Whirlwind Steel has won both the judging and popular vote and is the top 2016 Best Construction Blog finalist.
Yet, ironically, the blog that the judges reviewed and voters supported will soon be replaced by a revamped blog/website that “will be more modern, eye-catching, and easy to read,” says Whirlwind’s digital marketing strategist Aylin Poulton.
“It’s been a long process, but the new website is just about ready to launch. Within a few weeks from today, we hope to have it up and running,” Poulton wrote in an email to us just hours before we received the final judge’s report and could tabulate the winner.
Therefore these observations from judge Heather Kirk may be moot, but could indicate that a really good blog will soon be much better. (Poulton sent a private link to the new website with her email; indeed it looks good, but it hasn’t factored into the judges’ evaluations.)
“Graphic quality/appearance — nothing fancy but clean and easy to navigate,” Kirk wrote. (She is a freelance writer with the Construction News and Report Group, of which I am the president.) “Images were relevant. Lots of blogs on the main page so easy to scan a number — attention given to overall look of the pages; ie., wasn’t just white.”
Kirk also observed that the content was “clear, thorough, covered a lot of interesting topics that were general and relevant to many.”
Other judges included residential contractor consultant Michael Stone, blogger and proposals expert Matt Handal and Casandra Pollack, who also provides advice and proposal/marketing support for industrial, commercial and institutional projects.
Judges were invited to assess graphic quality and appearance, content, and reader interaction and involvement.
I took each judge’s vote and assigned it one point for third place, two points for second, and three points for first place, and then added up all the numbers to determine the finalist rankings. Three of the four judges ranked the Whirlwind blog first, though one judge gave the blog a much lower ranking. (He selected writer Tess Wittler’s blog as the best overall blog.)
Then I reviewed the popular vote totals, converted the percentage of vote total to a decimal, and doubled the number — reflecting the overall importance of the popular vote in the totals, while still giving much greater weight to the judges’ reviews. (Of course to be even in contention for judging, among the 26 blogs which entered, the popular vote narrowed the field. With one exception all of the judges selected their finalists candidates from the top seven blogs by popular vote.)
With these numbers, Whirlwind scored as the run-away winner, with a final tally/score of 13.6. Second place went to last year’s winner (and second place in popular vote this year), Tocci Building Companies, which scored 8.1. Construction Junkie, which scored fourth in popular vote, received votes from three of the four judges, so ranked third. Wittler scored fourth, while the Motorhard blog, which came in third in the popular vote, was the fifth-place finisher. (I personally ranked Motorhard higher, but to ensure fairness, did not assign myself any judging votes.)
We’ll of course report on the revised Whirlwind blog when it is released, and I will schedule a video interview with the finalist to gather some insights on how this company manages its digital/marketing strategies, and assess the results it has achieved.