The Ultimate
Help Center
Best Practices

A complete, step-by-step guide with help center examples and tools to help you create the perfect help center for your business.

I've been looking for a comprehensive help center guide and this is exactly what I needed. The step-by-step instructions and examples were incredibly helpful.

Alex Styl – Founder of Ubidrop

The Help Center Academy - Learn the secrets of building a successful help center | Product Hunt

01

What is a Help Center and
Why do I need it?

A help center is a self-serve resource for customers covering the most important and up-to-date information about your product, best-practices, workflows, and troubleshooting.

A SaaS Help Center is...

Instant help for your customers.

You’ve probably heard this phrase before: it all starts with great customer service.⁣

⁣Unless you have built a flawless product (congratulations 🀩), your customers will always have questions. They want to get immediate help when they need it most. No emails, no chat, no annoying waiting for an answer.

A complete and up-to-date knowledge base has to be an integral part of your customer support.

All information in one place
A help center can provide all the information that your customers need in one place. It can range from FAQs about your product/service, common issues and their solutions, videos with tutorials on how to do things and more.
Reduces your support volume
The best thing about a help center is that it not only helps your customers find answers faster but it also drastically reduces the support ticket volume for your customer service team.
Black kettle with long pour spot and angled body on marble counter next to coffee mug and pour-over system.
Detail of temperature setting button on kettle bass with digital degree readout.
Kettle spout pouring boiling water into coffee grounds in pour-over mug.

02

Must-Have Characteristics of a Great Help Center

A great help center isn't simple just a knowledge base website with a bunch of help articles. It is compromised of various characteristics that enhace your users learning experience and make it a great help center.

Powered by Notion Responsiveness

Optimized for both Desktop and Mobile

In the past few years, the number of mobile users has been steadily increasing. There will be three billion smartphone users globally soon which means that a full 50% of your potential customers are now accessing your site from their mobile devices.

It's essential that your help center is fully responsive and optimized for mobile, tablet and desktop.
 Optimized for both Desktop and Mobile
Get feedback in the form of comments and approvals Search

A search bar to help customers find what they need

A help center should have a sophisticated search feature so that customers can immediately find the answer to their questions. The search should have an autocomplete function so that users get article suggestions as they type.

Ideally you want these queries to be saved and analysed based on search misses so you can improve your knowledge base in the future.
Sophistaced search
Customize app store preview Customize

A professional customizable on-brand design

Your customers deserve a professional looking knowledge base. A great knowledge base looks and feels like your brand and allows you to adjust the accent color, backgrounds as well as icons.
Customize your site experience
Receive Article Feedback Analytics

Learn from your users and optimize your support center

A great knowledge base software shows helps you understand your knowledge base usage. Learn about how many users visit your site, the most popular articles, user countries, referrers and more.

Ideally you want a privacy friendly and cookie-less way so you do not have to display those annoying cookie banners and your users data does not get sold to big tech
Easily rearrange your app screenshots and videos until satisfied
Optimized for Google, Bing and co SEO

Search engines love to display your articles

Google, Bing and other search engines should love to rank your knowledge base articles. To maximize your SEO appearance you should be able to customize your Meta Title, Meta Description, Favicon Image, and and OG Image.

Customize your app store preview
 Blow away customers by how great it looks Widget

Reach your users in context with a widget

An embeddable widget with your knowledge base can be installed on your own website and help your customers right when they need it without ever leaving your site.

The sooner a customer can fix their problem and continue using your product the better. Widgets are a great way to keep your customers engaged and focused.
Blow away customers by how great it looks
Connect your custom domain Custom Domain

Host your help center on a dedicated subdomain

You ideally want to host your help center on a subdomain of your main website with a commonly recognizable word domain support.acme.com or help.acme.com.

Wondering if you should host your help center on a subdomain or sub path? We did a little study πŸ‘‡

Share your app store preview and get feedback

Subdomain vs Subfolder

The questions of questions and we have the answer. We crawled over 300 help centers from all around the web and discovered that the majority of help centers are hosted on a subdomain.

The two most common used subdomains were support.acme.com and help.acme.com.

03

Category Structure

You might be wondering what categories your help center knowledge base should have. While it depends largely on your product, there are four must-have categories every help center should have. Additionally, we suggest having a category explaining all your features.

πŸ‘‹

Getting Started

Help your users learn more about the basics of your product and how they can get started.

What is {Your Product}
How do I install/login to {Your Product}
{Your Product} Glossary
πŸ’°

Billing & Subscription

Help users learn about billing cycles, payment methods, invoice location, and plan differences.

How do I upgrade my current plan
How do I cancel my subscription
What payment methods are available
HelpKit Help Center Notion Template

Grab our free Notion template with all categories, example articles and the guide on how to write them.

Get the Notion Template
πŸ› οΈ

Troubleshooting

Use this category to educate and help users solve commonly known issues.

