How to create a documentation website without developers

Most software companies need to launch a documentation portal for their products.

Studies consistently state that developer documentation or user guides are the first places customers go. they look for answers before contacting a support representative.

So how do you get started? Regardless of product type, you can set up a documentation website in less than 1 hour with no engineering assistance required.

As the market moves toward self-service products, with growth driven by product at the forefront, a documentation portal that makes it easy to enter new information without the help of a programmer is a must.

You’ll stay ahead of your competition because you can build most things yourself and update the documentation regularly. to increase product adoption and user retention.

Finally, the approach we’ll cover is economics. With launch costs for any type of site ranging from $30/month to thousands per month, this guide will save you a ton of time and money.

This is the step step-by-step process:

  1. Sign up for a documentation platform
  2. Add your content
  3. Add your custom domain
  4. Brand and customize the website
  5. Review and preview the documentation portal
  6. Share it with your users

How to create a site Documentation Website: Bird’s-Eye View

You can build a documentation site without spending valuable resources like developer hours, which are better spent continuing to improve the product rather than working on side quests.

So how do you make a documentation site when the dev team isn’t around or one is months away, and you needed it yesterday.

Regardless of how far along you may be writing By going and publishing documentation, we have a custom site made a resource for you.

  • Why choose Archbee as your website platform?
  • Get familiar with the user interface by Archbee
  • How to set up custom domain and access control
  • Start building pages</li
  • Brand and personalize your document website
  • Add custom code

Actually, building a documentation site isn’t all that different from building any other website, but I’m going to assume a few things before delving into the details:

  • already have a domain name (if you want to use one);
  • getting started quickly is more important than having full control;
  • authors/contributors non-technical people will be working on the documentation;
  • you don’t want a development team to maintain and build the site.

Step 1: Choose Archbee as your documentation platform

There are many options for to create a customer-oriented knowledge base. From open source to commercial, or no code to “I need a developer to change this font.” You can have it all.

There are many different types of documentation sites, from developer documentation and API references to user guides, but they all share some common features. This is what makes a successful documents site:

  • supports multiple products and version control;
  • option to manage localization;
  • access control for viewers;
  • lightweight templates and customization options;
  • preview and production environments;
  • robust search functionality to find information relevant;
  • fast load times and SEO options;
  • options to capture reader feedback.

Meet Archbee: a Documentation platform for product, developer, and API documents that allows public or private access to readers.

Here are the key details why using Archbee is the right choice:

  • Adding content is very easy using the 30+ custom blocks and Markdown support
  • easy OpenAPI/Swagger import and synchronization
  • compatible with Postman collection import
  • very versatile: can run various types of document sites: private, documents, developer docs or API references, user or product guides.
  • it’s fast, optimized and secure
  • it’s SEO friendly

With Archbee, content is organized in spaces. Below each space, you can add multiple documents organized in a nested structure. Documents can be converted to categories to further enhance the information architecture. Any edits you make to a document are automatically saved, so don’t worry about losing your work.

A space is private by default, but you can share it on your subdomain when it’s public, and Archbee takes care of the hosting (SSL certificate, CDNs, and image optimization included).

Step 2: Familiarize yourself with the Archbee user interface

At this stage, you should be good with some Archbee basics to get started that will improve your experience in the future, and you can start adding content. You can sign up for a 21-day free trial here (no credit card required).Once you log in, this is what you’ll see:

Archbee UI

(1) Spaces

(2) Documents

(3) Editor

(4) Post Options

(5) Search

(6) Invite People

(7) Import Content

(8) Knowledge Graph

(9) Reusable Content

(10) Templates

(11) Files

(12) Document options

(13) Read/write mode

(14) Breadcrumbs

(15) Notification Center

(16) Settings

(17) Focus Mode

Step 3: Start adding content

Documentation comes in many shapes and forms. You may already have some resources or need to start from scratch. Let’s see how to add content with Archbee.

a) write in Archbee

Once you create a new document, you can start adding content using Markdown shortcuts or any of over 30 custom blocks.

Custom blocks help you format content to suit your needs. To open them, type forward slash – / – in the editor and review the options.

Blocks are grouped into Basic, Multimedia, Developer, Embedded, and Content Reuse.

For example , if you want to dynamically link to other documents, type @ and the title of the document. This will connect to the document id. If you change the title or position of the document, the link will always point to it.

Another example is calling the block name. Press / and type the name of the block, eg /verticalsplit, which will filter the block you want to use.

The third option is to use parentheses and the name of the block, eg. (api) – Will add the API endpoint block.

b) copy and paste

The old school copy and paste brothers. But why cover this one? Since the Archbee editor supports Markdown, if you want to paste in this format, you may receive the following message:

We have detected Markdown content on your clipboard. Are you trying to paste Markdown?

If you click the Cancel button, the content will not be rendered and if you click OK in the dialog, we will convert Markdown to Archbee blocks.</p

So you have a code sample that will render as a code editor block in Archbee.

c) import Markdown or Word files

Copy and Pasting works fine, but if you have Markdown or Word files, why not import them into a space?

