Technical writing tends to provide you with the relevant content for your product or service; however, there’s always the question of getting that content to the people. That’s where a knowledge base software comes in.
Knowledge management software are an easy way to bring all your technical documentation and content in one place. It can be used by both your customers and your employees.
Today, using knowledge base software has become a necessity rather than an option.
In this article, we’ll go over what knowledge base software is and the six best knowledge base software you can use in 2021.
Let’s get started.
What Exactly Are Knowledge Base Software?
Knowledge base software, otherwise known as knowledge management software (or help desk software), are programs that help you develop a knowledge base for your audience and team members.
The knowledge base is a database (sometimes known as a wiki) for knowledge sharing and management. It’s the one place where all the relevant information regarding your product, service, and the company can be found, along with answers to typical questions and queries.
Some companies consider them to be self-help or self-service portals. That’s because they’re available 24/7, provide faster customer support, and takes some load off the customer support team. The best part about knowledge base software is that you have all your information in one place. Furthermore, you achieve customer service automation and additional organic visits on your website.
There are a lot of knowledge base software in the market today. However, here are some typical features that are present or should be present in all of them.
- Straightforward text editor
- Developing custom reports
- Adding categories, sections, and folders
- A wide array of customization options
- Search feature
- Multilingual support
- SEO support
Using a knowledge base software with the features above, you can create an online knowledge base for your customers and team. That way, the next time someone searches for a specific query, they would find your knowledge base/database first.
That’s another reason why you should specifically focus on discoverability. Some companies develop internal knowledge bases for their employees; in that case, discoverability isn’t a factor. However, if you’re building external knowledge bases, you should put in a sizeable effort into making it user-friendly and easy to find.
6 Top Knowledge Base Software You Can Use Today
For organizations of all sizes, it’s crucial to have a complete CRM (Customer Relationship Management) process. That’s how you ensure a great customer experience and maximum customer satisfaction.
The best way to achieve great CRM is to use a knowledge management system. It’s especially for small businesses and startups that can’t afford to hire entire support teams and support agents. The ideal way is to use knowledge base tools to write multiple knowledge base articles and develop a directory.
An internal knowledge base ensures that all support requests and support tickets can be immediately handled. However, you also need a proper content management system to make sure your knowledge base is easy to access and use.
That’s where the following knowledge base software come in.
Built to provide a seamless user experience, HelpJuice is designed to help you develop an easy-to-navigate knowledge base. The text editor has several features and tools that are designed to be intuitive, straightforward, and offer complete customization.
Collaboration features ensure that multiple technical writers and authors can work on the same article without overlapping each other’s work.
The best thing about the software is that you can set up various levels of access for the knowledge base, including the following.
- Public – This access is for the general customers and public and can be accessed by practically anyone.
- URL-Based – If you create URL-based access, only people with the URL can access the knowledge base.
- Internal – This access is for internal employees and team members for everyone within the department or organization.
- Specific Users – You can also set up access for specific users so only they can access the knowledge base or a specific part of it.
Other than that, you can also take advantage of multiple pre-made templates for the content. The fully customizable templates save you the time spent on designing, formatting, and management.
Furthermore, the software has knowledge base analytics that lets you track the performance of your articles. You can check out different metrics, use graphs, check out common search terms, author activity, and more.
Pros and Cons & Pricing
As a startup or small business, it’s safe to say you can’t spend a hefty amount on support systems. In that case, HelpJuice is a great option for developing a knowledge base for passive support.
- Complete appearance customization options
- Wide text editor functionality
- Individual options for internal and external knowledge bases
- Complete analytics and reports development systems
- No third-party integrations
- Relatively high prices
- Basic subscription plan with 4 users - $120 per month
- Premium account with unlimited users - $660 per month
If you want to learn more about HelpJuice, you can do so here.
A little old-fashioned compared to HelpJuice, ProProfs is a robust knowledge base software that offers a ton of tools to users. That includes things like training makers, live chat, brain games development, and more.
However, their text editor is designed for people who are used to typical text software like Microsoft Word. It’s set up to mimic Word as technical writers and authors are more comfortable with it. Along with a familiar UI, it has several styling, formatting, and editing tools.
For people used to newer word formatting styles like the block editor from WordPress may feel that it’s a little outdated. However, other options and features from ProProfs make it worthwhile. For example, you can directly make your knowledge base available for search engines, so you can develop and specify meta descriptions for each article and page.
