How to create a Confluence wiki for your organisation
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9th May, 2023
How to create a Confluence wiki for your organisation
Set up your wiki for success! Create a Confluence wiki that's engaging and user-friendly with our guide.
Is your business using Confluence as a wiki yet? If not, why not?
Confluence is the perfect tool for gathering and sharing information between teams. With real-time collaboration, in-line comments and a range of privacy and permission settings, Confluence facilitates teamwork and knowledge management for teams everywhere - even remote and asynchronous ones.
Here's exactly what you need to consider before building your Confluence wiki.
What is a wiki?
A wiki is an online collaboration tool that usually takes the form of an open-editing web page or website. Users can add, change or remove content on any page they have permission to edit.
When used in place of or alongside an intranet, a wiki enhances teamwork and collaboration across your organisation. It acts as a single source of truth for company updates, documentation and resources, and becomes even more powerful when tailored to suit the needs of individual teams and projects.
What's the difference between a wiki and a knowledge base in Confluence?
While sometimes the terms are used interchangeably, there are actually a couple of key differences between wikis and knowledge bases in Confluence. These are mainly to do with the level of collaboration allowed and the structure of the repository.
A Confluence wiki gives users the freedom to collaborate. This gives employees the power to pool their knowledge and create content together. It also has a more informal structure which evolves over time, with users adding content in a more ad-hoc way.
A Confluence knowledge base is more structured and formal. Knowledge bases tend to follow a standardised structure and hierarchy and limit editing privileges to a select few so that all the information shared is accurate.
It's ultimately up to you to decide whether a wiki or knowledge base best fits your organisation - though you can have both!
Why use Confluence for your wiki?
When it comes to building your wiki, it's essential to choose the right platform. You'll likely have sensitive information to upload, many users who'll be collaborating, and a strong need for flexibility. These requirements demand a secure, customisable, and responsive solution - which is where Confluence comes in.
Atlassian defines Confluence as a "collaborative workspace where teams and knowledge meet to achieve great things". Confluence integrates with many other popular tools, is highly customisable, and boasts high levels of security. It's suitable for large and small businesses and has inbuilt templates and interactive add-ons, making it an excellent all-rounder for use as a company wiki.
Most importantly, it's got a host of features that make collaboration a breeze, such as real-time page editing, commenting, and live activity feeds to keep everyone on the same.
Here's how to get started:
Steps for success when building your Confluence wiki
1. Define your business requirements
Start by asking what business problem you want to solve. Is your aim to create a streamlined internal hub where colleagues receive general company updates? Or is your requirement more function-specific? Perhaps you want to create channels where your teams can work productively together, host documents, and report back on their progress. Confluence can be used effectively in all of these scenarios - as long as it's clearly structured and organised.
Our wiki includes team pages, such as the Marketing team hub
2. Identify the information you want on your wiki
Part of the beauty of Confluence is that it is designed to be constantly evolving and growing over time. And while it supports continually adding information (for example, meeting notes and brainstorming outputs), it's a good idea to have a core structure in place before you publish your wiki. This makes it a lot easier and quicker for users to navigate.
It's also worth considering the types of content that belong on your wiki. For example, is the wiki a place for sharing meeting notes, project documentation, and collaborative drafts while you keep company updates and employee onboarding on a separate knowledge base?
If you're setting up team hubs within your wiki, create a brief for each department that explains what they should contribute to set up their Confluence space. This could include profiles, strategy documents and project overviews.
💡 Top tip: When you're adding team pages to a Confluence wiki, you might want to create a template to share with each department. This will make it easier to keep your wiki looking consistent while still giving other users control of the content they add.
The Adaptavist marketing department wiki links to resources and sales enablement
3. Think about your structure and organisation
Confluence administrators often struggle with organisation. In large companies with many users and frequent updates, it can be challenging to maintain a clear wiki structure. That makes it critical to understand not only what you want your wiki to be used for - but also how users will interact with it.
Consider drafting a site structure that sets out the hierarchy of your spaces and pages and how they will connect. Think about the main groups you want your content and teams to be split into - for example, separate hubs for HR, marketing, sales and project management, all connected from the homepage and linking out to project pages. Your Confluence wiki will naturally grow over time, but an established structure will help to group relevant information together and maintain a tidy intranet in years to come.
💡 Top tip: Set up some labels in Confluence to categorise your pages based on their content. Labels make it a lot easier for users to search and discover related pages.
4. Use the right tools to enhance your Confluence wiki
Once you've made your plan and received input from your teams, it's time to build your wiki. Confluence has plenty of inbuilt tools, called macros, to help you get started.
When it comes to customising and personalising your spaces and pages, add-ons like Content Formatting Macros can help to push your wiki even further. These macros are ideal for organising and structuring your spaces, making them more readable as well as adding design flair and engaging features.
Use macros like Progress Bars, Buttons and Cards to visualise and conceptualise content and keep information tidy and organised with Tabs and Tooltip macros. There is a range of Confluence tools you can use to improve the wiki user experience - you can find out more in our blog on Confluence formatting tips.
Watch the video to learn more about Content Formatting Macros:
How will you style your Confluence wiki?
Content Formatting Macros make it easy to structure and style Confluence spaces however you want. See for yourself with a 30-day free trial 👇
Best practices for your Confluence wiki
These best practices will help you create a Confluence wiki that's user-friendly and effective at supporting collaboration and knowledge sharing across the company.
- Conduct user testing as you build your wiki to make sure it meets the aims of the project. Are users engaged? Can they navigate easily, and is it clear what they need to do on each page?
- Create guidelines to keep your wiki pages consistent. You could set conventions such as using descriptive titles, avoiding abbreviations, or following a certain format.
- Get creative! Use interactive elements like buttons and forms to encourage people to get hands-on with the wiki. Colours, imagery and branded content can make your wiki more attractive and personalised
It's over to you!
Whether you plan to give your company a place to share and work on documents together or provide team members with a fully customisable, collaborative workspace, a Confluence wiki could be the perfect solution. With the right planning, organisation and creativity, you're ready to get started!
Take your Confluence knowledge further
How to customise your Confluence wiki with Content Formatting Macros
Find out how Content Formatting Macros for Confluence can boost the user experience of your Confluence wiki.
byEmma Smithon15th April, 2021