Thursday, January 24, 2013

Quora, the next blogging ecosystem

I made a mental note to myself to check out Quora's blogging platform.  Quora has launched its standalone blogging support, and now allows any user to create a blog on its site.  Earlier today I had a chance to register and wrote my first quick article.

User experience of setting up a new blog was a breeze.  Writing an article was also a very pleasant experience.  With minimal UI for the blogger to write an article and easy edit feature, it was a joy to use Quora to write.  All the lessons that Quora has learned over the years perfecting Q&A site shine through its bare essential UI/UX.

But they are not what makes Quora a strong contender among other blogging platforms.  The reason why Quora is an interesting blogging platform is because it can help both readers and writers.

First, the readers.  Quora already has hundreds of thousands of users who post questions.  Although exact user base is unknown (Quora has been very tight lipped about the actual user base), people know that Quora is made of communities of many high profile users who actually take their time to answer questions.  Its reputation as high quality Q&A site has been already established.  This means people are asking lot of questions and experts are answering them using crowd sourcing model.

Because the readers know this, they come to Quora expecting to find valuable insights from experts all over the world.  While browsing questions and answers on topics they care about, they can find different perspectives from unknown experts.  In other words, Quora is already solving the problem of surfacing the unknown writers to the readers.  It functions as discovery engine for the reader given a topic.  

Second, the writers.  As anyone who has been maintaining regular blog will tell you, finding an interesting topic that people care about and the topic that the writer can answer is a hard problem.  Quora can offer its unique differentiation from other blogging platform because it can leverage its high quality Q&A communities to find out what questions people care about the most.  This makes the writers' job easier.

Once writer writes an article, one of the biggest problems is finding the readers.  But Quora has a trick up on its sleeve for this problem as well.  Because blogs are linked to user profile and tagged with topics, the readers can easily move from answers and blog articles that the writers have written.  Provided that the writers can write interesting and useful content for the readers, it will be easier for the writers to get discovered through its answer rating system.

I can see all the pieces of creating a vibrant blogging ecosystem.  The challenge for Quora will be to put these pieces together and prove to the readers and writers that it can actually deliver on its promises by continuing to promote high quality answers.

I think they can pull it off.  Let's stay tuned.

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