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3 Crucial tips to create a searchable knowledge base

by Casey Schmidt  |  February 25, 2020

3 min. read
The word 'knowledge' on a book.

Companies are realizing the amazing benefits of having a knowledge base for their customers and team members to access. This process may begin with an extensive FAQ but eventually it becomes obvious that a searchable knowledge base would be more helpful. This is a guide that offers up three unique tips to creating a searchable platform. First, let’s touch up on the concept of a knowledge base.

What is a knowledge base?

A knowledge base lets companies store information digitally for reference. It gives team members and customers the chance to share and search data in a centralized location. It acts as a hub that answers common questions. This is important because it not only increases your perceived expertise but also feeds customers answers quickly and removes the human element from the equation. This saves time and resources.

A digital Earth representation.
A searchable knowledge base is like a centralized space for information.

With this in mind, a searchable knowledge base is simply the above with a functioning search option within it. Here are three crucial details to help you turn your system into a searchable knowledge base.

1. Style and themes matter!

When creating a searchable knowledge base, we tend to forget about the style and layout of our tools. Remember that there will likely be current and future customers as well as clients using this system. We not only want it to be accessible for them but also to draw attention to our professionalism through aesthetics. Part of the reason a knowledge base is so important is it demonstrates our expertise in a certain area.

Another key issue of style is the accentuation of what’s most important. If you want your customers to immediately recognize certain FAQ questions, consider making their color standout. Similarly, if the search function is your main draw in your knowledge base, make it stand out visually. Consider putting the most important search options at the top of the page or make them larger in font size.

A blue pattern.
Color schemes and other layouts are more important than you think.

2. Continuous re-working is a must

Searches in your knowledge base are only as good as the content and answers being fed to the site. For this reason, it’s vital you have a plan in place to update your base periodically. Without a concrete plan, you’re likely to fall behind. Make sure there’s a set time and date, such as 9am every Monday. The more firm your re-working schedule is, the more efficient your knowledge base will be.

Remember that no matter how well you construct your knowledge base, time will make it obsolete. We no longer consult dictionaries from twenty years ago when we want the most accurate definitions of a word. The same principle applies here. The more often we’re able to refine our searchable knowledge base, the more helpful it will be. This will ultimately make you look much more professional.

A group of blocks placed on a figure's head.
Create an efficient schedule and periodically check it.

3. Content is key

Certainly, if your tagging and keywording is off, the content won’t be found anyway. However, it’s important that the content is solid and accurate as well. The two things (smart tags and content) are mutually beneficial and build off one another. Make sure your content within the base is accurate, adheres to certain keywords and stands out to anyone who accesses it.

Another thing to consider when adding content is the audience and their desired connection levels. For example, let’s say that you are building a knowledge base and you construct an answer for a question about your company’s security procedures. If this information is for certain eyes only, construct it that way and add restrictions so that only particular users can access this answer. Reserve more broad or less intrusive answers in the knowledge base for your lower security clearance individuals.

Your knowledge base is only as good as its search functionality. Not all knowledge bases need search but the ones that do should do it correctly. Position your search function effectively to efficiently meet your customer and client needs.