For the first time, this year I was included in the yearly top vBlogs survey. This is a survey run by Eric Siebert over at vsphere-land.com. Thanks to Eric for all the hard work he puts in to running this survey.
I submitted my blog to be included in the survey for the first time as I felt I had a good year of blogging for 2018, and I wanted to see where my blog might place in comparison to others in the community. This being my first year I wasn’t sure what to expect, so I was happy to get a good few votes and placed 248 out of 267 blogs. Thanks to everyone that voted for my little corner of the internet. You can see the full results here; http://vsphere-land.com/news/top-vblog-2018-full-results.html.
Whilst it was good to be included, placing towards the end of the survey gives me plenty of room to improve. Thinking this through, there are 4 areas where I can look to help guide improving my ranking; content, quantity, speed and popularity.
Note; I’m doing this for a little bit of fun and to help steer my writing over the next year – I’m not totally obsessed in trying to improve my ranking, nor am I at all interested in gaming my score. Anyways….
To help improve around content, I’m thinking here about what do blogs in the top 25 write about, and could I steer my blog articles towards similar content streams. I don’t want to write about things I’m not interested in, but could I focus my writing on things I’m interested in and that get people in the virtualisation community valuing the content produced on my blog. I’ll be reviewing the content on these blogs and ensuring I keep up to date with anything new they are producing. A quick poke around however shows a great variety in content, with common themes of being well written and covering interesting topics.
Leading on from looking at content on other blogs, using the analytics I have on my own blog, what pages get the most views and is there a common thread to these. Some articles on my blog get a lot of views, even several years after I’ve written them. Again, I’m not going to write about things I’m no longer interested in, and I’m certainly not going to be writing click bait. But it is useful to review what gets read and what gets lost. By far my most popular page is the intro to my VCP 6.5 study series (found here), followed by my post on setting up Visual Studio Code, Terraform and Git (found here), and then my coverage of an AWS session on EKS (found here). I don’t plan to study for the VCP 6.7 so I don’t think I I’ll be doing an updated study series, and the EKS post I think was popular because at the time I wrote that post, EKS was still in closed preview. The VSC/Terraform/Git post is from way back in 2017, so clearly a continuing popular topic and as these tools are still something of interest to me, perhaps posts in this area would be the most worthwhile.
One metric that Eric’s survey collects and then which contributes to your overall ranking is page speed. Whilst a fast loading site will never make up for little or terrible content, it is an area that I could potentially improve upon. I currently use wordpress.com, but what if I stuck Cloudflare in front of that, or moved to hosting the blog myself, using something like Hugo or Jekyll, or can I optimise my existing site in any way. My score was 73%, which is about average for all the blogs in the survey. But the best blogs in this area score as high as 99%. If I achieved a similar score that would have bumped me almost 20 places in the ranking. Something to consider, but I’ll have to consider any trade off for speed with something that’s harder to edit – it doesn’t get much easier than wordpress.com.
Whilst quantity does not equal quality, potentially the higher your blog output the more people will return to your site and in turn the more votes you may get. Looking at the average number of blog posts for the top 100 blogs, its 67 posts. According to Eric’s survey I managed 14 posts last year, so clearly there is room for improvement here, although I don’t think I’ll be hitting the 600 posts that David Marshall achieved last year over at vmblog.com!