What is an Internal Wiki? Tips, Best Practices & Software

By
Elmeri Palokangas
December 27, 2022
12
min read
Updated
November 20, 2023
Photo credit
What is an internal wiki? Boost productivity, enhance communication, and improve knowledge sharing with the best practices and software for creating internal wikis.
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Introduction

In order for any business to function properly, it needs adequate documentation, which an internal wiki can provide. In addition to helping new employees get up to speed quickly, internal wikis ensure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to processes and procedures.

A lack of proper knowledge management makes teams less productive, as they are unable to find the information they need, causing them to spend more time searching for information that is otherwise available on an internal wiki.

To help you understand internal wikis better, we discuss what they are, how they can help you, how to get started with them, and some challenges you might encounter.

TL;DR: Internal wiki

  • An internal wiki, also known as a corporate or intranet wiki, serves as a centralized knowledge base where employees can create, share, and edit content company knowledge.
  • Internal wikis are valuable for storing company knowledge, documenting best practices, and facilitating collaborative work.
  • They can be public or private, with public wikis accessible to anyone and private wikis restricted to authorized users.
  • Creating an internal wiki involves planning the information architecture, importing or creating content, planning the launch, and choosing appropriate tools.
  • The top three recommended internal wiki tools are Scribe, Document360 and Notion.
  • Internal wikis offer benefits such as improved productivity, enhanced communication, and instant access to business knowledge.
  • Challenges include maintaining accuracy, ensuring organization and accessibility, and overcoming potential lack of training.
  • Best practices for managing internal wikis involve establishing clear guidelines, encouraging collaboration, organizing content effectively, regularly updating, providing training and support, and monitoring and measuring usage to make informed improvements.

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What is an internal wiki?

An internal wiki, also known as a corporate wiki or intranet wiki, is a centralized knowledge base that is designed specifically for employees within an organization.

It's a collaborative platform where employees can create, share, and edit content related to a variety of topics, including:

  • Company information.
  • Knowledge base articles.
  • Employee handbooks.
  • Processes and procedures.
  • Best practices.
  • Product information.
  • Troubleshooting guides.
  • Onboarding guides.
  • Training materials.
  • FAQs.

Internal wikis are often used to store corporate knowledge, document best practices, track workflows and onboarding training for new employees.

Since multiple users can work on the same document simultaneously, internal wiki tools are ideal for collaboration. Changes and additions can be made rapidly without requiring a central authority or webmaster.

Main types of wikis

There are two main types of wikis: Public and Private. Each serves a different use case for your company.

1. Public wiki

Public wikis are open to anyone on the internet and can be edited by anyone. Wikipedia is the most well-known example of a public wiki.

2. Private wiki

Private wikis are internal to a company or organization and can only be edited by authorized users.

How to create an internal wiki

Wiki setup is relatively simple, but there are a few important steps you must follow to make it work properly.

1. Plan your architecture of information

Your first step should be to select a wiki software and begin organizing your content. As opposed to traditional website design, internal wiki software is more efficient at adding, removing and editing content.

Check out these step-by-step playbooks on how to create a wiki using popular platforms like OneNote, SharePoint and GitHub:

It's important to think about how you want users to navigate your wiki and what kind of information you want them to be able to find. You can do this by creating a sitemap or information hierarchy.

2. Import or create content 

Now that you have your information architecture in place, it's time to start populating your wiki with content. If you already have existing documentation or content, you can import this into your wiki. If not, you'll need to start creating new content.

When creating new content, it's important to keep in mind the needs of your users. What information do they need? How can you make it easy for them to find what they're looking for?

Using AI-powered tools like Scribe, you can create processes and turn them into step-by-step guides in seconds. Scribe works while you work to auto-generate a guide, complete with text and screenshots, so you can quickly create effective employee onboarding programs, and document company policies and procedures.

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3. Plan the launch of the wiki

Once you have your wiki content created, it's time to launch your wiki to your team or company. When launching your wiki, it's important to have a plan and strategy in place. This will help to ensure that your wiki is successful and adopted by users.

Some things to consider when launching your wiki include: 

  • Who will be responsible for maintaining the wiki? 
  • How will you promote the wiki to users?
  • What kind of training or support will you provide to users? 
  • What are your expectations for users?

Additionally, you'll need to decide if you want to keep your content private or make it public. Some things like your company's internal procedures should only be accessible to employees, while some topics like product documentation can be made public.

As a final step, create some guidelines for editing and contributing to the wiki. By setting ground rules from the start, you can help ensure that the wiki is used effectively and avoid potential conflict down the road.

4. Launch your wiki

Now that you have everything in place, it's time to launch your wiki! 

Make sure to announce your wiki to users and provide them with training and support. It is likely that you will need to provide some ongoing maintenance and support for your wiki, but with some effort, you can create a valuable resource for your team or company, that is more secure and easier to use than some old-school documentation methods.

Top 3 internal wiki tools

Generally speaking, the best wiki software tends to have an intuitive interface, making it easy for users to navigate without much training. Here are the top three internal wiki tools we recommend:

1. Scribe

Use Scribe to create internal wiki content in seconds

‎If you are looking to create a company wiki, Scribe should be in your arsenal. The robust process documentation features of Scribe have made it one of the most popular tools for building internal wikis for businesses of all sizes. 

‎With Scribe, you can automate the process of building:

  • Training videos
  • Customer support videos.
  • Onboarding videos for new employees and teams.
  • Document company processes.

Furthermore, you can integrate Scribe with hundreds of different apps and software to make the best tutorials for your business.

And what’s best? 🤔

Scribe offers a free plan for those who want to get started with building internal wikis!

