In the digital age, most organizations have managed to work out how to create a knowledge base on the cloud. But far more than a simple place to store your documents for a rainy day, a well-designed knowledge base can improve productivity, increase customer satisfaction, enhance your reputation, and even grow your customer base.
So many leaders miss out on the full potential a knowledge base can bring because they simply don’t know how to optimize it. However, after reading our seven important tips, you’ll understand how to create a knowledge base for employees and customers that works as a secret weapon for your business.
Before you create a knowledge base, you need to know exactly what you’re creating it for. There’s no use in blasting ahead with your content if it results in a messy labyrinth that leaves users wondering where to start.
Luckily, identifying a purpose for your knowledge base is quite easy. Maybe your phone lines have been blocked by users asking the same questions over and over again. Or perhaps you see a major drop in productivity after every hiring drive. Your recurring issue directly translates into the purpose of your knowledge base. Therefore, based on our two examples, you could create a knowledge base as a part of your customer support service or as an onboarding training center for your new recruits.
When you’ve figured out who your main audience is, you can optimize your efforts by researching which areas you need to focus on first. For example, a simple internal survey can find out where the most detrimental knowledge gaps would be if certain employees left the company. On an external level, analysis of your CRM will point to the main areas of complaint from your users.
The warning signs behind your purpose will become your future KPIs for your knowledge base. Over time, you can monitor the reduction (hopefully!) in user requests and track the rise in productivity as your new hires fit seamlessly into your team.
With your purpose in mind, you’ve now got to map out a structure that makes sense to you and all your users. An intuitive, hierarchical plan makes information retrieval smooth and easy, boosting user experience.
Rolling with the onboarding training center example, you could go for departmental segmentation. As your new sales recruits join, they can focus specifically on the documents that apply to their learning experience, offering a personalized approach that keeps everybody on task. Managers should monitor the learning curve for their department, and create an FAQ section to clarify any recurring onboarding issues.
On the client side, you can create a knowledge base inspired by groups of customer queries you receive. An ecommerce site could feature a top-level hierarchy of categories for payment, membership, and orders, with each category spreading out into relevant subcategories. For example, the payment category opens up into smaller areas, such as registered credit cards, refunds, and multiple charges for the same order.
But while a hierarchical knowledge base is great for navigation, nothing beats a search bar. Put it at the top of each page to offer your users a second — and often more direct — way to get the info they need.
A mindset of keeping things simple will benefit you throughout the entire creation of your knowledge base. Here are some key examples of how to create a knowledge base without the unnecessary complications that often come with it.
By keeping your formatting and content consistent, your users can almost predict what is coming next. Coherence trumps linguistic virtuosity here, so avoid internal jargon and stick to standardized terms. For example, a customer who sees “checkout” in one place and “purchase confirmation page” in another could easily believe you’re talking about two separate concepts.
When thinking about how to create a knowledge base for employees, go for a cloud-based drive that allows you to set access permissions. Aside from the obvious advantages of keeping certain elements on a need-to-know basis, it reduces the number of confusing avenues that users could mistakenly go down.
If there’s a shortcut — use it! Creating a knowledge base from scratch can be a tedious process, especially if it’s your first time. With knowledge base templates, you immediately receive a pre-prepared structure with the standard features for your industry. All you need to do is fill it with your content.
Easy to use online Knowledge Base for your company from Bitrix24. Advanced team collaboration.Subscribe
Content creation is perhaps the most time-consuming element of creating a knowledge base, but it’s not rocket science.
Start by identifying the topics you need to address. Looking at customer-focused content, find common queries in your CRM and talk to your sales and customer service teams for additional insights. A top tip for how to create a knowledge base for employees is to collect frequently-asked questions from every department within your organization. By using a shared document, you can keep all your content in one place, and each individual can see if their question has already been asked. Simple!
When it comes to the actual creation of your content, you need a structured approach to avoid runaway deadlines and gaps in your knowledge base. Start by assigning subject matter experts to each area. These are the people in your team who know every intricate detail of their department and who can explain it most clearly to their audience. Finding the time for an extra set of tasks isn’t easy, so discuss reasonable deadlines and check in throughout the process.
