Singhal

Thursday, 16 March 2017