Since Wikipedia showed the world what can be done when a central repository is created for all, “wikis” have popped up all over the web. These wikis are great for teams and users all over the world, but the problem is that they’re open for everyone to see and they’re hardly specific. Creating your own internal wiki is a great idea to create a central repository. There are a number of reasons why a company would want to create something like this, no matter how big or small your business.
An internal wiki would be a great place to keep all of your operating policies and procedures, ready for anyone to access using a computer or smartphone from wherever they like. They’re also easy to edit and change as well, making it much easier to adjust internal documents and such. Instead of having to send a new print-out or something similar, you can simply link to the relevant updated section of the wiki. New employees will always be up-to-speed when it comes to practices and such, too.
Just how you go about setting up a wiki is up to you, but there are some great pieces of software out there. One of the easiest routes to go is by using WordPress, the popular blogging platform that makes it easy for everyone. Read on to find out how to create your own wiki, as well as how to keep it private for internal-only usage.
Using Dedicated Wiki Software
If your company is looking for something purpose built for creating a wiki, there are a number of options out there. However, these will require a lot more effort on your part. If you’re going to have people from different departments editing things, a simpler WordPress alternative might be the way to go.
DokuWiki is one such option that is free and open source, which makes it easy to mold to your needs. However, DokuWiki will require more effort and expertise to setup. Still, it features support for 50 languages, which is good for international businesses. Those with the budget and time to spare to create their own wiki from the ground up might be interested in something like this, but be warned as DokuWiki and others will require more attention.
Using WordPress to Create a Wiki
Even if you’ve never used WordPress — which is unlikely in itself — you’ve no doubt heard of it. It’s the blogging platform that millions upon millions of people around the world are using. It’s really easy to use, and there’s so much information out there that setting something up using WordPress is easy for anyone. You can easily find affordable hosting that will create a WordPress server for you, which can save on costs.
Plugins are what make WordPress ideal for this sort of task, such as the free Wiki plugin. Using these plugins, you can create a wiki that works for you in no time at all. Running a WordPress wiki is a good idea and my company, Sweeperland, has been doing this for a while. What we need to remember here, is that a wiki is essentially an easy-to-use central repository to store information. That can invaluable for large corporations with lots of staff, lots of reference material and lots of procedures.
Thanks to the straightforward nature of WordPress, using it for a wiki makes editing pages and introducing new info to your wiki trouble-free. Depending on how you’re going to use it, you can make a good amount of adjustments to it. For instance, there are some good-looking themes you can buy for wikis on WordPress that also make creating and maintaining a wiki easy. These obviously add to your costs, but they could also prove extremely useful.
Keep it Private with a Simple Plugin
By using WordPress, you’re able to keep your wiki private through the use of a simple plugin. There’s no need to set up a special VPN or anything like that, all you have to do is install the Private Only plugin. This nifty little plugin sends anyone that isn’t already logged in straight to a login page. Which is great, as WordPress requires users to edit pages anyway, so this only makes better use of something you already need. Also, this plugin keeps the URL the same, which is great from a sharing point of view as you can simply tell staff to visit yoursite.com/wiki and be done.
If you’re looking to create your own wiki for company use, there is no shortage of options out there. How big a budget and how much time you can spare will determine what sort of path you take. However, the WordPress option is great for companies small and large, as it’s simple to maintain and all of your staff will be able to use it, both in and out of the office. Expensive, dedicated solutions are good options as well, but they often cost more than they’re worth to an organization.
Adrienne is a writer and designer who works with WordPress constantly. To see more of her work, follow @adrienneerin on Twitter.