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How To Waste Money On Your Website: Stupid Idea 2

By May 13, 2010June 26th, 2015Website Design & Marketing
How To Waste Money On Your Website: Stupid Idea 2

Whether you’re blatantly throwing money away on bad ideas or losing potential revenue by failing to capitalize on good ones, here are some surefire ways to make the least out of your investment.

If you were writing a print advertisement or putting together a brochure, you’d probably spend a good long while thinking about your message and the best way to say it. So why do so many people think they can fake it with their websites?

If you’re a business that cares about its image, you can’t. You must treat your website with the same amount of care and attention as you’d put into any part of your marketing. Do that by avoiding this next stupid mistake.

Stupid Idea 2: Fabricate An FAQ Section

Q: What are the benefits of [insert your product here]?
A: There are so many benefits we couldn’t possibly list them all, so here are just a few of the insufferably self-promoting benefits that we can fit into this little space and pretend someone actually asked!

Q: Is it true that your product can [insert amazing feat of technology here]?
A: Not only that, but it can do six other ridiculous things nobody cares about except our CEO!

Q: Wow, I love your product, how can I tell my friends about it?
A: Since your day would be incomplete without it, here’s our “tell a friend” form, and while you’re at it, check out our popular Facebook page, because we knew you were going to ask about that next!

Sounds ridiculous until you do a little bit of surfing and realize that so many FAQ sections out there are just an excuse to answer the questions someone wishes their customers had asked. The ubiquity of the FAQ page leads one to ask the most important question of all: do you really need an FAQ page?

The answer is no, if:

You’re looking for an excuse to tout the benefits/improvements/fabulous nature of your products. Of course you want to tell customers how great your products are, but the FAQ section that you invented last night isn’t the place to do it. Incorporate your benefit statements where they are most relevant, whether that’s on the product page itself, on the home page, or on another related page.

You’re answering questions that should be included in another part of your site. You don’t need an FAQ section to address shipping, returns or other business details. Those would be better located on product pages or on their own designated pages so it’s obvious to customers where to find the information they need.

You’re stating the obvious. Don’t regurgitate the link to your Facebook page or Twitter account, or list your corporate address, phone number and fax. Presumably you’ve already published these in any number of obvious and relevant locations on your site.

Instead of wasting time (and time is money) answering questions nobody has asked, use your FAQ section to save time and money by addressing real concerns of real customers. While this requires actual time and effort on your part – you will need to listen to your customers, collect their questions and formulate meaningful responses – the payoff will be worth it.

Your customers will find information that is truly helpful, you will build credibility as a business that cares and you won’t have to dedicate resources to answering the same common questions over and over and over.

A poorly constructed FAQ section will waste your time and your customers’. A good one can save not only time, but money, when you realize that your web site is doing some of your customer service work for you.

What common question do you get asked over and over that you could include in an FAQ section on your website?

Read More In The “How To Waste Your Money” Series

Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • John... says:

    Lol! I have always knew that FAQ sections are fake, it’s so obvious. I mean how can a site already have an FAQ section on the very first day it’s launched and before anyone visiting the new site has had a chance to ask any questions yet? These so called “frequently asked questions” are rarely of any help to anyone and are more of an insult to people’s intelligence than anything else.

    • Carol Lynn Rivera says:

      You’re right, they are usually just someone’s idea of what they either *think* people are asking… or wish they would! These days you either have a blog or a helpdesk. If you do have FAQs they had better be real!