Do you keep a changelog? Is your change record up to date?
If you’ve been postponing updating your changelog, you’re not alone.
This indeed may be 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.
Table of Contents
- Why Do Companies Keep a Changelog?
- How To Keep a Changelog
- How To Form a Changelog Post
- What Kind of Changes Should You Share With the World When Keeping a Changelog?
- 5 Must-Do’s for Keeping a Changelog
- 5 Don’ts When Keeping a Changelog
- AnnounceKit: The Ultimate No-Code Changelog Tool
Why Do Companies Keep a Changelog?
Simply put, a changelog is a chronologically designed file where product changes or versions are listed. It’s just a log of changes.
Companies keep changelogs to make things easier for users, and business owners, to see what notable changes are being made during each version of a product.
However, depending on your customer base, they might be used for different purposes. They might be technical or they might not be.
Generally speaking, changelogs list notable changes, additions, or removals to products.
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. When a product or software changes, users want to know how it changed and why.
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?
One of the easiest ways to keep a changelog is to start by using tools like AnnounceKit to make the process as efficient as possible.
AnnounceKit’s changelog tool allows businesses and developers to effortlessly create and share informative changelogs with their users. Real-time updates ensure users stay informed, and the tool’s multi-channel capabilities enable seamless distribution across websites, blogs, emails, and social media.
AnnounceKit’s changelog tool fosters transparent communication and enhances the overall user experience. Our changelog tool helps you keep a changelog by providing:
- 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
Once you’ve picked a tool to help you keep a changelog, it’s your turn to get to work forming a changelog. A changelog post generally contains the following components:
- Category: Create different categories for different contents
- Date: Put the date of the 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
What Kind of Changes Should You Share With the World When Keeping a Changelog?
There are few standard categories to share with the world when your business keeps a changelog:
- 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! Base your changelog off of what your users find helpful or interesting.
5 Must-Do’s for Keeping a Changelog
#1: Include a Call To Action
Always provoke an immediate response. Your call to action 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 you may have gone wrong.
#3: Remember, You’re Keeping a Changelog for Humans
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 Components When Keeping a Changelog
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.
#5: Keep Your Changelog In a Central Location
Changelogs 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!
5 Don’ts When Keeping a Changelog
#1: Don’t Include Every Detail
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
Encourage customers to 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
As your project progresses, certain functionalities or features may become obsolete or replaced. Foster trust and a positive user experience by ensuring that your changelog clearly communicates any deprecations and or removals.
#4: Don’t Separate Related Changes
Group related changes together. This makes your changelog more readable and organized.
Whether it’s bug fixes, new features, or improvements, presenting related changes together helps users quickly view each update without getting lost in a sea of information.
#5: Don’t Design Your Changelog Difficult To Access
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.
AnnounceKit: The Ultimate No-Code Changelog Tool
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.
Which is exactly why you should consider keeping a changelog and never skip logging a single change.
Keeping a changelog with no-code tools, like our changelog tool, may make the process easier for businesses.
Is there anything else you would like to add? Share your ideas with me on Twitter! Or request a demo today!