Having a changelog isn't just for the techies to get a dose of what's happening, it's good business pratice that can increase your bottom line
I’m guessing if you’ve managed to get to this blog post then you might be at least considering hosting a change log? If not then… well hello anyhow. If you are - read on about some of the benefits of doing so.
Keeping a change log isn’t just a matter of organisation, it can be paramount to your business. I’ve been running SaaS products for the past decade, and in those years I’ve learnt one of the key metrics people care about is how ‘active’ the company behind the product is.
When the world moved more towards SaaS and away from single purchase licences, it also moved from the expectation of buying a product to buying a continuously evolving piece of software. At its core that is what the final S in SaaS stands for. You aren’t publishing a product, you are offering a service, and a service should be continually changing, iterating and expanding.
It's the single biggest advantage SaaS and online businesses have over the old licence model. So why not show it off?
Of course there are many ways to keep your users up to date - and for major changes nothing will beat a good old fashioned email, but how often are you pushing smaller incremental updates? And how long does it take for those improvements to be known and trickle their way down through your users to the point they are actively used? I suspect the answer is longer than you’d think, and certainly longer than you’d like.
A lot of changes are far from being ‘awe inspiring’, sure, but equally they are worth letting your users know about. For example, you make some filesize improvements to your CSS that might speed up their loading experience by a few hundred milliseconds. The average user isn’t going to notice that, but equally it does improve the experience. Letting them know about this change shows your user base that you are focused not only on the big picture sellable features but the product as a whole.
It can also give your team faith that their hard work on smaller changes behind the scenes are being lauded.
Companies are becoming more reactive than ever and yet as we enter this reactive, constantly adapting landscape, less companies are putting out clear change logs. It’s introducing this dichotomy where more is done, and less is known about. Making a change without your users being informed is a plain and simple waste of resources.
So - simply put, this is why we made ChangeCrab. We were developing our other product (StatCrab) and making constant improvements throughout the week at breakneck speeds, but some of the changes while useful for the end user might not always be as easily seen as others. We wanted a way to quickly produce a change log that is both clean and also easy to use. Something with plenty of power, but not so complex as to get in the way.
We’ve designed ChangeCrab to be enjoyable to use - after you’ve spent countless hours or weeks even working on that new feature one of the last things you want to do is spend more time having to write about what you’ve done, so with ChangeCrab it’s as simple as login, write a few lines about the change and publish it. Don’t wait for big sweeping change logs, but document each aspect as you develop and roll it out.
We shall of course be pushing more updates to ChangeCrab as time goes by and we welcome (actively encourage) your feedback so if you have something to suggest or just some general comments then we’d love to hear from you.