Question-and-answer site Quora today (Jan. 23) launched Blogs, a new format that lets users write outside the website's traditional format and reach the same pool of users that subscribe to Quora's topics.
"If you don't have a big online presence or lots of Twitter followers, it can be difficult to reach a large audience," Marc Bodnick, a member of Quora's business team, said. He said active writers on Quora get about 350,000 views a year and the most active reach 1 million or more.
For instance, Quora user Tim Smith had written about an encounter with Apple CEO Steve Jobs on his blog and later reposted to Quora in response to a question that asked about people's experiences with the tech giant. Smith got a smattering of responses on his blog, but his same story was viewed more than 88,000 times as a Quora answer.
Bloggers use the same tags as they would when posting a question or answer, which then delivers their blog post to all those on Quora who are following that tagged topic.
Do you have thoughts on the Oscar nominees ? Bodnick said there are around 250,000 movie topic followers, and that's how many people would see a post on, for example, "Amour," a French film that received an unlikely nomination for Best Picture. It would be difficult to reach that many readers unless you were in the ranks of movie critic A.O. Scott of the New York Times.
Quora is pushing forward on its mobile apps as well, which will also get the new blog feature. Around 25 percent of Quora's questions and answers are sent from smartphones, and Bodnick said this is only the beginning of a new trend in mobile writing.
"Mobile devices have been a one-way knowledge experience," he said. "They're better for reading than writing." But Quora hopes to make it easier for on-the-go writers to work their craft. In the coming weeks, the company will add a new rich text editor to its iPhone app with an Android version soon to follow.
The new editor will offer the same type of editing capabilities found in desktop editors, including bulleted lists, bold and italic font styles, block quotes and the ability to insert a photo anywhere in the text.
"Plain text editing on mobile is over," he said. Movies, sports and restaurants are expected to see the most growth from mobile.
Bodnick expects mobile submissions Quora to double in the near future. While he declined to pin a year to the milestone, he said, "We're not talking ' Star Wars ' future — it's on the horizon."