Do you keep a changelog? Is your change record up to date?
If you’ve been keeping postponing updating your changelog, you’re not alone.
This indeed harming your product’s success. Your changelog is more than just a way to keep track of API versions; it’s a way to show that your product is just killing it.
So, the must-have thing on your to-do list: pick up the practice of writing a changelog regularly!
This guide will help you to pick up this practice and make your progress better by giving you some tips.
What Purposes a Changelog Used for?
Simply put, a changelog is a chronologically designed file where product changes or versions are listed. It’s just a log of changes.
However, depending on your customer base, they might be used for different purposes. They might be technical or they might not be. Changelogs and their role has evolved a bit now that users are much more interested in the evolution and fine-tuning of a product they’re using.
The type of changelog we’re focusing on here is one that is public-facing and intended for people who use your product.
How to Keep a Changelog?
Changelogs are not only for developers but also for SaaS users now. Therefore, leave old changelog templates behind and engage with developing Changelog-as-a-service tools!
These tools like AnnounceKit make keeping changelog much easier.
First, What Should I Expect from a Changelog Tool?
- Post scheduling
- In-app notification widgets
- Rich media content
- Push notifications
- User feedback and reactions
- User segmentation
- Customized design
- Privacy options
- Multiple languages
- User tracking
How to Form a Changelog Post, Basically?
Now that your tool is doing the big part for you, it’s your turn. Form an understandable changelog post with the following components;
- Category: Create different categories for different contents
- Date: Put the date of announcement
- Header: Write a header including the product name together with the scope of the post
- Overview: A brief description of what this post include that emphasizes the change
- Feedback: Your visitors should be able to leave a reaction or text-based response to your posts
- Segmentation: This allows you to segment updates by demographics, location, language, URL, and past behavior on your site
There are few standart categories to share with the world:
- Changed: A record of feature updates
- New/Added: When new features of your product have been released or any news from your team
- Fixed: Bug fixes
- Integration: New integrations
Feel free to enhance these categories. Be creative!
5 Must-Do’s for Keeping a Changelog
1. CTA! Always provoke an immediate response. CLA is a key element on a changelog to motivate your sales funnel.
2. Set up a schedule! Create a weekly or monthly cadence and stick to the schedule. If you don’t have anything for a given week or month, try to understand why your progress goes slow and focus on where did I do wrong.
3. Do remember changelogs are for people, not machines! Therefore, they need to be readable and understandable by someone with a basic understanding. There’s no point making things difficult.
4. Always add visual elements! GIFs, images, screenshots, and even videos are perfect to make your changelog appealing. A good image with a hook is like wrapping a gift, people always wonder what’s inside of it.
This also makes it more engaging and sometimes easier to get the gist of the change, especially for people who are not familiar with your product. Check this brilliant example out!
5. Your changelog should be central! It should be easily accessible from your navigation both on your site and within your product.
Normally, a technical changelog would be hidden somewhere on your site away from normal users. Your product’s changelog for users should be the opposite. It should be somewhere central and easy to access. See this in-app changelog example!
Beware of 5 Don’ts While Keeping a Changelog
1. Don’t include everything you do. Writing about detailed technical issues is not that interesting unless it results in some performance gains or improves the user experience. Of course, your changelog should touch on technical details but, primarily focus on how changes benefit users.
2. Don’t hide from your customers. They should interact with your changelog and team. The more interactive your changelog the more users will engage.
The old definition of a changelog doesn’t fit anymore! Your changelog is not just for technical notes anymore but really should be a central, dynamic part of your communication system with your users. It can be a powerful tool for your team in engaging with users are getting important direct feedback from them.
3. Don’t forget to update deprecations. You need to inform your users if your project’s latest version includes breaking changes. Also, be sure to list any removals.
4. Don’t separate related changes. Group changes of the same type together. This makes your changelog more readable and organized.
5. Don’t design your changelog only as a separate page that users have to access in order to see if you have a new update. Always include a sidebar or widget on your landing page that leads them to a separate page. AnnounceKit allows you to do both. In this way, you may attract more users to your stand-alone page.
Changelogs might be technical, but the new trend is non-technical ones! Their role has evolved a bit now that users are much more interested in the evolution and fine-tuning of a product they’re using.
Therefore, keep a changelog and never skip logging a single change. Keeping a changelog with no-code tools may seem easy but there are some important matters to be taken into account. These all help you to keep a changelog your users will actually read.
Have a look at some SaaS changelog examples here right before you decide to keep a changelog.
Or, let’s get started now together!
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