Right on the heels of LinkedIn announcing that it would be canceling the LinkedIn Answers service as of January 31st, Quora, the alternative Question & Answer service, has announced some major improvements and developments. Namely, Quora users will now have full blogging capability within Quora.
According to Quora’s blog, users will be able to select a blog theme (one currently available called Loose Leaf) and begin writing posts. Quora recognizes that many bloggers are already using the Write Post feature on Quora to submit teasers for their full blog posts, and share those teasers with specific topics. Kah Keng Tay from Quora states:
- Active writers on Quora average 30,000+ monthly views and 350,000+ estimated annual views.
- Our most active writers average 90,000+ monthly views and 1+ million estimated annual views.
- Many great answers on the site go viral — read by tens of thousands of people.
If you have already set up one or more profiles or companies, they will automatically be converted into blogs, so you do not have to choose Create a Blog unless you want to start a new one. If not, you can select the Create a Blog button that Quora will present to you the next time you log in.
When starting a new blog, you will have a brief form to complete, but all of these questions and settings can be changed later, so don’t worry if you’re not completely sure what you want to call your blog or which topics you plan to write about.
I did note that when creating a URL for my blog, I was not able to include “the” in the name. When typing in thesocialmediahat.quora.com the site said that it was unavailable, but socialmediahat.quora.com worked fine.
This update also includes an udpate to the Quora mobile app for both iOS and Android that is designed to make it easier for writers to post blog updates from their smartphone.
For businesses, Quora has been and continues to be an excellent platform for demonstrating expertise. Just as we discussed with regard to LinkedIn Answers, when users pose questions on Quora, that’s an opportunity for you to provide a clear, articulate answer that will help not only the person asking the question, but anyone else who reads your answer. As Kah pointed out, it’s not uncommon for really good answers to “go viral.”
Additionally, when composing great answers, most writers find that the question and answer together end up being fantastic content for a future blog post. Any time you’re stuck and not sure what to write about next, spend some time browsing Quora questions, answer one or two as well as you can, and consider turning that dialogue into your next article.
However, I’m not convinced that Quora will make for an excellent blogging platform. While the new interface and theme are nice, and very easy to use, there is a lot more to having a successful business blog. For personal blogs, a place to share your thoughts may be all that’s needed, but businesses need more. Your business blog needs to have pages that talk about your specific products and services so that you can direct blog readers to an appropriate next step (call to action). Businesses need a Contact page and newsletter signup and easy access to social media links. It is my belief that a business needs to funnel all visitors and potential customers into a website that acts as the hub of their content marketing plan. I have helped clients set up third-party blog sites using WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr, LiveJournal and Posterous, but only for sharing teasers and occasional off-topic posts, much like other social networks. If a business tries to use Quora to post their full blog entries, each entry is going to have to do a great job of directing readers to specific pages of the company’s main website, and I’m not a big fan of shifting visitors between different sites. Another option might be to duplicate full blog posts on both platforms, but that doesn’t seem wise either.
Certainly, sharing teasers and introductions and discussion points, and directing interested readers to your site to view the full post should continue to be standard practice. When creating your new post on Quora, be sure to “tag” it with topics that are appropriate to reach the widest possible audience.
I will be working on a “Getting Started on Quora” article for later this year that will include more specific tips, tricks and best practices, but if you have any you’d like to share in the comments, please do. In the meantime, check out the new Quora Blog feature and let me know what you think!