By Candace Nicholson

Most entrepreneurs know that a business website is a must for success. Regardless of your product, a bare bones site usually includes Home, About, Contact and Services pages. Also, few would argue the advantages of Testimonial or Portfolio pages. However, the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page is often neglected or ignored.

Just as Testimonials may encourage would-be clients to hire you, a FAQ page may help potential customers quickly decide if you’re the right person for the job. People seek out FAQ pages to learn more about your business and why they should choose you over the next guy. With a little forethought, you can distinguish yourself from the pack and engage your audience with quality customer service before they even reach the Contact page.

But if FAQs are so are great, why don’t more small business owners and freelancers use them? Good question.

The Stigma of FAQs

Business owners run away from FAQs for a number of reasons. Some feel it discourages inquiries and scares potential clients into going with a cheaper competitor. Others think it’s unnecessary because if you write your web copy well, all of your customers’ questions will be answered. Then, there are the entrepreneurs who feel overwhelmed thinking up questions a customer might ask.

These are all understandable reasons to hesitate before jumping into a FAQ page, but if you craft your FAQs with the right intent and tone, you can make it work for you. Here’s how:

1. Be Quick

Wannabe buyers look to FAQ pages to get answers quickly and easily. This is not the page to be verbose and detailed. Customers want to get in and get out as soon as possible. You can help them do this with the use of bold and italic font, as well as block quotes and bullet lists to make your answers more visually digestible.

If you have more details to share, provide a link to your Services or Contact page. Think of your potential client as Dragnet’s Joe Friday and give ‘em “just the facts, ma’am.”

2. Be Sharp

One of the biggest turn-offs for customers is searching for important information buried in a sales pitch. Brazen calls to action or flowery descriptions crafted to lure buyers to the checkout register are best left for the Home page.

Don’t pitch, just tell. Anyone seeking out FAQs is already interested in doing business with you, but they want to feel as if they’re making an informed decision. Here’s where you get to be honest about your services without the pressure of trying to be everything to everyone.

3. Be Helpful

It can be daunting to put yourself in the mind of your customers. So to determine which questions to include in your FAQs, simply ask yourself: “What do people ask me about my business the most?”

When I tell people I’m a freelance writer, the first thing I’m asked is “What kind of things do you write?” So even though I talk about my experience on several pages on my website including a dedicated portfolio, I know that’s a question I need to answer as directly as possible.

The Joy of FAQs

Some entrepreneurs are concerned customers will use FAQs to hastily weed them out of their selection process, but others disagree. “I’ve never worried that it’d scared people off because they’re going to find out all this information sooner or later,” explains Natalia Sylvester, copywriter and owner of Inky Clean. “So if it does scare them off, then it’s better they find it out quickly rather than through various back and forth emails.”

FAQ pages can increase productivity, foster credibility, and build B2C trust. When prepared with customer awareness and a desire to market to a decisive buyer, FAQs can be a winning addition to any website.

Have you created a FAQ page for your website?
Have you found it helpful for your business?