Why Notion Knowledge Bases are not enough + 5 Alternatives

I recently came across someone explaining how using Notion for their personal planning changed their life.

That was by the time we were using Notion as a team at work. I had never used Notion to a full extend and was intrigued by this personal-use-Notion post. So I tried my hand at Notion.

I wasn’t fully impressed.

notion knowledge base meme
Me going through Notion like:

It was great for personal use alright but I came to the realization that it wasn’t nearly as good for teamwork. It simply didn’t have some of the advanced features a knowledge database needed. 

So I conducted some personal research on alternatives 😏

But hey, before I start with my findings, let’s take a look at:

  • What Notion is,
  • Why it might not be the best for a knowledge base, and then
  • Some great tools that can replace Notion as a knowledge base

Let’s get into it.

What is Notion?

Notion is an all-in-one workspace that brings together cool features like note-taking, project tracking, knowledge base, and more. Being fit for personal and corporate use, Notion is also a great place for collaborative work and can be used offline. With its minimal design and high ease of use, it has become more and more popular over the years ever since it was released in 2016.

Is Notion a knowledge management system?

Yes.

With its compact but extensive product design and a minimalistic interface, Notion can be used as a personal task management system, and a project management system, as well as a knowledge management system. 

So basically Notion is a personal or company wiki with which you can take notes, store company resources or put any collection of knowledge in.

But that doesn’t mean it’s perfect.

Because Notion is so versatile and flexible when it comes to use cases, it becomes hindered by its very nature in becoming a full-fledged knowledge base.

Let’s talk about why Notion might not be the best option for you if you are looking for a knowledge management tool for your team/company.

why notion knowledge bases might not be the best cut for you

4 reasons why Notion might not be the best cut for knowledge bases

There are 4 reasons why you can probably pick a better tool than Notion for your knowledge bases, whether you are a small business or enterprise.

These are:

1- Can’t take on full-fledged knowledge base tools

Notion is a jack-of-all-trades type of tool.

It does excel at that. And the problem is exactly that.

Notion is that one friend you had at high school that just can’t decide what they want to do. They try their hand at everything and end up being mediocre at everything.

Then they find themselves working a 9 to 5 job they never even wanted to do with way too much information on everything else.

What’s more, as Notion gets better at everything they are trying to excel at, they will have to charge more. For features you probably won’t be using if you are in it for a knowledge base.

Think twice.

2- Designed for personal use

Notion’s not so bad if you are creating a personal knowledge base.

Not so much for collaboration.

The reason why Notion is recommended so much by individuals for personal use is because it was designed for personal use. It gets sloppy and very unorganized when used by two or more people, let alone big teams.

3- Not compatible with multi-channel use

One of the biggest problems with using Notion as a knowledge base is the fact that it cannot be used in a different environment.

You have to open a new tab to get to Notion. Every time.

Obviously that is not very desirable when you want to create a knowledge base that is supposed to be easy to use and accessible by all. 

4- Way too complicated

Notion takes pride in their highly customizable UI with kanban boards, view options, and cool templates. 

We gotta give it to them, they are pretty good.

But they are also the very reason Notion can get too complicated at times. McDonald’s got famous when they standardized their menu and kept it to way less options than before.

Success is through simplicity for both ends of the product.

So, all in all, Notion is great when you are using it as a personal knowledge base or project management tool. But hey, enough talking about Notion. 

Let’s take a look at some digital tools that are great alternatives to Notion.

Top Alternatives to Notion Knowledge Management

1- Guru

Guru Notion Knowledge Base Alternative
 Guru has a simple offer for you.

Organize company information. Access it anywhere.

And they do it make this possible by streamlining internal communication, helping new employee onboarding, and making information accessible anywhere, anytime.

Its use-worthy integrations are a big plus.

Guru Key Features

Offering features on various focused use cases, Guru has a set of features that really highlights your work.

  • Content Creation and Storage
  • User, Role, and Access Management
  • Collaboration Tools
  • Analytics
  • Intelligent Search
  • Knowledge Sharing
  • Cataloging/Categorization

Guru vs Notion

In terms of features, Notion and Guru are very similar. Especially in being a dedicated tool.

However, they differ a lot as well.

