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10 Tips For Creating A Knowledge Base

10 Tips For Creating A Knowledge Base

Ben Jenkins

Ben Jenkins

4 May 2023

Knowledge Base’s are great for centralising all of your information in one place, resulting in a go-to place for your customers to find answers for their questions. However, most of the time people are not using a Knowledge Base to their advantage. This can result in poor usage and even worse, a negative experience.

In this post we will explain our 10 tips for creating a Knowledge Base that’s both useful and attractive. But first, who are we?

PaceKB has been developing Knowledge Base software publicly since early 2023, and privately for many years before that. We’ve built solutions that are so effective that your average support wait time can reduce by over 50% simply by implementing our easy to use and feature-rich software. Learn more by visiting https://www.pacekb.com/features

1. Organisation is key

You could have the worlds best content, however if your organisation is poor you will not see good results.

Humans naturally have low attention spans, and a study by American Psychological Association shows that they continue to decrease decade-by-decade. Now imagine a customer visiting your Knowledge Base, and looking at your home page categories. What do you think will happen if they cannot find a category that sounds like what they’re looking for? They’ll leave and either give up on your product/service or default to opening a support ticket.

Now opening a support ticket is not always a bad thing as you cannot have answers for everything, although if they repeatedly cannot find the answer they’re looking for they’ll simply skip your Knowledge Base next time and go straight to support.

At PaceKB we offer multiple ways to categorise your content. Some of these features include:

  • Unlimited levels of categorisation
  • Tags as a secondary level of categorisation (Even a tag details page to show all articles within a tag)
  • Ability to add descriptions to tags & categories
  • And more…

2. There should be no out of date content

Have you ever googled a question, clicked the first link and found what you suspect to be a good answer, only to find after following 10 steps you can’t quite see what you should be seeing according to the website? We’ve seen this same issue on every single Knowledge Base we’ve worked on in the past where updates have been made to software and Knowledge Base articles have not been updated to reflect the changes. Even something as small as a UI change has the potential to make the page look completely different.

If content is outdated in an article it’s not only useless, it’s incredibly poor user experience which will almost guarantee customers coming directly to your support team. You’re better off deleting outdated articles than keeping them as they clutter your website.

There are multiple way you can try to prevent this from happening such as setting a review date on the article to come back and ensure it’s up to date on a frequent basis. Another way (our preferred) is to build into your product/service release process that all related articles that could be effected should be reviewed before launching any changes. This ensures that there’s no period of time that your content is out of date.

3. Promote it everywhere

Your Knowledge Base should always be the first point of call before any customer reaches your support team, so it’s no surprise that you must promote it everywhere, and we mean it when we say everywhere…

Your goal should be to show customers that waiting for support should not have to be a requirement if they can find an instant answer to their question, so a good first step would be visually showing customers that there’s instant support available on your Knowledge Base. If you want to get even more technical you can take the query that the customer is writing in your support ticket system, and automatically try to find relevant articles to prompt the user with before they submit their support ticket.

You also want to ensure that you’re not completely hiding support options as there will be some legitimate cases for contacting support which should not be ignored.

4. Use images and videos

The average human gets distracted within a few seconds, so you need to grab their attention. The best way to do that? Big flashy images and videos that relate to your Knowledge Base article. Customers need to know that the article they’re reading relates to the issue they’re having, and images can do this instantly.

Images and videos can be annotated to demonstrate where a user should be focusing on, resulting in clearer instructions. You will almost certainly improve user retention by including images and videos in your Knowledge Base articles.

5. Gather user feedback

We all have a tendency to get complacent and think our way is the best way of doing things. Even if someone agrees with you, that does not mean that the majority agrees with you.

Gathering user feedback is the best way to capture what your customers think, and make iterative change to your Knowledge Base articles to be more relatable, and easier to follow. It could be a change as small as customers not thinking you explained a section very well that could make your user retention increase significantly.

PaceKB offers a “Was this article helpful” widget which prompts the user to answer if the article was helpful or not at the end of every article. Users can then proceed to either send a Yes/No answer or leave a comment to help with this exact step.

6. Use clear language

You might want to explain your latest and greatest feature in as much detail as possible, although this is more likely to be a deterrent than a positive feature. Readers want quick and simple access to an answer and not a 5 section explanation which doesn’t get straight to the point.

There are also additional benefits to this such as later down the line if you want to implement automatic translation to retain multiple languages on your Knowledge Base, you’ll find that translations are much clearer when language is clearer. Long and hard to read sentences will almost certainly translate incorrectly making reading harder for your non-native speaking readers.

Simplify your wording, make an answer easy to find/read and make sure your formatting is on point.

7. Provide Context

This one slightly contradicts rule #6, although when used right it can be a great way to educate your readers and help them even more.

Providing context around what you’re explaining is a great way of giving users more information on what they’re doing, making them more educated on your product/service. Even something as small as giving context on what could possibly change if you alter a setting is enough to prepare customers for any potential unexpected results, and this will also likely prevent additional support tickets from being opened.

Don’t make the context descriptions too long as that’s when you start to violate rule #6

8. Train your support team

Yes, this sounds counterproductive…

If your support team can send customers Knowledge Base articles in responses it can entice the customer to the Knowledge Base and intrigue them knowing that they can get instant answers in the future. This will result in a more likely chance that your customers will use your Knowledge Base in the future.

We’re not suggesting that you simply respond to support tickets with a link to a Knowledge Base article, as that’s poor customer service, however we are suggesting that you prompt the user that this information was instantly available, like the example response below:

Hi Ben, thank you for getting in contact with us. Adding a Google Analytics token to your Knowledge Base is really simple with PaceKB.

Simply head to your settings, and you’ll see an input prompting for your token.

Also, whilst you’re here you may find our Knowledge Base useful – We host hundreds of answers to questions just like this where you can get an instant answer without waiting for us to respond. Here’s a link to an article for Google Analytics Tokens: https://help.pacekb.com/article/how-to-connect-google-analytics-to-pacekb

Thank you!

Regards,
{user}

9. Use Examples

Giving real-world examples to users can help them understand the effects of their actions. Let’s use an example of the new PaceKB CSS feature that we launched this week (4th May 2023), we want to entice users to use this feature and we can do so by showing some of the many ways that our customers are making use of this feature.

This step is particularly great if you’re trying to suggest other functionality for users to try out within Knowledge Base articles.

10. Implement “Quick Start”

Quick Start is a workflow that guides users through a step-by-step tutorial of how to get started with your product/service. Let’s take PaceKB for example.

We want to show customers how to get started with our product, and we can do this by creating a bunch of related articles and linking them together. Customers will instantly learn more than they expected making them fall in love with your product more, and will be a really positive experience.

Summary

We hope that these tips help you out, and we’re excited to see how you use them in action.

If you are looking to start a Knowledge Base, sign up to PaceKB to get started. Our basic features are always free (forever), and for those needing more advanced functionality our paid plans are fixed-cost, affordable and feature packed. If you need help getting started with your Knowledge Base test out our very own one here: https://help.pacekb.com or contact us via our Live Chat.