Best Knowledge Base Solutions in 2021

by Adarsh Raj Bhatt
view of floating open book from stacked books in library

What is a Knowledge Base?

A knowledge base is a comprehensive database for storing, organizing, and sharing data. Used externally, your customers can use knowledge base software to educate themselves about anything they need to know regarding a startup’s products or services, its organization, or industry.

However, an internal knowledge base is often used to allow employees to interact and share all resources and insights internally.

While the content of individual knowledge bases varies depending on a number of variables, the majority of them often contain advice on topics like:

  • How to get started with certain products
  • How increased functionality can enhance product/service performance
  • How to solve commonly experienced challenges

How to Create a Knowledge Base?

#1: Select core elements of your knowledge base

Carefully select the core elements of your knowledge base if you’re building it from scratch. 

If you utilize a knowledge base structure that is pre-designed, it'll almost certainly include all of the essential elements. The content then becomes your sole responsibility.

#2: Choose your knowledge base content

There is no need for time-consuming customer or behavioral research if you choose to begin with these two tips: 

  • Basics: Answer any and all questions a random stranger could have regarding your startup or product.
  • Getting started: Envision a step-by-step breakdown of the onboarding and registration process a consumer goes through when they first use your service or product.

Then, within distinct parts of your knowledge management repository, you can delve further into the areas you need to discuss.

#3: Decide the structure of the knowledge base articles

Prioritize upgrading the architecture of your “help and support content” first. 

  • Create a simple knowledge base layout that you can use for all (or most) of your articles.
  • Secondly, give customers' processes and use cases a high priority. The majority of your knowledge base content most likely features a specific procedure that the user must follow. 
  • The final challenge is to preserve effective communication across the knowledge base.

#4: Create your knowledge base articles

When creating the actual content for your articles, keep your language in mind to maximize the effectiveness of your knowledge base. In order to have an optimal experience with your startup's knowledge base, your customers must be able to understand the content.

Even if it makes sense to you, avoid using complex terminology or business jargon. It's possible that the reader has never seen this information before. Make it easy for them.

#5: Incorporate visuals in your content

Screenshots of newer products to demonstrate how they function are the most obvious form of imagery to include in the knowledge base. However, you can experiment with tutorial videos, GIFs, and anything else you think might add value to your content.

#6: Improve and Review your articles continuously

The efficacy (or lack of) of your knowledge base should be evaluated on a regular basis to understand where you can grow. The following are a few examples of what to track:

  • Consumer satisfaction improvements
  • Ticket volume reductions

What should you look for when choosing vendors in this space?

#1: Organizing and keeping content up-to-date in one portal 

The content will be worth nothing if it is ignored. 

You must be a proactive custodian of your information to ensure that it continues to meet the needs of your startup's customers. Building and maintaining a robust client base means making informative, credible and well-organized content readily available to your customers.

#2: Great search capabilities

A robust search engine is an important aspect of any effective knowledge base solution. 

You may have used categories to organize your information properly, but few users will be able to navigate and locate the knowledge base posts that way. It is your search function that should be the initial point of interaction with users.

#3: SEO optimization

Refining a startup's knowledge base for SEO is crucial for the creation of a better framework for content. 

Users will have greater access to information as a result of this. The utilization of content clusters streamlines and renders the information base more accessible, resulting in improved user experience (UX).

#4: Help widget

Feedback widgets can be linked to your knowledge base, allowing for a higher degree of self-service. It can auto-suggest responses and pre-populate data in forms as clients fill them out. Clients often like the ability to assist themselves - and help widgets facilitate that.

#5: Chat support

Customers benefit from live chat knowledge base assistance since it not only helps them get answers quickly, but also helps them get consistent responses. This contributes to a better customer experience with your startup.

#6: Integrations

Customer support employees can discover relevant and up-to-date information when utilizing an integrated knowledge base, allowing them to respond to consumers quickly and efficiently.

Top Knowledge Base Solutions in 2021

Hubspot

Description: Marketing, sales, and service software that helps your startup grow without compromise.

