A documentation portal serves as a crucial content platform for organizations, providing a centralized location for storing and accessing important documentation. In today’s digital era, having a dedicated portal for all documentation enhances the experience of both employees and customers, streamlining information retrieval and ensuring seamless access to vital documents.
A common application for a documentation portal is a help site, or a self-service customer portal. These portals are often the first place customers turn to when seeking answers to their problems.
However, not all portals are created equal. In our years of portal building, we’ve seen some relatively poor and ineffective portals, even with large, well-known companies.
A good portal leaves your customers feeling both satisfied and confident in your brand, while a poor portal leaves your customers feeling frustrated and confused. Providing your customers with an excellent portal is a large part of the overall customer service experience.
Bad help experiences can drive customers straight to your competitors, no matter how good your product or service is. After more than one bad experience, around 80% of consumers say they would rather do business with a competitor.
What is a Documentation Portal?
A documentation portal in an online hub for accessing technical documentation. They can be used for internal documents and external customer-facing documents.
First, let’s discuss what makes a poor portal. Many documentation portals we see are basic websites with a long list of PDFs you can download.
It may have some search functionality, but the results simply surface a PDF. This is not a good customer experience because no one wants to read through a giant PDF to try and find an answer to their questions.
This antiquated approach doesn’t take advantage of the digital experience your customers expect. You can do so much more than digitally hand your customers a PDF and wish them good luck.
Customers expect you to leverage digital capabilities in your portal to provide them with quick, easy-to-understand, and accurate answers. 75% of customers want a consistent customer experience, regardless of what channel they use to engage with a brand. Your portal should provide the same high-quality experience as all your customer service channels.
How do you make a good documentation portal?
So what makes a good portal? Over countless hours of research, the portal team at Heretto has found an approach that is both out of the box and customizable to the needs of each unique customer.
At the core, portals need to be easily maintained by employees and easily accessible to customers. This way, you provide a frictionless experience that surfaces relevant information to each customer. Your customers are happy, and your tech writers have a beautiful way to surface their work – it’s a win-win!
Here are a few of our best practices that will make your portal a cut above the rest:
Audience specific access
If you have defined audiences for your content and your portal supports user authentication, you can define audiences for each role. For example, you may want one role to be public, one for customers, and one for employees, each having access to different content. You can also configure your portal to surface relevant product support based on purchasing history. This creates a personalized experience for your audience and keeps internal documents secure.
If your business is global and you create content in multiple languages, your portal should be capable of viewing content in any language. The language should automatically change depending on where users are located, and they should be able to manually change languages as needed.
Your portal should have a responsive interface, enabling the same website to be used effectively on desktop, tablet, and smartphone devices.
Our branding framework enables your customers to move seamlessly between your own
websites and your portal. With simple CSS changes, you can set your own title, footer, fonts, backgrounds, and other elements. The portal can be hosted on a domain of your choosing.
Search functions are vital for an effective portal, yet many don’t have them. Heretto Deploy Portal comes out of the box with search, browse, and faceted navigation, enabling visitors to your portal to quickly find what they are looking for.
If you have different versions of your content, your portal should be able to easily surface content from your user’s version.
How do you measure portal success?
When using a Heretto Deploy Portal, our clients often see:
- Up to a 40% decrease in customer support tickets
- an increase in portal traffic, often surpassing your main website traffic
- higher customer long-term value
A Heretto-powered portal was even nominated for a CODiE award in the Best Knowledge Center/ Help Site category. In our digital-first world, more businesses are discovering the power of a good portal.
Your portal partner
A comprehensive portal puts you at an advantage ahead of your competitors. You will have an easier time organizing your content, and your users will enjoy an excellent customer experience.
When creating a portal, many variables need to be considered while ensuring you adhere to portal best practices. Portals need to be customized to your specific content and user needs. Pick a partner with the technical ability to deliver and the expertise to guide you through the process is vital to the success of your portal.
We regularly review the world’s best documentation sites and conduct our own user experience tests. When you choose Heretto as your portal partner, we’ll guide you through our tried and true portal design, implementation, testing, and launch process.
Start your portal journey
You can also book a demo now, and we will audit your current portal to see what improvements you could make.