Most importantly, you can import docs and files, and you can track up to 30-page revisions.
Other than that, you can choose from a variety of knowledge base themes and customize them with your brand logo, color scheme, and more. You’ll find specific templates and samples for wikis, technical documentation, user manuals, internal knowledge bases, and more.
If you opt for ProProfs’ premium version, you can also assign specific permissions and roles for better collaboration internally.
Pros and Cons & Pricing
Whether you’re in finance, SaaS, marketing, or any other industry, ProProfs can be a viable solution. The different levels ensure that it’s available for businesses of all sizes.
- Familiar text editor
- Can be integrated with other software
- Several themes and templates based on the knowledge base’s purpose
- Pay per page system
- Free version allows for up to 20 pages
- Pay per page system can get very expensive with massive knowledge bases
- Text editor can feel outdated to people accustomed to contemporary editors
- Up to 20 pages – Free
- Per page free – $0.40 to $0.60
- Premium subscription with private access mode - $0.60 per page per month
If you’re looking to learn more about ProProfs, you can do so here.
One of the oldest customer service solutions you can find in the market, Zendesk has had a head start in developing a complete knowledge base software. That’s why you’ll find practically every relevant feature in their knowledge base toolset.
If you’re looking to find additional answers, Zendesk’s help center and community forums are very active too. It has the usual features like a complete text editor with custom themes and templates. However, what people like the most about Zendesk is that you can import Google Docs directly into Zendesk.
With multi-language support, your customers can switch to other languages seamlessly. Other than that, you can also find features like access control, content history, content restoration, and publishing permissions, among other features.
Once you integrate Zendesk Support (ticketing), you can also leverage the Knowledge Capture app that provides automatic content suggestions based on typical customer questions.
Pros and Cons & Pricing
Over time, Zendesk has created a reputation for being the ideal customer service solution for enterprises. Especially due to it offering a complete support suite. However, the company does offer various plans for businesses of all sizes.
- Complete integration with all Zendesk products
- Multi-language support
- Superb content management, including content history and restoring features
- Google Docs import feature
- AI Answer Bot that can automatically reply to emails
- Has a free version
- Not the best option for creating internal knowledge bases
- Lack of customizability in SEO settings
- Live chat, Answer Bot, and other features can rack up the overall cost
- Basic customer service solution – Free
- Zendesk Guide tool - $19 per month
- Enterprise subscription - $34 per month per agent
- Answer Bot - $50 per month
You can learn more about Zendesk’s knowledge base software and help center here.
Most people who have worked with or used agile methodology are familiar with Atlassian, the company behind the issue-tracking software, Jira.
The company has a complete knowledge management solution called Confluence that allows you to store company plans, notes, and information.
Confluence offers a wide range of templates for various industries and different kinds of organizations and projects. You can find project plan templates, competitive analysis samples, and how-to article templates.
Each plan offers unlimited pages with the option of checking the complete history of each page. That means you can also roll back to previous versions of the page with the click of a button.
Other features like access and user permissions, analytics, and more, are available at higher-level plans. Furthermore, you’ll also have the option to enact anonymous access where you can make your new knowledge base public.
Pros and Cons & Pricing
Confluence was designed to be the go-to knowledge base software for small businesses and startups. You can essentially create an entire database of knowledge for free.
- Multiple templates for different industries, organizations, tasks, and purposes.
- Integration-ready with other Atlassian products
- Free version allows access to up to 10 people
- Not ideal for developing a public knowledge base
- Little to no customization options for appearance
- Gets expensive exponentially for bigger teams
- For up to 10 people – Free
- For teams with more than 10 people - $5 to $10 per user per month
You can learn more about Atlassian’s Confluence knowledge base software here.
Freshworks offers various customer service solutions, including CRM, live chat, call centers, and more. But their knowledge base software is known as Freshdesk that comes along with the company’s ticketing system.
You’ll find that Freshdesk is extremely simple and straightforward to use; it has a WYSIWYG editor with basic styling and formatting features. It gives you the option of including meta descriptions and titles for all the knowledge base articles. You can also translate said articles into multiple languages.
There is a complete category system where you can systematically organize the folders for your articles.
Keeping it simple, the feedback system shows you the total views per article and whether your customers found each article helpful or not.
