From encouraging trust with your customers, to providing your own personal motivation, there's a lot of good reasons to create a changelog! Here's seven of them.
Hey! Welcome to ChangeCrab. If you’ve never been here before, we offer a free and highly customisable changelog service that you can share directly with your customers.
But why use a public changelog or release notes at all? Why not keep all code changes in the back-end, away from customers?
Perhaps the most obvious, but it’s not something to forget. This is especially important if you want a changelog for a SaaS business model, as updates are a big part of the value proposition.
Even if you aren’t a subscription service though, customers expect updates and changes to products. You already know how important it is to do the update, but are you maximising their potential by displaying them properly? Nobody wants to have to search through a blog with multiple different categories to have to find out what changes are being made.
Customers value trust very highly, and having an open, trusting dialogue with your customers is often the thing that separates good products from great ones.
Having a changelog front and centre on your site not only shows customers that everything from major features to individual bugs is getting the attention they deserve, but it also shows that you’re not afraid to have some transparency in the process.
Posting about bug fixes, post-mortems and explaining downtimes and other challenges can help build customer trust. There’s no shame in having had bugs or other problems; it’s the way that you communicate your solutions and changes that is the sign of trust.
When we think of marketing channel for a business we tend to think of the big ones: blogs, social media, emails… Perhaps you see your customer support as a method of marketing, too. Changelogs can also be seen as a marketing channel. After all, you’re talking about the latest and greatest additions to your business.
Importantly, they also fill a unique role in the marketing mix.
You can add them more frequently than a blog, and their length makes them more likely to be read. They aren’t as intrusive as email, and unlike tweets, they’ll stick around for more than a few seconds. With [ChangeCrab changelogs](ChangeCrab Changelogs), you can also get simple user feedback from changes without the effort and challenge of large scale testing or the burden on your customers.
There’s nothing like working on something in your backend for an entire month, fixing a major problem with your product or squashing a bug that’s eluded you for weeks and then that work never being spoken about again.
Sure, your big features are likely going to make it to a blog post or a home page mention, but without a changelog, it’s rare that bug fixes and more iterative changes will ever get any space in the spotlight, but a public changelog is a perfect place for these small changes.
In larger teams, it’s also nice for your team members themselves to see more backend work recognised publicly alongside larger changes.
It’s not just your customers that are looking at your changelogs - investors and future partners might be as well. Because you can choose the highlights that you feature in a public changelog, the tone, and the amount you post, it’s a great way for people to get a handle on your activity at a glance.
It’s always a horrible feeling when you’re asked what improvements you’ve made in the last six months and, despite having made many, you draw a blank. Or perhaps, you have to start searching through past blog posts and emails to collate everything. With a changelog, you have one simple page focused entirely on your updates.
When you make a new feature, it’s easy to do a post, add it to the homepage and forget about it. The problem with launching features like this is they can easily meld into your product and you don’t get to highlight why or how this feature is something to especially pay attention to.
But the newer a feature is, the more likely you’re going to be making changes and improvements, so the more often it’s going to be appearing in a changelog.
Where a new feature might take up just as much space on the homepage as a feature you’d had for a year, you might be updated your changelog about that feature ten times, giving it more exposure over a longer period, and encouraging both new and old users to check it out.
Whether you’re writing your own changelog or reading through one that a member of your team manages, it can be hugely motivating to see your company grow over time.
While analytics and growth stats provide a more objective view of growth, a well written and constantly updated set of release notes can give you a more empirical view of your companies growth over time.