Having a Knowledge Base is a fantastic source of free traffic that also increases your customer satisfaction. Setting up a Knowledge Base solution is a long term investment. It’s definitely worth it as it will bump up your site’s SEO and will help you to generate new leads. Which platform you should choose for having a knowledge base? Is using WordPress as a knowledge base a good solution? In this article, we will answer this question. We will also give you a few tips on how to set up a Knowledge Base and make it useful for your customers. Ready? Let’s get started!
Table of Contents
- What is a Knowledge Base?
- Benefits of having a Knowledge Base
- Benefits of using WordPress as a knowledge base
- Themes or plugins – what is a better solution for using WordPress as a Knowledge Base?
- Top 3 themes for building Knowledge Base
- Top 3 plugins for Knowledge Base
- 7 tips on creating useful Knowledge Base
- FAQ on Knowledge Base
What is a Knowledge Base?
A knowledge base is a repository that stores your information. It’s curated and organized data about a particular topic. It may be an explanation of how your product works or answer for all commonly asked questions. It may gather all company policies, contain useful forms or describe the onboarding process in your company if it’s done for your employees. Simply speaking it can by any kind of educational resource.
Regardless of it’s purpose a knowledge base can be provided in a few different forms, the most common ones are:
- FAQ (frequently asked questions)
- Video materials
As you see a knowledge base is nothing more than an organised collection of information that is offered up for self-help or improvement.
Now when you have the basics it’s high time to talk about how you and your company can benefit from having a knowledge base.
Benefits of having a Knowledge Base
The main benefit of having a knowledge base is that it provides in-depth and instant information and support to your target audience. Thanks to that you don’t have to do so in an individual way. There are no phone calls involved, no emails, no time spent on one-on-one contact.
Let’s face it. Most of the customer service is about transferring basic information. Very often it’s a repetitive task. Your customer (or employee) wants to achieve a goal but doesn’t have enough knowledge to do so. It’s where your knowledge base steps in.
It’s the main advantage, so let’s dive in and see the full list of benefits:
How long it usually takes you to answer an email? How much time do you need to return a phone call? What are your office working hours? Exactly! It all creates a delay in contact with your customer. It doesn’t when you have a knowledge base that is right there for them.
Lowers training costs
Can you imagine doing one-to-one training with every single employee that joins your company? Having a knowledge base provides consistent guidance and makes sure that every single newly hired person has access to the latest information. It makes your company look professional and modern.
Boosts your SEO
If a user is looking for something he will most likely try to use a search engine to find it. By answering product-related questions you not only can generate more traffic to your website but also generate more leads. Imagine having 100 or 150 articles that focus on your product and relevant keywords.
Helps you to become an authority
When you provide good quality content you become an authority in your area of expertise. It shows that your business is trustworthy and helps to build brand recognition, which in turn translates into sales.
Generates valuable insights
If you select a knowledge base that has advanced analytics built-in then you can see what people were looking for. You can see what they managed to find. This knowledge allows you to understand what content you are missing and how you can improve your content to fully meet your client’s needs.
Pretty exciting huh? Next step is to pick the right platform for your knowledge base.
Benefits of using WordPress as a knowledge base
If your website is already based on WordPress CMS it should be a no-brainer for you. You don’t need to worry about any extra integrations or spend extra money on staff training. You have the same CMS you are familiar with and you like.
On the other hand, if you are just looking for a solution WordPress is a perfect candidate. Why?
It’s amazing for Search Engines (like Google)
WordPress is #1 CMS out there. It Powers 35% of all websites. That’s why making it easy for search engines to index all your content is a priority. For the very same reason, Google has dedicated en engineering team to work on WordPress’ performance and mobile experience.
Has outstanding and helpful community
It’s a fact: WordPress has the biggest users community that love and feel responsible for it. They make it better every day, they make sure it’s secure. They make sure everyone gets the help they deserve.
Extremely easy to use
WordPress has a very intuitive interface. Especially now with a Gutenberg editor adding new content is easy peasy. It can be done quickly and doesn’t require extra expenditures on staff training.
It’s really cost effective.
It may sound like something that’s hard to believe but WordPress is free of costs. You can download it and use at any time. All your expenses are limited to buying a knowledge base theme (or picking a free one from WordPress repository) or a plugin. Speaking of which… should you pick a theme or a plugin? Let’s answer this question too.
Themes or plugins – what is a better solution for using WordPress as a Knowledge Base?
I bet it’s not the answer you were looking for but… it depends. There’s no simple answer that would cover all situations. There’s a place for both solutions.
Using a knowledge base theme guarantees that your website will look stunning from head to toes. Let’s be honest: it’s a full theme designed to work perfectly in this particular area. A theme that usually is extended with special functionality. That makes your knowledge base experience outstanding. The downside of using a theme though is that it will need a separate WordPress instance.
Using a knowledge base plugin works directly with your current theme. There’s no need for another WordPress installation. A plugin (usually) inherits styling from your theme. It can be a downside at the same time. The plugin wasn’t created to work with your theme out of the box. It may look a bit incoherent and require extra styling (or even to hire a developer).
Remember – no matter which option you choose there’s no such thing as the wrong decision. There’s a decision based on your individual situation.
Top 3 themes for building Knowledge Base
Using WordPress as a knowledge base is obviously the right decision, but it’s not the only choice you’ll need to make. There are quite a lot brilliant WordPress themes out there, that’s why we decided to pick 3 that are best suited for any kind of knowledge base:
KnowAll is a premium knowledge base theme that not only has a beautiful design but also is rich in useful features. The theme comes with everything you need to run an effective knowledge base. It has a flexible search feature, search analytics, great customization options, article feedback. And that’s just a beginning of the functionality that KnowAll offers.
