This tutorial is part of a series on publishing a knowledge base on any topic with WordPress and the KnowHow theme. You can purchase this tutorial pre-configured for WPEngine and Digital Ocean.

Begin Authoring Your Website

Writing Our First Knowledge Base Entry

Wow! Finally, we’re ready to compose our first entry. Authoring content for your knowledge base is just like blogging in WordPress. Let’s start with an example SimpleStart article. “The topic of this article is How to Publish a Website”:

Let’s begin by clicking +New Post or All Posts -> Add New:

new post in wordpress

Authoring Your First WordPress Post

Here’s what the new post should look like on your knowledge base website:

How to Publish a Website

First Post: How to Publish a Website

As you add more and more posts to your website, the home page and sidebars will fill out with content. At this time, I’m just beginning the process with SimpleStart.io and SimpleTech.io, but for now, check out this site’s home page, Publishing with WordPress and Flee the Jungle.

Adding Frequently Asked Questions

As you go, you’ll get repetitive questions that visitors commonly ask you. Here’s how to use KnowHow’s built-in FAQ support to author FAQs.

First, you can configure your chosen URL for the FAQs to live on. I prefer /faq. Visit Appearance -> Theme Options and click on the FAQ Options tab:

Configure the FAQ page in WordPress

Configure FAQs for Your Knowledge Base

Once you’ve chosen a slug, you can add the page to your menus as we did above for the custom link to my consulting business.

faq add new

You’ll need to save your Permalinks settings at least once to activate the FAQ page. I prefer using Post name for knowledge base websites:

WordPress Permalinks Settings

Save Your Permalinks Settings

The finished FAQ page will include all the questions you add in one place. Initially, it will look like this with each question collapsed until the user opens it:

Sample Frequently Asked Questions

Sample Frequently Asked Questions

Configuring Social Media Sharing

The aesthetics and function of the free Social Media Feather plugin are quite nice. Configuring it can be a bit time-consuming and confusing; they have the longest scrollable form I’ve ever seen on the web.

Social Media Feather

Configuring Social Media Feather

Here are a few settings that I’ve chosen to customize:

  • Set up a Default Message for sharing e.g. “Ready to learn more about website publishing, try SimpleStart.io!”
  • Turn on Display Sharing Buttons, Before Post
  • Share Post Types for Posts and Pages (use shift to multiple select)
  • Change Icon Size to 32 x 32
  • Change Button Alignment to Align Right
  • Provide your Twitter Follow Link e.g. http://twitter.com/simplestart_io

Integrating Advertising

As your site grows, you may wish to integrate advertising into it in various areas. There are a number of ways to approach earning money from your website. I’ve begun a tutorial series on using Google’s DFP advertising service (Tuts+)  and I’ve written about some of my favorite affiliate programs as well.

I won’t delve deeply into the process here but once you have your advertising or affiliate code, you can create a WordPress text widget with the HTML and JavaScript and place it in the sidebar. You can also place it into posts directly. If you’re going to re-use ad content within posts, I recommend looking at The Benefits of Using the Free Shortcoder Plugin (Tuts+).

Here’s an example adding Digital Ocean ads to my knowledge base sidebar:

Placing Advertisements in WordPress Widgets

Placing Advertisements in WordPress Widgets

Here’s an example of what the advertising will look like in a sidebar:

advertising

If you’d like more advance advertising fulfillment and ad rotation, read my article on Google’s DFP or contact me for consulting.

Miscellaneous Clean Up

There are a few other things I like to do to clean up the WordPress environment.

First, delete the default WordPress “Hello World!” article so it doesn’t show up in search results or hidden categories. Just go to Posts, and delete it.

I also prefer to remove the Recent Comments side bar widget and default WordPress Meta widget shown below:

WordPress Meta Widget

The WordPress Meta Widget

Just visit, Appearance -> Widgets and click the Meta widget, then Delete:

Delete the WordPress Meta Widget

Delete the WordPress Meta Widget

Do the same for Recent Comments to delete it.

The Finished Site

Congratulations! If you’ve made it this far, you probably have an incredible knowledge base website about unicorns, making ice cream or choosing web tutorials. It probably looks a bit like SimpleTech.io:

Knowledge Base Home Page

The SimpleTech Home Page

I hope you’ve enjoyed this tutorial as much as I have while writing it. If you launch a knowledge base with this tutorial, please email me about it and I may share it on social media. Again, you can also purchase pre-configured versions of these sites from me. Or, contact me for consulting around technology strategy, software development and more.

Going Further

If you’re serious about running a website for the future, investing your time in it and building it into a popular destination on the web, there are a few more things you may want to consider.

Performance Optimization and Scaling

Performance optimization will be critical. If you’re using WPEngine, it’s mostly done for you. If you’re self-hosting WordPress, follow my WordPress optimization guides. You might also be interested in MySQL optimization and KeyCDN. Again, if you purchased pre-configured sites from me, this will already be provided for you.

Backing Up Your Site

I highly recommend you have a WordPress backup service in place. WPEngine can provide one. Digital Ocean can backup your server. And, there are plugins that provide regular backup services. I wrote a tutorial series about using CodeGuard for this. I’ve just begun experiment with BlogVault.

Search Engine Optimization and Advertising

If you’d like additional help expanding your audience for your site, contact me. I regular provide consulting services for SEO, search engine optimization, newsletters and promotional advertising.

Monitoring

It’s helpful to know that your website is always running, I provide a self-hosted application called Simple Monitor but there are many paid services that will provide this for you. If you’re using WPEngine, they’ll monitor it for you.

Security

WordPress login systems have occasionally been hacked. I do recommend expanding protection for your login with Google’s Two Factor Authentication.

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