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The What, Why, and How of Writing the Perfect FAQ

So, what’s the point of FAQs anyway?

A good FAQ provides value in several different ways. Most obviously it preempts customer concerns, allowing potential buyers to help themselves (while giving your customer service team a small break). That’s a big deal since, according to UPS, nearly 47% of online shoppers are unsatisfied with information they can find before checkout. Putting answers up-front builds legitimacy and trust in your store while covering yourself in the event something goes wrong… you can always point to the fine print.

There’s also an SEO incentive. Answering queries like “What makes gluten-free orange juice healthy?” can drive search traffic for people who are interested in buying your products (assuming you sell orange juice, of course).

Are there any must-haves for my FAQ?

If you’re running an eCommerce site, customers will almost always want details on shipping and return policies, so put yours front and center. And if you have any unique services (subscriptions, digital products, etc.), it’s a good idea to explain those too – doing so will even help drive sales.

Look at NewEgg for example – their FAQ immediately tells users what the “Iron Egg Guarantee” and “Super Eggsaver Shipping” are.

NewEgg FAQ

Still need inspiration? Have your customer service team (even if it’s just one person) keep a tally of the actual questions your shoppers most frequently ask. Then, just plug in whatever comes up the most.

How many questions should my FAQ have?

There’s no right or wrong answer here, since this will vary greatly by the nature of your business and the intelligence of your customers. That said, you want to find a nice middle ground. Fewer than five questions might indicate you haven’t done your research… or that you didn’t need an FAQ to begin with.

Fielding dozens of questions isn’t good either, but if they’re all necessary, consider splitting your FAQ into multiple pages. For instance, Amazon has a completely separate FAQ for prospective employees and the company’s hiring process.

How long should my FAQ answers be?

As short as possible while still answering the question. If you find your response drags on, you can always split one set into multiple sections. Alternatively, you can end your short answer with a link to another page with full-length legalese.

Is it okay to inject some personality?

A little fun is a great way to break up boring text, as long as it fits your brand. Just don’t get so carried away that you fail to give your readers useful information!

My FAQ page is getting too long – help!

That’s not really a question, but we’ll let it slide. First, cut or merge questions you don’t really need – a few short answers about your privacy policy might work better as a single, broader answer (“No, we can’t access your webcam, sir.”).  Then make sure your FAQ is easy to navigate. Include on-page anchored links, a table of contents, bulleted details, etc. to make things more digestible. Ultimately though, there may not be a such a thing as too long – just make sure you’re addressing legitimate customers concerns.

How often should I update my FAQ?

Whenever you have a major change in policies, products, or services, review your FAQ to ensure you’ve got all your bases covered. You don’t want to give customers misleading or outdated facts… unless you enjoy being screamed at over the phone. Speaking of which, ask your CSRs to track how often your current FAQ fails. Do customers call up with wrong information, or questions you previously overlooked? Tackle those issues in the next version.

Wait… is this an FAQ about FAQs?

Don’t be ridiculous… that would be silly.

Is there anything else I should know?

This may seem simple, but don’t forget to format your FAQ as an actual list of questions (and answers). It’s intuitive, relatable, and helps SEO as mentioned earlier.

Last but not least, make your FAQ easy to find from anywhere on your site. Include a link in your footer, as well as on the help and contact pages (where customers are most likely to look for answers). You don’t want your most frequently asked question to be, “Where is your FAQ?”

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