Having well-managed documentation can increase your product interest and sales! Yes, I mean it. You can consider documentations as the story of your product. People can read them, people can understand your product by reading them, people can refer them to others.
Physical, virtual or Digital, documentation is important for all kinds of products. Physical products often come with the printed user guide book but people can lose them easily and they might need help when they do not have the guide book on hand.
And for the Digital and virtual products, online documentation is the must-have thing to explain your product to the user/customer.
Say you have an Electronics business or you run a software company. You have your own product to sell to the customers. How do you guide your customers to configure the things after purchase? Telling individual customers by providing email support is difficult, plus time and resource-consuming.
Let me say a real-life story happened to me. I brought a Kryptonite lock that came from the USA a few months ago. I got a clip with it to hang the lock on the bike. I was struggling with how to set this clip with bike, not even following the user manual. Later, I search online and found their official documentation on it which was well described with the necessary images that helped me to get rid of the thing.
That’s just a story happened to me. This can happen in many cases, with any kind of product.
I’m a Support Engineer of a software company, where one of my responsibilities is to make our products understandable to the user/customer. So, most of the time, I observed, having documentation saves our time. 50-60% of users get their query answers directly from the documentations. We also do provide the documentation link when a user/customer asks how to do that, which covers most of the user queries.
It’s really easy to make them understand if you have a well-decorated/written documentation about the features, how it works and how to configure it.
How I can create online documentation?
Well, things are not that complicated if you have a WordPress site already. If you don’t, you can search google on how to create a WordPress site. The thing that’ll require:
- A domain or subdomain
- A hosting (You can try Bluehost for the affordable price)
I’m assuming you know how to point a domain into a host and create a WordPress site. If you don’t, I can help you.
Let’s say just created a website with WordPress for documentation. Here’s the backend I got.
Great! We have the WordPress site means, we are 60% done creating our own documentation site!
Now, you just need to choose a plugin and an appropriate theme to have the Documentation feature on your site. I have tried several documentation plugins but found only one who is really nice and easy to use. weDocs, which is completely free to use!
weDocs is free yet super convenient for managing your product documentation.
How to install and active weDocs?
We’ll install the weDocs plugin first by simply navigating to your website dashboard→ plugins directory. Just search with the name ‘weDocs’
Click on install now and then activate it when the installation is complete.
We’ll get the Docs menu on the left menu bar in WordPress dashboard after activating the plugin, as like the screenshot below:
Let’s complete the basic setup. Navigate to wp-admin→ weDocs→ Settings to get the weDocs settings that need to configure based on your requirements.
There is 6 simple thing you need to check up before creating the documentation. The page where you like to show the documentation if you want to allow comments, printing documentations, feedback and so on.
Note: Make sure your site URL is set to post name from the settings→ permalinks.
Now, let’s go back to the documentation. Click on the ‘Add Doc’ button to create your first documentation!
Give an appropriate title for your documentation and click on the ‘Ok’ 🆗button!
I have created 3 different documentations parent category with their appropriate names. Now, before creating the documentation, we need to create sections for individual category and the documentation will be under the individual sections.
I have created two sections in each parent category. Here you go, you can create your documentation now under the sections.
Hover your mouse over the section, you’ll get (+) icon to create a new documentation article. Click on the (+) sign to create your very first article 👏
Give the article title, click on ok to save it! Now, click on the article title to write the article details as you generally write a WordPress post.
After writing your article details, click on ‘Update’ to finish it.
Well, we are almost done! I have now one documentation article created now. You can see it on the frontend of your website.
Now, think, you have several categories, sections and documentation created, Fine. So, how to list them on a page where you like to show all of the available documentation?
Simple! Just use the short-code `[wedocs]` on the page where you like to show the documentation list. Here is my page where I used the `[wedocs]` shortcode to render the docs.
Not happy with the frontend design? No worries, weDocs has a default theme for it as well which is pretty enough 🙂
You can get the theme from this direct GitHub Download link. You can install the theme by navigating to the Appearance→themes→Add new.
See, it looks different in both the Docs listing and the docs details in frontend. Looks good, hu? But you can give it a better look than this if you are known with CSS. A little bit of custom CSS can make the look more pretty like the weDevs documentation is 🙂
Creating, managing and reaching with the customer/user with documentation is easier now. It’s even totally cost-free if you have an existing WordPress site.
Documentation created with weDocs is highly SEO friendly as well as it has the Schema Rich Snippet with it by default, which will help you to get index in the search engines easily.
It helps to get the user feedback as well whether the documentation you wrote for your products are helping your reader/users/customers or not. weDocs comes with the feedback feature with it by default.
So, as creating a documentation site is not so hard, you should definitely consider creating an online documentation site if you own a product that requires you to guide the user about its use.