As the old saying goes, a picture tells a thousand words, so don’t just stick to written text. Apart from being dry, a chunk of text is far less effective than an annotated screenshot for explaining how to navigate a webpage, for example. So get creative, and think about how you can use images, videos, and step-by-step workflows to enhance the clarity of your knowledge base.
If you still have your head in the sand about the importance of SEO, it’s time to take it out and smell the flowers, because optimizing a public knowledge base can work wonders for your business as a whole. Sure, you want to appear first when your current customers are looking for a solution to a problem. But with an eye on the wider world, your knowledge base can double as a low-cost marketing tool.
Let’s say you’re a landscaper. What common issues can you address in your knowledge base to reach an untapped source of customers? Perhaps content on the best materials to create a flower bed or best tips on irrigation techniques. It’s all about authority — being the go-to reference for your industry.
When you create a knowledge base, choosing the right website builder will cut out a lot of the hard work for you, giving you a fast, responsive, and secure knowledge base that search engines love. Pay attention to your mobile designs too. Not only is it good for your SEO, but you can expand your reach to mobile-first demographics.
Next, you’ll have to do some keyword research to work out what difficulties your current and potential customers are facing and optimize your content to answer their queries directly. You can’t expect results overnight, but with a logical, sustained SEO strategy, your knowledge base will be a vital service in your business expansion.
Unfortunately, your mission to create a knowledge base doesn’t end when it goes live. You’ll need to make updates when you release new products and when best practices change. So to get the most out of your knowledge base, put a plan in place to help you keep ahead of the curve.
Set a target number of articles per week to stay relevant and keep those SEO numbers high. A content management strategy means you can earmark specific pieces to go live frequently, but you’ll need the plan to keep the ball rolling. If you’re smart, use a project management tool to create a workflow that allows you to stay on target without any tasks falling through the gaps.
In practice, this means creating a monthly or quarterly content calendar with all the topics you want to hit based on your keyword research. Assign fully detailed tasks and include instructions, deadlines, and the right content creator for the job. With automations, you can set each task to go live when you need it with no real-time input from you. This frees up time for you to carefully review each piece and upload it to your knowledge base when it’s ready.
Keeping your position as a market leader requires a kaizen mentality of continuous improvement. You can’t spend every second at your desk looking for ways to modify your approach, but you can schedule quarterly audits into your team calendar and maintain your reputation.
The first step in auditing is similar to when you create a knowledge base in the first place. Head over to your CRM to monitor any changes in customer requests. If you see a marked decrease, congratulations, that’s a win. But if you find a new set of queries, that’s a sign to cover new areas in the following sprints.
You can also gain valuable feedback by tracking your web traffic. Do any of your pages have a worryingly high bounce rate? They’re probably not providing the answer your users want, so adjust the focus of your pages and compare the difference over the next quarter.
These seven steps map out a clear-cut strategy for a knowledge base that works for your users, whether that’s your internal team or your external customers.
But creating and maintaining a knowledge base should be easy for you, too — and that’s where Bitrix24 comes in.
As an all-in-one platform, Bitrix24 allows you to streamline your workflows, saving time and improving quality. From one account, you can access essential tools for your knowledge base, such as:
A comprehensive website builder with tons of knowledge base templates to get you started
A CRM with web analytic integrations to inform your content strategy
Powerful project and task management features to structure your workflows like a pro
So whether you want to reduce the pressure on your customer service team, accelerate your onboarding process, or even reach new audiences with a clever marketing tool, sign up for Bitrix24 today and create a knowledge base your competitors will envy.
The best way to create an internal knowledge base is to customize an existing template. With most of the structural work done, it’s up to you to provide content and continuously improve it to stay relevant and effective.
A knowledge base should include features such as FAQs, tutorials, product details, troubleshooting guides, company policies, and any other information that helps users understand your product or service better.
Examples of knowledge bases can cover a range of functions, such as:
Many of these can cross over, such as customer support and technical documentation, or be used in isolation.
A knowledge base model is a system used to store, manage, and retrieve information. Often incorporated in knowledge base templates, it refers to the format and structure of categories and information for ease of access and excellent user experience.
The best way to structure an internal knowledge base is to segment it by department. Include clear categories and subcategories, and share a visualization of the hierarchy with your entire team for better navigation.