It’s Strange, But Online Documentation Makes Money for Your Company

Somewhere in your office you probably have a shelf or two filled with old software manuals. If you’ve been around long enough, the documentation lives in ring binders that tuck neatly into cardboard boxes. But when’s the last time a software vendor actually shipped you hard copy documentation?

Those days are over. As Forbes reports, documentation as we once knew it is dead, but that’s not a bad thing. In fact, by moving all that info online, companies that sell apps are finding that their online documentation actually serves as something of a sales tool. Interesting. Have you ever researched a new app and found yourself reading its manual online?

Now brick and mortar companies moving to a pure online or hybrid sales model are also realizing that documentation is strategic to their companies–in ways that might surprise you.

Indeed, online product and services documentation has now proved to be an immensely effective way to increase new customer acquisition and to shorten sales cycles. It is now a critical business tool.

Aaron Fulkerson, the cofounder and CEO of MindTouch who wrote the article, says that documentation generates more than half his Web site’s overall traffic, and some of those visitors turn into customers.

This phenomenon should make you ask how you research new product purchases and how you troubleshoot the apps you already have installed. It’s one more way the Internet has changed everything.

–Don Willmott