FAQ, or a Frequently Asked Questions list, is a subpage that presents a collection of the most popular issues raised by customers of a given company or service. The practice of placing FAQs on websites is almost as old as the Internet itself – the first such lists in electronic form appeared even before the development of the WWW protocol. Today the FAQ can be found on millions of websites of active online stores or service companies around the world, and we will now answer the question why it’s worth and how to create a FAQ?
Why Post an FAQ on Your Website?
- It provides the customer with immediate help – the user can instantly find the answer to his/her question, which shortens the purchase path. You can read more about customer path mapping in e-commerce in the article on our website.
- It saves time – both yours and your customer’s. Whether you’re the only one answering questions or your company has an extensive customer service and support department, every interaction takes time and involves an employee. FAQs allow you to skip direct contact for the most common questions without leaving them unanswered.
- It demonstrates that you care about consumers – FAQs present various company-customer procedures in a clear, friendly format. Transparent presentation of possibilities in future cooperation (whatever form it takes) is a great value for the user and a great way to show your experience, pro-customer approach and build trust.
- It has a positive effect on SEO – FAQ is a full-fledged subpage, which, just like others, affects the positioning of the entire website. This creates great potential for improving SEO, e.g. through internal linking. Additionally, it’s a subpage with a large amount of content, willingly “clicked”, with a chance of systematic expansion of the content – web robots like it!
- It allows Google Featured Snippets to appear – a properly constructed question-answer scheme may be considered by Google as valuable enough to appear as a featured snippet above search results.
- It provides data – with analytics modules, you can see which issues (and how) users are checking in most often, allowing you to refine your procedures and implement needed changes. FAQs are a great resource for understanding customer needs.
In many places – from large online stores to small service company websites – the FAQ, although published, is on the verge of uselessness through poor execution. Poorly made list of frequently asked questions not only does not have much value for the user, but may even annoy him and make him direct his online steps to other place.
FAQ – Question Selection
The first step is obviously to refer to your and your customer service team’s experience. You know very well the needs of your customers and the topics that are most often discussed in communication. It’s also worth taking a look at the websites of your closest competitors operating in the same industry – probably many issues will be similar. In case of online stores, a must-have is for example a clear presentation of payment mechanisms, return policy or guarantee procedures.
FAQ – Structure
A typical FAQ list has a structure of rolled-up question-answer panels. It’s very important to group questions into specific categories – a question about the features of a product or a selected package of services is a bit different than a loyalty program, login details or account deletion process. Categorizing topics makes it much easier to navigate and faster for the user to get to the question they are interested in.
It’s a good idea to put questions in first-person form – the way a customer would type them. You should also use friendly language and avoid industry jargon.
Answers in FAQs are usually short and as specific as possible – the user came to the page to get a concise, factual answer. This is not the place for a speech-trash. If the explanation, to be reliable, requires more than a few paragraphs of text, it’s probably worth considering creating a separate subpage, and in the FAQ give the basic information, followed by a link to a more comprehensive article. If you decide to publish an extended answer in the FAQ, it’s necessary to take care of proper text structure – take care of proper headings, clear font and paragraph division.
Pay attention to the right choice of keywords – the question must be easy to find. The right structure based on structured data (you can also find the name structured data) also means that in the search results the elements of a given FAQ will be presented in an extended form, so called rich snippets – Google has published special guidelines for this here.
At the end of the list it’s worth placing a contact form or at least a link to it in case the user does not find the answer to his/her question or needs to clarify some issues with a consultant.
Video vs FAQ
Sometimes short videos appear within the FAQ, most often simple animations (the so-called explainers). In some situations it can be a good solution (e.g. when a given issue requires concrete steps which are easier to present graphically than through text), however, it has many disadvantages. First of all, a large number of people “scan” the text with their eyes, ergo they assimilate the necessary information more efficiently than it would take even a few dozen seconds of video. The video itself will not have as much impact on SEO as the traditional text form, and it will also slightly increase the page load time.
An answer in the form of a video makes sense especially in the case of typical support issues, e.g. installation instructions for a given product or presentation of its specific function. Of course you can always use a mixed form – text and video, which will complement each other.
FAQ – Update
First of all the FAQ cannot be treated as a closed whole. It’s an important element of the website and should be a constantly evolving organism – in most companies new questions appear every day, some of which should perhaps be included on your website.