Better documentation is a must for good products.
This simple quote is very helpful for increasing the product sales by a huge margin. As the product developer, you may know in and out of your products which includes UI navigation, usage and features. But even if you have provided a very good UI, people may have so many questions on how to use the product. That’s where the documentation or guide or knowledge base plays an important role.
Most of the individual developers spend very less time on product documentation as they find this task a little boring. The reason behind that is very simple, as they are looking into the same product (while developing read as coding) from probably a month or so and they find it very easy to use. Now when it comes to write down the instructions, they usually skip many steps or how tos (sometimes important ones) or may procrastinate the task too. As the final goal for the product development is reach as many users as one can, and that’s where they fail because of poor documentation.
If the product is well documented, it engages more users which eventually increase product sales. Here are few points in support of this statement that a better documentation can help you convert potential visitors into a customer.
# Build Functional Guarantee – Product may have so many features but whether it works or not, the documentation can explain that. In a user’s perspective, a good documentation build confidence in interested visitors and eventually tuned that into a customer.
# Clear Idea of Usage – How to use or implement the product’s feature is one of main question that interested buyer have. Better documentation answers such questions and finally that persons ends up buying the product.
# Works as a Demo – Most of the documentation comes with so many screenshots which plays as important role as a demo. Sometimes the screenshots or documentations only give an idea about the protected page or admin area.
# Engages Visitors – Rather than just reading the features of the product and leave, people will stay a little more on your site reading guides or documentation which may convert them into a customer. With features such as ‘Suggest or Submit Feedback’ in your product’s documentation (available in Documentor) will help you engage with a potential buyer.
# Pitch More Products via documentation – While explaining one product’s instructions, you may introduce another product. While reading the instructions or steps for product A, people may find Product B useful too and that will increase your overall product’s sale.
# Advance users get Power – If your product comes with API or some other advance features, in that case documentation is must otherwise some advance users will not find your product useful.
# Trust Factor – Better documented product promises better after sale support and increases trust factor in the mindset of buyers. It reflects the dedicated f the developer or the company which eventually converts into sale.
# Better SEO and Traffic – Search engine like Google, Bing are of the best traffic source and we all know the important of SEO. Better documented products with indexed URLs appear at good position on SERP. Finally more traffic means more sale.
# Helpful for Clients, Lessen dependency – Imagine a developer who is working on some client’s project. Now if he buys your product and implements the same on his client’s site, at that time he can forward your product’s documentation to his client for future references. It will be very helpful for that developer or freelancer as he doesn’t need to do the documentation in his own words.
A well documented product is helpful for support team as well because it helps in reducing the number of support tickets. Support staff can easily forward the link of the tutorial or guide if the query is well documented as FAQ. Good documentation helps the Online Marketing team as well in better marketing of the product.
How much time should be assigned for documentation?
While creating the project plan for complete development and release of a product, I would recommend to assign 15 – 20% working effort for better documentation. This one time effort and minimal maintenance effort can play an important role in increasing number of sales of your product.