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2. Document360

Document360 - internal wiki
(Source: Document360)

The Document360 internal wiki tool comes with a seamless and well-designed interface for both designers and readers.

Document360 can help you create product help documentation, technical documentation, online user guides, FAQ pages and any other type of wiki page.

From keeping multiple versions of your article so you never lose import information, to localizing your internal knowledge base into multiple languages, Document360 can assist.

Currently, Document 360 offers a free plan to get you started building your internal wiki pages. 

3. Notion

Notion - internal wiki
(Source: Notion)

‎Through its various templates, Notion allows you to create a workflow design that meets your company's needs.

For companies seeking to build internal wikis, the Notion wiki platform is a great option and ensures that the information displayed is organized and easy to find.

The standout feature of Notion compared to its many competitors is that teams can access its internal wiki using an iPad, Android phone, Mac or Windows computer.

With thousands of community-made templates, integrations, and events, Notion has a community of active creators to draw inspiration from.

Pricing-wise, Notion offers a free trial plan to find out if it's right for you.

Certain software may be more user-friendly or have features that align with your specific business strategies. Before committing to a particular software option, research and ask for user feedback. You should also make sure to review the chosen software regularly to determine whether it still meets your needs and make any necessary adjustments.

What are the benefits of an internal wiki?

An internal wiki can be a powerful tool for businesses, providing a central repository for knowledge and information. Wikis help improve efficiency and productivity by allowing team members to share their knowledge and experience.

Some other benefits include:

  • Boosts productivity: By having a central repository for information, employees can save time searching for answers and can instead focus on their work.
  • Improves communication and collaboration: Company wikis can help to improve communication and collaboration between team members, as they provide a space for discussion and debate.
  • Provides instant access to business knowledge: With an internal wiki, employees have instant access to the latest information and knowledge about the business.
  • Enhances employee onboarding: New employees can quickly get up to speed on company procedures, products, and services by accessing the internal wiki.

What are the challenges of an internal wiki?

When creating an internal wiki, businesses need to be aware of some potential challenges.

  • Maintaining accurate and up-to-date information: Because anyone can edit a company wiki, it is difficult to know if the information is accurate or not.
  • Lack of organization: Wikis can be difficult to navigate and organize when not properly managed.
  • Accessibility: It can also be challenging to ensure that all employees have access to the wiki. Employees may not be aware of the wiki's existence.
  • Lack of training: Employees may find the wiki difficult to use, and choose to use other sources of information.

To overcome these challenges, follow these best practices.

Best practices for managing an internal wiki

Here are some key strategies for successfully managing an internal wiki.

1. Establish clear guidelines and policies

Before launching your internal wiki, establish clear guidelines and policies for its use.

  • Define the purpose of the company wiki.
  • Outline the types of content that should be included.
  • Clearly communicate the expected level of participation from employees.

It's also important to think about what information should and shouldn't be shared on the wiki. While sharing guidelines and company policies can be helpful, things like sensitive data or individual employee information should be removed to maintain privacy and confidentiality.

By setting expectations upfront, you can ensure that the wiki remains organized and focused on its intended purpose.

2. Encourage collaboration and participation

The success of an internal wiki relies on active team participation. Create a culture that values knowledge sharing and rewards contributions by:

  • Encouraging collaboration.
  • Recognizing and appreciating employees who actively contribute to the wiki.
  • Providing opportunities for employees to collaborate on wiki content, such as through regular team meetings or brainstorming sessions.

3. Organize and structure content

A well-organized wiki enhances usability and encourages teams to rely on it as a trusted source of information.

To make your internal wiki user-friendly and easily navigable, organize and structure your content:

  • Create a logical hierarchy of pages.
  • Use categories or tags to group related content.
  • Implement a search functionality that allows users to quickly find the information they need.
  • Regularly review and update the wiki's structure to accommodate new content.
  • Remove outdated or irrelevant information.

4. Regularly update and maintain the wiki

An internal wiki is a living document that requires regular updates and maintenance. Keep your wiki up-to-date and well-maintained by:

  • Assigning dedicated administrators or moderators who are responsible for reviewing and approving content submissions, resolving conflicts, and ensuring the quality of information.
  • Encouraging employees to update and improve existing content as they gain new insights or knowledge.
  • Regularly monitoring for outdated or duplicate content.

5. Provide training and support

Not all employees may be familiar with using a wiki or may require training to fully utilize its features. By investing in training and support, you can empower employees to make the most of the internal wiki.

  • Provide comprehensive training and support resources to help employees understand how to create, edit, and navigate the wiki effectively.
  • Offer ongoing support through FAQs, user guides, or a dedicated help desk.

6. Monitor and measure usage

To gauge the effectiveness of your internal wiki and identify areas for improvement, it is essential to monitor and measure its usage.

  • Track metrics such as the number of active users, page views, and content contributions.
  • Analyze user feedback and conduct surveys to gather insights on the wiki's usability and usefulness.
  • Use this data to identify trends and address any issues.
  • Use data and analytics to make informed decisions on how to best improve you wiki.

By following these best practices, you can create a valuable knowledge-sharing platform for your organization.

Wrapping up: internal wiki

There's no question that an internal wiki can be a valuable asset for any organization. According to research, employees spend an average of two hours a day searching for information.

By using a wiki, employees can share company knowledge more quickly and collaborate more efficiently. However, setting up a wiki is only half the battle. 

To ensure success for your wiki, you'll need to consider how employees will contribute and how you'll promote and maintain it. Your internal wiki should be tested to determine what works and different strategies tried to maximize its effectiveness.

Ready to start building your internal wiki? Sign up with Scribe and start creating today!

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