May 2017 archive

Voting now open for Top vBlog 2017!

After a huge amount of effort finding and migrating to a new survey platform (and briefly breaking it with the sheer size of this survey), voting for Top vBlog 2017 is now open! The number of blogs devoted to VMware and virtualization continues to stay at an amazingly high level, this year there are almost 300 of them on the ballot. Here’s your chance to show your appreciation to the bloggers for all their hard work by picking your favorites which will determine the Top vBlogs for 2017. Last year over 1,600 people voted from all over the world and when the votes were tallied the top 50 bloggers were revealed. Now it’s time to do it all over again as new blogs are born and old blogs fade away and bloggers move up and down the rankings. When casting your votes please keep the following in mind about the blogs.

  • Longevity – Anyone can start a blog but it requires dedication, time & effort to keep it going. Some bloggers start a blog only to have it fall to the wayside several months later. Things always come up in life but the good bloggers keep going regardless of what is happening in their life.
  • Length – It’s easy to make a quick blog post without much content, nothing wrong with this as long as you have good content in the post that people will enjoy. But some bloggers post pretty long detailed posts which takes a lot of time and effort to produce. The tip of the hat goes to these guys that burn the midnight oil trying to get you some great detailed information.
  • Frequency – Some bloggers post several times a week which provides readers with lots of content. This requires a lot of effort as bloggers have to come up with more content ideas to write about. Frequency ties into length, some do high frequency/low length, some do low frequency/high length, some do both. They’re all good and require a lot of time and effort on the bloggers part.
  • Quality – It all comes down to whats in the blog post regardless of how often or how long the blog posts are. After reading a blog post if you come away with learning something that you did not previously know and it benefits you in some way then you know you are reading a quality post. Good quality is usually the result of original content, its easy to re-hash something previously published elsewhere, the good bloggers come up with unique content or put their own unique spin on popular topics.

So please take all this into account when casting your votes, here are some more details on the voting:

  • Again this year you can pick 12 of your favorite blogs and then rank them in your order of preference. The results will be weighted with a #1 ranking getting 12 points and a #12 ranking getting 1 point. Point totals will be tabulated and from them the top 50 will be determined.
  • Blogs are listed on the ballot with the current top 100 blogs listed first with their current ranking and the rest of the blogs listed below them alphabetically. So please go through the whole list when making your choices.
  • Note that blogs that did not have at least 10 posts in 2016 are not eligible to participate and not listed (Alan Renouf #9 was one of those). Also note that Duncan Epping (Yellow Bricks) #1 and Frank Denneman #4 chose not to participate this year which should make for a whole different top 10.
  • Again this year we also having voting in special categories to help distinguish certain types of blogs. The choices of which blogs to include in the categories was the result of this survey and my best guessing. The categories are independent of the general voting so first pick and rank your top 12 overall favorite blogs and then choose your favorite blog in each category.
  • Voting will run until 6/30, afterwards the results will be determined and announced on a special live podcast with myself, John Troyer and a special guest from Turbonomic.
  • Duplicate vote protection is enabled, we’ll be using geolocation, IP addresses & cookies to protect against duplicate votes. This isn’t Chicago, please be honest and fair when voting, any suspicious votes will be tossed.
  • If you are not familiar with a blog you can click on it in the survey to view it or use my vLaunchpad to see links to them all. Try not to pick blogs based just on names but also take content into account. There are a lot of good blogs currently not in the top 50 that deserve to be there.
  • Also please keep it classy and don’t try and work the voting system to get your blog ranked as high as possible.

New this year bloggers who make the Top 50 will get a nice commemorative pin that they can wear anywhere to proudly display their accomplishment. The pin will be fairly similar to the coin designs of past but is obviously one-sided as it is meant to be worn on clothing.

Of course all this is made possible by Turbonomic who is the official sponsor for Top vBlog 2017!

So what are you waiting for, head on over and take the survey to cast your ballot and reward the best bloggers for their hard work and dedication by letting them know that you appreciate them.


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Top vBlog 2017 – slight delay but still coming soon

I wrote in my last post that voting for Top vBlog 2017 would be kicking off this week but I have a slight delay as I work to find a new survey tool that can meet my requirements. The survey tool I had used for years, SurveyGizmo worked great for me but they recently changed their plan pricing and it would of cost me 10x more than usual as the features I need are in their most expensive plan and you can no longer buy it on a monthly basis. I thought I had found a replacement with SurveyMonkey but after signing up for a year plan and trying to setup my Top vBlog survey that’s when things quickly fell apart.

