You're most probably familiar with Wikipedia. At a time, it was the 6th most visited website in the world. Today, more and more businesses are taking wiki into their own hands and creating one of their own to enhance business proficiency.
No matter how organized you think your company information is, today's harsh truth is the lack of organized info has workers wasting up to 1.8hrs every day, searching for and gathering info they need to do their job. It's either a massive waste of time for your employees or your customers, but the good news is it's something that's easily fixed with a wiki.
This article will guide you through how to build a private wiki that works and lifts your team from resourceless to resourceful in a few clicks.
What is a Wiki, and how does it work?
A wiki is essentially a knowledge hub. It's a centralized, online place that stores and shares information through smart indexing and search options. It's designed to allow people to self-help or troubleshoot their problems—rather than rely on others to solve their problems for them.
A wiki is usually based on company FAQs but can also hold other important information and resources someone may need.
What are the different types of Wiki?
Internal, or private, wikis are for teams and sometimes entire companies. They're an internal knowledge base, handling all company information. An internal wiki can organize processes, workflows, HR procedures, projects, people, guidelines, and policies—it's a great resource to have.
An external wiki is also known as a resource center, resource hub, or public wiki. It’s customer-facing and helps your current users get the most out of your product or service. It empowers users to troubleshoot problems in their own time.
Personal wikis are less common, but you most probably use one—to some extent. It could be something as basic as the notes section on your phone, an organized (or perhaps not so organized) Google Drive set up, or a nifty app. We all need and use personal wiki pages to remain efficient in our every day.
What are the benefits of a private Wiki?
For this article, we're exploring a private wiki, otherwise known as a company wiki. Before we get into creating one, let's look at some of the benefits a private wiki can bring your team and business.
A private Wiki keeps everyone aligned
A well-designed wiki can keep everyone on the same page with current and past projects. It enables teams to get a more holistic view of their goals and track KPIs.
It aids onboarding
Many businesses use their wiki for onboarding purposes. It can be styled into a welcome pack, giving new employees all of the info they need on company policies, procedures, and people.
A private Wiki stores information securely
If your team has individual wikis on the go that are not fit for purpose, you run the risk of leaking sensitive information. A private wiki not only stores all open-source info in one place, but it's functionality also stores it securely—only granting access to those that need it.
It covers all areas of your company
A private wiki doesn't stop at a team or HR. Give your employees the freedom to explore other departments within the company using the wiki and better understand how they can work together.
It is fully customizable
Things change, and sometimes rapidly in businesses. It's normal, and your wiki can change with it. Your private wiki isn't a static doc; it's continually growing as your company grows and is always a go-to resource for anything new.
It welcomes multiple people
Take Microsoft Teams; for example, have you ever had problems with team members downloading, editing, and re-uploading documents to your knowledge base and then having multiple versions of the same doc? It can get really messy, really fast.
A custom-built wiki allows multiple people to work on the same page simultaneously, with no clash.
It tracks changes made
A private wiki tracks and holds onto all of the changes made. If you go to a page and something is not there anymore, you can simply revert to an older version and find what you're looking for.
Features to look out for in a Wiki?
No matter your company structure, if you're a remote team or in-office, you need a few core features in your wiki software for it to work successfully.
90% of users reported they stopped using an app due to poor performance. The same can be said with employees and their work tools. If your wiki isn't user-friendly, people won't use it.
Handle Access Rights
Make sure your super admin has the power to give and revoke user permissions. It's often one of the differences between a paid and a free wiki. You're dealing with sensitive information, so you need to keep an eye on who has access to what.
Custom search is a massive time saver for your team. It acts like Google to your knowledge base. Someone can use keywords to find what they're looking for rather than navigating to a specific page. Make sure you have this feature from day one.
Whether you're remote or not. You need to be able to do everything in your wiki online and from the cloud, if you want it to scale. Check the number of users that can have access to the wiki and at what cost.
A simple formatting option, but often overlooked. You won't be storing all of your company information directly in the wiki, but you'll certainly store the links to the other docs. Embedding customization options make for a cleaner and clearer interface for your wiki users.
A super useful feature if you're working with multiple people to build your wiki. A comment and tag feature allows you to discuss what's on the page without editing the page.
Wiki Building Best Practices
Use images and screenshots
Whenever you're struggling to get your point across or feel things could be clearer, consider a visual.
Stick to short, sharp sentences. Think about it like note-taking. Try to avoid any jargon that may confuse your reader.
Structure and categorize information
So crucial for searchers. Build out a wiki map that's searchable by category or keywords.
Share it with the right people
Using the admin rights you have, select who has access to what information and what can be accessed by anyone.
Get others to contribute
You don't need to build this wiki alone; in fact, it's better with specialists. Figure out who they are and ask them to contribute.
How to Build a Wiki In 4 steps, With Slite
Today, personal wikis are a plugin and play kind of set up. You only need a tiny learning curve and be able to edit content. Modern wikis need good project management skills, real-time updates, and dedication. They're built with as much thought for the creator's user experience as they are for the users'.
Of course, there are other wiki tools out there: MediaWiki, DokuWiki, TiddlyWiki, Wikidot, Fandom, and Confluence, to name a few. However, we'll stick with what we know for this tutorial and use Slite.
1. Create your Slite Account
First up, you need to create your account in Slite. It's free to do and done in four steps. Use Google, Slack, Apple ID, or your work email to register. Tell us a bit about yourself and your team. Pick a URL, and you're good to go.
2. “Clone in my Slite” or start from scratch
Jump over to our private wiki solutions page and click "clone in my Slite" this will pull the premade wiki template into your workspace. Or, if you're not a fan of our template (welp 😥), you can choose to create a "New private doc."
3. Edit whatever you want
The private wiki template is there as a guide. Feel free to add, takeaway, or tweak anything you want to make the template more personal and appropriate for your business.
4. Share with your team
Once you're happy with your wiki, you're ready to share it with your team. Select the team members you want to access the workplace or grant access to the entire company in a few clicks. Done!
Get started with Slite today
Ready to get started with your private wiki today? Dive straight in, sign up quickly for free and start using Slite templates to step your business up a gear.
Christophe Pasquier is Slite’s co-founder and CEO. Chris’ goal is to help teams do incredible work in better environments, by helping them embrace remote work and async communication. He currently lives in Berlin with his wife and baby Noé. Find him @Christophepas on Twitter!