Do you and your team spend a lot of time answering basic questions? Do you wish you had a more efficient way to provide solutions to the most common issues customers have with your product? What your site needs is a dedicated knowledge base.
There are many different ways to add a knowledge base to a WordPress site, including helpdesk software and a WordPress multisite setup with a dedicated knowledge base theme installed.
One of the easiest ways to add this type of content to your site is to use a knowledge base WordPress plugin.
We use the Heroic Knowledge Base plugin by HeroThemes on all of our sites, and we’re quite happy with it. That’s why in this post, we’re going to take a look at everything this plugin has to offer and what it can do in terms of customer service.
What is a Knowledge Base?
A knowledge base is a collection of documents filled with information about a particular topic. This collection is separate from a site’s blog and typically has its own search function.
You’ve likely read knowledge base articles in the past, even if you weren’t aware of it. Additional names for this type of system include “documentation” and “help docs.”
Most sites use them as a way to provide tutorials and information about products and services they offer. In fact, we use knowledge bases on MH Themes, AAWP and Affiliate Coupons as a way to provide tutorials for each respective product we make.
But why do companies create entirely separate sections of their websites specifically for informative articles about a particular product, service or topic? Why not add those articles directly to a blog, a section that’s already established on every WordPress site?
If you look at the Blog page of any of our websites, you’ll find an archive of posts about a variety of different topics related to each niche our products target. Something you’ll find very little of are posts about each topic.
A knowledge base allows you to create a hub for tutorials and troubleshooting articles your customers can use to teach themselves how to use your products and find solutions to problems on their own.
One of the most useful aspects of this hub is its “homepage.” This page typically contains a list of every category within your knowledge base as well as the most important or most popular articles assigned to them.
There’s typically a search bar as well, which allows customers to search for the information they need.
Customers will then be able to solve a lot of issues they may encounter on their own without having to contact your support staff. This reduces the number of tickets your team receives and allows you to increase your response rate over time.
Why Use a Knowledge Base WordPress Plugin?
Outside of designing and building one yourself, there are many different ways to add a knowledge base to your website. You can use customer service software like Intercom and Zendesk. This type of software includes ticket and messaging systems for your support team to use, but other features, such wikis and knowledge bases, are typically included as well.
You can also use a dedicated knowledge base WordPress theme that comes with this functionality built in. This requires a WordPress multisite setup if you still want to leave the rest of your site as is.
A knowledge base plugin, on the other hand, allows you to integrate a knowledge base into your site with your current theme installed. The tool will inherit styles from your theme, helping you keep your design uniform throughout your site.
Let’s switch gears here and talk about what our chosen plugin offers.
Creating a Knowledge Base with the Heroic Knowledge Base Plugin
The Heroic Knowledge Base plugin is made by HeroThemes, a developer of a few different customer service-focused products. This includes KnowAll, a knowledge base WordPress theme that comes with slightly enhanced styles and functionalities.
HeroThemes has over 26,000 customers, including Airbnb, Sennheiser, Pagely, Newegg, Jetpack CRM and more.
The developer’s knowledge base plugin separates this functionality into its own product so you can use it to create a well-designed knowledge base with any theme.
The plugin operates by creating a custom post type in your WordPress installation specifically for knowledge base articles. You’re given a central archive page similar to your Blog page.
This means you don’t need to create an entirely different subdirectory or subdomain with a WordPress multisite setup just to add a knowledge base to your site.
You’ll be greeted with a welcome screen upon activation of the plugin. This screen gives you the option to import demo content for the purpose of testing styles and getting a feel of how the plugin works.
You won’t be able to undo this import, but deleting the content it creates is simple and follows the same process as deleting existing content types in WordPress.
Adding Your First Article
As a custom post type, Heroic Knowledge Base adds a new item to the admin menu called “Knowledge Base,” which contains a quick link to add a new KB article.
The plugin is compatible with the block editor and Classic Editor plugin, so you don’t need to change whatever tool you’re currently using to publish content.
Because Heroic KB uses the default WordPress editors, it uses the same UI for your title, content, publishing status, taxonomies, etc. The only major difference are the article options showcased beneath the content area.
The attachment feature allows you to add files your customers can download. You can even set them to open in a new window so your customer does not lose their place.
The voting option allows you to enable Heroic KB’s feedback function on a per-article basis. This nifty little feature is a simple thumbs up or thumbs down question customers can use to express whether or not articles solve the issues they’re having.
There’s a tab within the settings panel for Heroic KB specifically for articles. These settings let you choose what data you’d like to include on article pages. You can enable or disable comments and comment count, the number count of how many people find individual articles useful, the number of views articles have, and a display function for related articles.
Setting Up a Knowledge Base Structure and Archive
Heroic KB has its own taxonomy system that’s separate from your blog’s system. It allows you to create categories and tags specifically for your knowledge base. This then creates archive pages specifically for the categories and tags you create within your KB. Heroic KB even has a set of widgets that showcase taxonomies in your sidebar and other widget areas.
As you create a structure for and fill out your knowledge base, your customers will view your archives in a few different ways: your central knowledge base page (again, similar to your Blog page) as well as category and tag pages.
The homepage of our Affiliate Coupons documentation is a great example of what you can expect Heroic KB to look like without too much additional styling (which you can add with custom CSS):
It’s topped with a search bar followed by a collection of all of the categories we’ve created with Heroic KB.
The search function uses AJAX search, which displays live search results as customers type.
