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The 10 Best Knowledge Base Software Platforms In 2023

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As a business owner, you know that knowledge is power. And even if you don't own a business, you must have heard that phrase before, right? Very few things empower a business and its team more than a comprehensive pool of organized and well-structured information. This, when online, is typically called a knowledge base –a tool that allows your team or your customers to easily fetch the information they need, exactly when they need it.

In this blog post, we'll explain what a KB (that's short for knowledge base) software is and how your organization can benefit from implementing it. Also, we'll let you know what to look for in such a tool and provide you with a list of the best KB software platforms available in 2023.

What is a Knowledge Base Software?

A knowledge base software is an application that helps businesses create, manage, and share information online, whether it be internally or externally. Knowledge base software apps typically offer features such as document management, search and collaboration tools. Furthermore, this type of software sometimes offers or integrates with other relevant business applications, such as customer support live chat, shared inbox for support agents, ticketing systems, customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, among others.

Think of a knowledge base as a parent's brain. A knowledge base is to a business what a parent’s brain is to a family. Parents know where everything is, when everything was purchased, the names of the kids' teachers and classmates, the children's schedules, etc. Thanks, parents!

Jokes aside, with customer support software becoming increasingly important among online businesses, companies can now manage and store their knowledge and information in a variety of ways, making it versatile and accessible to users. And that's precisely why knowledge management software has become so popular in recent years, because it offers business owners and team members a number of key advantages over traditional ways of storing information.

Since there are a variety of platforms available, each with its own focus, benefits and drawbacks, it's important to choose the right one for your company needs. So keep on reading to learn more about knowledge management hubs and how to choose the right one for your business.

Types of Knowledge Base Software

We can talk about different types of knowledge bases depending on how we use and implement them. There are help centers, corporate wikis, information hubs, second brains, SOP repository, and so on. However, when talking about KBs for companies, team members and users/customers, the most common way to categorize them is into external and internal knowledge centers.

External Knowledge Base

An external or public company information hub, also called a self-service knowledge base, is a platform created by a business and available publicly to their customers, users or potential clients.

As you can guess from the name, this type of platform is set up so that customers or users can find the information they need in order to solve a particular problem or query they have, without the need to contact support directly. This helps reduce unnecessary customer service emails and calls, and can improve customer experience and retention quite effectively.

Internal Knowledge Base

An internal knowledge base is a compound of structured information which is only available to a company's staff, that is, internally, sometimes as part of a corporate intranet. The reasons for creating an internal KB can be quite varied: improving employee onboarding, centralizing SOPs for business processes, solving customer queries more quickly and keeping track of updates. It can also help team coordination within a company as various departments can share best practices or learn from each other's experience.

The Key Benefits of Having a Knowledge Base

Centralize information

The days of emailing documents and PDFs around the office are long gone, or at least they should be! In today's business world, knowledge management is key and knowledge hub software platforms provide a centralized place to share and access information.

This type of platform makes it easier for everyone in an organization (or outside it!) to find the information they need, whenever they need it, without having to store it offline as Word or PDF documents which are easily lost and difficult to keep updated.

Improve customer experience and retention

By creating valuable and informative articles, you help your customers feel like your company cares (because you do!) and like they are getting real value for their money (which they are, right?).

Providing helpful tips and support consistently and on a regular basis by means of a knowledge base software platform ensures that every customer feels welcome and cared for - something that will surely make them stay loyal to your business!

Besides, when you provide awesome self-service resources, you are ultimately educating your customers, which will result in a smoother experience for them when dealing with your products or services.

Save time and money

Customer self-service is one of the best ways for businesses to improve customer satisfaction, but it also saves tons of support time and, consequently, financial resources.

By allowing customers to access the information they need exactly when they need it, your company can free up valuable resources that could be better spent on other things (like paintball days and tacos for the team!).

Improve team efficiency

While efficient team communication is essential in any organization, the less need there is to spend time communicating, the better. We're sure all of the introverts out there will agree, right? But in all seriousness, the less time we spend in meetings, writing internal emails, chatting and so on, the more time we can spend selling our products or providing our services successfully.

