How to Create a Wiki for Your Company or Team

An easy step-by-step guide on how to set up a modern wiki.

McKinsey has found that employees spend almost 20% of their time searching for internal information, rather than focusing on their primary tasks. That's a full day each week!

While FAQ sections and help centers for customers are commonplace, many companies neglect to create a company wiki or a knowledge base for their own teams. Employee productivity is, however, no less important than customer satisfaction, and can potentially make or break your business.

Whether it's questions about an HR policy or setting up your company email account, if you feel like you're sending daily emails containing the same instructions or procedure checklists, chances are good that you could use a wiki.

In this guide, we will take a closer look at what a wiki is and how you can create a wiki for your own company or team.

What is a wiki?

A wiki is an online database for collaboratively creating, browsing, and searching for information. Wikis can take many forms and solve very different problems. Public wikis, such as Wikipedia and Fandom Wiki, are publicly accessible on the internet, while private wikis are used by teams and companies to share internal information.

The term "wiki" originally came from the Hawaiian language, where it means "quick". The first person to create a wiki site was Ward Cunningham, a computer programmer who aimed to build a space where software developers could document and share chunks of their code. He described his software, WikiWikiWeb, as "the simplest online database that could possibly work".

Wikis have come a long way since then. Here is an example of what a modern wiki could look like in Nuclino, a unified workspace where teams can bring all their knowledge, docs, and projects together:

Create a wiki in Nuclino

How to create a wiki

Your team can create a wiki for a variety of uses: engineering teams use wikis to collaborate on technical documents, HR teams can create a wiki to organize onboarding guides and employee handbooks, customer support specialists can share canned responses to speed up the handling of requests, and more.

Creating your own wiki is easier than you may think, especially when you find the right tool. In the past, companies had to choose between setting up a complex and unintuitive wiki using open-source platforms like MediaWiki or DokuWiki, or having to hunt through folders in their Google Drive to find what they are looking for.

Fortunately, this is no longer the case, and you have quite a few user-friendly wiki tools to choose from.

Step 1: Select the best wiki software

Finding a wiki software that is right for your needs depends on what you want to accomplish with it.

If you're looking to set up an internal company site designed for employees to quickly and easily capture and share their knowledge, ideas, and best practices, you need internal wiki software. Rather than simply storing company information, such a wiki should be searchable and intuitive enough for anyone to find what they are looking for. It can also serve as your team's online collaborative workspace for members to collectively contribute to projects and pool resources.

An ideal wiki should:

One such tool is Nuclino. It was developed to be intuitive, lightweight, and flexible enough to accommodate any team regardless of size and industry. Nuclino aims to live up to the core values of the original wiki concept and remain as fast and easy to use as possible, facilitating seamless team collaboration rather than hindering it.

Give it a try and see if it's the right wiki for your team.

Create a wiki for your company, search function example

While Nuclino can be used exclusively to create a wiki, it's a highly versatile tool that is capable of much more. It offers a variety of ways to structure and visualize your content, including a nested list, a Kanban board, a table, and a mindmap-style graph. This makes Nuclino a great solution for many additional use cases, including project collaboration, sprint planning, asynchronous communication, and more. Nuclino works like a collective brain, allowing you to collaborate without the chaos of files and folders, context switching, or silos.

Create a wiki in Nuclino, board view

Want to learn more about your options? Read our detailed wiki software comparison guide.

Step 2: Identify and involve the key contributors

The content of a wiki is usually crowdsourced, meaning that the readers are also welcome to contribute, collaboratively maintaining and expanding the shared wiki. However, when you are just getting started, inviting everyone to freely add content to the new wiki at once will inevitably lead to chaos.

To get the first version of your wiki off the ground, start with a few select contributors. They will likely include the upper management, team leads, and other employees who are experts in their fields.

A meeting between all the contributors can be a great way to kick off the project and get everyone on the same page. Introduce your colleagues to the wiki software you have chosen, teach them how to add and edit the content of your wiki, agree on the key milestones of the project, and address any open questions that come up.

Step 3: Set up the wiki structure

Once you have found the perfect wiki software and identified the key contributors, it is time to create your wiki! Keep in mind that your wiki will only be used if it contains helpful and up-to-date information and is structured in a way that is easy to navigate.

