Wiki’s are one of the oldest forms of collective content development on the web. You’ve probably heard of Wikipedia and it’s an excellent example of the beauties and the dark side of Wikis. In fact, Wikipedia is such an amazing resource that many credit the failure of MSN’s Encarta project to the ready information available through Wikipedia. On the other hand it’s a running joke in some industries that since anybody can edit or create a Wikipedia page that the data isn’t necessarily accurate. Keep this in mind if you plan to use a Wiki for business or groups and who is going to be able to edit it.

OK, so let’s get down to it. How can you use a Wiki for your business? It’s amazingly simple and honestly nobody explains stuff like this as well as the good folks at CommonCraft. Here’s a video that gives you the quick explanation.

OK, so now that you know what a Wiki does, how can you get one of your own and what can you do with it for your business?

As you saw from the video a Wiki can make it easy to collaborate on a project in the short or long term and everybody can edit it. How does that apply to your business?

  • Allows your team to collaborate even if they are all remote.
  • Cuts down email barrage
  • Keep a record of project process (Project Management)
  • Post documents and information for the entire team as a resource center
  • Operation and procedure manuals that need to be updated often
  • Log client work and invoicing
  • Plan events and map progress
  • Checklists and Frequently Asked Questions
  • Media resource center
  • Intranet

By now it’s probably clear whether you’ve got a use for a Wiki in your business, so now how do you get one?

Whether you plan on bringing Wikis to a fairly large organization or educational institution or just a small group, Wikispaces offers affordable plans and simple tools. Another excellent resource is PBWorks which also offers free training on how to use their platform and lots of white papers and data in case you need to bring some data to backup your need for a Wiki! Last but not least is Wetpaint, an excellent platform for Wikis with an avid support network of users.

Caveats
Wikis are fantastic tools but only if you can get people to USE them! If your users don’t adopt you might end up with a dead project you’ve dumped a pile of time into. You have to get people involved in the process and make the effort to do a little training and help people get used to using it. So once you’ve decided this will work for you go ahead and do some searches for examples of Wikis in use that are good examples of where you at least want to start. Of course there’s a Wiki of Wikis!

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