Connect internal silos

The term "silos" in a business refers to the separation or grouping of employees, usually by department or team, due to their skills or role within a company. While this separation seems logical, it can sometimes keep knowledge from flowing freely between departments, which can lead to inefficiencies and missed opportunities.

By using a knowledge base software, a company can break down these internal barriers between departments, and teams can work more efficiently supporting each other better to achieve common goals.

Retain company knowledge

Skills are almost specific to individuals in certain roles and almost non-transferable — this isn't The Matrix — but knowledge doesn't have to be. You can take advantage of your employes' specialized expertise by creating a detailed company information hub with documentation and informative articles. This is extremely important to prevent your company from losing access to valuable and essential employee know-how. That way, your company’s second brain grows over time and so do its chances of success.

15 Reasons Why You Need a Knowledge Base Software

If you're a business owner and are still wondering why you might need a knowledge center, here are our top 15 reasons why you should definitely start using one of these platforms in your business:

  • It facilitates team collaboration by allowing internal users to work concurrently on the same or different documents.
  • It boosts business productivity because, once the support documents have been created, staff can simply look up the articles to find the information needed to do their jobs.
  • It improves customer satisfaction thanks to helping articles. Customers will be able to conveniently find the answers to their questions and solutions to their problems.
  • It reduces support queries and costs because customers can find the solutions to their problems. They will no longer feel the need to bother your support agents for the most common queries. Self-service for the win!
  • It makes it easier to scale your support. Your support service can become more effective at training new agents, which will make your team grow more easily.
  • It makes it easier to onboard new employees. By creating a central hub of internal company documentation, new employees (regardless of the department) can be trained more easily and can find the help they need without nagging their colleagues.
  • It boosts your company's image and perception. A strong and informative center can make your company look more authoritative and position it above the competition in the same field.
  • It can be a great ally of your SEO content strategy. Indexable support articles can be a great source of organic traffic, both for brand and non-brand search keywords.
  • It gives users the chance to give you direct feedback. If you use a solution with a user feedback feature, you can get to know how your KB visitors feel about your support articles, which is especially useful to find blind spots and knowledge gaps in your services and products as well as your documentation.
  • It allows you to provide support in multiple languages, helping you grow internationally and meet the needs of users across the globe.
  • It can help you build a community around your product or service. Some solutions offer forum-like platforms where visitors can ask and respond to questions, interacting with one another.
  • It helps you to organize and keep track of your company's knowledge. By keeping an updated information center, you won't lose sight of your company's growth and know-how progress.
  • It provides your team with valuable usage data and actionable insights. Usage analytics will help your team identify information gaps and new opportunities to generate valuable content for your customers.
  • It provides your company with a simple way to create, manage and share valuable information between team members and departments, and with your customers.
  • It allows you to create a hub of searchable articles containing all your company's FAQs, product information and whatever else you want to throw in there!

Isn't that more than enough to start using this type of platform, like, right now?

How to Choose the Right Knowledge Base Software

There are many platforms to choose from, and it can be difficult to decide which one is right for you, your team and your business. However, with a little research and understanding of your needs, goals and budget, you can easily find the best platform for your business. So here's a little help from us: the key factors you ought to consider when choosing a knowledge base software.

Your budget

As we will see later on in this article, the prices of KB software range from extremely affordable to "I'd rather drown in support emails than pay that amount.” So knowing exactly how much you are willing (or able) to spend is probably the wisest first step when choosing the right information center software for your company. Otherwise, you might get a major scare or two when you come across the price tags of some platforms' paid plans.

Just a knowledge base?

Many KB softwares nowadays allow you to do a lot more than simply creating and managing information hubs. So you need to determine the following things first:

  • Will your team need to be able to communicate internally by means of a chat?
  • Do you need live chat support?
  • Do you need a CRM as part of your KB solution?
  • Does it need to be a white label?
  • Do you need email notifications?
  • Does your support team need project management features on the same platform?
  • Etc.

Search box and usage analytics

There's no doubt that a search box is an essential part of any digital information center. An internal search engine will help users find what they're looking for quickly and easily, which is why this feature is especially important when creating an external knowledge base for your customers or website visitors.

