Most people will not point to the FAQ page as the primary factor of a strong website, but the FAQ page can be a powerful tool if utilized correctly. Business websites often make the mistake of packing this page with miscellaneous information that adds no value to visitors, so the FAQ page is written off by businesses and users alike.
Creating a page that truly helps answer client questions, improves sales, and even improves search engine rankings takes some elbow grease and some know-how.
We will explore the added value of a powerful FAQ page to help establish expertise, boost traffic, and improve online sales.
But first, it’s important to understand what makes a bad FAQ page to truly understand how they can be improved, and ultimately, provide value to customers.
The Problem With Bad FAQ Pages
When a website is first launched, sometimes businesses will include an FAQ page. But, why? They have no customer feedback to draw from. Ultimately, they’re assuming likely questions from customers without putting in any effort to understand them.
Because most websites have an FAQ section, businesses are launching a new “check the box” by including one. Does it add any value to the business or the user? Absolutely not!
These pages typically contain odd questions that rarely enter anyone’s mind. This hurts the business as they lose potential customers who do not have their questions answered. They are turned away by questions that have no relevance. As will be mentioned below, it isn’t difficult to do a bit of customer research in the efforts to create a strong FAQ page.
In addition, if the questions on the page are not updated regularly to account for seasonality, information change, and so on, the same result can occur.
Now that we’ve discussed common issues, let’s take a look at how we can mitigate them.
Strong FAQ Pages
A good FAQ page answers customer questions in an effective and efficient manner, but can also lighten the volume of customer support calls. By relieving the strain of high-volume calls, a business can save time and money – That is, if the page serves its purpose of answering “frequent” customer questions. How can this page ensure that these customers find answers?
Anticipate Customer Needs
To effectively help a customer, a business must anticipate their needs. In turn, the questions for any FAQ page must be authentic and well-planned. If the website is brand-new, it helps to set a timeframe to collect data on customer calls. This can be achieved by surveying and categorizing questions asked during that time through direct calls and email.
It also helps to announce this “open question period” on the site to guide users and help them help you. Remember, a primary function of an FAQ page is to complement the customer support call center. An FAQ page cannot do this without asking the proper questions. Monitoring chat logs, blog comments, and social media interactions while conducting the open question period accomplishes that goal.
Enhance User Experience
A well-designed user experience drives traffic and boosts sales. If the website has an FAQ page, the first step is making it easy for users to find. This may seem intuitive, but as we’ve seen, many sites simply check the box by including one and bury it among other pages.
What happens, then, if users cannot find it and need questions answered? They will leave the site. Therefore, it’s imperative to create a clear and obvious entry point.
This can be accomplished simply through a well-positioned link. Users look for these links on the primary navigation panel, or in the site’s footer. Because these entry points are separated from the rest of the web layout, it will stand out, making it easy for the user to find.
Take this example from FACT Goods’ footer:
The footer clearly contrasts the rest of the web layout, and the FAQ section stands out. A user can easily find the page. Don’t stop there. If we look at the primary navigation panel at the top of Priceline’s page, we see a “Help” section that serves the same purpose.
The help section at the top directs readers to the FAQ page, and it provides a second easy access point for users. Including these two access points is a small way to enhance the user experience, ensure they receive help, which ultimately provides value as a viable resource.
Also, a search box on the FAQ page can enhance user experience further. Especially if your FAQ page has a sizeable amount text. This gives users a quick and easy way to navigate the FAQ page to find exactly the answer to their question. After completing these steps, any site has provided resources necessary to gain and keep customers.
So, let’s analyze how a site can expand this resource.
Expand FAQ Content as a Resource Center
Creating value on the FAQ page begins with organization. Because this page is often text-rich, it’s important to make the page readable. Easy, right?
From there, the page can be organized creatively, but in a way that keeps customers moving towards final purchase. The true value of this page is its ability to remove any pain points a customer has while making a purchase.
Take Guava Family, Inc. for example:
They use every question as an opportunity to point users back to their products. What’s more, they up-sell products with additional information the user may not have been looking for.
Another way is to construct a “Learn” page that simply teaches the user or customer a bit about what the product is and who they are.
See Soundation’s “Learn” page, for example:
Regardless, it’s equally important to make the page interactive. The FAQ page is a user’s last resort before bailing on the site and its product, and the user experience can make the difference.
A strong FAQ page provides answers in a helpful, entertaining way. Aesthetically pleasing, interactive content is a great way to help users navigate the site for answers and educate them in different ways.
We’ll use Shareable for Hires’ FAQ page as an example:
Under their “How do I…” section of their FAQ page they include video answers to questions regarding their user interface. There is nothing more frustrating than finding a resource you love and want to leverage then not being able to figure out how it works. With these step by step videos, users learn how to navigate the site and properly utilize its tools.
SEO & Additional Value:
Beyond the value of customer support and experience, a strong FAQ page can provide Google search value.
Each question should contain hyperlinks to resources with answers – whether it’s an internal blog post or an outside page. The combination of both healthy internal linking and useful, crawl-able external content is where the SEO value lives. Google cares about user experience above anything else, so using strategic keywords and phrases within the questions also helps Google search rankings for given products and services.
The FAQ page can provide value to a website if approached correctly, and it can help boost sales in the process. We’ve tackled this in detail, but it’s also worth noting that an FAQ page isn’t mandatory. Product and service information, for example, should exist at the product and category page level to ensure customers have access to information in the fewest clicks possible.
Any business should strive for simplicity with its web design and look for ways to reduce content that isn’t needed. In short, the FAQ page exists to support the rest of the site. If it doesn’t accomplish that, it shouldn’t be a priority.
Listen to your users. They will tell you if an FAQ page is needed, and when they do, the site should leverage that need to drive results, rather than “checking the box.”
Sophia Conti is a contributing editor at 365 Business Tips, a website curating the best ideas for small business owners. She specializes in marketing and helping businesses improve their customer experience.