6 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Building an External Knowledge Base

6 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Building an External Knowledge Base

Having an external knowledge base provides a company with many benefits. The main purpose is to empower the customers to self-service themselves. In order to accomplish this task, an external knowledge base has to be searchable, optimized for search engines, rich with valuable content, available around-the-clock and accessible via any device.

Although, few of these requirements are easily met by using external knowledge management software, but some have to be achieved during process implementation and taking care of both structure and design.

It is important to know that the external knowledge base will be valuable to your customer only if you put in extra effort when you are building it. Since it plays such an important role in the customer service department, we have put together a list of the 6 most commonly made mistakes one should avoid when designing a knowledge base.


The usability of your external knowledge base is dependent on the quality of content and its searchability. If you want the users to be able to quickly find the answers to their questions and experience the benefits of ticket deflection, your knowledge base has to be searchable. Just by publishing documents such as FAQs is not going to solve the purpose, but it should be searchable as well. In simple words, a help desk page should encompass of all necessary information which the customers will find useful.

Since searchability is an integral part, it is best to inculcate a large search bar on the homepage of your help desk page.  It is best to review the features of the free knowledge base software in order to make sure you choose the one that meets your requirements and improves your customer service as well.

Improper Structure

When building an external knowledge repository, close attention should be paid to the structure as it is capable of boosting the functionality. Apart from the search bar, categories and navigation widgets are essential for a good structure as they help customers in distress.

The content and headlines of the articles have to be relevant to the name of the category in order to speed up the search process. Keeping this kind of consistency across the entire knowledge base will ensure that customers get what they are looking for. Putting the “The Newest Articles” and “Frequently Accessed Articles” categories on the homepage is also a good way to go.

Poor Visibility

When you decide to reach out to your customers who need help with the products or services, you should make an effort to point them in the right direction. This is why it is important to place the link to your help desk on the pages of your website – homepage, or the checkout page or the product pages – such as that draws the highest traffic.

If there was previously a web page with a contact form where customers asked for help, it would be an excellent idea to place the link in your knowledge base as well. Also, ensure to provide links to your customer support in the articles available in the knowledge repository, which will eventually save clicks and time.

Irrelevant Content

This common mistake results in non-actionable help articles that fail to help the consumers by offering them irrelevant content. In order to ensure that customers are satisfied, your knowledge base articles should follow a proper structure, be concise in its approach and focus upon solving a problem. When you are creating long help articles, the onus lies with the content author to divide them into sections and provide actionable steps for each one of them.

Underestimating power of SEO

Believe it or not, SEO plays a key role in helping a website to achieve success. Hence, an external knowledge base should follow the SEO rules. By doing so, you will increase the chances of the stored articles bagging the top results in search inquiries.

This will improve the traffic to your website and increase the chances of genuine lead conversions. With this in mind, make sure to check the keywords before you start writing the content for your external knowledge base.

Focusing on resolving too many problems in one content piece

Although it may look enticing to answer more than one query in a post but it can bear negative impact, especially if the customer is looking for an answer and he gets stuck with a result where the answer is provided at the bottom.

It is best to avoid this practice. Instead, you can use context-sensitive help and allow the customer to click for further clarifications if needed. Also, adding a related category where the client can go through when found helpful.


One should proceed to design an external knowledge base keeping Now these common mistakes in mind. The entire process might require some extra time and effort, but considering all the benefits of having an external knowledge base, it is well worth it.

Vineet Gupta

Vineet Gupta

Technical Researcher at ProProfs.com
He started his Digital Marketing journey 5 years back and currently working as a Technical Researcher with a combined experience of over 5 years at ProProfs.com, a website offering delightfully smart tools such as knowledge base. In his free time he loves to play cricket, reading books and travelling.

One Comment

  1. Sonalini Singh says:

    Thanks for sharing such an informative post on the benefits of having an external knowledge base.

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