How to Organize your B2B Software Knowledge Base

Posted by Greg DeVore

Once your knowledge base moves beyond a few FAQs, you will quickly start wondering about how you should organize your B2B software knowledge base.

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Many companies still implement a very flat structure to their knowledge base - this is just a list of articles with no hierarchy to them. If you take this approach, you are really just relying on the search feature of your knowledge base since that is the only way anyone is going to find anything.

A flat structure will make it very difficult for your customers to browse your knowledge base.

So, if you have a flat knowledge base, the first step would be to decide on some basic groupings of articles to help organize the content for your customers.

Here are some suggested approaches (as well as mistakes to avoid).

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Topics: Documentation Management

Who's in charge of The Docs?

Posted by Greg DeVore

One of the main problems growing B2B software companies have is determining who is going to write the documentation.

  • Everyone knows it needs to get done.
  • Everyone knows customers want it.
  • Everyone knows it will improve customer support.

But when it comes time to write the articles, everyone seems to respond, "Not me!"

Cookie_Jar

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Topics: Documentation Management

Optimizing your knowledge base article titles for search

Posted by Greg DeVore

This one simple tip will dramatically improve the effectiveness of your knowledge base articles:

Make sure that your knowledge base article titles answer a question.

An example will demonstrate why this is important.

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Topics: Software Documentation Tips, Documentation Management

The 5 Stages of Writing a Help Article

Posted by Greg DeVore

Writing how-to guides and product documentation seems like it would be an easy task. But most support and documentation managers quickly find managing documentation is a real headache.

What begins as an informal process of writing FAQs and knowledge base articles quickly becomes a disorganized mess:

  • The articles you really need aren't getting written

  • The articles you have are out of date

  • You have no process for creating or curating your content

So we thought it would be helpful to share our process for creating help articles.

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ScreenSteps vs. MadCap Flare or RoboHelp

Posted by Jonathan DeVore

We often get questions about using ScreenSteps vs. MadCap Flare or RoboHelp.

I'm not going to go into a feature by feature comparison - both RoboHelp and MadCap Flare are very capable products and if you start listing all of the features, both will have a much longer list than ScreenSteps.

The main difference between ScreenSteps and these other authoring tools is philosophy.

Both Flare and RoboHep are built around the the idea of "documentation projects." A team or author using one of these products will go through everything you would do with a traditional project:

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2 Reasons Customers Aren't Using Your Self-Service

Posted by Jonathan DeVore

I was ready to checkout of Lowe's.

On my way to the register, I noticed there were a few available machines at self-checkout, and considered skipping the line to scan everything myself.

But I didn't.

On this particular trip, I purchased a few odd items, and I wasn't sure I could successfully go through the self-checkout. So I walked on by and found somebody who could help me.

Lowes_self-service

That's the first reason customers will opt to skip self-service: they're not sure they can solve their own problems using the tools you've given them. Your customers might think of their problems as being unique, and assume your self-service hasn't considered their situation.

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Topics: Customer Support

ScreenSteps vs. Zendesk: Help Article Authoring

Posted by Greg DeVore

Some people think that ScreenSteps is just about adding images to your documentation. But there is a lot more it can do. The video below highlights a few differences between the Zendesk article editor and ScreenSteps including:

  • Applying image borders
  • Revision management
  • Auto-numbering of steps
  • Annotation presets
  • Image updating
  • Step re-ordering
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New in ScreenSteps - Publish Complete Manuals to WordPress

Posted by Greg DeVore

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We are happy to announce that after a lot of customer feedback and working closely with some heavy WordPress users, we have a brand new ScreenSteps/WordPress integration. 

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Fill up Your Zendesk Knowledge Base with Better Help Articles

Posted by Jonathan DeVore

We're happy to announce a new and improved Zendesk integration. It now works with Zendesk Legacy AND Help Center, is a much faster setup, and has a tighter integration with Zendesk so that you can author everything in ScreenSteps.

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Topics: ScreenSteps Live

3 things your customer documentation says about your B2B software company

Posted by Greg DeVore

MandMs-300x225Since the goal of a how-to guide is to allow customers to help themselves, most businesses only think of documentation in terms of how it will impact their customer support.

But your how-to guides and documentation can also communciate a lot about your business.

Whenever I am getting ready to start using a new product or service, I instantly look at the company's help site. Granted, I develop online documentation software, so I am probably a bit more aware of this than others, but a company's help/documentation site can tell me a lot about what it will be like to work with them.

Here are three things I know about you if you have a great documentation site:

1. You are organized

I have never seen a disorganized company put together a great documentation site. A great documentation site sends a clear signal about how organized your company is.

A great example of this is the Van Halen Brown M&M's. Van Halen used to have a rider in their contract that required the promoters to provide a bowl of M&M's with all of the brown ones removed. A lot of people thought this was just them being divas. But Snopes explains the real reason:

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Topics: Miscellaneous