There are hundreds of topics you can potentially document, but not all of this information is equally relevant to your team's day-to-day work. Take a look at your company and its workflow, consult your key contributors, talk to as many employees as you can, and try to isolate the most common issues and questions.

Another great way to gather content ideas run a company-wide survey to give all employees a chance to provide their input.

Create your own wiki content survey

Next, go through all the input you've received from your team so far and create a list of things you want to cover in the first iteration of your wiki. There are many ways you can structure your content, for example, by team, department, or topic. Consider the structure of your wiki carefully — if things are chaotic, getting people on board will be hard and the wiki will eventually get abandoned.

If you've decided to use Nuclino to create your wiki, you can add a dedicated workspace for each team or topic, for example, "HR policies", "Guides", "Engineering", and so on. Each workspace comes with its own privacy and access settings, so you can keep confidential information safe and prevent unauthorized team members from changing or deleting important documents.

Create wiki structure

Inside each workspace, you can group related wiki pages together using collections and organize them in a hierarchical list with infinite nesting. You can also track additional information about each page, such as who created it, who last edited it and when, who is responsible for keeping the content up-to-date, and so on.

Step 4: Populate your wiki with content

Now, it's time to create — or import — the content of your wiki. The intuitive WYSIWYG editor of Nuclino makes it easy to get started.

All content in Nuclino can be collaborated on in real time, automatically saving every change in the version history and preventing version conflicts. Integrations with 40+ different apps allow you to bring your wiki pages to life with interactive media embeds.

Create wiki content

One of the core features of a wiki is internal linking. In Nuclino, linking pages together is as easy as typing an "@", allowing you to instantly organize information without even thinking.

Wiki internal links

Step 5: Invite your team and configure access rights

Don't try to guess and do everything by yourself – invite your team members to contribute and share their feedback.

To make sure confidential information stays safe, you will need to configure permissions and access rights for your team members. There are several decisions you need to make:

Depending on the wiki software you choose, as well as your team size, configuring access rights may be very simple or quite complicated. Nuclino aims to keep roles and permissions as straightforward as possible, so this should be a fairly easy task.

Create a wiki and configure access rights

Best practices for creating a wiki

Getting your team on board

A wiki can only serve its purpose when it's consulted on a regular basis. If your team is already familiar with wiki tools, getting them on board should be easy. However, newcomers may be reluctant to use the wiki and start falling back on more familiar tools like email and chat to share information.

Be patient and continuously nudge people to use the wiki. Make it a part of the new hire onboarding and make sure every new employee knows that the wiki exists and how to use it. If someone asks a question that has been documented, guide them towards the wiki and offer some tips on how to look things up in the future.

To prevent this from happening, be prepared to invest enough time in changing their habits. Choosing a wiki tool that is easy to use and intuitive can make the process much smoother by reducing the learning curve and allowing new team members to contribute from day one.

Keeping your wiki up-to-date

A wiki is an evolving knowledge base that needs to be maintained. No matter how well the wiki is set up, if users have no confidence in the information it contains, they will be less likely to use the wiki and its purpose will be undermined.

Get feedback on the wiki

To encourage people to contribute, Nuclino tracks the history of each edit, so nobody's work will be lost if someone changes or deletes it accidentally. If you want to prevent accidental edits or don't want to allow all members to contribute freely, you can assign the comment-only role to all readers of your wiki. This will allow them to easily leave feedback when they see something outdated or incorrect and engage their colleagues by tagging each other in comments.

Continuously improving your wiki based on feedback

Your wiki may not be a perfect resource right from the start, so make sure to monitor your team and identify potential areas of improvement. Are there repetitive questions that could be documented in the wiki? Is the content helpful and relevant? Are new hires struggling to find the information they need? Use your team's input to continuously iterate on your team wiki, making your employees feel included, valued, and heard.

At the end of the day, a wiki can only fulfill its purpose if it's regularly consulted and updated. If your team has never used a wiki before, make sure to invest some time into communicating its value to your colleagues.

Nuclino: Your team's collective brain

Nuclino

Nuclino brings all your team's knowledge, docs, and projects together in one place. It's a modern, simple, and blazingly fast way to collaborate, without the chaos of files and folders, context switching, or silos.

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