Everything you do will turn out better if it has a clearly defined purpose. So what’s the purpose of a FAQ?
What is an effective FAQ?
If you go to a SEO blog for advice, you’ll learn all types of things that a FAQ should be. Here is an excerpt from an article that boasts 234k reads:
What does any of that even mean? It seems that the only thing the article is good for is ranking as the top result for “how to write a faq”. Here is my translation: “If your users frequently ask you a question add it to your FAQ. If it requires an in-depth explanation, write a blog post about it”. Now we’re getting somewhere.
Only one user in a dozen will email you with their questions, the rest will suffer in silence. Therefore your FAQ will not only reduce the number of boring emails you receive, but it will also help those who won’t bother.
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Real questions only
The FAQ is not your landing page, so don’t try to sell (“How can you do X so well?”), and don’t try to imagine what your users might want to ask in order to advertise your features (“Can I do X with the app?”). Instead only answer questions that you’ve really been asked, ideally using the user’s own words. Having said that, I do regularly get asked “Do you really search the entire Reddit live?”. Here are some more examples:
- “How is Syften different from Google Alerts?”
- “Do you support Quora?”
- “I am ready to buy. Where do I go about doing that?”
Put it where it helps
Our attention spans are shorter than ever. Long gone are the days of studying a manual page before using a new program. We’re used to videos, guides, and tutorials. Don’t expect your user to put in any extra effort to look for answers, and put the FAQ where it helps.
Payment questions? Add an entry under your payment button.
Potential problem in your app? Add a popup in your UI.
Ideally everything should be obvious and your users should never have any questions.
If my users ask me how Syften is different from Google Alerts then I need to write an explanation on my blog.
If my users ask me if I support Quora then I need to work on my landing page.
If my users ask me how they can pay me then I really need to work on my UI.