Flatbase is another example of a knowledge base WordPress theme. It has most of the essential features that KnowAll has. Additionally, it’s compatible with bbPress plugin and allows you to have your own Forum and ipso facto community-focused site.
Lipi is our last recommendation for a powerful Knowledge Base WordPress theme. It comes with a really nice and modern design and it’s fully customizable too. It offers you a huge amount of options which will allow you to adjust the theme to match your brand. It’s design-focused while the functional features are not that much exposed, so we think it will be a better fit for smaller projects that need to attract customers visually.
PS if you are interested in the more detailed ranking, we highly recommend your post where we compare the Best WordPress Knowledge Base Themes out there.
Top 3 plugins for Knowledge Base
Heroic Knowledge Base Plugin is a complete solution if you want to include the knowledge base feature in your current theme. It has exactly the same features as the KnowAll theme. That means that you can count on having functionality like Instant Answers, Article Feedback, Built-in Analytics, Article Attachments and much more.
Minerva KB is one of the most popular solution KB plugins and it’s on the market since 2016. It contains many powerful features like Live Search, Insightful Analytics and options to Restrict Access to logged-in users only. If you are interested you can take it for a test drive before you buy.
Knowledge Base WordPress Plugin
On 3rd place, we have a Knowledge Base plugin from UnboundStudio. It’s one of the most popular plugins on the market and has all the features that are required to set up a proper knowledge base. Additionally, it has a Gutenberg support which makes it even easier to use.
7 tips on creating useful Knowledge Base
1. Choose your target audience.
Before you set up your knowledge base you should precisely choose who your knowledge base is for and how these people should benefit from reading it. Usually, a knowledge base is dedicated to your customers or potential customers. It doesn’t always need to be like this. There are at least a few options that you may consider as an alternative. You can also have more than 1 knowledge base for different audiences:
- HR Knowledge base: you can describe your onboarding process, taking holidays, HR policies, gather useful forms etc.
- IT Knowledge base: it may contain all information that is relevant from this point of view like how to reset a password, how to access the company’s wifi, how to secure your machine etc.
- Legal Knowledge Base: All about contracts and company policies
2. Create a list of relevant topics
Don’t start writing your knowledge base randomly. Have in mind the primary purpose of having it: you want to help your customers (or employees) to answer their most common questions. Make a plan and stick to it. Do research on most commonly asked questions and recurring issues that people have with your product. Search for terms that people put into a search engine to find your website. You can even check for trends on certain topics to get new ideas.
3. Structure your knowledge base logically
It may not seem obvious at the beginning but the way you structure your information matters. If your knowledge base is not user-friendly. If people are struggling with finding answers they are looking for. If it’s hard to navigate between the topics. Then it’s more than sure than people will leave your page quickly.
Your content should be logically grouped and organized into categories. But if you already decided to use WordPress as a knowledge base you can relax. WordPress has 2 built-in taxonomies: categories and tags that will help you to organize your content. And you are not limited to that. You can easily extend them with even more custom taxonomies if you need too.
4. Review your content on regular basis
Creating a knowledge base is never about to write and forget. It’s a really good practice to schedule content reviews and update it on a regular basis. Thanks to this your customers will always have the freshest data and won’t be confused about outdated information.
5. Collect customer’s feedback
You always want to do your best, but sometimes it’s not possible to predict all customers needs. Or organize the content the way people will look for it. Being open-minded is the best thing you can do. Give your customers a voice, be serious about their feedback and they will for sure help you to improve your knowledge base quality.
Optimize for Search Engines
The easiest and probably most common way to find answers is to ask… Google. And when your users are about to do it your page should be at the top of the search results. Do your research. Check the keywords people look for. Check your google analytics (or even better – Google Search Console) and prepare a list of keywords that are relevant for you. Then keep those keywords in mind while you are preparing articles.
Make sure your internal search works as it should
Even if a user lands on your website you can’t be sure what his journey is. He may not be interested in gathering more knowledge about one topic. He may just want to do a search for a few that are not related. Make sure that he will be able to find it once he’s using your internal search engine.
FAQ on Knowledge Base
Why is a knowledge base important?
That may be surprising but people really want to help themselves before they reach out to you. According to ZenDesk research, up to 91% would use a knowledge base if met their needs. It creates a win-win situation where your clients are happy with finding the solution and you have more time to focus on actual work.
Is using WordPress as a knowledge base the only option? Are there any alternatives?
Although we think that WordPress is the best and flexible way to provide a Knowledge Base feature it’s not the only option. You can use a knowledge base on different CMS like Drupal. Or you can set up a knowledge base on a SAAS (Software as a service) platform like HelpScout or HelpJuice, but it’s usually much more expensive solution.
What’s the difference between a Knowledge Base and FAQ?
They are both suited to help your customers find information that they are looking for but the primary difference is in the information architecture. FAQ usually have a flat structure and they are simply a question-answer pair. Knowledge base is divided into categories. Very often organized into collections of articles focusing on solving a particular problem.
What’s the difference between a Knowledge Base and Wiki?
Despite the fact that they have a very similar structure the primary difference is that Wiki can be edited by anyone (look at the Wikipedia as an example) while your knowledge base is created by you or designated team.Featured image and images credit: freepik.com