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Article Contributed by Robin Singh

“Rome wasn’t built in a day.” This famous literary phrase holds special significance for the new age startups. Regardless of how ambitious and focused  you are, remember that it takes time to build a business. Although, your plans might be big, but your day-to-day operations, budget, customer base are still small. During the initial days of your business, you’ll need to work with what you’ve got.And for most startups that have just launched their first product, that’s not much.

On the bright side, it means that a startup doesn’t need to spend a fortune on massive software solutions. Since your employees are limited in numbers(which means minimal training), hence your only help documentation focus group are your ‘customers’. Beginners usually don’t have more than a single product and need to be frugal with both time and money. In fact, employing a technical writer is not a good idea.

Under such circumstances, what you do need is a help authoring software that you can use by yourself.  A collaborative cloud-based wiki solution is a great option as it will help your customers and can be accessed by your teammates as well. Apart from being affordable, such a tool should be able to integrate with other management platforms that you use on a daily basis. Finally, you’ll need a great set of customized features which will allow you to control your brand image.

With these requirements in mind, we’ve listed out the top five authoring software options that every startup should consider using.

ProProfs

As your business grows, so does your knowledge base, which is why ProProfs offers a help authoring solution most suitable for improving your customer self-service experience. Help content can be created in minutes and with no coding experience whatsoever, and the only thing you need is source material. From there on, you can design web-based documentation in HTML and CSS formats, or create PDFs and eBooks.

WYSIWYG editor promises user-friendly and intuitive knowledge bases. All features are convenient for company-wide use so that you can co-write, edit or share your documents with other team members. The reporting feature is also included, just as well as integration with Google Analytics and users surveys. That way, you can make your online documentation SEO-ready, and then measure its success through customer feedback.

But, what really sets ProProfs apart from other similar solutions is its context sensitive help builder. With tooltips, popups and lightboxes, interface intuitiveness is assured for both websites and mobile apps, to meet the expectations of your support reps and your customers.

Helpinator

The importance of good documentation is monumental for all businesses. Documentation signals you are serious in your approach and want to empower the users. This is why you need an online documentation tool like Helpinator that can assist your writing and publishing process from start to finish. This tool works from WP, JavaHelp and OracleHelp, and supports multiple formats. That means that the same source text can be packed into a PDF as well, which makes Helpinator a definite time-saver.

Besides free help documentation templates, you’ll get a template builder too, along with a great customization feature. In case you’re working with international customers, you can explore its multilingual options. Helpinator serves as a task and report manager too, but only when help documentation projects are in case.

Dr. Explain

If your startup is an IT company that produces software systems, your online guides will have to be loaded with screenshots of applications and web pages. In simple words, it means you require powerful customization features along with a potent snipping tool as well.

Apart from other standard options, Dr. Explain offers this as its unique selling point, though only in comparison to Helpinator. Various formats are available as well. The software is applicable to Windows, Java and Flash applications, and provides tons of features for editing text and codes while adding images, content tables and indexes are done with ease.

HelpCruiser

Though it is somewhat basic, HelpCruiser is a great pick for those who need a granny-proof solution while designing their first help documentation. Basically, everyone can use it, and it delivers nothing more than you’d expect.

It’s the program’s template engine that makes HelpCruiser so convenient in the first place. It allows you to write and edit with ease, while customization is ensured with a “ribbon” interface, inheritable styles and visual themes. Interestingly enough, you can include YouTube videos, GIF animation and audio clips to your documentation, along with standard images and tables. The end product can be imported and published in a variety of formats, from DOCX and HTML to RTF and CHM.

Adobe RoboHelp 

In case you’re off to a pretty great start and have the means to equip your startup with all the automatic solutions used by the growth-focused companies, look no further than Adobe RoboHelp. It’s best suited for large knowledge base systems, though, which means that if you aren’t  looking at that kind of expansion anytime soon, Adobe RoboHelp is not the right fit for you.

Whatever the case, this help authoring tool offers a couple of perks that others don’t. RoboHelp allows you to create for any device and is therefore especially popular among mobile-centered businesses. Readability on the go is achieved with scannable solutions like thumbnail images, while inquiries are made faster with automatic suggestions. The HTML5 layout is highly responsive and promises intuitive navigation on both web and mobile devices.

The parting words

Startups truly have a lot on their plates, but obtaining a great help authoring tool is one of the tasks that shouldn’t be ignored. Keep your pick within the budget, though. Each of these solutions is available in some sort of demo version, which will certainly help you to decide better. Opt for those solutions that keep price and effectiveness in balance, and you’ll surely make the ‘right’ choice that helps your business grow.

Author Bio:

Robin is a Technical Support Executive. He is an expert in knowledge management and various Knowledge base tools. Currently, he is a resident knowledge management expert at ProProfs. In his free time, Robin enjoys reading and traveling.


 
 
 

 
 

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