Picture this: your company is a treasure trove of invaluable knowledge, brimming with insights about your customers, products, and business processes. 

But what if this goldmine is concealed in a labyrinth of documents, email threads, and Slack channels? 

To unleash its true potential, you need to do more than just document it; you need a powerful tool that makes this knowledge accessible and actionable for everyone - enter the knowledge base (KB).

A knowledge base is your organization's magic key to unlocking, organizing, managing, and sharing its wealth of information. This treasure chest of wisdom not only empowers your team but also creates a seamless experience for your customers. By investing in a well-structured knowledge base, you're paving the way for exponential growth and success.

Keep reading to learn how to transform your company's wisdom into tangible results. 

In this guide, we're going to discuss:

What is a Knowledge Base?

A knowledge base is a self-service digital portal that organizes and stores a variety of information. This self-serve platform streamlines knowledge sharing and knowledge transfer within an organization. It can take the form of databases, digital libraries, or online document collections, with the key objective of providing easy access to a wealth of information.

Example of a knowledge base from Canopy using Helpjuice's KB software

The contents of a knowledge base can be include:

Types of Knowledge Bases

Knowledge bases serve as powerful resources for a company's customers, internal team members, or even both. Although the content within these knowledge bases may vary based on several factors, their primary goal remains the same: to enable end-users to find solutions to their problems without relying on external assistance. 

Let's explore the two main types of knowledge bases:

External Knowledge Base

An external knowledge base, also known as a self-service library or customer service knowledge base, is a go-to destination for customers seeking comprehensive information about a company's products, services, organization, and industry. This resource empowers customers to resolve their issues independently and efficiently.

Virgin Mobile knowledge base

Internal Knowledge Base

An internal knowledge base, on the other hand, is designed to facilitate collaboration and knowledge sharing among employees. This centralized repository of company information allows team members to access critical resources and streamline internal communication.

An internal knowledge base for a software company may contain detailed documentation on coding practices, product roadmaps, and troubleshooting guides for the development team

Why a Knowledge Base is Important

A knowledge base is essential for providing in-depth, instant, on-demand information from a central repository that can be easily accessed and used by individuals or organizations. By improving the efficiency and effectiveness of an organization, a knowledge base offers a single source of information for multiple users, reduces the time and effort required to access information, and ensures that the information is accurate and relevant.

Now, let’s unpack that a bit by focusing on the benefits a knowledge base provides for a company's customers and its employees. 

External Knowledge Base Benefits for Customers

There are several main benefits to creating a customer-facing knowledge base including:

    1. Improved Customer Satisfaction

Did you know over 60% of US consumers prefer self-service for simple service tasks as opposed to contacting your support team via phone, email, or social?

An organized and user-friendly knowledge base essentially allows customers to dig into the information they're looking for on their own terms, rather than the company’s. There’s no submitting endless tickets to a help desk, or waiting “for the next available representative” or anything of the sort when it comes to knowledge base software. 

This reduction in wait time when trying to resolve an issue can directly lead to improved customer satisfaction.

2. Improved Customer Experience  

Knowledge bases provide immediate assistance, catering to the expectations of modern consumers. By offering self-service options, brands can improve the overall customer experience.

3. Improved Customer Support Abilities

A knowledge base empowers customers to resolve problems at their convenience, any time of the day (or night). It also frees up customer support teams to handle more complex issues.

Internal Knowledge Base Benefits for Employees

As a quick note that probably goes without saying, the above customer-facing benefits, in turn, benefit the company as well, as they inherently lead to enhanced engagement overall. However, there's also specific organizational benefits for companies that implement internal knowledge bases including:

1. Improved Business Efficiency and Productivity 

A centralized, accessible knowledge base reduces downtime, ensuring that employees can access the information they need quickly and focus on their tasks.

2. Enhanced Collaboration and Communication

Creating an internal knowledge base can enhance collaboration and internal communication within an organization by providing a central repository of information that can be easily accessed and shared by all employees. This helps to prevent organizational silos from forming as well as facilitates collaboration on projects by allowing employees to easily access the information they need and share it with their colleagues. 

Additionally, a knowledge base can provide a platform for employees to share their own knowledge and expertise with their colleagues. This can help to promote a culture of knowledge sharing within the organization, which can further enhance communication and cross-team collaboration

3. Improved Knowledge Sharing and Knowledge Transfer

Your various teams can also benefit from creating and using the knowledge base, themselves. Let’s break this down a bit more.

In the first place, creating a knowledge base should be an all-around team effort, requiring knowledge to be shared from members of all departments. 

