We're all familiar with the website staple Frequently Asked Questions, designed as a quick way to provide customer support. What you may not realize is how powerful they are for creating more effective homepages, especially for businesses with a strong service component. By integrating FAQs into your homepage, you're essentially giving people what they are searching for. It also makes your website more attractive to Google, because the search engine's goal is to help searchers find answers. You're making that connection between the Q and the A. And once visitors are drawn in, they're likely to dive deeper into your site to get more detail. That in turn is a positive signal to Google that they've sent visitors to the right place, because they're not bouncing or just visiting one page. This is a strong contributor to your position in search results.
Providing easy answers to visitor’s most pressing questions makes Google happy too. See the August 17th update to this post below.
Creating an FAQ is relatively easy and a concrete exercise which will help you understand customers. Thinking about what customers ask helps you understand what they care about. That should help you build a homepage that’s relevant and therefore resonates with them. In other words, by answering their questions you're demonstrating you understand their needs. When people feel you understand them, they're more likely to believe you can help them.
Build Your List of FAQs by Asking the Right Questions
Come up with a list of 10-15 questions you get asked most often. At this point, don’t worry about pricing, payment or post-sale questions, like "How do I install x?" Go broader, more high level.
- Think about issues they deal with, such as "Should I use coupons to promote my business?"
- Concerns they have about what you do, such as, "How can you help me build a mobile website?"
- Matters that involve your expertise, such as "What does it mean to build a brand?"
- How you deliver your product or service, such as, "What is involved in building a website?"
Some tips to get you started:
- Consider the questions you get during a sale, a phone call, sales presentation or other situation where you interface with a potential customer. Compile past emails or contact forms you’ve received.
- Start by asking who, what, when, where, why and how.
- If you haven't opened for business yet, check out your competitors' FAQs, or,
- Imagine what people would ask. Research the topic by plugging something like this into Google, “What do people ask most about [your type of business]?”
- Guess at a question and type it into Google to see if related questions come up. Google may provide a "people also ask," like the one below (you may need to scroll down the search page a bit to see it).
- Stick to one topic per Q&A; if you need to, break them into singular ideas and answer each one.
- Write answers in a straight forward way. Don't try to sell, but be sure to include what makes you special or different, in other words, your Unique Selling Proposition or USP. You could even write in a way that puts you up against what the competition does or doesn't do -- in essence, positioning your business.
- Answers should be more than a simple yes or no. Explain with a bit more detail, but not too much. You can always link the reader to another page. For example, "Yes, we build mobile (responsive websites) that may be viewed from any device and are easily maintained without coding or technical skills. View our portfolio."
- Don’t worry about writing for public consumption — not yet anyway. This is simply to capture the information into an organized list. Keep it handy, because the material may be used for creating an actual FAQ page, repurposing it into more content for your site, such as your blog, and promotional fodder for social posts, printed pieces, handouts, checklists and more.
Transform Your FAQs into Homepage Content
- Prioritize your FAQs by selecting the top 3-4 that provide a big picture view of what you do, bringing forth what makes you different than the other businesses providing the same thing.
- Convert these questions into benefit-oriented headlines by making them declarative statements. For example, one of my clients is a personal concierge, and she’s often asked, “Isn’t it more expensive to use a concierge?” An objection like that can easily be turned into: “An Affordable Way to Manage Everyday Chores”
- If you can, work some keywords into your headlines to grab even more of Google's attention. These are the actual words people are using to search for businesses like yours.
- Once you’ve got the headlines down, use the answers you wrote earlier to write a brief paragraph to support or explain the headline. Use clear, concise language without jargon.
- Then, look around your site for a good place to answer the rest, creating links from your homepage or footer to additional pages that address each topic.
Using an FAQ to create a home page that resonates with visitors involves thinking like your customers and knowing who you are as a business. It will help you build a solid foundation for your website's content, but it isn't everything. You'll also want to consider writing in your branded style. Adding key components like a call to action and trust factors will help you round out a smart and effective site.
Google's Featured Snippets in Search
Let us know about techniques you're using to create an effective homepage and website, and be sure to share your link to the site.