The Benefits of FAQ Pages
Quite often FAQ content as an afterthought. An effective FAQ section does require some thought, and when it’s done well it can be a valuable addition to your content strategy. Maybe the number one thing a thoughtful FAQ strategy can do is to answer questions that your product, or service pages can’t directly address. Some other key contributions of FAQs are:
- demonstrate expertise and authority
- improve user experience
- boost SEO and organic traffic
- reduce burden on customer support
Sometimes the teams that manage an organization’s digital experience will have objections to having FAQ content. Here are common objections to FAQs and how your might reasonably counter them.
Overcoming Objections to FAQs
We have site search, so we don’t need FAQs.
You might have a small informational website, and you talk on the phone with all of your customers, then maybe you don’t need a public FAQ. However, it might be more beneficial to address things more systematically if you typically:
- sell something a little more complex
- spend a great deal of time on phone calls and email
- have applications to support.
Site search is a frequently attempted FAQ alternative, but search is rarely enough. With a search-only approach, the skill and vocabulary of the user is regrettably not sufficient enough for most people to form effective search queries, and users often get no relevant results when they search. Typically the team in charge of the digital experience lacks the technical expertise to effectively manage their website’s search engine.
A kind of first-aid navigation shortcut to a poor site search is the use of quicklinks, but they often lack the context of a well structured FAQ section. An FAQ approach may be more practical, because it provides a direct answer to a question, and offers more context than a list of links.
Faqs will expose our shortcomings.
Your products or services are going to be discussed. It will likely happen without the benefit of your input on social media and third-party Q&A forums. This becomes a lot like reputation management. Monitoring and addressing concerns in a timely manner can take a great deal of effort. If you don’t create a great place for people to contact you, people will post questions, complaints, bugs, workarounds, and self-help documentation somewhere else.
FAQs show that your organization is listening and addressing people’s concerns honestly, and transparently — in a way that you control.
FAQs are just made-up questions.
It’s as simple as this: if you’re listening to your users, then you know what their questions are. Sometimes you have to rewrite those questions to make them general enough to apply to most people, but they’re not made up questions.
FAQs aren’t user-friendly.
FAQs can be consumed from end to end. Well structured FAQs are chunked by topic and designed for quick visual scanning. Your goal should be for people to quickly rule out most of the topics, and focus on what is most useful and relevant. Good information design in an FAQ can help people both locate what they need and discover other information they may want.
Isn’t there something better?
When something works well, we should probably just use that. FAQs are a good tool, and they given a current, modern web presentation without compromising their usefulness.
The Strategic Value of FAQs
Set the tone of your organization.
Any conversations or Q&A with users should be polite, personable, and reflective of the brand. These conversations are also public and they serve as indicators to prospective customers.
- Does the company deal fairly, and responsively?
- Is the organization being candid, and honest about problems and feature requests?
- How fresh, and relevant is the latest information?
Provide decision making information.
When users read FAQs they are often looking for more than just an answer. They may be judging your products, services, and company during the purchasing cycle. Good FAQs provide answers to questions like:
- Could I get an answer to my questions easily, or is there an endless loop of unhelpful documentation?
- How credible is the information provided?
- Do the answers seem factual and frank or more like marketing hype?
- Does the FAQ openly acknowledge problems or limitations?
- Can I dismiss all my concerns before spending money?
- How mature is the product or service?
- Are others able to use it the way I want to?
Have a positive impact on SEO.
FAQs are useful, relevant content that is beneficial to SEO. Question format matters because people often type questions into web-based search engines. Users don’t search for your solution, they search for their problem. If you’re careful to use the vocabulary of your users, these very targeted web-search queries will better match your questions, so people can go straight to your best answer from the search-engine results page.
Reduce the burden on customer support.
Effective FAQs eliminate the need for an army of support staff. Users typically don’t want to call to get information that you already know they want and need. FAQs work 24/7. Every question and answer has the potential to help someone else, and customer-support people can use FAQs too. An advanced FAQ strategy might have both an inside and an outside set of FAQs.
Guide users to other useful content.
Linking to comprehensive or authoritative outside resources can often save everyone time and money — boosting credibility and authority. Strategic linking also prevents having to create and maintain information that may be more comprehensive elsewhere.
Getting Started with FAQs
FAQs are often the most forgotten and overlooked content on a website, but they are full of potential. The question is, are you making the most of them? Here are two great resources to help you get started developing a strategy to leverage FAQ content.
When used right, your FAQ page can be a first point of contact, and benefit customers at different parts of the purchasing cycle.
Manufacturing FAQs: The workhorse of content and search marketing - Search Engine Land
From improved search rankings to landing pages for paid search traffic — FAQ content has many benefits.
FAQs should be a key part of your digital experience content strategy. Some key benefits are improved customer satisfaction, user experience and search visibility. For more information on how we can help you create the best digital experience, contact us today.
Main photo by Evan Dennis on Unsplash