Knowledgebase systems are springing up on websites everywhere. Replacing the traditional lists of frequently asked questions that use named anchors to navigate through the page.

The idea of the knowledgebase is that you provide users with a search function for them to query your database of FAQs. They can enter a question or just a simple search term, and they will be presented with relevant results.

When presented with this task, I immediately thought of WordPress. I’d used WordPress installations to build blogs within websites, but not for anything like this. It seemed to be the simplest answer given that in incorporates a database of posts (which could easily be FAQs), a search function and a front-end system that was already familiar to non-technical members of staff.

If you’re already using WordPress for your blog and only have the ability to create tables within one database, it’s simple to install a separate WordPress site. When installing, simply change the wp-config file where it specifies the table-prefix. So instead of the tables appearing in your database with the prefix ‘wp-‘ you can change this to ‘kb-‘ or ‘faq-‘.

The search function that comes with WordPress is not always the best, so it did occur to me to use Google Custom Search instead, but having discovered ways to hack the standard search function, the free option seemed the best way to go – at least initially. As with any web project, things will evolve, so I may revisit Google’s Custom Search at a later date.

Building the knowledgebase is actually simpler than a blog as all you really need is the post and title to build a basic system which you can add to as you go along. Plus, WordPress is so popular, you’ll find plenty of help online from others have done the same thing.

So why not give it a go! Improving your users’ exeperience needn’t be that difficult.

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