The FAQ page was long thought to be as necessary to a website as the ubiquitous Contact Us page. Recently, though, I've observed that many of these pages seem tossed together without any real thought or consideration of their content, as though hastily assembled by someone who suddenly remembered that something was missing. At the other end of the spectrum, there now seems to be a philosophical dislike of the FAQ page entirely, so that many sites are being built without them. What's the right approach?Put me down on the side of defending FAQs. In my years as a retail manager, I found myself in the role as a living FAQ page, answering the same questions repeatedly throughout the work week. Customers and clients, both current and potential, will visit your website with a few well chosen, and specific, questions. They don't want to wade through a bunch of pages, or take the chance that by typing their questions into your Search box that they've hit all the right keywords. I often hear the argument that FAQ pages are a waste of space because your web content should answer all the questions that a visitor will ever need. All the elegantly composed, easily digestible content on your site is worthless to the visitor who simply wants to know A, B, and C.
Here are five simple rules for creating an FAQ page that you will be proud of.
- The FAQ needs to address specific topics as simply as possible. This begins with the very real problem of making sure that the page is devoted to, and only to, Frequently Asked Questions.
- Don't lump all questions together. The same inquiries that a Project Manager is asked will not be the same that the Sales Department is asked. Your HR person will not field the same phone calls as the IT expert. List the top few questions each department deals with, and then separate them into categories.
- Simple answers are fine for the FAQ page. Provide links that will give the visitor an opportunity to research the answer in greater depth. The reason we provide a wealth of content is to fill in those gaps in understanding that come from simple, direct answers.
- Update the content on your page. You should review the material on all your pages, but the FAQ page should get special attention, since (after the home page) it is the springboard for all visitors to learn about your company.
- Consider your FAQ page the first line of defense for your company. This is where you especially must answer the objections and misconceptions any might have about your products and services. Clearly state why your products and services really are the best!
Don't ignore your FAQ page, and don't over-complicate its content. Give it as much attention and respect as anything else on your website and your visitors really will use it.
What do you think of the relative value of the FAQ page to a website? Please feel free to post your opinions here.