An FAQ page is often one of the most neglected and uninspiring parts of a brand website.

Yet when executed correctly, it can be an important part of the user experience, and in turn, help companies to increase conversion.

Not to mention save them from endless (and very repetitive) enquiry emails.

Here are five tips for creating one.

Make it visible

If a user has a question in need of an answer, the last thing they want is to go hunting around for an FAQ page. 

So, it’s important for this section of the website to be noticeable on the homepage, as well as visible in other places where users are likely to need assistance.

By labelling this section of its website as ‘Help’ and locating it to the left of the ‘My Account’ button, ASOS ensures the customer doesn't have to look very far.

While the text is fairly small, it is simple and subtle, and transfers users to the FAQ section with just one click.

An FAQ page isn’t only visible to the user, of course.

It is also a good place to include relevant (and a balanced amount of) keywords to help improve SEO.

Categorise correctly

One of the biggest challenges of creating an FAQ page is organising a large amount of information in a way that's easy to digest.

Remember that users often read just 20% of a web page, with the majority scanning to find a specific piece of information. 

Ironically, the hallmark of a successful FAQ page is if the user reads as little as possible.

If faced with a page that’s jam-packed full of jumbled copy, consumers are going to be put off. 

Questions need to be organised into distinct categories or groups, making it as easy as possible for the consumer to find exactly what they are looking for.

Dropbox provides an excellent example of how to organise an FAQ page.

As well as a visible search bar, the page is separated into twelve clear categories, each accompanied by a subtle illustrative design.

Keep it customer-focused

Brands can be guilty of including irrelevant or biased information in FAQs, often using it as an extension or in place of an ‘About’ page. 

However, it's vital that questions are as relevant to the customer’s needs as possible, as well as answered within a positive or solution-based framework.

Not only can this approach help to solve current problems (i.e. a returns query on an ecommerce site or a troubleshooting question relating to tech) – it can also be used to encourage the path to purchase.

For example, if a user is uncertain about a brand, an authoritative and well-executed FAQs page can be enough to reassure and encourage them to stay on-site for longer.

Take McDonald's - a brand that recognises consumers have a LOT of questions about its product.

Consequently, it uses this to its advantage, creating an entire section of informative articles based on the most common concerns.

It goes even further with its customer-centric approach, here giving users the opportunity to ask a specific question if they can't find it on-site.

Point the user forward

An FAQ page should never be a dead-end.

Like any part of a website, it is vital that the page prompt the user onwards in their journey. 

Of course, its main purpose is always to provide information, however it should also include calls-to-action and links back to the homepage or various category pages to encourage conversion. 

As well as including links in its answers, Lush’s FAQ section includes a sidebar which conveniently points the user in the direction of further information and help sections. 

Use personality

All copy on a website is a chance to convey a brand’s personality and values.

On an FAQ page, where the information is usually quite dull and dry, the opportunity is even more pertinent.

Whether it’s through engaging visuals or a humorous tone of voice, a creative approach can strengthen a brand's connection with consumers.

By surprising and delighting the user with something unexpected, it will automatically be more memorable. 

It is a rather extreme example, yet Cards Against Humanity show how a brand’s tone of voice can stretch to the even most mundane parts of a website.

The brilliant thing about this FAQ page is that it manages to actually give all the information the consumer needs, while being deliberatively subversive.

Similarly, there's the ever-so-divisive Innocent Drinks.

The creativity here is undeniable, yet it appears to be far more self-indulgent than anything else, demonstrating that even the biggest brands can lose sight of the customer's needs.

In conclusion...

As the likes of McDonald's and Cards Against Humanity prove, an FAQ section is well-worth investing time and effort in.

With relevant and well-organised information and an imaginative approach, it can be the difference between a disappointing user experience and a positive one.

Nikki Gilliland

Published 22 August, 2016 by Nikki Gilliland @ Econsultancy

Nikki is a Writer at Econsultancy. You can follow her on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn.

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Comments (2)

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Jim Hunter, Consultant at VersionUX

I dislike FAQ pages. Shouldn't tip 1 be 'Make your content as helpful as possible before you even think about an FAQ page'? Tip 2 'Don't do frequently guessed questions - base it on customer service data'. Tip 3 'Don't phrase it as 'how do I' in the hope that it will match the precise question in someone's mind but make it to the point and focus on the keywords people will be scanning for'. I would think the rest is detail.

about 1 year ago

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Pauline Ashenden, Marketing Manager at Eptica

While a well-written FAQ can help the experience, logically it only has space for a certain number of questions. This risks the consumer not finding what they are looking for and either abandoning the transaction or switching to email or phone. Brands therefore need to look at self-service systems that let customers ask questions in their own words in order to engage them and help the overall journey. There’s more on how self-service improves the experience in this blog post http://www.eptica.com/blog/six-ways-web-self-service-improves-your-customer-experience

about 1 year ago

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