The Search tab of the settings page for has four options for the search function:
- Live Search – Enable or disable the search bar entirely.
- Search Focus – Your cursor is placed within the search bar when you first load the knowledge base. This setting allows you to disable this feature.
- Search Placeholder – Input dummy text to display in the search bar before your customer uses it.
- Search Result Excerpt – Individual search results will have excerpts from the articles they link to.
The plugin’s analytics feature even has a tab for search data. There’s a pie chart showcasing how many searches were able to return results versus how many weren’t, how many searches were made over a specified amount of time, a list of your most popular search terms and another list for search terms that weren’t able to return results.
Individual categories and tags have archive pages just like the archive pages on your blog. These pages are simple lists featuring titles and short excerpts of articles that belong to their respective categories. The results don’t have featured images, publication dates or authors like your Blog page does. This is by design as knowledge bases should be quite simple.
You can choose how deep you want sub categories to go as well as how many columns archive pages should have and how many articles should display beneath each category.
You can also set up different base slugs for your knowledge base homepage, categories and tags.
The Power of Article Feedback
An effective knowledge base solves your customers’ problems well enough to prevent more tickets your team needs to handle. It can’t do that if your articles are missing the mark.
The article feedback feature gives you a simple way to determine which articles are useful to your customers and which ones need more work. This is the voting option we mentioned earlier. Customers can give thumbs up when articles help them or thumbs down when they didn’t.
Like the search function, this feature has its own set of options on the settings page:
- Enable Feedback – Disable this feature if you don’t want to use it.
- Enable Anonymous – Give voting privileges to users (including non-customers) who are not logged in.
- Upvote Feedback – Enable/disable thumbs up votes.
- Downvote Feedback – Enable/disable thumbs down votes.
If you pair this option with comments, customers can tell you exactly what problems they’re having and what about your articles didn’t help.
This feature also has its own set of analytics. It breaks down how many thumbs up versus thumbs down votes you have overall as well as your average score for each individual article.
Transfer Customers to Your Support Team
The article feedback feature is a reliable way to determine how effective your knowledge base is overall. However, some customers will need to go as far as contacting your support team when they can’t find solutions within your KB. The Transfers feature and widget allows you to track when this happens and gives you another indicator as to how adept your KB is at solving problems for your audience.
The Transfers tab in the settings has a field for you to input your official “Contact Us” or “Submit a Ticket” page. Users will be redirected here if no results return when they search your knowledge base.
You can also insert Heroic KB’s Transfer widget in widget areas on KB pages to give customers an easy way to contact your support team when they still need help.
There are also transfer analytics that give you overviews of your transfer percentage overall and on per category and article bases.
Heroic Knowledge Base has three plans:
- Essential – $129/year for 1 site
- Plus – $159/year for 3 sites
- Pro – $379/year for 5 sites
The Plus plan comes with the Search Analytics and Article Feedback tools. The Pro plan comes with dedicated integrations for Slack, Help Scout and Gravity Forms. Priority support is also included with this plan.
A 30-day money-back guarantee is included with all plans.
Related Products from HeroThemes
HeroThemes has a few different products that pair nicely with their knowledge base plugin.
For $49/year, you can access the developer’s WordPress FAQ Plugin. It’s a little redundant given the number of FAQ blocks that exist for the block editor. However, this plugin has a toggle feature that hides answers until users click their respective questions as well as multiple styles and icon options.
HeroThemes also has Heroic Inbox, a helpdesk plugin you can use to manage customer emails and tickets directly within the WordPress dashboard. You can manage multiple inboxes, organize your emails with tags, and assign access to inboxes and specific messages to individual team members.
While you have conversations with customers open, you’ll find a data box on the side filled with information about your customer, including their name and what they purchased from you (through integrations with WooCommerce, Easy Digital Downloads, GiveWP and more).
There are also stats on response time, the number of emails answered, customer satisfaction and more.
Finally, HeroThemes has a free glossary plugin. This a block for the block editor, allowing you to insert a collection of terms and definitions on any page. You can even create more than one glossary. Users can also search within a glossary.
The Heroic Knowledge Base plugin offers an inexpensive way to add a knowledge base to your site. Pricing for customer service software like Intercom and Zendesk starts at $79/month (+$19/month for each additional agent) and $49/month per agent respectively.
Heroic KB saves you hundreds of dollars a year. Plus, it integrates with Help Scout, a helpdesk software that costs as low as $20/month per agent.
Heroic Knowledge Base is also incredibly easy to use, and it utilizes the same WordPress editor you’re already familiar with.
You also don’t need to worry about matching your site design with your knowledge base design as the plugin was made to integrate with virtually any theme seamlessly. This prevents confusion among customers when they visit your knowledge base from your site and solidifies their trust in your company.
The plugin doesn’t come in a free version nor does it have a free trial. It does have a 30-day refund policy, however, and you can look through our own sites’ docs (links can be found at the start of the this article) and the plugin’s demo to get a taste of what it’s capable of.
- Heroic Knowledge Base Homepage: HeroThemes
- AAWP Docs: AAWP
- HeroThemes Homepage: HeroThemes
- Affiliate Coupons Documentation: HeroThemes
- Affiliate Coupons Docs – AJAX Search: Affiliate Coupons
- Heroic Knowledge Base – Article Feedback Analytics: HeroThemes
- Heroic Knowledge Base – Transfer Analytics: HeroThemes
- WordPress FAQ Plugin: HeroThemes