How to Create a Knowledge Base? – A Thorough Guide
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Knowledge Bases are crucial for modern-day organizations. Every online business whether small or big needs a knowledge base to function successfully in the current day market.
Creating a knowledge base is a delicate and complex task. This blog will take you through the basics of a knowledge base and give you a step by step guide of what you must do to create a detailed and fully functional knowledge base. So sit back, relax, and learn everything you must know to create a knowledge base.
What is a Knowledge Base?
A knowledge base is a collection of self-serving information that can be both structured and unstructured depending on its functionalities. The term knowledge base was coined to differentiate a collection of information from a database. The original knowledge bases were usually a store of unstructured data that was used by expert systems for reference.
It contained data that would tell a system on what to do with a database. Modern knowledge bases adapt to this basic principle with a few tweaks. Modern knowledge bases are used to collect all the relevant information about a product/service/function and store under a single source.
And unlike the old knowledge bases, modern knowledge bases are meant to be accessible to people that can use them to understand features and functionalities, refer for help, and find out information.
Modern knowledge bases can be designed in two ways. They can be designed around Artificial Intelligence like chatbots that use the knowledge base to give the users the information that they’re looking for. Or they can be indexed encyclopedias that users can access themselves to look through and find what they need.
Knowledge bases can be divided into two broad categories:
- Internal Knowledge Base
- External Knowledge Base
The difference between the two is simple. Internal KBs deal with information that is circulated inside an organization. An example of an internal KB is the employee rulebook. External KBs are the knowledge bases that are accessible to customers and clients. They usually exist over the Internet. An example is a product instruction manual.
The Applications of Knowledge Bases
Knowledge Base can be used to store a variety of information. Given below is a list of various information stores that can be made with knowledge bases.
- Help Center
- Backend of a Chatbot
- Instruction Manual
- Self-Help Guide
- Employee Guidebook
- Employee Rulebook
- Internal Management Policies
- Rules and Privacy Policies
- Terms & Conditions
How to Create a Knowledge Base
The steps given below stay the same no matter what software you use. Creating a knowledge base can be divided into 3 parts.
Let us discuss all of these steps in detail.
The first part of creating a knowledge base is planning. Here’s everything that is a part of planning.
- Define the purpose
- Conduct thorough research
Once you have defined the purpose for your knowledge base, you must begin researching. A good knowledge base has a defined and rigorous structure. It lays out every piece of information logically. To understand it better, check out the knowledge bases of industry-leading companies. It will give you a good idea of what your knowledge base must look like.
You need to ensure that you give your customers the right answers in the right place. A knowledge base requires nuance and depth. It may be a store of text and images but think of your knowledge base as a good book with no plot holes.
- Group your content
Your knowledge base will be continuous and alive. With time more and more information will be added to it. However, you must first define basic information.
Let us explain this with an example. If you are creating a knowledge base about a product, your first draft of the knowledge base will include information about the most basic and most used features and functionalities of your product grouped around a specific defining trait. So if your knowledge base is about a bicycle, a content group about its pedals would include everything from the pedal structure to the mechanism of the pedal. A content group can have multiple sub-groups.
You begin with the most basic features/functionalities. Once these are defined, you can start going deeper into your product and defining the less used features. Use this method to create multiple content groups. Divide the information under headings and subheadings logically. For example, functionalities that help ‘create’ something in your product must be put under a create heading.
- Assign the work
Content and design are the two major components of a knowledge base. Hire or assign a writer who can explain it in the simplest way possible. The easier your content is to understand, the better your knowledge base is. The purpose of designers is to make the interface attractive and intuitive to use. If you are looking for a knowledge base software, give Appy Pie Knowledge a try.
The knowledge base you are creating will be dedicated to a single purpose. Define the purpose properly. Usually, it is to provide a self-serving guide but knowledge bases can also be created for chatbots and live chat agents. This is why defining the purpose of your knowledge base is important.
Once your plan is in place, the next step is to implement it. This part of a knowledge base creation is a must-read for your writers and designers.
- Creating a Table of Contents
Once you’ve decided on how to group your content, you should begin creating a table of contents. One challenge you will run into is that content belonging to different groups may end up being related. There will be some groups that will be mutually inclusive meaning they affect each other. There will also be content that will be ambiguous and likely belong to more than one group.
This can get overbearing but a good software will make it easier and the blog you’re currently reading will tell you what you need to do. For content that is related or mutually inclusive, use internal linking to link them together. For content that belongs in two groups, a simple title redirection will work.
Do remember that no matter how good your TOC is, there will be certain trade-offs you will have to make. Try to futureproof your table of contents as much as you can. If you are creating a knowledge base for content that will not change with time, you might not need to worry about future-proofing.
- Writing the Content
Writing content for a knowledge base is easy. Take the simplest path possible. Write content that is easy to understand and follow. Include relevant images and screenshots where necessary. Use a step-by-step process to explain procedures. Don’t add big blocks of text in your knowledge base unless necessary. For titling the articles of a knowledge base that are meant as a self-guide, choose between ‘How to’ or ‘How do I’.
- Designing a Knowledge Base Interface
Designing a knowledge base should be a logical process. Just like content, it should be simple. If you are on a tight budget, you can use simple color-coding to differentiate various content groups. If your budget allows it, using vector image representations and unique icons can be an option on the table. Your knowledge base should be geared towards intuitiveness.
- Launching Your Knowledge Base
Once the content and design for your knowledge base are ready, it is time to launch it. Do remember to include a feedback section for every user to try. Feedback for your knowledge base will tell you how to tweak it to enhance the experience.
Maintaining a knowledge base is easy. Knowledge bases serving as indexed encyclopedias, will rarely need maintenance. However, for guide books and manuals, maintenance may be a semi-regular thing. Maintenance on a knowledge base for a regularly updated product is a continuous process.
All in all, the ease of maintenance comes down to how well you grouped your content. A knowledge base with a well-designed and future-proofed table of contents will be easier to maintain and update.
Tips to Make Your Knowledge Base Better
You’ve created your knowledge base and it is appreciated by your customers. Further, your knowledge base has made customer support easier. Despite all that, there are little things you can do to make your knowledge base better. Here’s a few tips:
Internally link wherever it is relevant. Internal linking can improve both the rankings of your knowledge base pages and also make them more accessible. Internal linking is especially beneficial for massive knowledge stores.
Create a related section at the bottom of your articles. The related section can contain articles about similar features and topics. It can significantly improve user experience.
Use graphics wherever possible. Pictures and screenshots can help make your knowledge base better and easier to understand.
Listen to user feedback and make improvements immediately.
Add a dash of fun. Knowledge bases can be drab and look daunting to the average user. Add vector graphics and button-like interfaces to enhance the experience.
To summarize, the success of your knowledge base depends on how well you have grouped your content. That is the meat of the process. Everything else can be changed if it doesn’t match but poor grouping can doom your knowledge base and turn it into a haphazard mess.
That being said, if you want to create a knowledge base with ease and speed up the process of knowledge base creation, we welcome you to try Appy Pie Knowledge. Appy Pie’s knowledge base software is currently being beta tested. What sets it apart from other popular software is that it is based on modern design themes and optimized to make content grouping easier. Check it out!
6 Steps to Create a Simple Knowledge Base – Salesforce.com
What is a Knowledge Base – Altassian
Knowledge Base – Wikipedia