Before importing any content, make sure you click the space where you want to import the files. . You just clicked the type of file you have and saved minutes of copying and pasting from other sources.

d) import OpenAPI/Swagger files or Postman collections

When it comes to documenting APIs, you have several options.

Let’s say you’re using the OpenAPI (formerly Swagger) standard. This allows for easy import and synchronization of the files.

Once imported into Archbee, the content will be rendered in a 3-column layout that allows for easy-to-manage documentation.

e) sync a GitHub repository

It just so happens that the documentation is written in a GitHub repository, and you can continue writing on GitHub and sync the repository with an Archbee Space. The benefit is that you can publish that space to your custom domain and add other spaces with additional information such as API references.

Step 4 – Set up the custom domain and access control

Before you start with the content, you take a small step that will make a difference later. Set up your subdomain to have access to the preview and production environments. Go to the documentation page and follow the steps to add your custom domain.

Archbee Custom Domain

There are several options available on the General tab: You can turn off the Indexable by search engines (if it is public) from the same Space Settings. You often want it on so that users find your site on the search engine results page. You can go to the Public Access Control option and choose any of the office options for more control.

  • None – Does exactly what the name says, maintains your settings regarding the public space.
  • Password: Sets a space password. Anyone with the link and password will be able to read the content.
  • Guest Accounts: Create guest accounts. Everyone with the link and a guest account can read the content. Guest accounts are not charged as seats on Archbee.
  • Magic Link: Enter specific emails or FQDNs into the allow list, and users will be authenticated via a link that we send to your email. address;
  • JWT authentication: See the docs page for how to set it up. It’s a perfect option if you don’t want users to log in every time.

Step 5: Start building pages

Before writing any documentation, consider the main topics which will cover This time, a pen and paper can help you draw the structure.

Next, create a document, make it a category, and give it a name.

Once you have these, you’re ready to add documents in each category.</p

Start with a document that introduces the main things a user will find on the documentation site. It doesn’t have to be complicated; Here’s how we did it in our User Guide:

  • Getting Started
  • Editor
  • Documents
  • Spaces</li
  • Hosted Spaces
  • Organizations
  • Import and Export
  • Integrations
  • Guides
  • Public API
  • li>
  • Misc

When you start adding content, it’s essential to have a workflow. Here’s a potential one, but you may want to adapt it:

  • Start the eraser in My Private Documents. This will help you type anything you don’t want to share with the team yet.
  • When ready, move it to the public space
  • Ping a teammate to let them know that the document is ready. and you need to review it
  • If there are any, add comments inline where other users’ input is required.
  • Once you’re comfortable with the changes, post to preview to view the staging site.
  • If everything looks good, hit publish to production and announce that everything is live.

Working with templates makes it easy for collaborators to start writing content. You can save a set of templates to help you get started with content production. If you need inspiration, when you create a new document, you’ll see a button called: Start with a template at the bottom of the page. To create your own templates, go to the left side navigation, Templates, and start creating documents with the structure your documents need.

You could also enter custom blocks an author will use, or add examples of other sources.

Permalink and SEO settings

These options are at the document level. So you need to click on the three dots at the top right and select SEO Meta Controls.

Add a relevant title, change the URL, write a meta description or upload an image for previews .

SEO Meta Controls

Step 6: Brand and Customize Your Document Website

Under the Appearance tab, you’ll find the banding options such as Accent Color, Logo, and Favicon, along with other options for the template.

Archbee Appearance Options

Create a navigation menu with multi-product or product versions

Depending on the type of products or services, you may want to have different space url paths.

You can have a space as the main document and create different slots for other products or even versions of them.

There is a shortcut! You can create a clone of any space if the changes are incremental. This will help you maintain structure and make edits for the new version.

So if you need versions and multi-product, use a different space and add it with the relevant path or custom domain.

Go to Space links and start building your navigation.

Archbee Space Links

Create a landing page

The main purpose of the home page is to help the visitor go to the next page.

Creating a landing page for your documentation website does not have to follow the same practices for a website presentation.

The first page of the document is important for introducing your product or service to users, so keeping it short and setting expectations is very helpful.

You can use the custom landing page and add your HTML for more control over the first page. There are many options for inspiration, and if you want to change the look of the first page, this is your option.

This is how one of our clients created their home page for their help. page.

Source https://help.autoproctor.co/

Step 7: Add custom code</h2

Use Custom CSS if you want to add your own flavor to the documentation site. If you’re familiar with CSS classes, you’ll find some initial ab’s and can target them.

Custom Code from Archbee

Conclusion

That is; the path to learning how to create a documentation website without a development team is done!

When using a software documentation platform like Archbee, the good thing is that you are left with creating the content once you you configure the initial setup.

That said, getting your documentation online is just the beginning of the journey. Getting people to find valuable information on your website and then come back to it is a whole different challenge.

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