Best for: Startups that use Hubspot for their CRM and marketing already

Pricing: Starts at $360 per month

Evaluation of key criteria:

  • Organizing and keeping content up-to-date in one portal: Yes
  • Great search capabilities in and outside platform: Yes
  • SEO optimization: Self serve, SEO optimized knowledge base
  • Help widget: Available
  • Chat support: Available
  • Integration: Slack integration -- more than just notifications, allows back and forth and ticketing from Slack itself

Pros

  • The knowledge base and customer feedback surveys help you deliver an exceptional service experience.
  • Knowledge base to store support assets

Cons: Expensive: Knowledge base is part of the Professional package which is $360 per month

GrooveHQ

Description: Allows you to build out a CMS directly from your Groove account. 

Best for: Useful if you want a knowledge base and customer success tool in one place with user-friendly functionality that's useful for startups.

Pricing: Starts at $12 per user per month

Evaluation of Key Criteria:

  • Organizing and keeping content up-to-date in one portal: Yes
  • Great search capabilities in and outside platform: Yes
  • SEO optimization: SEO optimized knowledge base
  • Help widget: Available
  • Chat support: Available
  • Integration: Slack integration -- for notifications only

Pros

  • Easy-to-use setup 
  • Mobile friendly 

Cons: The user interface can be slow at times

Document360

Description: The Knowledge Base Platform, engineered for growing startups

Best for: Rapidly growing startups

Pricing: Starts at $49 per mo with 1 user account (14-day free trial)

Evaluation of Key Evaluation:

  • Organizing and keeping content up-to-date in one portal. Create up to six levels of categories and subcategories to organize and display groups of similar topics, and easily rearrange or move them with a simple drag-and-drop UI.
  • Great search capabilities in and outside platform: Available
  • SEO optimization: SEO optimized knowledge base 
  • Help widget: Available
  • Chat support: Available
  • Integration: Slack integration -- more than notifications, allows back and forth and ticketing from Slack itself

Pros: 

  • Great software to help increase your knowledge
  • Very inexpensive

Cons: It can be hard to set up with other applications. 

Zendesk

Description: Zendesk makes customer service better. They build software to meet customer needs, set your team up for success, and keep your startup in sync.

Best for: Powerful and flexible, and scales to meet the needs of any startup.

Pricing: $19 per user per month

Evaluation of Key Criteria:

  • Organizing and keeping content up-to-date in one portal: You must be a Guide Admin to add and edit sections and categories.
  • Great search capabilities in and outside platform: Available.
  • SEO optimization: Available 
  • Help widget: Available
  • Chat support: Available
  • Integration: The Slack for Zendesk Support is a Built by Zendesk integration that connects a single Zendesk subdomain to a Slack workspace. 

Pros:

  • Maintain logs of customer interactions
  • Ease of creation of tickets

Cons: Sorting feature on tickets could use some improvement

HelpJuice

Description: Knowledge base software designed from the ground up to help you scale your customer support, and collaborate better with your team.

Best for: From small startups to Fortune 500 Companies

Pricing:

  • Startup: Monthly $120 up to 4 Users
  • Run-Up: Monthly $200 up to 16 Users
  • Premium Limited: Monthly $289 up to 60 Users

Evaluation of Key Criteria: 

  • Organizing and keeping content up-to-date in one portal: Easy authoring and content formatting
  • Great search capabilities in and outside platform: Search functionality from a user point of view is good
  • SEO optimization: Optimized For SEO
  • Help widget: Available
  • Chat support: Available
  • Integration: Integrated with Jira, Hubspot, etc. 

Pros:  They provide a full customization service to change the look of the knowledge base per your product's design.

Cons: Admin dashboard could use a few more features and tweaks.

Slite

Description: Free knowledge base software for your team

Best for: Slite targets distributed- small and medium-sized startups looking for a smarter solution to organize and share content.

