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This year, I was invited to judge the Canadian Weblog Awards. I went through 15 Canadian sites, judging for usability, accessibility, functionality, interactivity, aesthetics, originality, clarity, currency (timely content), authenticity as well as grammar.

I wasn’t able to divulge any information regarding my status as a CWA juror, nor was I able to let any of my readers know about my findings. The nominations were processed at the end of last year, with the top five finalists in each category announced on January 15.

I was out of the country when the prizes in each category were announced and had to wait until my return to post this on my site.

First off: a link to the 2011 Canadian Weblog Award winners.

Going through a website and cutting it down to the indicators mentioned above gave me a great education in the world of blogs. I found gorgeous photography on the same site that was lacking a way to order their product. I read another blog that contained not one single image. Others were poorly worded or contained misspelled words. And a few were hard to comment on a particular post.

Out of the 15, I was hoping to find at least a few gems to report back on, in addition to the winners.

Breathe Dream Go banner

I found one, a real standout. Mariellen Ward’s Breathe Dream Go is right on the mark for a niche travel blog. Her blog was also one of the few that included social media links, a photo right up front along with her bio, and a lot of interesting sidebar content. Her work has been featured in Canadian Living, Weekly Voice, Indo-Asia News service, and others.

She’s even written a book chronicling her experience in her ‘second home’ country: Song of India. Her advertising page is completely transparent, as well as is her disclosure regarding media trips.

And I’m happy to learn that she won 2nd place in the Best Weblog About Travel category (while Vancouver’s own Gourmet Fury took 1st)!

If you’re seriously considering spending any amount of time in India, I’m certain that Breathe Dream Go is one of the best online resources to check out. I’m lucky to have discovered Mariellen’s site and hope to find more bloggers reaching out with a similar passion. I hope to meet her at a future TBEX blogging conference or perhaps even a media trip, though I’d most likely be on a plane to India!

Congrats to all the winners!

1 Comment

  • Comment by schmutzie — February 14, 2012 @ 7:16 am

    Wasn’t Breathe Dream Go a great find!

    And thank you so much again for being a part of the awards this year.

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