Welcome to WebmasterWorld Guest from 54.80.87.166

Forum Moderators: not2easy

Featured Home Page Discussion

Is FAQ Really the Right Fit Anymore?

People Ask Questions to Gain Knowledge...

     
3:49 pm on Aug 3, 2018 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member

10+ Year Member

joined:Jan 8, 2004
posts:564
votes: 1


FAQ. it was cool when it first came out but after being online for over 20 years I have come to the conclusion that it just doesn't seem to fit the atmosphere any longer. So, a few years ago and I came up with what I would like to see be the more realistic, informative and effective terminology. Knowledge Questions and Answers. Now this could be shortened to KQA. But then we're in the same boat as FAQ.

Here is a sub-set of what we have on the site now...
******** has been helping families create the perfect backyard vacation area since 1997. Over those 20+ years we have learned that our customers want product knowledge. To get that knowledge, they ask us questions and we give them the answers to make a knowledgeable purchasing decision. Below, these are not simply FAQ's but rather decades of Knowledge Questions and Answers.
To make finding the answer to your knowledge question easier we've grouped our Knowledge Questions and Answers into categories as shown below.


Who wants to join in promoting what FAQ's really are... Knowledge Questions and Answers ("?" Purposefully left off)
4:52 pm on Aug 3, 2018 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from US 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tangor is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Nov 29, 2005
posts:8684
votes: 691


Personally, it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck and if used, should be the really frequently asked, in the shortest terms possible, to be of any use for a visitor ... who already has a short attention span and is easily distracted by other things.
9:13 pm on Aug 3, 2018 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Sept 25, 2005
posts:1947
votes: 320


these are not simply FAQ's but rather

I wouldn't assume everyone knows what FAQ means in the first place. Knowledge Questions and Answers is no less confusing. "Don't make me think".

To make finding the answer to your knowledge question easier

Bla, bla, bla. Nobody reads all that. Keep it simple, just show the questions :-)
9:30 pm on Aug 3, 2018 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from FR 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member leosghost is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Feb 15, 2004
posts:7139
votes: 410


Q&A..
9:41 pm on Aug 3, 2018 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from FR 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member leosghost is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Feb 15, 2004
posts:7139
votes: 410


Those who don't know what Q&A means, will have their curiosity piqued..

Those who do will click anyway..

Gets you away from potential problems with those who think that FAQ is shorthand for facts...you'd be amazed at how many people think this ( including very many well known politicians / "leaders" and their supporters )..or maybe not..
10:14 pm on Aug 3, 2018 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from US 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tangor is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Nov 29, 2005
posts:8684
votes: 691


Where I have one of these I spell it all out as in "Frequently Asked Questions". For other sites a corollary is "Getting Started".

For sites that benefit from categorizing questions the "Frequently Asked Questions" or "Getting Started" is followed by an outline.

I. group of related questions
II. group of related questions, etc

FAQ is not dead, but perhaps the acronym has outlived its time.
6:41 am on Aug 4, 2018 (gmt 0)

Moderator from US 

WebmasterWorld Administrator martinibuster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Apr 13, 2002
posts:14802
votes: 465


Don't forget KB.
6:54 am on Aug 4, 2018 (gmt 0)

Moderator from US 

WebmasterWorld Administrator keyplyr is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Sept 26, 2001
posts:12776
votes: 874


I use a FAQ at a services site. It's helpful for prospective customers and gets requested a lot because the link gets referenced often in site content.

In the navigation it says FAQ for brevity but on the page I use both FAQ and "Frequently Asked Questions"

Used for the correct purpose, I don't see the term FAQ as archaic.
8:55 am on Aug 4, 2018 (gmt 0)

Moderator from US 

WebmasterWorld Administrator robert_charlton is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Nov 11, 2000
posts:12178
votes: 356


Don't forget KB.
Key Boreds, for those who don't get FAQ. ;)

Propools, I think that the business, tech, and online communities overuse acronyms to ridiculous degrees. I don't think that introducing a new one is doing a favor to anybody, particularly not your potential customers.

I'd use vocabulary that adds topical focus, minimizes extra wording, and is immediately graspable. Think of it as an exercise in good headline writing.

The problem with FAQ, which I don't think is archaic, is that the term is misused enough that there are no expectations. In many cases they end up being your entire sales message, shipping instructions, and terms of service all rolled into one.