Once your team has created the knowledge base (and continues to build upon it), they can then begin using it as a central database of information moving forward. This free flow of knowledge will allow all departments to stay “on the same page” when engaging with customers, as it will guarantee the information they provide remains consistent. 

4. Increased Customer Satisfaction

We mentioned earlier that one of the main benefits of an external knowledge base is that it can improve customer satisfaction by making it easy for customers to find troubleshoot their issues on their own time. However, an internal knowledge base can also help with improving customer satisfaction. By making information readily available to customer support representatives, an internal knowledge base can help them to provide better and more timely customer service, which can improve customer satisfaction.

5. Reduced Employee Training and Onboarding Costs

By housing information related to specific topics, a knowledge base reduces the need for extensive training and allows employees to learn and perform their jobs effectively. 

6. Enhanced Knowledge Management Capabilities

Your organization can also begin using your knowledge base as part of your overall knowledge management strategy. For example, you can upload documentation related to training and onboarding processes, proprietary software, and company policies that your staff can access as needed. 

The Role of Knowledge Base Software in Knowledge Management

While there are many types of knowledge management tools available, knowledge base software stands out as the linchpin in the knowledge management process. By providing a structured and accessible means to store and manage an organization's knowledge, a knowledge base ensures that essential information remains easily available and organized.  

It should be noted that knowledge bases goes beyond storage, offering various tools and features such as search functionality, categorization, and tagging to make information easily retrievable. Additionally, they encourage knowledge sharing and dissemination within an organization through collaboration tools, commenting and discussion features, and simple sharing capabilities.

How to Create an Effective Knowledge Base

As you probably have gathered by now, a knowledge base isn’t something you can just put together overnight.

Okay, technically you could just upload a few informational documents into the database and call it a day. Needless to say, though, this certainly isn’t the best way to go about things if you want to improve collaboration and improve your customer support abilities.

So, if your goal is to build a robust and effective knowledge base that actually provides value to your audience, there are a number of best practices you need to follow.

This is what we’re going to dig into here by providing you with six in-depth best practices to help you create and manage the perfect knowledge base.

1. Determine the Purpose of Creating a Knowledge Base

Okay, so we’ve gone over some of the more overarching ways in which your customers (and your organization) can benefit from your creating a knowledge base.

But, before you actually begin creating your knowledge base, you’ll want to dig a bit deeper than this. In other words, you’ll want to have a clearly-defined purpose for your specific knowledge base. 

For example, Shipt’s knowledge base was created with a focus on providing transparency to its audience:

Shipt Knowledge Base Example

Within this knowledge base, Shipt’s customers and prospects can learn more about what the actual service is, and can dig into the logistics behind the company’s processes, as well.   

Now, take a look at the knowledge base Spamexperts created:

Spam Experts Knowledge Base Example

Here, the focus is on onboarding new users and enabling them to get started as quickly as possible.

The point is, the content you write for your knowledge base should revolve around the information your audience needs to know in order to enhance their overall experience. 

To figure out what this information is, you’ll need to answer questions such as:

  • What are some of the most common questions or problems our customers have?
  • 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 terms of nurturing prospects toward a conversion. For example, Shipt’s knowledge base provides a ton of information that allows potential customers to further qualify themselves as a “good fit” for the company’s services.

Shipt's Knowledge Base provides customers with information about the company and its services

Think about it like this:

If you don’t provide this information to your potential customers, there’s a pretty good chance they’ll simply navigate away from your site, never to return. 

By providing the information they need upfront, you’ll continue to remove any doubts your prospects may have about doing business with your company.

2. Organize Content Effectively

While building a knowledge base with an abundance of information is important, it will all be for naught if the information isn’t organized in a logical manner.

Now, when we say “logical,” what we really mean is “in a way that makes sense to the people who will be using it.” In other words, what would be considered “logical” organization for your knowledge base will depend on your specific use cases for it.

For example, ZoomInfo categorizes its documents based on the “level” to which specific customers use the tool.

ZoomInfo Knowledge Base Example

So, within “Getting Started,” there’s a collection of onboarding materials, while the “Mastering” section goes a bit more in-depth:

ZoomInfo contains onboarding materials in its knowledge base

Essentially, your content categories should be based on a hierarchy, allowing your audience to dig deeper and deeper into a specific topic with little to no friction.

Along with the organization of your content, you also want to ensure your knowledge base’s appearance remains organized from page to page. That is, the structure, look, and “feel” of each page of your knowledge base should be consistent throughout. 

We’ll revisit both of these topics in a moment. For now, let’s stick to the content of your knowledge base.