πŸ‘‰ One feature Guru has that Notion doesn’t have is forums, which make collaboration easier. Guru also makes the knowledge bases available on different channels while Notion doesn’t.

πŸ‘‰ Overall, Notion is still a very popular tool but Guru seems to be almost as popular that just happened to get less attention.

Guru Pricing

Guru has 3 different plans and a free version, as well as a free trial option. These plans are:

Starter – free for 3 users, $5 for each user after 3 /month

Builder – $10 user/month

Expert – $20 user/month

Did you know you can use Guru with UserGuiding’s resource center feature? Give it a try!

2- Confluence

Confluence Notion Knowledge Base Alternative

Atlassian’s Confluence is a remote-friendly workspace where knowledge and collaboration meet”, as they say on their front page.

And it is very convincing looking at the positive reviews.

Just like Notion, Confluence is a tool that helps companies build wikis, create onboarding checklists and share internal knowledge. However, although Confluence is very similar to Notion, there are some fundamental differences that make Confluence a more focused and seasoned tool.

Confluence Key Features

  • Content and Space Management
  • In-Content Feedback
  • Site Management
  • Customization
  • Versioning and Version History
  • Templates

Confluence vs Notion

Although we have already said that Notion and Confluence are quite alike, they are also quite different where it matters.

πŸ‘‰ For example, Confluence being an Atlassian product, it integrates perfectly with Jira and other Atlassian tools, and overall has more integration options than Notion.

πŸ‘‰ While Notion only lets commenting, Confluence lets individual users message each other within the tool. regardless of their company level. 

πŸ‘‰ Confluence is way less flexible and customizable than Notion, however, this might be a pro considering how easy it becomes to set up and use the tool for the first time.

It is fair to say that Confluence is a great alternative to Notion for more collaborative options and integrations.

Confluence Pricing

Confluence offers a free version and three other plans. The free version can be used with up to 10 individual users, while the other plans are billed according to the user count.

Standard – $5.50 per user/month

Premium – $10.50 oer user/month

Enterprise – Custom, billed annually

Did you know you can use Confluence with UserGuiding’s resource center feature?

3- Document360

Document 360 Notion Knowledge Base Alternative

Document360 is also one of the most popular tools out there, especially among growing companies. It helps gives content creators the power while giving the content consumers the simplicity.

Document360’s power comes from its sleek knowledge base design and its internal and external knowledge bases.

So if you are looking for a tool to take burden off of your customer support team’s shoulders while also keeping your internal knowledge in a single source, Document360 is the one.

Document360 Key Features

  • Self Service Portal
  • Cataloging/Categorization
  • Discussions / Forums
  • Content Management
  • Full Text Search
  • Self Service Portal

Document360 vs Notion

πŸ‘‰ Probably the biggest pro of preferring Document360 over Notion is the ability to create both internal and external knowledge bases.

πŸ‘‰ While both tools make it possible to invite individual users to certain docs, wikis and tables, Document360 also lets users assign roles to the individual users they invited.

πŸ‘‰ Document360 has lots of integrations with popular tools like Google Analytics, Olark, Hotjar, and Intercom while Notion doesn’t have nearly as many.

Document360 Pricing

Document360 offers a full-access free trial and has 4 different plans.

Startup – $79 per project/per month

Business – $239 per project/per month

Enterprise – $399 per project/per month

Enterprise Plus – Custom

Did you know you can use Document360 with UserGuiding’s resource center feature?

4- ProProfs Knowledge Base

ProProfs Notion Knowledge Base Alternative

Rated among the best knowledge base software out there, ProProfs Kowledge Base is a truly dedicated knowledge base tool. It is what I mean when I say Notion can’t compare to full-fledged knowledge base software.

What makes the difference?

The way ProProfs knows exactly what they want to do and what they are doing. Focus makes a huge difference.

 ProProfs Key Features

  • Cataloging/Categorization
  • Collaboration Tools
  • Content Management
  • Discussions / Forums
  • Knowledge Base Management
  • Self Service Portal

 ProProfs vs Notion

πŸ‘‰ One of the most important differences between Notion and ProProfs that ProProfs lets users create external knowledge bases as well, whether it is for common support questions or for a stand-alone help center.