4:00 pm on Aug 4, 2018 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from US 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member lucy24 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Apr 9, 2011
posts:15176
votes: 679


It was never really FAQ anyway. More like “Questions we happen to know the answer to and are willing to divulge that answer, so let’s pretend lots of people are asking it”.
6:39 pm on Aug 4, 2018 (gmt 0)

Moderator from US 

WebmasterWorld Administrator keyplyr is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Sept 26, 2001
posts:12776
votes: 874


Or more like "this is what we do so don't ask about it!"
2:54 am on Aug 5, 2018 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from US 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tangor is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Nov 29, 2005
posts:8684
votes: 691


Used mainly for snark purposes to advise those stupid enough to ask a question:

"That is answered in our FAQ (link). Please read that now."
7:45 am on Aug 5, 2018 (gmt 0)

Moderator from US 

WebmasterWorld Administrator martinibuster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Apr 13, 2002
posts:14802
votes: 465


Knowledge Base
9:46 am on Aug 5, 2018 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from US 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tangor is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Nov 29, 2005
posts:8684
votes: 691


What does that MEAN? (rhetorical)

Knowledge Base is a g thing that suggests the user kinda sorta knows what to ask in the first place. If one want to follow that concept that's okay. But Knowledge Base is not the same thing as Frequently Asked Questions, which is rooted in actually locating, listing AND answering Frequently Asked Questions.
10:04 am on Aug 5, 2018 (gmt 0)

Moderator from US 

WebmasterWorld Administrator keyplyr is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Sept 26, 2001
posts:12776
votes: 874


Knowledge Base is a g thing that suggests the user kinda sorta knows what to ask in the first place.
Agreed. I've seen KB used at 2 different hosts. You do need to ask the right questions, then the search utility returns results (the knowledge.)

IMO a FAQ is, in a way, the opposite. It *tells* you the questions.
10:10 am on Aug 5, 2018 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from US 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tangor is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Nov 29, 2005
posts:8684
votes: 691


And therein is the real difference. A Human Being was involved in noticing, collecting, and dealing with Frequently Asked Questions. I deem this an actual service to the users and kudos for the human that sat down and put it all together.

FAQ ain't dead, but webmasters wanting to automate something "like" a FAQ are missing the point.
10:36 am on Aug 5, 2018 (gmt 0)

Moderator from US 

WebmasterWorld Administrator robert_charlton is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Nov 11, 2000
posts:12178
votes: 356


Knowledge Base is more like "Infrequently Asked Questions".
11:02 am on Aug 5, 2018 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from US 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tangor is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Nov 29, 2005
posts:8684
votes: 691


Knowledge Base is Serps stripped to content willy nilly, most egregiously by g. This is an opinion, not a fact ... but probably not that far off!
12:34 pm on Aug 5, 2018 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

joined:Apr 21, 2016
posts: 64
votes: 11


Why have Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) in the first place?

If the question is frequently asked, (imho), perhaps your content isn't explaining it fully and needs revisiting. Unless they are just for SEO, a means of extra internal linking, and not for your audience at all.

A Knowledge Base (KB), again imho, is a different animal. To me, it's a category of How-to's.
3:14 pm on Aug 5, 2018 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Aug 29, 2006
posts:1348
votes: 12


Why have Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) in the first place?

It depends on the type of site - most will not really need one.

For those that do, an FAQ can help reduce the number of clueless emails and phone calls.

But only if people bother to read it.

perhaps your content isn't explaining it fully

An FAQ is content that explains things fully.

As Tangor pointed out, it is "an actual service to the users".

Only one of my sites uses an FAQ, but on that one it is essential.

...
4:28 pm on Aug 5, 2018 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from US 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member lucy24 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Apr 9, 2011
posts:15176
votes: 679


An FAQ is
If this site had polls, I would now be asking
(a) How do you pronounce “FAQ”?
and
(b) Is it grammatically singular or plural?
8:46 pm on Aug 5, 2018 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Aug 29, 2006
posts:1348
votes: 12


If this site had polls, I would now be asking

Not frequent enough.

See [en.wikipedia.org...]

...
11:44 pm on Aug 5, 2018 (gmt 0)

Moderator from US 

WebmasterWorld Administrator martinibuster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Apr 13, 2002
posts:14802
votes: 465


I avoid FAQs and KB's.

I want an answer and want it now, especially when on mobile device.
12:26 am on Aug 6, 2018 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Aug 29, 2006
posts:1348
votes: 12


I want an answer and want it now, especially when on mobile device.

So you Google my bespoke professional service and email me from my site for a quotation.

But you don't provide any of the information I need because you didn't read the FAQ as requested on the email form.

So you get an email back containing a link to the FAQ, which works perfectly on your mobile device and helpfully explains what you need to provide (it is a bespoke service, every job is different, and I can only quote on the specifics).

How soon is now?

