Many of us can relate to this partial conversation I had with a client several months ago.
Client: “Oh by the way, I am also going to need a F.A.Q.” (Not real sure if they knew what it meant)
Client: “Two reasons. Because when people have questions they can go to it and get their questions answered and secondly, because it will help with search engines.”
Me: “There are many other ways to accomplish this.”
To which the conversation went on for the next 30 minutes discussing the merits of having a F.A.Q. Let me say that I am not opposed to a F.A.Q. but you need to make sure that you use it in the right way. Let me explain some points.
- Most people do not read F.A.Q.
When it comes to the internet most people what to use your site and not read. Users expect to visually process a web site. They are scanning for answer to their questions by processing images and headings. If you expect your users to click on a page and read through each F.A.Q. then you are mistaken. Putting it a different way, when was the last time you did that.
- Rarely do people think that way.
When was the last time you went to a site and had a question or problem around refund policy and said to yourself, “let me see if there is a F.A.Q. page”. (Probably not recently). People follow logical steps to answer questions and using an F.A.Q. is not natural.
- Sometimes it does not take a paragraph to explain something.
Sometimes there are other ways to help answer a question. You can use a tool tip. You can at an icon next to a page element that might need a little bit more explanation. For example take the refund policy. It might make sense to put a link that says “Can I return an item?” with a tool tip that describes the policy or sends them to the return policy.
- Can hurt Google Analysis
Having a page specifically for F.A.Q. does not inherently let you know what questions are being looked for—just that a question has been asked. By separating the F.A.Q. into logical content will help you understand where to improve.
Again, I am not opposed to a F.A.Q, but use it wisely and your users will have a better experience and stay longer.
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