3. Develop Content Collaboratively

As we’ve discussed before on Appcues, the need for cross-team collaboration is huge in general by today’s standards.

And, as we mentioned earlier, this is no more evident than in the creation and maintaining of an effective knowledge base. That is, the creation of your knowledge base should involve input from team members from a variety of departments.

Involving team members from various departments in creating and maintaining your knowledge base ensures comprehensive and accurate content. Sales, customer service, technical, and marketing teams can all contribute valuable insights.

4. Provide a Branded Feel

Your knowledge base should reflect your brand's personality without overshadowing the information within. Collaborate with both technical and creative teams to ensure a balance between accuracy and engaging content.

Take a look at the following knowledge base example from Gumroad:

Knowledge base example from GumRoad

Overall, the content of this document takes a more serious and informational tone. However, as shown in the second screenshot, the Gumroad team isn’t afraid to interject their humorous voice as appropriate.

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 overshadow the information held within.

Take PayrollPanda’s knowledge base, for example...

PayrollPanda's internal knowledge base

...and compare it to the company’s homepage:

While PayrollPanda’s knowledge base is much more “plain” (or, less “busy”) than its homepage, it’s pretty clear within a quick glance that the former is related to the latter. 

5. Prioritize User-Friendliness

The majority of people don't just browse around a knowledge base for the heck of it. When a user navigates to your knowledge base, it’s because they have a question that needs to be answered.

Perhaps it’s a first-time customer who wants to make a return and needs more information; or, it may be a long-time customer in need of technical support; it may even be an employee who is looking for additional information to help with their task at hand.

Whatever the case may be, you want to ensure your knowledge base user is able to get exactly what they need with as little effort as possible.

The main area of focus, here, is navigation. 

This, of course, goes hand-in-hand with content organization—but it goes a step further. There are a number of ways you can make your knowledge base more navigable, such as:

  • Tagging your knowledge base articles to improve search functionality
  • Internally linking to other knowledge base documents (and other branded content) for further information
  • Including hierarchical links, allowing users to quickly jump back to a broader section of your knowledge base

For a prime example of what we’re talking about, here, check out this page from Drop’s knowledge base:

Example knowledge base article from Drop


Not only does this specific page explain exactly what first-time users need to do to get started with the product, but it also provides multiple opportunities for newcomers to dig deeper (whether it be to find the answers to further questions, clarify certain information, or mitigate any problems they experience along the way).

By making your knowledge base easily accessible as well as navigable, you'll end up creating a user-friendly experience that ensures users are able to find the information they need, when they need it.

6. Iterate, Iterate, Iterate

One final piece of advice we’ll leave you with is that you should never consider your knowledge base “complete.”

For starters, you’ll need to continue creating and editing certain documents as your business evolves in various ways. For example, after introducing a new product, you’ll need to create content for your knowledge base regarding basic and advanced use and troubleshooting of said product. Or, if your company updates its policies in any way, you’ll want to reflect these changes in your knowledge base.

You also want to continue adding to and editing your knowledge base over time regardless of whether or not anything changes within your organization. 

To do so, you’ll first want to take a look at your usage metrics and other important info.

Knowledge Base analytics and usage metrics


  • What information is sought most by customers
  • Which topics are lacking in information
  • How you can expand on even your more advanced materials

Now, when adding to a document or expanding on a topic, it’s important to avoid being redundant as best as possible. Your customers don’t want to read the same info on one page that they read on the previous one in the series. So, rather than repeating the same information again, just include a link to the document you’re referring to.

On this same wavelength—and coming full circle to our first point on defining the purpose of your knowledge base—you want to be sure that every change and improvement you make to your knowledge base is done with good reason behind it. 

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

Best Practices for Creating Knowledge Base Articles

Brilliant knowledge base articles empower end users to accomplish whatever goal they set out to do when visiting your knowledge base. This is why there are a few simple best practices to consider when creating your knowledge base articles to ensure that you provide your users with a great experience. 

1. Understand User Pain Points

The basis for your knowledge base articles and the content you're creating should be to enable your users to self serve and find the answers that they're looking for. This requires you to figure out what questions, concerns, and overall pain points your users have in the first place.

Example knowledge base list of categories from Peel

The above example is a knowledge base from ecommerce store Peel. The company understands that most users who are using their knowledge base will have questions centered around their order such as how to find the order status or more information regarding policies related to warranty as well as returns and exchanges. 

2. Use a Consistent and Clear Structure

A consistent and clear structure for the knowledge base can make it easier for users to find the information they need. This can include using a hierarchical structure for organizing information, using clear and descriptive labels for categories and subcategories, and using tags and keywords to help with search functionality.

