Frequently Asked Questions, or FAQs as they are commonly referred, have become a standard resource on most websites. At its core, a website is designed to provide users with information, whether that information is defined as allowing consumers to buy products, tell shareholders an investment story or a consulting firm that wishes to explain their services, is of no consequence. At the same time, websites also eliminate the need for human resources, saves time for the host and user, and, ultimately, reduces costs in the process as many of the functions that are required in the physical world are removed.
An FAQ page follows this same logic. As well-written as your website may be, without fail, there will always be topics that are better explained with greater detail that may not warrant a dedicated section or page. Similarly, there may be important details to address where a simple sentence or two would suffice. While eCuras will structure your site in keeping with generally accepted web design principles that balance creative design, utility, usability, and content messaging, the FAQ page offers another area to supply content that doesn’t belong elsewhere on your site.
Most importantly, in our digital age of instant gratification, the FAQ page provides a snapshot of details that users can find instantly without wasting time calling, holding or waiting for an email response. FAQs do your website great service.
Instead of hiring a large staff to support questions by phone, email or a ticket system, FAQs address many of the same inquiries that are asked consistently and repeatedly in an instant and with a cost-saving method. FAQ’s are not designed to replace communications with your key audiences; direct lines of communication are no less important, however, not every question requires a discussion, regardless of the mode or channel of communication.
FAQ’s enable the resolution of simple concerns quickly and easily. They also serve a great purpose for new leads or prospects that are checking you out to access additional information about your company or how your site works without human resources. FAQ’s decrease costs while increasing productivity. If you only have to speak to 10 people in a day instead of 40 that leaves 75% more time for you to focus on other areas.
Don’t be mistaken, however, FAQ’s should not be used as your primary means of communicating with your clients and customers, a website cannot replace human interaction and relationship building. They are another tool in your digital toolkit to help you improve efficiency.
With all the acronyms that come with the digital economy, few are more important than SEO. When developed properly, your FAQ page can and will boost your ranking on the search engines. The reason behind this lies in the Q&A format. Web crawlers such as Google’s bots are charged with finding economical and efficient answers to common search queries. This is why the Q&A format proves powerful.
If your question, and related answer, provide the greatest relevance to the search query, there is a chance of your page being indexed on Google’s answer box. This will boost your site traffic and lead to higher engagement. Consumers, businesses, all of mankind already expect to visit the FAQ section of a website for simple answers to their questions but now you also see the added benefit of how an FAQ page can support your business growth online as well.
It should go without saying that the key to a good FAQ page lies in the efficacy of the questions and their related answers. The best place to look to develop a beneficial list of questions is from within. There are few resources to help you define the types of questions that might be asked that are better than your customers. What questions do they ask when they call? Email? Send a support ticket? Social media? Go back through your records for six months or a year and compile a list of the 20-25 most commonly asked questions that came into your call center or ticket system and there you have it. “Create a list of questions, check.”
Another great alternative to defining likely questions is your competitors’ websites. This is especially helpful for start-ups or new business units that don’t have much to draw from yet. A quick scan of a few peer company FAQ sections will give you a solid framework to get started.
What do most people do when they have a question? They Google it. The search engines are also a great resource for formulating your questions. Using the autofill and auto-suggest features on Google and Bing, you can easily get a sense of what people are asking. It’s a simple, yet effective litmus test. Visit either search engines and begin typing a phrase. For example, beginning your phrase with “how to” results in a wide range of entries. With each word, you add to the phrase you’ll get closer to what it is you’re trying to identify. Experiment, choose phrases that relate to your industry and that include keywords related to your business that your target audience might be curious or interested in finding should they arrive on your site.
There’s a bit of a mind game at work and trial and error but this method will give you some direction. As part of this effort, particularly as it relates to SEO, the end goal is to attempt to predict what customers may search for, then beat them to it by having your site the first search result they see upon hitting enter.
FAQ’s serve multiple purposes, all of which create value effectively and efficiently. It is what is known as an organic growth strategy that encompasses engagement, user-friendliness, saves time, money and resources, pacifies customers all while increasing your presence online.