SurveyMonkey did support the one must have feature for me, piping between questions, many survey tools do not support this. This is needed so after someone selects their 12 favorite blogs I can pipe them to the next question so they can rank therm. However, many of the other features that I used with SurveyGizmo weren’t there on SurveyMonkey, I couldn’t bulk import html answers, didn’t allow for indicating maximum selection of multiple entries (you could select more and it gave a vague error), most of these weren’t ideal but I could work around, but the big kicker for me they had a max limit on their answers at 200, we usually have way more blogs than that participating. Overall I found there survey tool a bit difficult to use and lacking so I requested a refund and continued to search for another tool.

After looking at dozens of survey tools, requesting trials and asking questions I think I finally found one, QuestionPro. After talking to their support it looks like their Corporate plan will do everything I need, I haven’t set it up yet so I have my fingers crossed, so after a slight delay I should hopefully have the voting open next week. Stay tuned and get ready.

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Introducing Top vBlog 2017

It’s that time of year again, well a little later then usual, more on that later. My annual Top vBlog contest will be kicking off in about a week and anyone can vote on their favorite VMware & virtualization blogs. I first want to introduce our awesome official sponsor of Top vBlog 2017 which is Turbonomic again this year. If you can take a moment and give them some love, follow them on Twitter, check out their Cloud Native edition and download a free trial to see what you are missing out on.

We’re running a bit later then usual this year, a big reason for that is the survey company that I have used every year, SurveyGizmo, changed their rate plans and I can no longer purchase it on a monthly basis and it would of cost me about 10x more than before. I’ve evaluated a whole bunch of options including buying professional plugins and looking at other survey companies but almost all of the plug-ins that I looked at are too basic and wouldn’t meet my needs. I’ve finally chosen SurveyMonkey to host it going forward, I still have to buy it on an annual basis but the cost was a lot cheaper and included all the advanced options like piping and drag/sort that I need.

With a new survey company though I have to start from scratch as all my saved forms and data were at SurveyGizmo. I’ll be building out the forms next week and should launch the public voting shortly afterwards. I already have opened the category nominations a few weeks ago, I built that out using forms on my own site, so if you haven’t nominated your blog for certain categories that it might fit in you still have a few days left to do so. So the tentative key dates are voting will be from 5/12 – 6/2 and then the live results show will tentatively be the week of 6/19, that could change though based on what happens with my daughter’s surgery which is the week prior to that.

Now for some changes this year, I wanted to add other factors into the outcome beyond just public voting, that included private judging, # of posts published and Google PageSpeed scores. I didn’t have time to put together the private judging this year so the total points that a blog can accumulate will be based on 3 factors:

  • Public voting – 80% – total points based on how many people voted for you and how they ranked you
  • # of posts published – 10% – points awarded for how many posts you had in 2016, more posts = more points, aggregators excluded
  • Google PageSpeed score – 10% – points awarded for how well your blog is designed and how efficient it is which makes for a better experience for readers, the better you score the more points awarded

You can read more on this in this post. These factors combined make up the 100% of total points a blog can score and determines how you end up ranked in the final results. Some other changes and rules this year:

  • Again this year you can pick 12 of your favorite blogs (instead of 10) and also rank them in your order of preference after you pick your 12. The results will be weighted with a #1 ranking getting 12 points and a #12 ranking getting 1 point.
  • Again this last year there is again a minimum blog post requirement to be eligible for Top vBlog voting, any blog that did not have at least 10 blog posts in 2016 is not included in the voting. Read more about this here.
  • Again this year we also having voting in special categories to help distinguish certain types of blogs. The choices of which blogs to include in the categories was the result of this survey and my best guessing. The categories are independent of the general voting.
  • Duncan Epping and Frank Denneman are stepping down this year, they have both been in the top 10 for many years and have decided to not participate this year. They still support the voting and this will make room for some new people in the Top 10 and in particular the #1 spot.
  • We’ll be doing a special commemorative lapel pin this year, I always liked the coin but it limits how you can display it in public. A pin will be fairly similar to a coin, just one sided and you can wear it anywhere including at events like VMworld. It will be color with different metal types (gold/silver/copper) about 1.5″ in size and have a magnetic back for attaching so you don’t have to poke holes in your shirts.

So stay tuned, Top vBlog 2017 will be starting very soon!

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