B2B Documentation

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Posted on May 29, 2015 9:50:00 AM by Greg DeVore

Should you restrict access to your product documentation?

Reasons to Protect your Product Documentation

One of the primary questions we get when customers are setting up a new documentation site is "How do I protect my documentation?"

Posted on May 28, 2015 5:00:00 PM by Jonathan DeVore

14 Examples of Documentation Mistakes You Are Making

When it comes to doing something right, sometimes it helps to see common mistakes others make. So here are 14 examples of common mistakes you might be making (and yes, I even included a mistake we made in our own documentation).

You'll notice that none of it is internal documentation - unfortunately, organizations aren't keen on letting me see internal procedures. But the lessons we can learn from software documentation are definitely applicable to how you create your organization's internal documentation as well.

Check out 10 Examples of Great End User Documentation

Posted on May 27, 2015 10:43:00 PM by Greg DeVore

What makes a successful self-service article?

Over the last few years it has been interested to see the increased focus on self-service support options. Not too long ago, most knowledge bases looked like a glob of text vommitted out into some sort of wiki. Knowledge bases were ugly and, in most cases, ineffective at helping customers help themselves.

Posted on May 19, 2015 5:13:00 PM by Jonathan DeVore

A Beautiful New Template For Your Knowledge Base

The old knowledge base template was a little outdated, and looked like this:

Which is fine, if you like that that look. But some of you mentioned that it was too text-heavy and difficult to navigate through when you had a lot of documentation (and many of you have A LOT of documentation... like, over 400 articles).

So, last week, we released a new template to make your knowledge base a little snazzier looking.

Posted on Dec 4, 2014 10:00:00 AM by Greg DeVore

How to Organize your B2B Software Knowledge Base

Once your knowledge base moves beyond a few FAQs, you will quickly start wondering about how you should organize your B2B software knowledge base.

Many companies still implement a very flat structure to their knowledge base - this is just a list of articles with no hierarchy to them. If you take this approach, you are really just relying on the search feature of your knowledge base since that is the only way anyone is going to find anything.

A flat structure will make it very difficult for your customers to browse your knowledge base.

So, if you have a flat knowledge base, the first step would be to decide on some basic groupings of articles to help organize the content for your customers.

Here are some suggested approaches (as well as mistakes to avoid).

Posted on Dec 1, 2014 5:48:38 PM by Greg DeVore

Who's in charge of The Docs?

One of the main problems growing B2B software companies have is determining who is going to write the documentation.

  • Everyone knows it needs to get done.
  • Everyone knows customers want it.
  • Everyone knows it will improve customer support.

But when it comes time to write the articles, everyone seems to respond, "Not me!"

Posted on Nov 24, 2014 5:14:00 PM by Greg DeVore

Optimizing your knowledge base article titles for search

This one simple tip will dramatically improve the effectiveness of your knowledge base articles:

Make sure that your knowledge base article titles answer a question.

An example will demonstrate why this is important.

Posted on Nov 19, 2014 11:22:28 AM by Greg DeVore

The 5 Stages of Writing a Help Article

Writing how-to guides and product documentation seems like it would be an easy task. But most support and documentation managers quickly find managing documentation is a real headache.

What begins as an informal process of writing FAQs and knowledge base articles quickly becomes a disorganized mess:

  • The articles you really need aren't getting written

  • The articles you have are out of date

  • You have no process for creating or curating your content

So we thought it would be helpful to share our process for creating help articles.

Posted on Nov 12, 2014 2:34:00 PM by Jonathan DeVore

ScreenSteps vs. MadCap Flare or RoboHelp

We often get questions about using ScreenSteps vs. MadCap Flare or RoboHelp.

I'm not going to go into a feature by feature comparison - both RoboHelp and MadCap Flare are very capable products and if you start listing all of the features, both will have a much longer list than ScreenSteps.

The main difference between ScreenSteps and these other authoring tools is philosophy.

Both Flare and RoboHep are built around the the idea of "documentation projects." A team or author using one of these products will go through everything you would do with a traditional project:

Posted on Nov 3, 2014 4:46:03 PM by Jonathan DeVore

2 Reasons Customers Aren't Using Your Self-Service

I was ready to checkout of Lowe's.

On my way to the register, I noticed there were a few available machines at self-checkout, and considered skipping the line to scan everything myself.

But I didn't.

On this particular trip, I purchased a few odd items, and I wasn't sure I could successfully go through the self-checkout. So I walked on by and found somebody who could help me.

That's the first reason customers will opt to skip self-service: they're not sure they can solve their own problems using the tools you've given them. Your customers might think of their problems as being unique, and assume your self-service hasn't considered their situation.