Besides the search functionality, some KB platforms also provide usage data such as search queries. This can provide you with actionable insights to modify or create more articles to better cater to your customers' queries.

Ease of use

How easy or difficult the software is to use will determine your success when implementing and adopting a knowledge center. You don't want to spend hundreds of dollars on an internal KB only to find that your team is using Word documents and PDFs because they struggle to use the chosen software. We've seen it happen... Also, imagine triggering customers' frustration simply because they can't navigate your documentation easily. That would be a mess!

Hosted vs Self-hosted

Self-hosting your own knowledge center can be a great solution for business owners who want to have complete control over it. Self-hosted solutions like a WordPress help center plugin are usually affordable, but come with some disadvantages, such as having to manage and update the site yourself.

On the other hand, hosted solutions, that is, platforms that handle the hosting and software for you, are more convenient if you can afford the pricing and don't mind your content being hosted on a different company's servers, among other things.

Artificial intelligence and machine learning

AI and machine learning are two buzz words in today's SaaS world, which can sometimes be devoid of real meaning. However, when it comes to knowledge center platforms, machine learning and artificial intelligence can help your business provide better customer experience and streamline some of your business processes. However, it will obviously come at a cost, and for many small/medium businesses, it will probably not be worth it.

Flexibility and scalability

Flexibility in any software you decide to implement is important because you never know how your business is going to grow or change over time. You might start out with a small team of employees, but as your business grows, you might need to add more users or change the way your knowledge base is organized. A flexible knowledge base platform will be able to accommodate those changes without any problems.

Customization

Customization is also important because it allows you to tailor your knowledge base to your specific needs. For example, if your company offers different products or services, or even if it operates under different brands, you might want to create separate hubs for each one so you can have a different look and feel for each base.

Is SEO important for your business?

If you're creating an external knowledge base, you probably want to use it to grow your organic traffic. Why not take advantage of your content to attract more visitors organically? If this point is important to you, choose a solution that offers at least basic SEO settings which will make it easy for your support articles to start ranking in search engines.

Who Can Benefit From Using Knowledge Base Software?

Businesses of all types can benefit from knowledge base software platforms. They make it easy to create, manage and find information you or your customers need. Here are a few examples of platforms or businesses that can benefit from using a knowledge or information hub platform:

  • SaaS companies: Canva has a help center for its millions of monthly users. Can you imagine how many thousands of support contacts they prevent by having those help articles?
  • Retail platforms: AppSumo has a help center for buyers who have questions about their purchases, accounts, etc. Also, Amazon has loads of help centers for different purposes, but theirs are accessible only when you're logged in.
  • Local and national authorities: Official government authorities also have information hubs for their citizens, such as New York City and its NYC Business platform.
  • Large enterprises and SMBs: Even small and medium businesses with or without a strong online presence can benefit from having KBs, either external (customer-facing) or internal (for team use). If it makes work easier or more efficient, why not implement it?

The Top 10 Knowledge Base Software Platforms for Your Business

We've already talked about the benefits of knowledge bases, and the things you need to consider to choose the right software to build one. So now it's time to dive into our carefully curated list of knowledge base software platforms. We're sure one of these will make you, your team and customers very happy.

Nimbus Platform

Best for: Internal documentation, content creation and team collaboration

Price starting at: $6/month/user

Nimbus Platform and its flagship app, Nimbus Note, provide users with a powerful solution to create an information hub for your team. With a note-management-like approach, Nimbus Note makes it easy to create any type of article thanks to its powerful editor and rich embedding feature. Whether for external or internal purposes, from blog posts to SOPs or company wikis, Nimbus is suitable for all sorts of content management efforts. The Nimbus ecosystem also includes Nimbus Capture and Nimbus Clipper, which allow users to easily record their screen, take screenshots and save information from external websites, facilitating knowledge management processes. You can see an example of a customer-facing KB and help center articles here.