Pros and Cons & Pricing
Freshdesk is a rudimentary knowledge base software that comes tied with a complete ticketing system. It’s a relatively specific offering that won’t work for everyone, but if you need a ticketing system and a knowledge base software, Freshdesk is a decent option.
- Integrated ticketing system
- Customizable SEO settings
- WYSIWYG editor with complete functionality
- Free version is available
- Not many options for appearance customization
- Not a lot of options for reports
- Multi-language support features are expensive
- Basic features without the ticketing system – Free
- Basic subscription with ticketing system - $19 per month per agent
- Garden subscription with multi-language features - $35 per month per agent
To learn more about Freshdesk, you can go here.
If you’re looking for an extremely basic and simple knowledge base software, HelpSite is a great option. It has a simple text editor that’s similar to Microsoft Word and older WordPress interfaces.
With relatively limited customization options for appearance, you can set up custom domains and custom HTML/CSS layouts.
You can also add simple contact forms for smoother workflows of support teams. It also helps reduce overall support requests. More importantly, you can streamline customer support with third-party integrations with Groove, Desk.com, Zendesk, and other support tools.
The downside of HelpSite is that there are no real-time or passive tracking systems or reports of any kind.
Pros and Cons & Pricing
HelpSite isn’t designed for large companies; if you have a small or medium-sized business and need a knowledge base software, it’s a great option, especially if you’re looking to set up custom domains.
- Multiple integration support with customer service tools
- Built-in contact form allows for a smoother support experience
- Can create internal knowledge bases
- Free for the first 25 articles
- No reports or tracking system
- Little to no customization options for appearance
- Old-school text editor
- Up to 25 articles with one team member – Free
- Basic plan with 250 articles and 4 team members - $14.99 per month
- Gold subscription with unlimited articles and users (and custom HTML/CSS features) - $49.99 per month
You can learn more about HelpSite here.
Choosing the Right Knowledge Base Software for Your Business
Answering queries on social media, website forums, or slack groups can become hectic and time-consuming. That’s why it’s best to opt for a knowledge base as it requires no onboarding for the customer while providing the necessary support.
When it comes to choosing knowledge base software, it’s all about what your team is comfortable with. Technical writing is a delicate process, and that’s why you need to provide your team with the right software and equipment.
For example, if you have a team of authors and technical writers that are used to modern tools, you need a modernized knowledge base software that has widgets, is UX-optimized, and more.
In any case, you should choose your knowledge base software based on your team, industry, company, and, of course, your budget.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What does a knowledge base consist of?
A knowledge base is a complete online library of information about any product, service, offering, department, company, or topic. It’s a self-service or self-help tool that can include user manuals, runbooks, FAQs, troubleshooting guides, tutorials, product books, and other information related to the topic.
How do you organize a knowledge base?
There are several techniques for organizing your knowledge bases. However, the best way is to start by dividing all the information into different user roles and types. That’s because you will have various user types that will be accessing your knowledge base for different reasons. It’s important to develop separate areas for separate audiences. After that, you can organize the knowledge base by activity and the user experience. Lastly, tag and cross-reference each title, page, article, and base for better navigation.
What are knowledge base tools?
Knowledge base tools are all the individual tools and software used to develop a knowledge base. At times, there are different knowledge base tools for developing internal and external knowledge bases because of the difference in the platforms used to share information. In any case, some common knowledge base tools are customer relationship systems, ticketing systems, learning management systems, and knowledge bases.
How much does a knowledge base software cost?
Every company has different pricing models for their knowledge base software where certain features are hidden behind paywalls. Typically, the prices range between $5 to $60 per month per user. However, many knowledge base software have free versions that can be used with a limited team for limited services. In the end, it depends on how many users you have, how big is your knowledge base, and much content you need to upload on it. Other factors include any additional features you want along with the knowledge base software.
What is the best knowledge base software?
Among the knowledge base software listed above, HelpJuice is the best option you can go with. It’s designed to be modern, has tons of features, and works well for businesses of all sizes. However, the best knowledge base software for you may be different depending on your industry, organization, and team. For example, if your team isn’t comfortable with change and onboarding, you may be better off with ProProfs because of its familiar text editor.
If you are new to technical writing and are looking to break in, we recommend taking our Technical Writing Certification Course, where you will learn fundamentals of being a technical writer, how to dominate technical writer interviews, and how to stand out as a technical writing candidate.