FAQ (frequently answered questions) pages are extremely powerful if created correctly. Benefits include solving customer problems, reducing the burden on customer support, building trust and relationships with customers, establishing yourself as an expert, adding needed SEO juice, improving site navigation, providing extra opportunities for a sale, gathering key customer insights, and helping customers on their purchase journey by alleviating purchase anxiety.
But how do you go about creating a FAQ page to realize these benefits? How do you create a page that serves as a silent salesperson, both driving traffic to your site, whilst also contributing to your bottom line? Here are some tips.
Tip #1 Scratch The Traditional FAQ page
Before we forge ahead, let’s recognize something. The traditional way of creating FAQ page is not effective, at least from an SEO point of view. Traditionally companies list about 5-15 questions on one page and immediately under each question they include a two to three sentence answers. The answer in itself is often very poor.
Doing things this way is not good for a variety of reasons:
1. We live in an age of content where consumers enjoy consuming a lot of information. I use the word consume – and not read – as there is plenty of evidence that suggests that consumers scan instead. Regardless many of the two to three sentence answers are not sufficient in fulfilling the desire for content.
2. Search engines prefer pages that are thematic; pages that contain one theme or one keyword. This makes it easier for Google to crawl as it immediately establishes what the page is about. Traditionally, FAQ pages are created with several themes. This becomes confusing.
Having seen what’s wrong with traditional FAQ pages let’s look at how we can effectively create them.
Tip #2 What Questions are Customers Asking?
Start with establishing what pertinent questions your potential customers are frequently asking. You don’t want to guess here. These need to be actual questions or concerns from your customers. Start by scouring emails your customers have sent you in the past few months.
Braveen Kumar who is a writer for Shopify recommends that you “focus on relevance, utility, and opportunities to turn that question into a path to further engagement or conversion”. Before you consider answering these questions create a single page with all the questions.
Tip #3 Create One Page With all Your Questions
“But you just said that traditionally companies list all questions on one page?” I know what I’m saying here may feel counter-intuitive but just bear with me. Create one page with all the FAQ questions listed.
Tip #4 Create Categories For Easy Navigation
If you find that your list extends beyond 15 questions, you might want to break all your questions into categories. This makes it easy for visitors to navigate your page. Including a search box to further improve navigation, especially if you have many categories and questions.
Tip #5 Hard Link To Individual Pages
Now instead of answering each question individually on your FAQ page, insert a link to a separate page. By hyperlinking to the answer on a separate page you ensure a one-page theme which as we’ve established is more search engine friendly. The chances are that consumers will also stumble across your site when they search for industry-related information, and not just information specific to your brand.
Tip #6 Link to Blog Posts
Consider hard-linking from questions to blog posts that answer the questions. This is a strategy that Marcus Sheridan from The Sales Lion recommends. Once they’re reading your blog post, you have an additional opportunity to encourage some form of action, whether it be signing up for your newsletter, or giving them the option to click on internal links. This slowly guides them on their purchase journey.
Tip #7 Include a Call-to-action
Another option is to turn your page into a valuable sales tool, by including a call-to-action to sign up to receive an e-book that answers these questions. Again you’re encouraging the potential customer to take some form of action.
Tip #8 Answer Questions in a Personal Manner
If you’re linking to individual pages always answer the questions in a conversational style. Make it personal. Let them know there is a human being on the other side. This will help in building a relationship.
Avoid any technical jargon that’s hard to understand. If it’s too technical and difficult to understand, you may confuse the customer even further, ultimately losing a potential sale.
If you have and can afford a copywriter use them to ensure your writing is up to scratch. If not, read and re-read. Send to friends to double check. You want to make sure that you miss any grammar mistakes, that your sentences aren’t too long and that you make use of active and not passive voice.
Free online tools like Grammarly and Hemmingway Editor can help. Grammarly assists with spelling and Hemmingway aids with sentence construction and the use of active vs passive voice.
Tip #9 Create a Clean Layout
In terms of layout, we’ve already alluded to creating categories. For example, depending on your product or service you’re offering you might have an ordering, exchange, payments or even shipping category. Make your questions stand out, perhaps by making them bold or in larger text and then link to separate pages or blog posts on your site.
Tip #10 Study Other FAQ Pages for Ideas
To tie this all up, I thought I’d leave you with some examples of FAQ pages that put into practice what we’ve discussed here. Naturally, they will all be slightly different in terms of their design, but each of these perfectly mimics what we’ve discussed.
They have different categories and a search box for ease of navigation. All questions are also hard linked to separate pages for added SEO juice.
Pinterest also follows a minimalistic approach, the design is colorful and inviting.
Soundcloud doesn’t make use of any specific categories, but they maintain a minimalist feel and hard link to separate pages.
Do you have a FAQ page?