Information is a valuable resource that companies need to cultivate if they are to be successful and productive. At any one point in time, employees may be searching for information to help them do their jobs and potentially even comply with critical regulations.
This is one reason why companies might turn to a business wiki. They aim to create a single source of truth that any employee can consult when they have a question. Instead of other employees having to take time out of their busy day to field mundane questions, your wiki has all the answers.
Studies have shown that employees spend up to 20% of their time, or a full day each week, searching for information that should be readily available. They could be looking for your HR policy, or searching for how to implement a technical procedure. Either way, wikis are a valuable tool for boosting productivity within your team.
What is a Business Wiki?
A business wiki is a crowdsourced repository of information made up of pages and organized under categories. In theory, any employee can contribute knowledge to your wiki by creating a new page or updating an existing one.
Wiki software is the engine that powers the creation of wikis around the web, which can be public or private. Open source wiki software like MediaWiki (which delivers Wikipedia) used to be your only option for wikis, but now there are a wealth of proprietary tools that help you build your own business wiki.
When your wiki is set up, employees can use it to create, browse and search for vital information and take advantage of the wiki’s search engine. Content should be intuitively laid out in categories with extensive interlinking, which some would say is the whole point of a wiki. The ideal wiki software also includes important analytics that tell you about the usage of your wiki.
Types of Wiki
Company wiki – a company-wide wiki is a wiki that is aimed at everyone in the business, although it could still contain different levels of access permissions that mean not all content is readily accessible to everyone.
Team wiki – this is a wiki created for individual teams that want to store information relating to meetings, project planning, client details, and more.
Stakeholders wiki – this is a wiki created for stakeholders in your business such as customers or clients, that shares important information about how your company works which impacts the client relationship.
Customer support wiki – this is a wiki aimed at answering common customer questions and dealing with typical customer issues, aimed at lightening the load on your support team.
Product wiki – the product wiki is a wiki containing information relating to a company’s products and services, that are aimed at onboarding, educating and retaining customers throughout the lifecycle just like help docs
FAQ sites – FAQ sites are typically a list of questions and answers that are designed to field basic enquiries about a business.
Steps for Creating an Ideal Business Wiki
Determine your target audience
Firstly, when creating a business wiki you need to know who your content is aimed at. This will help you identify the information that will be most useful to them and help inform the structure of your wiki. It may be that your wiki is aimed at everyone in your company, but not everyone will need access to every single category.
Build a picture of your target audience who might be using your wiki on a daily basis. Learn their habits and their requirements, so you can target your content to meet their needs. If necessary, involve your audience in the creation of your wiki so they can point out issues that never would have occurred to you.
Collect basic information
The next step is to collect all the basic information needed to populate your business wiki. Identify all the areas and locations where information might currently be stored, including inside the heads of your employees. Don’t forget to think about how content might relate to each other and use this to establish a structure in your wiki.
Finding content is a stage where many companies trip up because they think they are under obligation to document absolutely everything. This is certainly not the case – succinct and organized documentation is better than an overly comprehensive wiki. Document only what you need, and no more.
Choose the best software
Now comes the exciting part – choosing the best software for your wiki. If comparing tools fills you with dread, look no further than Document360, which is one of the best wiki software on the market. You can use Document360 to create public, private, or mixed wiki from the ground up, and best of all use it to control access permissions to your content.
With Document360, it’s easy to get started building your wiki. You can establish categories to hold your content and easily interlink your pages together. Formatting your content is a breeze, either with the WYSIWYG editor or Markdown editor. It’s important to choose the best wiki software because this is what will encourage your employees to contribute to the wiki.
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Prepare your contributors
Next, prepare your contributors for submitting content to your internal wiki. You should inform every relevant stakeholder that a new wiki is being launched and get them excited for making it a success. Some companies opt for having every employee become a contributor to their wiki, while others restrict it to team leads and other employees that might have a bigger stake in your wiki.
You should inform your employees about the process for contributing to your new wiki, whether that’s getting them set up with a wiki account or instructing them to send content to an admin. The best wiki software like Document360 contains a review process for editorial workflows so that content can be reviewed within the tool. You can also measure individual contribution and this will help them be motivated to contribute regularly.
Create a template
You’ll want to create a template for your wiki so everyone knows how new content should be structured. Your templates are reusable for everyone in the company so that all wiki content will be consistent and organized. Templates can include instructions for elements like fonts and headings, which can conform to a style guide.
Since a wiki is composed of many contributors, it’s important to establish regularity in content production so your wiki gives a uniform impression. Your wiki is harder to use if it is a combination of different styles and looks somewhat unprofessional. Templates also support employees to create content because it gives them a starting point, removing the terror of the blank page.
Publish content under various topics
You should already have all your wiki content collected and perfected, and now it is time to use your wiki software to publish your content. Think carefully about the categories and interlinks so it’s easy for employees to browse for information. Some companies find it simpler to organize their business wiki by department, so employees always know where to look.
Make sure to cover all the main areas of your business and answer commonly asked questions that usually require an employee to intervene. You can send out surveys asking employees what they would most like to know, or the most frequent enquiries they typically get in their department.
Metrics should be measured and analyzed
The right wiki software like Document360 will give you the ability to track and analyze metrics that relate to the performance of your wiki. Once your wiki is up and running, you’ll want to monitor the popularity and effectiveness of your content to ensure you are meeting desired expectations of the users.
Wikis are never completely finished, and it will require constant improvement in order to be a success. Employees want to know that your wiki content is fresh and updated, continually relevant to the job at hand. Metrics give you that insight, telling you how many page views you got and how many failed searches.