How do I fix {Common Issue}
I found a bug, how can I report it
Why can't I do {Common Issue}
πŸ‘€

Profile & Account

Help users with tasks such as user management, account access, or updating profile settings.

How do I change my profile settings
How do I delete my account
How to manage email notifications

04

Writing Help Articles

Nothing is worse than help articles that don't... help. Articles are the core of your help center. You want them to be as helpful and easy to read as possible. Here are the top five tips to write a killer support article.

What to write about

Customers turn to your help center to solve their problems. Your goal should be to help them find answers to the questions they have about your product or service. Besides the most common questions addressed in the category section above, the best way for you to come up with content for your help center is by looking into your support tickets.

Your support tickets are the best resource for finding things your users are struggling with. Turning questions from your support tickets into a dedicated help article whenever you receive a new one is a fantastic way to fill up your knowledge base with relevant and helpful content.

Takeaway

Create a new help center article whenever you receive a new support ticket

Naming your articles

The best article titles are simple, concise and straight to the point. Think about what your customers might search for. If your help center tool offers insights like to search intents, you can even take inspiration from there. When naming your article rely on action words in the active voice. The two most commonly used forms are either the question title or the '-ing' title:

  • How to {X}?
  • Using/Setting up {X}

After analyzing dozens of help centers we have noticed that the most popular way of naming articles was by using the gerund or in other words the -ing form.

Takeaway

Give you articles simple, concise and searchable names by using the -ing form.

Make content easy to read

Your readers time is precious. Make the content easy to skim by using appropriate headers. No one wants to be intimidated by a wall of text. If your text is longer consider adding a table of contents.

Make your users feel smart. Do not use fancy terms or jargon if not absolutely necessary. Write your articles with the mindest of a fresh beginner and try to avoid making any assumptions on what they user might already know. Explain everything.

Takeaway

Write easy to skim content that can be understood by absolute beginners

Use your customers voice

Know your customer's words and use them. You can observe the words your customers use from support tickets, social media, Google, and many more sources.

Your article does not have to be boring either. Let a bit of humor shine through your articles. Write like you speak for more authenticity and also make sure to show empathy. Even if it is your users fault, encourage them to not worry and that their problem will be fixed asap.

Takeaway

Speak your customer's language and do not shy away from some humor

Add visual elements

When demonstrating users how to use your product, you can write fewer words and make your instructions more appealing by adding screenshots, GIFs or videos showing each step in your workflow. Bullet points and numbered lists are another great way to structure your content and make it more appealing to read for your users.

Be sure to checkout our resources section below to find amazing tools for creating visuals.

Takeaway

Make your articles easier to understand by using multi-media visuals

05

20 Best Help Center Examples

The following 20 help centers are some of the best examples we found on the world-wide-web. They are all unique in their own ways, but they also share some common traits.

07

The Ultimate
Help Center Checklist

Nothing is worse than help articles that don't... help. Articles are the core of your help center. You want them to be as helpful and easy to read as possible. Here are the top five tips to write a killer help article.

Notifications

Clearly identify the purpose of your help center, such as improving customer satisfaction or reducing support inquiries.

Structure your help center in a way that makes it easy for customers to find what they need, using a navigation menu or search bar.

Include comprehensive and up-to-date information about your product or service, with step-by-step instructions and troubleshooting guides.

Make your help center user-friendly and easy to read, with clear headings and helpful images or videos.

Regularly update your help center to ensure that the information remains relevant and accurate.

Include a feedback system that allows customers to provide comments or suggestions about your help center.

Make sure that your help center is accessible for all device types and screen sizes, and that it is compatible with assistive technologies.

Develop a strategy for promoting your help center to customers, such as highlighting it on your website or sending out notifications when new information is added.

Track and measure the effectiveness of your help center, using metrics like customer satisfaction scores and the number of views or searches.

Found our guide useful?

Share the Help Center Academy
with your colleagues and friends

We spent countless hours researching and crafting this guide to help you build a better help center. If you found it useful, we would forever be grateful if you share it with your colleagues and friends.

Thank you ツ

The Help Center Academy - Learn the secrets of building a successful help center | Product Hunt

Made by a Notioneer at HelpKit

Build your Help Center with Notion

Hey πŸ‘‹
I’m Dominik, the founder of HelpKit.

HelpKit is the perfect tool for creating your company's knowledge base, help center or documentation with Notion. Write your help articles in Notion and HelpKit takes care of the rest. It's as simple as that.

HelpKit is powerful, flexible, and allows you to create and maintain a knowledge base that lasts. Embed a πŸŽ›οΈ Widget on your website to provide customer support any time they need it. HelpKit is also optimized for πŸ” SEO so that search engines easily find your website. Oh, and did we tell you that HelpKit pages load up πŸ’¨ faster than default Notion pages as well?! 😎

Creating content, answering questions, and adding tutorial videos has never been easier. There's no need for coding or technical knowledge, just sign up and get started for free!

πŸ‘‰ Create your Help Center with Notion