...
4:46 am on Aug 6, 2018 (gmt 0)

Moderator from US 

WebmasterWorld Administrator martinibuster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Apr 13, 2002
posts:14802
votes: 465


So you Google my bespoke professional service and email me from my site for a quotation.


I work with service companies. I understand how important it is for certain information to be communicated before a service company can give a quote.

The potential client is gathering quotes and can often believe there's no difference between one service provider or another. So all they care about is a cheap quote.

The service provider tries their best to be polite, to tease out the necessary information. It's frustrating. I get it. I have experience working with service providers in the local search niche. I get it.

THEM: How much does it cost for the service?
YOU: I need certain information before I can give you a quote.
THEM: Impatient sigh.

I know. I get it.

Now YOU get this: Contact forms are about lead generation. It's on YOU to close the deal in the most polite manner possible.

You seriously expect a potential client (or even a current client) to read a FAQ?

Hell no.

I'm not being disagreeable. I may be incorrect. But I'm pretty sure many people would rather ask Google and get a One Box at the top of the SERPs speak them the answer before clicking and scrolling through a FAQ that may or may not give an answer.
6:35 am on Aug 6, 2018 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from US 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tangor is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Nov 29, 2005
posts:8684
votes: 691


And when user does the g and gets numbers from zero to infinity and then returns to get YOUR price you say:

Here's the info I need. Here's a FAQ explaining why. When you understand it get back with me, else quit wasting my time.

And guess what. It works ... if your service is that desired, that special, and that expensive. Most folks are somewhere between these two extremes (as noted above and as I noted here). The vast majority will say thanks for the heads up and take a look.

IT IS UP TO THE FAQ writer to have accurately identified the top five (or 10) questions and provided one or two sentences for each question that ACTUALLY ANSWER the question(s). Your FAQ is an opportunity to engage your visitor. Make the most of it.
7:19 am on Aug 6, 2018 (gmt 0)

Moderator from US 

WebmasterWorld Administrator martinibuster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Apr 13, 2002
posts:14802
votes: 465


When you understand it get back with me, else quit wasting my time.


Who else believes that's a great attitude to show to potential clients for building great client experiences, repeat customers and positive reviews?
9:11 am on Aug 6, 2018 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from US 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tangor is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Nov 29, 2005
posts:8684
votes: 691


Besides me? Just about everyone who actually expects customers to have some kind of clue, or at least make the effort to educate before attempting to "make a deal".

The customer is always right, except when they are wrong.

If your biz is not a "product on a shelf" and requires input from buyer to create the product, attitude makes all the difference in a good customer experience.

There's more than one business model out there. Just sayin'.
9:54 am on Aug 6, 2018 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

joined:Apr 21, 2016
posts: 64
votes: 11


As always, there are different interpretations of a word or phrase.

FAQ are generally asked at the inquiry/research stage and usually by the potential client.

My interpretation of an FAQ is the potential client trying to gain further information which, to my mind, should be in the content. Unless, of course, my question is so obscure but then it wouldn't be frequently asked.

So why should I, as the potential client, spend time searching your site for something that should be available. If it's that frequent then make it available otherwise it's not a very good UX.

Another interpretation is the author asking for more information necessary to complete the transaction. Now that's a different kettle of fish but again not always necessary. Surely questions asked by the service should be asked further down the funnel after the initial bite.

If you need certain information up front, say so. "Please answer these questions which are necessary to get you a quote" but shouldn't these questions be asked at the next stage?

All you need initially is a bite. "Our service/product is bespoke. Nothing to large or too small. All we need is your name and a number to call"
12:13 pm on Aug 6, 2018 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from US 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tangor is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Nov 29, 2005
posts:8684
votes: 691


Oddly, we are all at cross purpose.

The serps provide the majority of answers (their job upon which we rely). That;s the traffic to get to...

Us ... and if WE (note the express) have a limited number of Frequently Asked Question that the new visitor can immediately see and consume, we have added more. NOTE: dang few of us have/need such service the client. g has already scraped the content to do the serp part such as answering the query in the first place.

There is no crying need for FAQ or Frequently Answered Questions or Knowledge Base or what have you. It's already been done in the user search/query.

The horse is dead. Please stop beating it.

However, a FAQ regarding YOUR BIZ do and don't, how to do this and that IS a valid thing. Keep it Simple, Sir. (KISS).

Let us not over think this.

A FAQ is a service to your users. Make it work that way and gold will follow. It is NOT however, a rank or value to SEO so forget that and do something else chasing that side of the biz.
This 73 message thread spans 3 pages: 73
 

Join The Conversation

Moderators and Top Contributors

Hot Threads This Week

Featured Threads

Free SEO Tools

Hire Expert Members