Not every Certificate Authority has a blog, but most companies seem to think that having a blog is part of being in business. The question, though should be: Is it really worth it?
A blog can be a powerful conversation tool to create brand awareness, educate customers and engage audiences on topics important to them. The existence of a company blog doesn't equate the effectiveness of the company blog.
“I have reached the conclusion that most organizations have a blog simply because they feel they should. Many marketing departments fail to ‘get’ blogging and have poorly visited blogs with few comments. Because their blog fails to perform they conclude that blogging is an ineffective marketing tool and either remove it entirely or leave it to languish.” — Paul Boag, “10 Harsh Truths About Corporate Blogging”
When Paul originally wrote those words in 2009, DigiCert didn’t even have a blog. When we decided to start our blog, we did so not because it’s what companies do, but because we wanted to talk about the things that matter to us and most importantly, what matters to our customers.
This is always a learning process. I firmly believe that connecting with customers effectively is less about our ability, and more about our availability. As we prove our dependability, naturally we begin to increase in our capability.
As we've worked with our customers, we first learned to master the phone. Email and live chat were natural extensions. Today we're venturing into social media channels — which currently includes our blog, our Facebook group, and our Twitter channel — as we work to refine the process that works best for our customers, we've started to open up more and more to give people some insight into who we are, and how we can make security easier for them.
To the average observer, DigiCert is just another company that sells SSL certificates. To me, DigiCert is home, family, and warm fuzzy feelings. As a consumer, I understand the tendency to think of "faceless corporations." My goal is to show that we are not one of them. We have a really nice face, and I want to show it.
We've learned a lot along the way, but then again, that's what you hope for when you set out to make a difference in the SSL industry. I have lots of funny stories and experiences we want to share about our journey to becoming the leading high-assurance Certificate Authority in the world.
DigiCert was founded in 2003. In fact, we sold our first SSL certificate on August 22, 2003. (I was not with the company yet, but I remember that date because it also happens to be the day I got married.) Some of our earliest customers have continued to work with us until today. We love looking at the sequence of SSL Certificate orders made by those customers and their evolution as they've grown their own business.
It's not enough to just offer a product. You have to make a difference in the life of the customer.
Some of our earliest customers continue to renew their SSL Plus certificate year after year after year. Our validation team has amassed a vast collection of business documents used for the validation process each year a customer order is made. Our document storage servers have had to undergo quite a few upgrades with the number of certificate renewals we've had to process. But don't get me wrong, we love it.
In mid-2004, the founders of the company decided they were tired of doing all the work themselves and hired their first employee to answer phones and emails and process orders. A few months later, in late 2004, they decided they were tired of outsourcing all their web development, so they hired someone to do it all in-house. That someone was me.
As the second employee in a startup company, I had my hands in many areas of the business, so while my job was to do the programming, I learned quite a bit about the company and the industry, and I had a say in a lot of the cool and innovative things we’ve done over the years.
We've learned some important lessons as some of our less important decisions ended up making a significant positive impact to our customers. We hope to continue driving that level of innovation in SSL and identity authentication so that when you think of SSL done right, you'll understand what we mean when we talk about the “DigiCert Difference”.
Change is a natural part of the evolution of any individual and it's been special seeing the changes that have come to the DigiCert team along the way.
If you don't like change, you'll like being irrelevant even less.
Customer service was why we started DigiCert and will always remain at the core of who we are. But how we approach delivering our customer experience will continue to evolve as the needs of our customers change and as we create new ways for people to manage security.
Whatever the future internet security and SSL holds, we're excited at the opportunity to show the DigiCert way.