If providing effective customer service is important to your business, there’s a good chance you’d benefit from maintaining an online knowledge base. Although there is certainly some upfront work involved, a well-implemented knowledge base can ensure customer concerns are addressed as quickly and effortlessly as possible.
If you’re using WordPress, the best way to accomplish this would be to use a dedicated knowledge base theme or plugin. KnowAll is designed to offer such a solution. It’s a WordPress theme built from the ground up to enable you to provide customers with information, answers, and solutions via an online database.
This review will take a close look at KnowAll’s settings, various useful features, and analytics options. We’ll point out its main strengths and weaknesses, so you can come away knowing whether this theme is for you.
When you first install KnowAll in WordPress, you’ll notice a new Knowledge Base section appear on your dashboard. This will provide access to the theme’s primary features, and the settings that control the behavior of your knowledge base. Fortunately, these additions are well-organized, and it’s easy find and understand the ones you’ll need to make important customizations.
Under Settings, you’ll be presented with a variety of options to consider. You can change the way articles are sorted, and how many are listed per page. In addition, you can restrict user access so only logged-in users can view your knowledge base. Of particular interest is the option that will let you enable a default URL for transferring users to live support:
These general settings are basic, but targeted. With them you can make large-scale adjustments to the way your knowledge base works before you add a single article.
Search and Organizational Features
Now let’s more closely examine some of KnowAll’s primary knowledge base features. We’ll start with the search function, since it could be considered the core of KnowAll. Users could find helpful articles and resources by searching for them through navigational menus, but KnowAll’s goal is to encourage them to use the search bar instead. That’s why it’s on the home page by default – large, central, and prominent:
You can change the position of the search bar by altering the theme’s layout, and a custom widget enables you to include a search bar on other pages. Outside those changes, you won’t need to do much with this feature. It works very well by default, and even has an auto-complete function to get users where they want to go more quickly.
Of course, just because you have an effective search function doesn’t mean you want to neglect traditional methods of navigation. KnowAll has you covered there as well, with several options to keep your knowledge base tightly organized and user-friendly. There are the usual categories and tags options, as well as the ability to further refine your system using subcategories:
You can also customize the way categories and articles are ordered. You could make the lists alphabetical, for example, or ensure the most useful entries remain at the top. The options here are pretty comprehensive, and will enable you to build a navigation system that makes finding information easy for users.
Although there’s nothing wrong with KnowAll’s default setup, chances are you’ll want to make some changes to personalize it for your specific needs. Fortunately, KnowAll prides itself on its easy customization, which can be accomplished without touching any code. It certainly is a beginner-friendly theme, and there’s a decent amount you can do without being a WordPress expert. Like many modern themes, there is a live, visual customization option so you can see your changes take effect immediately.
As we mentioned before, KnowAll offers a number of different layout options, although they are all fairly similar. While you can’t make any drastic changes to how your knowledge base is set up, you can easily import your own visuals to personalize it. You're able to add a custom header, edit fonts and link colors, and change the appearance of your archives. And for individual article pages, you can make simple choices like enabling a sticky sidebar, showing related articles, and displaying comments:
If you want to do much more than that, you’ll need to get your hands dirty with some coding. There’s a trade-off made here between ease of use and flexibility. You can add your company’s branding and edit settings to create a knowledge base that is distinctly your own, but it will ultimately require some coding work if you want it to look markedly different from the default design.
KnowAll may not have the most customization options, but it shines when it comes to fulfilling its core function – providing you with an easy-to-run and powerful knowledge base. Part of the reason it does this so well is the number of analytics options it offers. KnowAll isn’t content to simply give you the tools to create a knowledge base; it wants you to be able to assess how well the solution is helping your customers at every step, so you can make adjustments.
The analytics options are all conveniently located in one section reached from the menu (Knowledge Base > Analytics). As users visit and explore your knowledge base, the theme will keep a record of all searches made so it can feed some important information back to you. This information is provided in a clear manner, and includes:
- A record of the most popular search terms.
- What information users are not able to find through searching.
- Which articles are most helpful to users.
- Where users go after they read an article (so you can see if their question was answered or if they had to keep searching).
- An overall effectiveness score for your knowledge base, determined by the ratio of successful searches to total searches.
In addition to all this automated tracking, there are several user feedback systems you can enable through the settings menu:
You can allow users to vote on whether articles were useful or not, in which case that data will also be available in the analytics section. If you want more specific feedback, you can allow users to comment directly on articles. Overall, the number of options KnowAll provides in this area is more than sufficient, and will enable you to keep perfecting your knowledge base over time.
KnowAll comes packed with quite a few helpful features beyond those we’ve already discussed. Since this theme is a targeted knowledge base solution, nearly everything it includes is focused on providing information to customers in as convenient and transparent a way as possible.
Some of KnowAll’s additional noteworthy options include:
- Plenty of useful shortcodes to enable features like tabbed articles, expanding sections, and messages.
- Custom widgets for displaying articles and categories, the search bar, and an exit point to further support.
- Downloadable attachments to supplement online articles.
- Full compatibility with useful plugins for search engine optimization, translation, creating contact forms, and more.
Just about anything you’d want in a knowledge base is an option somewhere in KnowAll. Its developers clearly have a handle on what companies need from this kind of solution. It’s also worth noting that KnowAll is fully responsive – an important feature, since many customers are likely to access your knowledge base from a mobile device.
One potential downside to KnowAll is that it isn't exactly cheap. It will cost you $149 for one site license, which comes with a year of updates and support. When you buy KnowAll, you’ll also get a version of the company’s Heroic Knowledge Base plugin, which is tailored to work seamlessly with its parent theme.
KnowAll might be more expensive than your typical WordPress theme, but in our opinion makes up for it in terms of functionality, support, and targeted design. If you aren’t sure whether this solution will be worth the price, however, you can try out the online demo to get a taste for how KnowAll functions. The company also offers a 30 day money back offer, in case you aren’t satisfied with the theme.
While many WordPress themes strive to do everything at once, KnowAll knows what it’s good at and sticks to it. It’s designed to be a knowledge base solution and nothing else, and that focus pays off. The theme’s key features support easy searching and smooth navigation, so users can quickly find answers to their questions. There is little extra fluff or feature padding to distract from that goal.
With KnowAll, creating a well-functioning knowledge base is relatively effortless. You can customize the way it functions and add your own branding without touching any code. You won’t be able to radically alter the theme this way, but most of the default settings are likely to serve your needs as-is. KnowAll enables just about anyone to build a knowledge base targeted at what real users need. Furthermore, after you’ve gone live you’ll have access to a wealth of analytics options you can use to refine and perfect your knowledge base over time.
Overall, KnowAll is a quality solution that excels at what it does. If you’re looking to create an online knowledge base for your customers (or an internal database for your company or organization), look no further. KnowAll is user-friendly and easy to work with, and it provides you with the tools you need to get an effective solution up and running in no time.
A targeted knowledge base solution with plenty of relevant options
Easy setup, customization, and branding process
A powerful, prominent search bar that makes it easy for users to find information
Key organizational and navigation features
A ton of analytics and feedback tools so you know exactly how effective your knowledge base is
Somewhat expensive for a WordPress theme
Lacks comprehensive customization options