Powering ReadMe: Customer Facing Tools

In this multi-part series, we’re outlining the many third-party tools we use to build ReadMe.

ReadMe was founded on the principle that we shouldn’t be reinventing the wheel every time we need to get something done. In honor of that, we’re sharing our favorite tools. These are a bunch of things we use every day, and are made better than we ever could. This lets us do one thing right, building documentation sites, so you don’t have to. Here’s some much deserved credit:

Payment: We use Stripe for all of our payments. With Stripe, all of our consumer payments are handled within our own dashboard. Stripe has been a huge inspiration for ReadMe, and we owe it a great deal of gratitude: it wasn’t until Stripe launched that people started taking documentation seriously.

Analytics: We wouldn’t be able to make sense of our Stripe data without Baremetrics. Before, we had no clue what was going on. With Baremetrics, we understand our customers: how much we’re making, what our growth is, who is churning, who has a failed credit card charge, and all put together in beautiful charts. We’re also falling in love with their new Dunning feature , it let’s us spend less time worrying about failed payments.

Communication: Speaking of making sense of users: [Intercom](http://stackshare.io/intercom. It’s hard to even imagine starting a SaaS project without it. Before, we had some dashboards cobbled together listing our newest sign ups. We barely knew anything about our users. With Intercom, everything is in one place: we can see details about our customers, communicate with them, and build relationships. If Intercom ever shuts down, so will ReadMe. That’s how vital it is to us.

Last (but not least) on the “understanding users” front is Clearbit. Clearbit is amazing for figuring out who your users actually are. We’ve had a ton of users sign up with their personal addresses, and we never would have realized they were VP of Something Important at Awesome Company if it wasn’t for Clearbit.

Search: For a long time our search was really bad — just a Mongo full text search. We spent some time fixing it up with Elasticsearch, but it sat in a branch for a few months. It was better but still not ideal. People have a high bar for search these days, and Elasticsearch was good but not perfect. Elasticsearch is powerful, and I’m sure we could get it there with tweaking. Recently, though, we’ve begun migrating everyone over to Algolia. It’s been great so far. Algolia isn’t an out-of-the-box-it-just-works tool; rather, it’s more a platform that you build on top of. This means it takes significant time to set up and maintain, however the results are lightening fast, flexible and accurate. (Our improved search will be available to everyone soon.)

Blog: For a while we hosted our own blog, but we recently moved it over to WordPress. We don’t need to explain WordPress to you — it powers 24% of the internet. This let’s everyone on our team contribute to the blog, and gives us access to the many tools, and huge community already out there.

In addition to our blog, we use Medium for shared editing, and because it’s just so pretty and easy to see.

These are a few of the tools that we use nearly every day. We owe the teams behind them a big thank you! ReadMe simply wouldn’t exist these all of these companies supporting us and we’re incredibly grateful.

(Our thoughts on these tools were originally published on Stackshare)

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