Starting a business can be a daunting prospect in itself, and growing that business poses its own challenges too. One of the biggest obstacles in any stage of business development is keeping information organized and accessible to all your team players. That’s why business owners sometimes consider building a wiki site for their business.
What is a Wiki?
The term “wiki” is Hawaiian for “quick” which is appropriate, as these informational sites are designed to give users fast, easy access to information they are searching for. The concept of the wiki was first developed by American computer programmer Ward Cunningham in 1994.
He designed his first wiki as a one-stop spot for information that allows multiple users to collaborate, exchange ideas, or even improve upon the body of work directly on the wiki site. In the words of its creator, Cunningham explains a wiki is a multi-faceted platform that is “a discussion medium, a repository, a mail system and a tool for collaboration.”
Is it Hard to Set Up a Wiki?
Thanks to WordPress (WP) content management systems (CMS), setting up a wiki on your own can be a cinch. The other good news is that building a wiki doesn’t have to cost a lot of money and it’s not even that difficult to start one. If you have the benefit of WordPress hosting and are familiar with WP, you can easily get set up with the help of installing a few wiki plugins. After you’ve installed the appropriate WP wiki plugins on your site, you’ll need to select a theme. Thankfully, WordPress has many wiki themes to choose from that are exclusively designed for wiki sites.
Benefits of Wiki
After reading Cunningham’s vision for wikis, it’s clear that they can be a powerful asset to keep you and your team connected. One of the biggest benefits of a wiki is that it can help manage your remote team and keep everyone on the same page. This is especially useful in having immediate access to vital data specific to a task or procedure.
Online wikis encourage collaboration among employees because they provide instant access to information as well as allow others to share notes and make suggestions directly on the wiki. This enables you and your staff to save time that might be wasted in searching through endless email correspondence. It also cuts down on time looking for answers, because another employee has already logged that solution in the wiki.
Wikis don’t have to be exclusively based on the functions of your business. To explain, you can set up a temporary wiki for big projects. This is hugely helpful in keeping project information organized. By keeping an ongoing record of each edit, comment, action and step of a project, you can see how the project has developed over time as well as track a project’s progress.
Examples of How a Wiki Can Help Your Business
We’ve talked about the benefits of a wiki, but what do you put in it? Most business owners choose to publish their company’s operating procedures on their wikis. This is helpful because employees can gain access to important instructions, company notes as well as gain insight into the company’s culture. Additionally, they can edit or add notes to procedures that can help others understand how to perform duties.
You can also store your business’s employee manual, benefits, and other human-resource-related content. This reduces a lot of time in answering new employee questions. It also helps new hires to better succeed during the onboarding process of working for your business.
Furthermore, a wiki is a central location that can keep track of information that evolves and changes over time. As mentioned earlier, this is especially useful in complex, long-term projects where a wiki is a one-stop location for every minute detail in the endeavor. You can even allow outside access to your wiki so customers, clients, or business associates can see progress on the project or make their own comments.
Is a Wiki Right for Your Business?
When considering building a wiki for your business, remember that its beauty is in uniting your whole team to get a “big picture” of your business and its goals. If you are looking to engage, document and organize your business structure or projects, then a wiki is certainly able to help you with that.