πŸ‘‰ Since ProProfs also deals with external affairs of your knowledge bases, it helps with Google rankings and SEO as well. This way, it makes it possible for users to find your knowledge base and interact with it easily.

πŸ‘‰ ProProfs Knowledge Base has a remarkable set of integrations from Google Apps, Jira, and Salesforce to Zendesk and Freshdesk.

 ProProfs Pricing

ProProfs has a 15-day free trial and has three different plans for both the Knowledge Base Creator and the Help Center Creator.

Public Help Center Plans

Essentials – $30 author/month

Premium – $40 author/month

Enterprise – custom

Private Knowledge Base

Essentials – $2 user/month

Premium – $3 user/month

Enterprise – custom

Did you know you can use ProProfs Knowledge Base with UserGuiding’s resource center feature?

5- ClickUp

ClickUp Notion Knowledge Base Alternative

In terms of popularity, ClickUp is among the tools that are in the same league as Notion.

And could even take it on with ease.

The thing about ClickUp is that essentially it is a project management tool that is also trying its hand at being a knowledge base tool. Which is essentially the case with Notion, a note-taking tool trying to become a knowledge base tool.

So which of the main focuses of these tools more helpful when you are creating a knowledge base?

Now, that’s not something you can decide without taking a look at some features.

ClickUp Key Features

  • Access Controls/Permissions
  • Alerts/Notifications
  • Assignment Management
  • Workflow Management
  • Real-Time Chat
  • Content Management

ClickUp vs Notion

πŸ‘‰ ClickUp’s biggest edge over Notion is its capabilities of task management. You can create tasks, put due dates on them, assign them to users in specific roles, and even create sub-tasks within those tasks. Meanwhile in Notion you can do basic assigning without much progress tracking.

πŸ‘‰ ClickUp’s different view types like calendar and workload views let users know when each user has a task due or what each user has on their plate. This way it is easier for users to collaborate and request certain pieces of knowledge to be collected on the knowledge base.

πŸ‘‰ Because ClickUp is essentially a project management tool, it is naturally easier to link docs, wikis, and any kind of note to tasks and access them through the given task. So it is fair to say ClickUp has more integrations within itself and outside the tool compared to Notion.

ClickUp Pricing

ClickUp has a free version and 4 other plans:

Unlimited – $5 per member/per month

Business – $9 per member/per month

Business Plus – $19 per member/per month

Enterprise – custom

Did you know you can use ClickUp with UserGuiding’s resource center feature?

Conclusion

One thing is for sure: Notion is a competent tool.

It is, with no doubt, among the best in the market. What makes us seek alternatives is the fact that it might not be the right choice for everyone, especially those who don’t need all the trades this jack-of-all-trades masters. 

So hopefully, this list of alternatives will be handy for those of you out there who think Notion might just be overkill for you. 

Good luck with your knowledge base!

Frequently Asked Questions


Is notion a knowledge management system?

Yes, it is. But Notion is also a note taking tool, as well as a project management software.


How do you use knowledge management notion?

To use Notion as a knowledge management system, users can create their own wikis, knowledge bases, and documents.


What is a good knowledge base?

A good internal or external knowledge base is one that is accessible, easy to use, and clear in categorization as well as definition.


What is knowledge base for?

A knowledge base can be internal and external, the former for employees and company documentation while the latter is for self-service support for users.


How do you create a personal knowledge base?

Notion is a great tool for creating a personal knowledge base, as well as other tools like Guru, ClickUp, ProProfs Knowledge Base, Document360, and Confluence. 

How do I set up a knowledge management system?

To set up an internal or external knowledge base, users can use a no-code tool like Notion, Guru or Confluence.


Is Obsidian better than notion?

Tools like Obsidian and Notion all have their strong suits, so it depends on the features users look for to decide which is better.


How do you organize a knowledge management system?

With tools like Notion, Guru, and Confluence users can easily categorize and catalog knowledge bases.

best alternative to notion knowledge base

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Serra Alban

Serra is a Creative Content Writer of UserGuiding specialized in user onboarding and UX design. When she is not writing you can find her playing video games or throwing random movie trivia at uninterested people.

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