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FAQ Pages: How "Frequently Asked" is That Question, Really?

I wish someone would ask how I make such great scrambled eggs. I love my scrambled eggs, and wish people shared my appreciation for them to the point where they asked how I do it.

Nobody wants to know how you make scrambled eggs

But they don’t. Even if they like them, they seldom ask how they're made.

So I wouldn’t put “How do you make such great scrambled eggs?” at the top of the questions people frequently ask me, no matter how much I wish it was true.

Yet so many companies put the equivalent of my scrambled egg queries at the top of their FAQ page.

When was your company formed?” “What is your operating philosophy?” “What makes your product so wonderful?

People don’t really ask these questions. I know you wish they did, but they don’t.

They want to know what your shipping policies are. They want to know your hours and locations. They want to know if your widget will fit with their thingamabob.

They don’t care how you decided on your company name. Sorry. At least not most of them.

So feel free to put up all the pages you want about your company, sharing everything you wish people wanted to know. Write the whole history of how your great great grandfather started the company on the corner of Main and Elm with money he raised by selling his wooden leg. Scribe a small epic on how that the particular shade of cornflower blue in your logo was inspired by a cache of eggs found by your daughter on a nature hike when she was three... Just don’t put them in your FAQs.

FAQs are powerful tools, and an excellent destination for your customers. They can save users time and energy when looking for answers on your site. They can improve search engine traffic by providing information, phrased in the form a question (which may be more likely to match their search query). To harness that power, you first need to be honest with yourself about what people ask. How do you determine that?

Don’t ask the CEO. Ask The People.

  • Check and see which questions are repeatedly asked through your "Contact Us" form
  • Conduct a survey of your customers
  • Ask your sales people what comes up when talking to potential and existing customers alike
  • Ask the receptionist what people ask most often when they call in (do not put “Is Tony available?” on your FAQs page)

In short, defer to real questions asked by people outside your organization, not the ones you think they should or might ask. Only then will your FAQs finally be frequently asked.

What’s the most ridiculous FAQ you’ve ever seen? What sites have the best FAQs you’ve noticed?

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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