Does your website need an online knowledge base?

Does your website need an online knowledge base?

online_knowledge_base_technical_writing_digital_library_shutterstock_252438103If you’re a tech platform, product manufacturer or ecommerce retailer, an online knowledge base could be a great addition to your website. Including all the ‘how to’ information your customers need in one place not only builds trust, it means that your customers won’t have to bother you with calls and emails, reducing your customer service overheads.

The information customers need

Many websites don’t provide enough ‘how to’ information – information that helps customers to use their software, purchase items through their ecommerce platform or make the most of products they have bought. But including all this information on the sales page of your website just makes things look cluttered, and there’s no place for it on your blog either – that’s why you need a dedicated area for customers to find the answers they need; an online knowledge base.

Who’s doing it well?

There are already some websites out there that have well-designed online knowledge bases.

Example one: Freeagent

Accounting software Freeagent’s knowledge base is simple to navigate and includes a wealth of financial help-topic information for customers.

Online knowledge base example 1 - FreeAgent

Example two: Amazon

Online shopping giant Amazon know about keeping customers happy. Their online knowledge base includes a prominent search function, as well as suggested help topics, making it easier for browsers to find exactly what they’re looking for.

Online knowledge base example 2 - Amazon

What features should a good online knowledge base have?

In order to fulfil its purpose, your knowledge base needs to have a few key features:

  • A clear layout
  • The right information
  • Carefully considered titles
  • Frequently updated content
  • Multimedia content (where appropriate)

Let’s look at each of these in a little more detail.

A clear layout

This is one of the most important things to consider when creating a technical knowledge base. It should be easy for customers to find what they’re looking for – so ensure your knowledge base has a clear layout and links that work. Include a search box in a prominent location, to make it even quicker for users to find the information they require.

The right information

What’s a good knowledge base without the right information? Genuinely useful information that customers are actively searching for is the key. One way to find out what information your customers need is to ask them, using social media – or look at search queries on your site for inspiration.

Carefully considered titles

All this information won’t benefit your customers if they can’t find what they need. Carefully written titles which use easy-to-understand language and keywords that people may be searching for are important. Titles should be specific enough to let users know they have found what they’re looking for, just from the title.

Frequently updated content

Your online knowledge base needs to be updated regularly to ensure it contains relevant information. Out-of-date information can frustrate customers and means they’ll need to contact you. Make sure you continuously create and review content to keep things up-to-date.

Multimedia content

Including short ‘how-to’ videos is a great way to give customers the information they need, and it can help to explain complicated issues. If you don’t want to include videos, try using screenshots as visual aids to help solve customer problems.

Conclusion – a useful tool

An online knowledge base can be a great addition to your website if you find you’re spending a lot of time resolving customer queries over the phone or by email. Including a wealth of relevant information in one place increases customer satisfaction and makes your life easier too!