3. Optimize Content Easy for Skimming

Users want solutions quickly. Break up your text with headings, subheadings, bolded text, and bullet points to make your knowledge base content easily skimmable.

Example knowledge base article that's easy to skim due to headings and bold empasis on text

4. Make Use of Visuals

Speaking of making content easy to skim, you also want to make the content easy to understand. And you know what they say - an image is worth 1,000 words and videos… well they're worth a lot more, so make sure to use visuals when you can to help explain the content you're writing about.

Shipt's knowledge base makes use of visuals like a video to explain how their service works

5. Keep Your Knowledge Base Up-To-Date

It is important to regularly review and update the information in the knowledge base to ensure that it remains accurate and relevant. This can include regularly reviewing the information to identify any outdated or inaccurate information and making updates as needed.

6. Encourage Feedback and Measure User Satisfaction

In order to continually improve your knowledge base and make it as useful as possible for your users, it is essential to gather feedback from them. Encourage users to provide feedback on your knowledge base articles, whether it's through a simple rating system, comment section, or even an email address where they can send their thoughts.  

Measuring user satisfaction can also help you identify areas that may need improvement. By tracking metrics such as the number of views, time spent on the page, and user ratings, you can gain insights into which articles are most helpful and which may need revisions.

7. Optimize Your Knowledge Base for Search

One of the main ways users will find information in your knowledge base is through search. It is crucial to optimize your knowledge base for search, both internally and externally. This means using relevant keywords and phrases, writing clear and concise article titles, and including descriptive meta tags. By making it easier for users to find the information they need through search, you can reduce the time and effort they spend looking for answers and improve their overall experience with your knowledge base.

8. Make it Easy to Find

In order to make it as easy as possible for users to find and access your knowledge base, you should provide multiple access points. This can include linking to your knowledge base from your website's main navigation, within your product or service, and in any relevant marketing or support materials. By making your knowledge base easily accessible, you can ensure that users are able to quickly find the information they need and encourage them to make use of this valuable resource.

9. Continuously Monitor and Improve Your Knowledge Base

Building an effective knowledge base is an ongoing process that requires regular monitoring, evaluation, and improvement. By keeping a close eye on user feedback, usage metrics, and industry best practices, you can identify opportunities for improvement and make the necessary updates to your knowledge base. This continuous improvement process will help ensure that your knowledge base remains a valuable resource for your users and contributes to the overall success of your organization. 

Case Study: Boosting Customer Self-Service with Helpjuice – A Story from Javier, Head of Customer Care Planning at Virgin Mobile 

In the ever-evolving telecommunications market, we at Virgin Mobile realized that customer behavior was changing rapidly. Our customers needed quick, self-service solutions for their inquiries, and our existing knowledge base wasn't cutting it. Our click rate for self-service was under 5%, and we knew we had to do better. 

We began searching for a data-driven, SEO-friendly solution that could help us identify weaknesses in our knowledge base and deliver fresh, up-to-date content. That's when we discovered Helpjuice. 

After implementing Helpjuice, we saw a dramatic improvement – our self-service rate increased by 40% (to 45%). Helpjuice enabled us to create a community-focused, self-service tool that provided accurate information across all channels. We could now assign multiple users and permissions, empowering our agents and teams to create and update content, and improve the customer experience. 

Why did we choose Helpjuice? It's simple. Helpjuice offered a dedicated, centralized knowledge base that aimed to improve customer experience. Their robust analytics, data reports, and SEO-friendly capabilities allowed us to make informed decisions about our content. Plus, their IT support and customization services helped us tailor the product to our unique needs. 

Since implementing Helpjuice, our self-service rate has skyrocketed, and our agents and teams have been empowered to create and update content seamlessly. The customization support and fast response times have made a world of difference. 

Empower your customers and employees with an effective knowledge base platform like Virgin Mobile did. Experience the benefits of Helpjuice by signing up for a 14-day free trial and transform your customer experience today.


We've gathered some of the most frequently asked questions about knowledge bases below:

What should a knowledge base include?

A knowledge base serves as your information fortress, storing, organizing, and sharing vital information about your company and its products or services. 

What is the purpose of a knowledge base?

An external knowledge base is your customer support superhero, scaling support efforts and helping users solve problems without opening a ticket. An internal knowledge base is your employees' go-to source for company knowledge.

Why is a knowledge base important?

With a knowledge base, you can allow your customers to help themselves, thus reducing your customer support by up to 60%. Further more, you can also have your employees and team members get instant answers to the questions they need without having to email themselves all using knowledge base software.