Pros

  • Affordable pricing.
  • White label solution.
  • Customer portal.
  • Powerful editor.
  • Project management features.
  • Simple sharing.
  • Easy internal collaboration.
  • Internal chat solution.
  • Supports mark down.
  • Nested folders and subfolders.
  • Rich embedding feature & integrations.
  • Works offline (native apps) and online (web app).
  • Screenshots & video capture.
  • Document scanning.
  • OCR functionality for images.
  • Chrome extension.

Cons

  • Folders and notes cannot be reordered manually.
  • No SEO settings such as meta title, description or friendly URLs.
  • No search feature for customer-facing knowledge base.

Notion

Best for: Internal documentation and team collaboration

Starting price: $8/month/user (individual) or $8/month/user (teams)

Notion is a software platform for content creation and project management. It is popular among teams of all sizes to create, manage and share content as well as to manage different projects. Its powerful databases and flexible content organization make it a good tool to create knowledge bases, although the lack of custom domain and white label features make it less suitable for customer facing solutions.

Pros

  • Relational databases.
  • Supports markdown.
  • Unlimited storage.
  • Simple sharing.
  • Flexible content management features.
  • Easy internal collaboration.
  • Nested pages and data bases.
  • Wide range of content blocks.
  • Chrome extension.

Cons

  • Cannot work offline.
  • No custom domain.
  • No white label.
  • No customer portal.
  • Learning curve.
  • It can feel overwhelming.

HelpScout

Best for: External documentation and customer support

Starting price: $20/month/user

HelpScout is a support solution platform with three core features: knowledge base, shared email inbox and beacon widget. It gives business owners the tools to provide support to their customers both by email and through a live chat widget that can be placed on any website. With the knowledge base feature, which has an in-built search box, you can create informative articles to reduce support tickets and provide users with the answers to their most common burning questions.

Pros

  • Budget-friendly.
  • Mailbox management.
  • Custom search engine.
  • Live chat widget for websites.
  • In-app messaging.
  • Automated workflows.
  • Analytics and reporting.
  • Customer feedback.

Cons

  • Only two depth levels of content organization.
  • Few customization options.
  • Weak spam filters.
  • Buggy document editors

ZenDesk

Best for: External help center, customer support and sales

Starting price: $49/user/month

Zendesk is an established support platform with all the tools a medium or large business might need to assist its customers and website visitors. Among its multiple core features, we can highlight its powerful knowledge base functionality. Zendesk is one of the most popular support solutions on the market, but if you mainly need a knowledge base solution, this will be both pricey and overwhelming.

Pros

  • Content localization.
  • Mailbox management.
  • Custom search engine.
  • Live chat widget for websites.
  • Analytics and reporting.
  • Basic SEO settings.
  • Self-service portal.
  • Customer feedback.
  • Machine learning bots and search.
  • Community forums.

Cons

  • Pricey solution for small businesses or freelancers.
  • Big learning curve.
  • Overwhelming with too many features.
  • One-way syncing with platforms like HubSpot service.
  • Customers complain about a lack of support.

Slab

Best for: Internal and external documentation

Starting price:$6.67/month/user

Slab is a content creation and management platform that lets you create and organize knowledge for your entire organization. It is a simple solution for any organization to create a nice-looking information hub with a simple sidebar where different sections are accessible.

Pros

  • Affordable solution.
  • Simple knowledge base content management.
  • Custom domain (top plan).
  • Usage analytics.
  • Version history.
  • Searchable information hubs.
  • Integrations with popular apps.

Cons

  • Limited storage.
  • Few customization options.
  • No SEO settings.

Archbee

Best for: Internal and external software documentation and collaboration

Starting price: $30/month (5 users)

Archbee is a documentation platform best suited to gather and present software knowledge. With Archbee, you can break up your documentation into separate spaces (public or private). Each space can contain whatever your team or your customers need: user guides, public or private portals, API docs, in-app contextual documentation, etc.

Pros

  • Custom domains with SSL certificate.
  • Drag-and-drop organization of spaces and documents.
  • Infinite document history.
  • Powerful search feature.
  • Document stats.
  • Collaboration features.
  • SEO settings.
  • Custom CSS & JavaScript.

