A content management system such as Confluence helps teams create, share and discuss their work. Because Confluence is a simple and user-friendly interface a user can add content without following best practices, resulting in the unstructured content wiki that becomes difficult to manage and browse.
I recommend defining a list of guidelines to ensure users structure the content within Confluence consistently. Below are some general best practices to optimise your use of Confluence and make information sharing easy for everyone.
Identify the list of spaces you need to create
Spaces are like folders, which allow you to organise your content in different categories.
Create a Space per Team (i.e. Finance) or by Project (i.e. Software development).
Take the time to define your page structure
In each space, it is essential to set up a clear and organised page structure, to grow content is grouped by subject and relevance. You can use page hierarchy to group several pages under one single parent page. For example: When you have several levels of hierarchy, use the Children Display macro on parent pages. This way, users won’t have to expand the whole tree to find their page.
Use page templates
Confluence comes with a set of page templates, also called Blueprints, that allow you to:
- Have a standard layout and structure for those pages.
- Group pages by category of content (i.e.up How-To articles, Meeting Notes).
- Save your employees’ time, as they aren’t recreating the wheel with each page.
Confluence gives you the flexibility to set up templates and promote them to users. Use the Create from Template macro, on your home page space, and train users on the details for each available template.
Increase productivity by using Confluence macros
To enhance the look and feel of the pages while improving the user experience when browsing through content. Confluence comes with a set of useful macros that provide a range of functionalities,
Organise your attachments
Confluence makes it easy to attach files to your pages; however, keep in mind the following best practices:
- name your attachments in a way that is meaningful to make it easy for users to browse through them.
- When uploading and updating the version of an attachment, DO NOT rename it. By using the same name, Confluence replaces the attachment and doe not duplicate it.
- Optionally, you can organise your attachments in folders so users can view all your files in a structured view
Avoid redundant content
Redundant content can be hard to avoid, especially if you need the same content in more than one place within your wiki. However, duplicating content, makes it challenging to keep everything updated without becoming a tedious task.
To avoid this scenario, you can use the Excerpt and Excerpt Include macros and embed sections of your pages into other pages.
Label your content
Labels are an easy way to group pages and attachments that are relevant to the same topic, making it easier for users to find what they need.
A good rule of thumb is to choose relevant and meaningful labels by using macros such as Content by Label.
Confluence needs to reflect the global view, and too many configurations in different directions can lead to performance issues. Give users only the permissions they need to perform their work and minimise the number of system and space administrators.
Train Confluence users to adopt best practices
Everyone can use Confluence, but without management, Confluence becomes disorganised if users are not mindful of their actions.
Collaboration with Confluence
- Create a structure such as People, Processes & Technology,
- identify the list of spaces you need to create,
- take the time to define your page structure,
- use page templates,
- increase productivity by using Confluence macros,
- organise your attachments,
- avoid redundant content,
- label your content,
- grant permissions,
- train Confluence users to adopt best practices.
Invest in your Confluence users and explain consistency.