8 Tips for Writing Effective Help Center Knowledge Base Articles

Posted on 10 Jul 2016

An effective knowledge base is critical for users on your site and your company. When customers can find the answers to their queries easily in your Help Center, they get immediate resolution, increasing overall customer satisfaction. A quality knowledge base also reduces the number of calls and emails that must be fielded, letting representatives better assist customers who have complex problems that can't be addressed by an online knowledge base.

To experience the benefits of a quality knowledge base, you have to know how to write for your Help Center.

1. Write for the Audience

Remember that your customers are not always experts -- but sometimes they are. When writing for general audiences, make sure you define industry-specific terms and provide information in a simple, easy-to-follow format. When writing for expert audiences, keep things concise and avoid providing information the reader already knows.

2. Use Keywords and Tags

Identify keywords a Help Center visitor might use to find a specific article and include those phrases in the content. Add the phrases as tags so that the article is fully searchable in the Zendesk architecture of your site. Use topics and keywords to organize articles in subsections and menus so users have multiple options for browsing content.

3. Use Template Structures

Use templates when writing multiple articles to create consistency and reduce the work of layout and publishing. Common templates might include FAQ pages, how-to articles, complex question-and-answer pages, glossaries and list articles.

4. Include Various Media Types

When possible, customize Help Center pages to include various media to meet the needs of different learner types. Use elements such as callout boxes to emphasize information or create white space to make content easier to digest.

5. Link Between Relevant Articles

Avoid trying to do too much in one article. Readers can only retain a certain amount of knowledge in one sitting, and lengthy articles that cover multiple topics can become cumbersome and confusing. Instead, create Help Center articles on very specific topics and cross-link between related topics so readers can choose to continue learning or not. This is also helpful because it lets you build a greater volume in your Help Center without more writing.

6. Allow Article Comments

Generate feedback you can use to make future Help Center content better by allowing article comments from your users. Article comments can also act as a place where users can share additional information with each other.

7. Convert Help Center Tickets to Content

Keep your knowledge base in line with actual user needs by basing content on the questions that come in via user tickets. If questions are common in tickets, then your Help Center isn't doing a good job of providing that information in the knowledge base.

8. Create a Perfect Structure

Structure your knowledge base to enhance user experience. Make use of existing Zendesk Help Center architecture, and expand on that with themes from Lotus Themes that provide user-friendly templates that make it easier for readers to digest article information.

Taking the time to create effective knowledge base articles helps you build trust with site visitors and can position you as an expert in your industry.

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