Okay, the headline exaggerates. Your FAQs--the "frequently asked questions" on your website--don't have to be fabulous
. But they do
need to be clear, free of hype, and reflect questions that users have in real life.
Here are some pointers to keep in mind:Include real questions
: An FAQ list should not start with a softball question like, "What are the benefits of using your [fill-in-the-blank product or service]?" unless you frequently are truly asked this question. Make the questions short:
"Are my tickets refundable?"No sales talk:
The FAQ page is not the place for self-promotional writing. People come to the page because they have a question that needs answering. No legalese
: In an effort to tone down the hype, however, don't get too technical or formal. A conversational tone is good. (As Ginny Radish notes in her book Letting Go of the Words
, "show that you are a person and your organization includes people.")Organize the questions
: If you have a long list of questions, organize them by category. You can also list the questions at the top, with anchor tags to take users to the specific question they have with its answer.Provide an easy way to get a more complete answer
: Many questions require more nuanced answers that go beyond a few sentences. Make it easy for users to contact you for a more information.Provide an easy way to ask a different question
: Likewise, the user may find his or her question is not included. Through a form or an email link, make it easy to ask other questions. (You may even find that you get a question often enough that you add it, too, to your FAQs.)
Do you have a question, frequently asked or not, about web or other writing? Get in touch
and we will figure out the answer.