When we started this, we really weren't sure what to do. We knew blogs were an important way to stay in touch with customers. But we're software writers, not literary writers. We weren't sure if we would be able keep it up, what we would really talk about, and whether or not it would be a good use of our time.
But there was one thing we were certain we wanted to do, and that was not to use this blog to post meaningless marketing dribble. It's something we've never really aspired to in any of our communications.
Whether it's on our message boards, Web site, and even our advertising or e-mail marketing, our mission has always been to be frank and informative. We do this because we believe in our product. We believe the truth sells better than any marketing hype.
We also believe our customer recommendations are perhaps the number one reason why this company has been successful over the last 25 years. We knew that blogs were a key way to stimulate that type of word of mouth recommendation by creating and sustaining an ongoing dialog with our customers. I'm very proud to say that as we post this 500th post, we clearly have been able to achieve that.
And not to be self-congratulatory, but it's easy to get to 500 posts on Twitter. It's really hard to get to 500 posts on a blog. Some of our posts are pages long and required research, code to be written and debugged, and multimedia to be developed. Others required getting you involved, because a lot of our customers have written posts. So it hasn't been easy, but it sure has been fun and worthwhile.
The visits to the blog have gone up every year and thankfully show no signs of leveling off. We continue to see more commentary and contact with our customers through the blog and other means of communication.
That's not to say we can't do better; much better. On the occasion of our 500th post, I'd like to open it up to you and give you a chance to win a netbook! Here's what you have to do to enter and win: Share what this blog has meant to you and how we can make it better in a comment on this post.
Here are some ideas to get you started. What would like to read more about? How can the blog serve you better? If you're a consultant, what can we do through the blog to help you sell more of your solutions? If you're a developer, how can the blog help you build more apps more quickly?
Your comment can range from just a few sentences about how a post helped you out of a developer's bind to a 20-page essay on what makes this blog superb. Big or small, I just want to know how we can make, what we've done 500 times now, better and what it has meant to you. It's as simple as that.
VERY IMPORTANT: Make sure you leave your name and an e-mail address where we can contact you if you win. If you don't leave it and we pick your name, you will not be eligible to win. One winner will be randomly selected from the pool of applicants. Deadline for comment submissions is Friday, April 16, 2010 at 11:59 p.m. EST. I'll announce the winner shortly after on the blog.
Note: This contest is open to anyone except employees of Alpha Software or any of its vendors.