Maintain and update your wiki periodically
With your metrics in hand, you can periodically maintain and update your wiki. Business processes and policies are always changing, which requires someone to keep an eye on your wiki to check that it is relevant. Your wiki audience is best placed to tell you what new content they require, which can then set off an editorial and review process.
Every month or every quarter is an ideal time frame for keeping your wiki updated. Empower your employees to flag outdated content to reduce some of the workload that goes into ensuring your wiki is fresh. Don’t be afraid to simply delete or archive outdated content, so that employees only see what is relevant to them.
Also Read: 15 Steps to Create a Runbook for your Team
Best Practices in Creating an Effective Business Wiki
Include key organizational resources
Your wiki should be a valuable resource for everyone in your company, which means it includes resources that might help your team such as sample job descriptions or example processes. The main aim of your business wiki is to empower employees to do their jobs better, so you should include any resource that enhances productivity and efficiency.
To be the most effective, your wiki should be a one-stop resource for everything that employees need. Templates and guides reduce the amount of time employees need to spend duplicating work because someone has already done the hard work and shared it in the wiki.
Identify gaps and develop department-specific topics
Every department in your company is different and requires unique knowledge resources that should be contributed to the wiki. If one department is responsible for a particular process, such as posting to social media, this content should be specific to their department – in this case, marketing or customer support.
Identify a software that meets the needs of your team
As we’ve already mentioned, your wiki will only be a success if you choose the right software to host it. Open source options can be appealing because they are free, but remember you will need significant development resources to install and maintain your wiki. Proprietary tools like Document360 take care of the hard work for you, so you can focus your efforts on building and managing a successful wiki.
Select a key contributor from each team
Your wiki works best if you select a key contributor for each team, who will be responsible for thinking up new content and ensuring that old content remains accurate. A proper wiki is a team effort, since no single person can be aware of all the knowledge that exists within your organization. While it’s good to have someone with overall ownership of the wiki, other team members will see things that you don’t and have valuable input to share.
Write in clear, concise language
Train your employees to write your wiki content in clear and concise language. No one wants to read wiki pages that are full of jargon and technical terms that require a dictionary to understand, since that would result in employees abandoning the wiki and firing off an email to a colleague. Make your wiki accessible to all and ensure that employees have a good experience reading the wiki.
Use a consistent template
Your wiki content should be standardized, even though it is composed of many contributors. It’s a better user experience if all employees use a consistent template to create their content, so users know what to expect when they are using the wiki. You’ll want your content to follow a familiar format so it doesn’t feel as though many people are contributing to the wiki, and keep it in line with your company brand.
Proofread all of the wiki composition thoroughly
It goes without saying that you should proofread all of your wiki content as thoroughly as possible. There’s nothing worse than a wiki that is full of mistakes and typos, which makes it hard for users to read and risks them doubting the integrity of the content. Establish a publishing process so that all new content is proofread before you make it live.
Provide clear instructions on how to use the wiki
You might think it is obvious how to use the wiki but other employees might not agree. That’s why it’s essential to provide clear instructions on how to use the wiki, including the process for submitting content, submitting feedback, or coming up with ideas for articles. Since your content is crowdsourced from many people, it requires a particular type of handling from the central wiki team.
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How to Measure Your Business Wiki Standards
You’ll want to measure your wiki standards in four core areas.
Accurate search results – making sure that the right content is indexed for relevant search terms, which should be easy with the right wiki software that allows you to tag articles with keywords.
Frequently visited articles and least visited articles – the popularity of your content tells you which pages need to be surfaced and which ones you can possibly get rid of, to ensure your wiki stays as relevant as possible.
404 error (broken links) – a broken link checker in your wiki software will tell you which of your links lead to a dead end, so you can find and correct them to improve the usability of your wiki.
Individual contribution to create and update articles – wiki software will tell you the most prolific authors in your wiki and who is publishing the most popular articles, to give you an idea on author performance.
Business Wiki Examples
Mambu’s wiki has been created using Document360 and is a perfect example of what you can achieve using our software. This wiki tells you all about how to use Mambu, organized in a simple hierarchy that makes it easy to browse content.
Countfire’s business wiki contains information about the team, how they work and their values and culture. All employees can learn what is expected of them using Countfire’s wiki.
Document360 – The Tool You Need to Build and Manage Your Business Wiki
If you’re in the market for business wiki software, look no further than Document360. Document360 will empower everyone in your team to create the most user-friendly wiki that will significantly enhance the productivity of your business. Easy to set up with nothing to install, you can instantly create a branded wiki and start posting content that employees will find useful.
When you find yourself with lots of wiki content to manage, Document360 makes it simple to perform bulk actions that will save you time in the long-run. It’s easy to drag-and-drop your categories so you can keep your wiki content under control. With Document360, you can manage user permissions within your wiki so only certain team members can access content.
If you already have a wiki but you want to migrate to Document360, our team will help you take care of the process. Choosing Document360 means you have access to a myriad of third-party tool integrations to streamline your workflow. Keep using all your favorite apps even as you use Document360 for content creation and publication.
Companies choose to use a business wiki because they want to empower employees to find information without having to turn to their colleagues. Valuable time can be saved as important knowledge is recorded for use by everyone in your company. A wiki is effective because employees can submit new content for review, ensuring that your wiki thrives in the long-term.
Making the best wiki absolutely requires choosing the best software for the job, and that’s exactly where Document360 can help. Take advantage of this feature-rich platform to create an immersive business wiki that thrills your users.
An intuitive wiki software to easily add your content and integrate it with any application. Give Document360 a try!Get Started