I suppose I’ve always had a slightly jaundiced view of FAQ (Frequently asked questions) pages on new company websites. I’ve often found clients have only asked that I write one because their website guy has suggested it be included as a standard 6-page package deal. Why? I ask.
When a website design package is offering only a very limited number of pages, my view has generally been that there’s more important pages to include that add a lot more value. And in many cases, an FAQ page either just doesn’t suit the business or at least the stage in its evolution.
While that view hasn’t changed, I do admit to having just had a bit of an FAQ page epiphany. Yes, when an FAQ page makes sense it offers real merit.
A long-standing client of mine just launched his third generation website and for the first time integrated an FAQ page. In pulling it all together it dawned on me that it provides in fact a whole bunch of different usefulness.
First up, by answering all the most regularly asked questions online, there’s a chance that both company and prospective customers can save some time, which can only help improve customer service.
T’s & C’s alternative
Many questions find their answers in a company’s ‘Terms and Conditions’ document. Sadly none of us wants to read them. Extracting the most salient points and presenting them in an easy to consume FAQ addresses the problem.
By handling more of the real ‘operational’ aspects of a business (that simply don’t fit on the other pages) the FAQ page invites website visitors to get that little bit closer to the business, to see more clearly what it’s going to be like to be a customer. It boosts confidence.
And it also provides the means of handling potential objections that otherwise might have stood in the way of a prospective customer picking up the phone and calling or emailing. It adds reassurance.
It also offers a legitimate means of reinforcing the key marketing messages already laid out in the Home, About us and Service pages. But in a way that is perhaps less promotional and more informative or credible in nature.
Search engine optimisation
Plus of course the sectionalised, multi-topic nature of FAQ pages can also lend itself nicely to helping with website SEO, providing the means to both support site-wide key phrases and optimise for search phrase groupings not able to be covered by other web pages.
And it goes without saying that openly answering customers’ questions, being seen to be transparent and proactively helping customers is always good for public relations.
So while it’s not for every type of company and every website, an FAQ page does offer a wide range of different communication benefits. And while it might well be a more silent salesman than other more promotional pages it certainly can talk the talk.