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What is a wiki? A guide to organisational wikis
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What is a wiki? A guide to organisational wikis

A headshot of Helen Jackson
Helen Jackson
4th January, 2024
Two hands reaching out to key caps that spell the word "Wiki"
A headshot of Helen Jackson
Helen Jackson
4th January, 2024
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What is a wiki?
What’s a wiki used for?
Five features to look for when choosing a wiki platform
Three wiki platforms for employee collaboration

Ready to champion knowledge-sharing in your organisation? If you've ever wondered "What is a wiki?", this is the guide for you.

Overwhelmed by too much information and not enough collaboration? Enter the wiki - a simple yet powerful tool that facilitate effective knowledge sharing. Let’s explore how wikis can help you cut through the chaos. If you'd like to build one for your organisation, read our guide on how to create a Confluence wiki.

What is a wiki?

A wiki platform allows multiple users to collaborate by creating and editing content. It’s a great way to share knowledge efficiently. So whether the wiki is public (like Wikipedia) or an internal wiki for employee-only access, these dynamic websites allow users to add, remove, and edit content easily.
A wiki is a centralised way to share knowledge. It gives users quick access (hence its Hawaiian origins, ‘wiki’ meaning ‘quick’) to valuable content through wikilinks, which are pages hyperlinked to other relevant pages within the same wiki.

This single source of truth helps preserve knowledge, enhance productivity, and improve collaboration and communication.

What’s a wiki used for?

A wiki would be helpful for anything where you’d benefit from centralising information. Here are a few ways organisations commonly use wikis:

  • Idea generation. Keeping track of everyone’s ideas can be challenging, with great ideas slipping through the net or forgotten about. But with a wiki, you can brainstorm and categorise your ideas in one place. Having a centralised system for storing and sharing ideas can help everyone stay on the same page.

  • Project management. If you’re developing new software or you’re getting a product to market, a wiki can keep all important information in one place. Not only is everyone accessing the same data, but updating your project plans in one place allows everyone to work to the same timeline.

  • Knowledge base. Sharing knowledge throughout the organisation is crucial. Without knowledge sharing, you create siloes, information becomes guarded, and learning becomes stunted. A wiki can collect institutional knowledge, helping you embrace free-flowing information and making it easily accessible to other employees.

  • Collaborative document editing. Let's say you’re writing a new onboarding document, but you need input from 10 other people; instead of creating your version, saving it and emailing it to the ten individuals for their pointers, you can create a draft page within your wiki. Here, everyone can edit the same document, make changes, comments and more, making collaboration much more effortless and time-efficient.

Five features to look for when choosing a wiki platform

Each wiki comes with unique features, but here are some common ones to look out for:

1. Page editing functionality

A dynamic approach to editing content is far superior to static word-processing documents. The ability to edit a page while live with unpublished changes or encourage multiple users to suggest page edits all within the same live document takes collaboration to the next level.

2. Version history

The ability to review a document's version history with tracked changes helps you see who has made what amends. This is particularly useful if mistakes have been made (holding everyone accountable) or you simply want to restore an older document version.

3. Internal linking

The entire purpose of your wiki is to make information accessible to your employees. You can’t foster that collaborative learning experience without internal links. Linking pages together helps improve user experience and makes your wiki helpful.

4. Comprehensive search engine

This feature helps users quickly find the content they’re looking for; find a platform that helps you tag and categorise all your content. You could have the most useful content in your wiki, but it's pretty useless if people can’t find it. The time you invest in curating your wiki means you want employee adoption to be high; that’s why you need a comprehensive search engine.

5. User access controls

You’ll want administrator controls should you need to revoke user access or downgrade permissions. Assigning different permission levels helps create a content creation hierarchy, resulting in organised wiki creation. Otherwise, anyone can create pages and spaces without any order or significance.

Three wiki platforms for employee collaboration

Creating a wiki starts with finding a platform that aligns with your business needs. Here are a handful to check out. If you want more information, take a look at our guide to the 16 best collaboration tools.

Confluence

The user-friendly interface is great for organisation-wide usage to build on team culture and engage users openly and authentically. Confluence’s intuitive design could be a good fit for you, particularly if you’re a small business with remote or in-house teams in the IT and support space.

Notion

Notion is an excellent platform for building a wiki to enhance collaboration if you have product teams. Use their pre-built wiki templates to create personalised homepages quickly and easily for every team in your company.

ClickUp

If you’re searching for an all-in-one productivity platform, ClickUp is worth checking out. The cloud-based software helps teams collaborate, from brainstorming ideas to project management; features like Gantt charts and online whiteboards help foster a creative remote learning environment.

To sum up

Wikis are a great way to improve team collaboration and knowledge sharing throughout your organisation. And getting started isn’t that difficult. Most platforms offer a free trial or a free subscription to get started immediately.

Extend the functionality of your Confluence wiki

Organise your content, boost collaboration, and enhance engagement with our range of Confluence apps.
Written by
A headshot of Helen Jackson
Helen Jackson
Content Writer
Helen is a freelance content writer specialising in Software as a Service (SaaS). She has a BA Hons degree in English, a Chartered Institute of Marketing qualification, and over ten years of experience in content marketing.

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