Pricing:

  • Free: $0
  • Standard: $6.67 per member per month
  • Enterprise: Customized quote

Evaluation of Key Criteria

  • Organizing and keeping content up-to-date in one portal: Yes
  • Great search capabilities in and outside platform: Search functionality from a user point of view is good.
  • SEO optimization: Not offered
  • Help widget: Unavailable
  • Chat support: Yes
  • Integration: Share docs directly from Slite to Slack channels. Search for Slite docs and share them directly from Slack using "/slite".

Pros: Collaborative writing, feedback, and sharing

Cons: Lack of offline support 

Confluence

Description: Confluence is your remote-friendly team workspace where knowledge and collaboration meet.

Best for: All kinds of functional departments of any size 

Pricing: 

  • Free: $0 (Always free for 10 users)
  • Standard: $5 per user (average) $50 a month
  • Premium: $10 per user (average) $100 a month
  • Enterprise: Enterprise plan pricing is available when you enter 801 or more users above

Evaluation of Key Criteria: 

  • Organizing and keeping content up-to-date in one portal: Use your personal space as a sandbox to organize your notes. 
  • Great search capabilities in and outside platform: Organize and find pages easily with advanced search, labels, and an intuitive page hierarchy.
  • SEO optimization: Search Engine Optimization made easy to help your Confluence pages rank well in organic search results.
  • Help widget: Unavailable
  • Chat support: Yes
  • Integration: Integrated with Jira and Trello

Pros: Any time updates are made, collaborators are notified

Cons: Dependency on plugins

Helpcrunch

Description: Provides a helpful online knowledge base for 24/7 customer self-service. 

Best for: Perfect for online startups (SaaS, e-commerce, and others) of all sizes that want to close more deals in real-time, decrease support costs, and grow faster.

Pricing: 

  • Standard: $12 per team member per month billed annually
  • Premium: $20 per team member per month billed annually
  • Enterprise: Customized quote

Evaluation of Key Criteria: 

  • Organizing and keeping content up-to-date in one portal: Easily keep your knowledge base up to date with HelpCrunch.
  • Great search capabilities in and outside platform: Available
  • SEO optimization: Easily optimize your help content for search engines and social media to help it rank high. 
  • Help widget: Available
  • Chat support: Yes
  • Integration:  Integrated with Slack, WordPress, Magento, Google Tag Manager, etc. 

Pros: The tags, filters, automated messaging, and pop-ups are the best way to keep potential customers engaged and achieve higher productivity.

Cons: Lack of some basic functionality at lower pricing levels 

Help Scout

Description: Reduce your support volume by at least 20 percent with a knowledge base that's designed for customer self-service. 

Best for: Startups, small and large, that insist on a delightful customer experience

Price

  • Standard: $25 per user per month
  • Plus: $40 per user per month
  • Company: Enterprise

Evaluation of Key Criteria: 

  • Organizing and keeping content up-to-date in one portal: Offers features that make it easy for your team to publish and organize content.
  • Great search capabilities in and outside platform: Available
  • SEO optimization: Available
  • Help widget: Available using the Beacon Builder
  • Chat support: Yes
  • Integration: Integrated with Jira

Pros: 

  • Ease of use
  • Responsive support team

Cons: If an article is uncategorized, it is not searchable in the knowledge base.

LiveAgent

Description: Empower your customers to help themselves and make the daily routine of your agents easier by creating a smart and customizable knowledge base.

Best for: SMBs

Pricing: 

  • Free: $0 per agent per month
  • Ticket: $15 per agent per month
  • Ticket+Chat: $29 per agent per month
  • All-inclusive: $39 per agent per month

Evaluation of Key Criteria: 

  • Organizing and keeping content up-to-date in one portal: LiveAgent offers customization options, the ability to create organized structures, and lets you add new content easily. 
  • Great search capabilities in and outside platform: Available
  • SEO optimization: Available
  • Help widget: Available
  • Chat support: Yes
  • Integration: Lets you integrate your social media channels into LiveAgent

Pros: 

  • Easy to handle and integrate.
  • Live chat + help desk in the same solution

Cons: Reporting features could be enhanced to allow for more detailed and less generic reports.

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