How to Build an Effective Knowledge Base

A knowledge base is not something you can cobble together overnight.

Technically, you just upload a few information documents to a database and call it a day. However, it goes without saying that if you want to improve collaboration and enhance customer support, this is certainly not the best way to solve the problem.

So, if your goal is to build a robust and practical knowledge base that genuinely provides value to your audience, then you must follow some best practices.

That's what we'll dive into here by providing you with six in-depth best practices to help you create and manage the perfect knowledge base.

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1. Determine the purpose of creating a knowledge base

Okay, so we've discussed some of the more important ways your customers (and your organization) can benefit from the knowledge base you create.

But before creating a knowledge base, you need to dig a little deeper. In other words, you must develop a clear purpose for your particular knowledge base.

For example, the focus of creating a Shipt knowledge base is to provide transparency to its audience.

In this knowledge base, Shipt's customers and prospects can learn more about what the actual service is and also gain insight into the logistics behind the company's processes.

The content you write for your knowledge base must be centered around the information your audience needs to know to enhance their overall experience.

To determine what that information is, you need to answer questions such as.

-What are the most common questions our customers ask?

-How do our customers use our products or services?

-What do our customers care about?

It's also worth considering how your knowledge base can complement the efforts of your marketing and sales teams in nurturing leads to conversion. For example, Shipt's knowledge base provides a wealth of information that allows prospects to determine further if they are a "good fit" for the company's services.

Think of it this way.

If you don't provide this information to prospects, they will likely leave your site and never return.

By providing them with the information they need upfront, you will continue to remove any doubts the prospect may have about doing business with your company.

2. Organize your content

While it is important to build a knowledge base that contains a lot of information, it is all for naught if the information is not organized logically.

Now, when we say "logical," what we mean is "in a way that makes sense to the people who will use it. In other words, what is considered a "logical" organization for your knowledge base will depend on your specific use case.

For example, ZoomInfo categorizes the documents of a particular customer based on the "level" at which they use the tool.

Thus, in the "Getting Started" section, there is a range of introductory material, while the "Mastery" section is a bit more in-depth.

Your content categories should be based on a hierarchy that allows your audience to dig deeper and deeper into specific topics with little friction.

In addition to content organization, you want to ensure that the appearance of your knowledge base remains organized from page to page. That is, the structure, look, and "feel" of the knowledge base should always be consistent from page to page.

We'll revisit these two topics later. For now, let's stick to the content of your knowledge base.

3.Collaborative Content Development

As we've discussed on Appcues, the need for cross-team collaboration, generally, is enormous by today's standards.

Creating your knowledge base should include input from team members across departments.

For example, your sales team will know what a prospect needs to know before making a buying decision. With these suggestions in mind, your team can focus on writing knowledge base articles that proactively answer these pressing questions for your prospects.

Focus on customer service and support teams who will have direct knowledge of the most common questions and issues that current customers face when using your product or service. In turn, you will know to develop content to provide guidance to individuals facing these common problems.

Likewise, because your technical team has the most in-depth knowledge of the actual process of using your product or service, their input is critical to creating your knowledge base. Because knowledge base documents are often more technical, the technical team is usually in complete control when making them.

Finally, although knowledge bases are not intended for promotional purposes, your marketing team should be involved in creating them as well. First, like the sales team, your marketing team will know what information to focus on to keep prospects informed and build their trust.

In addition, your marketing team will know how to best present your knowledge base to your target audience in a way that makes them feel welcome and comfortable.

4. Provide a sense of branding

Now, where your marketing and design teams come into play is in presenting your knowledge base.

You want your knowledge base to have enough personality to make your brand stand out without compromising the more functional nature of your database content.

In general, the content of this document is more serious and informative. However, as the second screenshot shows, the Gumroad team isn't afraid to insert their humorous voice when appropriate.

(It's also worth noting that they resume business immediately after a quick "humor break.")

In any case, as we mentioned in the previous section, the content of your knowledge base should be created collaboratively between your technical and creative departments. This way, your technical team can ensure that the information provided is 100% accurate, and your innovative team can ensure that the content reads in a more conversational and dispassionate manner (rather than as if it were written by a robot).

In terms of aesthetic appearance, you want to take a similar approach. That is, you want your knowledge base to be immediately recognizable as your knowledge base, but you don't want your branding to obscure the information contained within.

In short, by including enough branding in your knowledge base, the database itself will exude less of a "textbook" feel - and in turn, your audience will find it more welcoming.


Most people don't browse a knowledge base just to learn about it. When users navigate to your knowledge base, it's because they have a question that needs to be answered.

Maybe it's a first-time customer who wants to return a product and needs more information, or it could be a long-term customer who needs technical support, or it could even be an employee looking for additional information to help with the task at hand.

Whatever the case, you want to make sure your knowledge base users are getting what they need with as little effort as possible.

The main area of concern here is navigation.

Of course, this is closely related to the content organization - but it goes even further. There are various ways to make your knowledge base easier to navigate, such as.

-Tagging your knowledge base articles to improve search functionality

-Internal links to other knowledge base documents (and other branded content) for more information

-Including hierarchical links that allow users to quickly jump back to broader parts of the knowledge base

6. Iterate, iterate, iterate

The last piece of advice we'll leave you with is that you should never consider your knowledge base to be "complete."

As your business grows in various ways, you will need to continue to create and edit certain documents. For example, after launching a new product, you will need to create content for your knowledge base about basic and advanced use and troubleshooting of that product. Or, if your company updates its policies in any way, you will want to reflect those changes in your knowledge base.

You will also want to continue to add to and edit your knowledge base over time, regardless of any changes within your organization.

To do this, you will first need to review your usage metrics and other important information.


-What information do your customers need most

-Which topics lack information

-How to extend more advanced material

Now, when adding documents or extending a topic, it is essential to avoid redundancy as much as possible. Your customers don't want to read the same information on a page that they read on the previous page of the series. So, instead of repeating the same information, simply include links to the documents you are referring to.

On the same wavelength - going back to our first point about defining the purpose of your knowledge base - you want to make sure that every change and improvement you make to your knowledge base is for a good reason.

And whenever you decide to make any improvements, make sure that you do so with your customers in mind.

Use customer support software which contains an efficient knowledge base, ticketing system and Live chat. Minimal cost to enhance customer experience.BClinked