Cons

  • Slightly pricey solution for freelancers.
  • No free plan.
  • Cannot work offline.
  • Limit of 300 documents per space (not disclosed publicly!).
  • Few customization options for non-techies.
  • Limited storage.

GitBook

Best for: Internal and external software documentation and collaboration

Starting price: $6.70/month/user

GitBook is an easy-to-use documentation tool that allows teams to describe anything from products to APIs and internal articles. Its mission is to make it easy to plan, centralize and share technical knowledge both internally (between team members) and externally (with users and customers).

Pros

  • Custom domain even on the free plan (individual).
  • Affordable documentation solution.
  • Easy drag-and-drop organization.
  • Content feedback (Pro and Enterprise plans).
  • Insights and analytics (Pro and Enterprise plans).

Cons

  • Cannot remove Gitbook branding.
  • Few customization options.
  • Undefined file storage limits.

Intercom

Best for: Customer support, help articles and documentation

Starting price: $74/month

Intercom is an all-round customer support platform with support features across the board. With its live chat, ticketing solution, support articles and other core features, Intercom is the holy grail of customer support platforms. However, its high price makes it inaccessible for most SMBs or simply not worth it, especially if you're only looking for a knowledge base solution.

Pros

  • Live chat widget.
  • Help articles (AKA knowledge bases).
  • Staff workload management.
  • Conversational bots.
  • Customer feedback.
  • Multilingual articles.
  • Custom domain.
  • Actionable analytics and insights.

Cons

  • No free plan.
  • It can feel overwhelming.
  • Extremely pricey for any small-to-medium business.
  • Many features are sold as paid add-ons.
  • Difficulty to migrate to other solutions.
  • Some customers complain about their slow responses to support queries.

HelpCrunch

Best for: Customer support and external help articles

Starting price: $12/month/user

HelpCrunch is a customer support platform that offers businesses the tools to provide assistance to customers and website visitors. With their live chat widget, their help desk solution and knowledge base tool, they position themselves as one of the most complete and affordable alternatives to Intercom or Zendesk.

Pros

  • Affordable solution for SMBs.
  • Easy to structure documentation.
  • SEO setup features.
  • Actionable insights and metrics.
  • Custom domain.
  • Live chat and self-service widget.
  • Multilingual knowledge hub.
  • Smart search functionality.

Cons

  • No desktop app.
  • Not suitable for large enterprises.
  • HelpCrunch branding on the lowest paid plan.

Heroic KB

Best for: External documentation hub

Starting price: $149 (one-time or yearly)

Heroic KB is a powerful WordPress plugin that allows you to create a full-fledged self-hosted knowledge center. With instant search, article analytics, user feedback, email reports and more, Heroic Knowledge Base provides a curated knowledge base experience for your site visitors.

Pros

  • WordPress-like flexibility.
  • Built-in table of contents.
  • User-based content restriction.
  • User-friendly experience for visitors.
  • Great customizable designs.
  • Live search suggestions.
  • Instant answers site widget.
  • Search analytics.

Cons

  • It's not a standalone knowledge center solution, as it is WordPress dependent.
  • No free trial.
  • Pricing is above average for a WordPress plugin.
  • Technical knowledge needed for basic set up.
  • Support and updates for one year. After that, you need to renew the license.
  • You're responsible for the maintenance and updates.
  • You need to pay for hosting separately.

Wrapping Things Up

As business and website owners, it is essential to have a knowledge base software to help you manage your business efficiently. With the right knowledge center or KB software, you can store all of your company's valuable information, whether internally or externally, in one place and make it easy for team members and users to access whenever they need it. It can be a valuable asset for any organization, improving efficiency and collaboration, and reducing support queries and costs. By making information more accessible, a knowledge center can help your team members and organization grow and succeed.

Learn how Nimbus can help you build a perfect knowledge base here.

Read more about the best knowledge base tools here>

Disclaimer

Parties other than Nimbus Platform™ may provide products, services, recommendations, or views on the Nimbus Platform™ site (“Third Party Materials”). Nimbus Platform™ is not responsible for examining or evaluating such Third Party Materials, and does not provide any warranties relating to the Third Party Materials. Links to such Third Party Materials are for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement of such Third Party Materials.

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