If you write one new piece of content for your website this year, or revise something that’s currently on your site, it should be your FAQs.
FAQs, or “frequently asked questions,” are a great way to communicate with potential customers. In our experience, it’s one of the first pages that a visitor to your small business website checks. And, it lets you set a good tone for your business, your style and your philosophy.
FAQs don’t have to be formal, but they should be professional. If you’re an individual proprietor, or the public face of your business, think about answering them in first person. Third person is fine, too, but try not to get caught up in overly flowery prose or “marketing speak.” Write like you were sending an email to a casual friend (but double check spelling!).
Almost any business can create an FAQ page. To get started, think of what things a customer asks during a phone call or initial contact. Some of these will be pretty basic (“Do you take credit cards?” “What are your hours?”) – but that’s fine. Don’t worry about repeating information that’s elsewhere on the site, either. Repetition is a good way to make sure that people find the information they’re looking for quickly.
Questions and answers can also be longer, and describe the way you do business and how you differ from your competitors. Don’t be afraid to address controversial issues, as long as you can do it without sounding defensive. Stick to the facts and have a trusted employee or business mentor read through what you’ve created before going public.
One nice thing about an FAQ is that it can be a work in progress. You don’t have to have it finished to get it up on your site. Start small and make a goal of adding one or two questions and answers each month. Keep track of what your customers are asking in other places and what is commonly asked in forums and social media pages that are related to your business.
FAQs are also a great source of ideas for other website content. Could you expand on an answer in a new blog post? Would a video demonstration help answer a common question more effectively? Look for ways you can expand an FAQ answer to write, record or otherwise better inform your website visitors.
Finally, if you haven’t had an FAQ page before, where should it be located on your site? Sometimes it makes the most sense to have it be its own section, listed in your main navigation. (If you need help adding this, ask us!) In other cases, you can easily create a page under your “About Us” or “Resources” sections (or other relevant area). Be sure to promote the new FAQ in a short blog post, a Facebook post or a Tweet.