Not Reinventing the Wheel

At one of our monthly Sweet Digs calls a blogger from Boston suggested there be a way for the team to collaborate on posting ideas and share documents. Fair enough.

But then why is it that simple projects like this cause us to sweat a little? Maybe it’s the pioneering startup spirit in all of us that drives us to build everything from scratch. The first questions that ran through my mind were how much developer time would it take to build this page and how much would it cost. Then reality sets in: let’s find a turnkey solution but not one that fits a 1,000 person operation with prohibitive licensing fees. We didn’t need Lotus Notes.

This is what we were looking for in a wiki:

  • Set up should be painless and quick
  • Support for 25-50 users, and privacy
  • Page editing that a grandma can figure out

The final requirement was crucial for us. We liked the WYSIWYG editor in Wetpaint’s wiki and had some prior experience using it to build an invite page for a press party last year. It was also heartening to know our ragtag band of neighborhood bloggers had joined a network that included groups dedicated to saving hedgehogs, memorializing LOLspeak and exploring the anatomy.

wetpaintss2.jpg

Our Sweet Digs wiki page contains a blog team directory, a schedule for conference calls and pages for downloading documents and sharing WordPress shortcuts among other features. The team is already putting it to use: one blogger shared a plugin that makes it easier to create an SEO-friendly blog title for the post URL, yet have an alternate and more interesting published title. It took less than a day’s work to set up and it was free. Much thanks to Seattle Sweet Digs blogger Katrina Munsell for her help in making it look sweet!

Discussion

  • http://www.savanrith.com Savan

    What’s the URL for the wiki, Bahnye?

  • http://www.redfin.com Bahn Lee

    It’s sweetdigs.wetpaint.com but it’s locked to the public.

  • Jason

    Have you thought of SharePoint? Many companies host SharePoint for as little as $20 a month. SharePoint contains all of the features that you are looking for, can be branded to blend seemlessly into the RedFin theme and can scale as large as you need it too.

    It is not open source but I have found that it is a very good product. And no, I do not work for Microsoft. :)

  • http://blog.redfin.com/blog/author/bahnlee Bahn

    Good point. We do use SharePoint internally at Redfin but even then we found Wetpaint’s page editing to be easier and more similar to the WordPress software our blog contractors use to write their posts.