SEOdamian's Blog

Helping others understand & share about technology, search

FAQ – Get More Traffic by Saving Yourself Time.

Want to save time and get more traffic to your website?  I recommend answering your visitor’s questions as clearly and completely as you can.  This takes the advice written by Michael Gerber, decades before the Internet was even opened up to the public.

If your website is a part of your business, I highly recommend reading Michael Gerber’s The E-Myth Revisited.  It is written partly as a parable to describe the entrepreneurial myth of many small businesses. It is part parable, and part information. Gerber uses the story of Sarah, a struggling business woman, to describe the process of the written steps you need to take to improve your business. Whether your business is large or small, the website needs to have an entrepreneurial spirit.  Therefore, I recommend reading and integrating this classic book that has formed the foundation of the businesses I have started, and the hundreds of  business’ I have consulted for.

If you are trying to get more traffic to your site as easily as possible, I recommend creating or extending your FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) section on the site. The idea of the FAQ is to collect all the different questions that customers ask on a repeated basis with answers.  Why does a FAQ get you more traffic? Because when properly designed  these pages will be descriptive of the terms that customers use to look for answers on your site.  These terms will probably be repeated just enough without seeming ‘spammy’. So take the time to write out the questions and answers on separate pages to let users understand your site in the context of the questions your visitors are looking at your site.

It has also been suggested that Timothy Ferriss’ The Four Hour Work Week is another great resource that really explores the idea of defining your business on paper in a way that can ge shared with others. There are some great concepts there and clear steps outlined on how to document your business and create FAQ or Frequently Asked Questions pages.  He has made a whole lot of money on implementing effective (both cost and time) ways of making money on the web following his own advice.

Are you a newer business without the traffic and experience of  knowing the questions your visitors will ask? Time to do some market research.  Larger business’ will pay a decent dollar to go out and see what perspective customers are thinking about. If you cannot afford to pay, it is time to get guerrilla in your approach.  Ask friends, set up a kiosk at a flea market, hang at  coffee shop, go to your kids soccer game and ask what questions do you have. Be ready to collect the questions, and test the answers. Stop by the library and read about market surveys and how to create your tests with as little bias as possible.

I would recommend a FAQ page that has all the questions on one page, then link to each question and answer on a separate page.  On the page, I recommend the following:

  • A clear title that states the site name, short version of the question, and contact info (800 number).
  • A clear description of the site and question in the Description META tag.
  • Keywords META tag related to the question and answer keyword phrases.
  • Question summary
  • Long question
  • Short answer with key phrases in them.
  • Longer answer with key phrases and links to other pages as appropriate to the site or off the site.  This is your chance to really explain and give the background appropriate to understand your site and what you are trying to have each visitor walk away from your site with, knowledge wise.
  • Ideally, ‘breadcrumbs’ to how you got to this page from the home page of your site.
  • Ideally, links to the rest of the site navigation system in text and graphical.
  • Ideally, UGC – User Generated Content where visitors are allowed to comment and ask follow up questions and give responses.
  • Ideally, have short poll questions to begin to truly understand how users view your pages (4 questions at most, ideally only 1).

These steps generally will create content that will allow the search engines to ‘understand’ your site and help rank you well on a variety of search terms. The key is to explain your site from the perspective of someone who does not know anything about your site.  Do not assume your users have much background when they come to this page and ask the question, if for no other reason than this is the case for Google. It does not automatically understand anything and it is up to you to ‘explain’ your questions to the search engines.

Understand that unless you have been writing interactive copy for decades (and the Internet has only been public for 15 years), you will need to continue to learn how your visitors interpret your site. That is OK, and the fun of online marketing.  This will require you to continue to tweak and improve your site. Google actually prefers to see sites that continue to evolve rather than act like the US Constitution (and even that we keep considering changing on a regular basis with admendments).  Remember, it is a lot easier to change a website than it is to change our tax code and laws, and ‘they’ change that with great frequency (usually for the worse, unless you have million dollar lobbyists, but I digress).  Sucks that we have 100 Senators, not to mention the hundreds of Representatives, and they have a whole lot of staff just to work on the wording of our laws.  Are you better than 600 legislatures and thousands of staff in your ability to write your website FAQ pages?  If so, please contact me ASAP, we could make millions together! Otherwise, keep reviewing your questions and answers and keep improving your responses based on your feedback of how well you are communicating.

The key is to put in writing on the site all those amazing visions you have for helping others with your site. It really needs to be written down and not just in your head.

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June 8, 2009 - Posted by | E-Myth, How To, Reference books, Simple | , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

3 Comments »

  1. I’m not sure I see the correlation between The E-Myth, and the FAQ section of a website. Michael Gerber’s book goes more into how you replicate your business, have all processes and systems documented so you don’t have to be the one doing all those positions and getting things done. Even if you are the only one in the company when it starts, Gerber recommends having the process and procedure in place so you can work towards the time when your business is not ‘you’ dependent. Your jobs can be done by someone else.

    On the other hand, I recently also read Timothy Ferriss’ book, ‘The 4 Hour Workweek’. This seems much more in line with what you are saying about FAQ pages. Ferriss advocates removing yourself from your business in a different way. He recommends ‘automation’, where you do not have to be involved with the company. You have a FAQ page where people go to get information. And if people keep calling you about a question that is not on your FAQ page, update your page to include the new information and have even less people contact you. He advocates only checking/answering your emails and voicemails once a week as well.

    Comment by schulzrose | June 22, 2009 | Reply

  2. Are you trying to say that the FAQ page can be a key part of the employee manual for my staff, as a way of following the E-Myth?

    I don’t like writing much, is there a way to shortcut this?

    Comment by Bob | July 27, 2009 | Reply

    • As Schulzrose suggests, Timothy Ferriss’ 4 Hour Workweek can provide some great ideas for how to ‘shortcut’ these ideas. I would suggest, doing a ‘training’ of best practices of what you expect. Ask for lots of questions and really get specific with the answers. But record it. A simple recorder is less then $35 if you do not have one already. Video may be easier. Then
      – have someone convert it to digital
      – Have it transcribed (there are sources online that will convert for about $4-5 per hour.
      – Take the transcription and put in some priliminary edits. Mostly focus on cleaning up the answers to say what you meant to say.
      – Send the transcription to a copy writer and ask them to create to outputs – a FAQ page, and an employee manual. The FAQ will be more focused on the customer perspective and most common issues. The employee manual more on perspective of what the team should do to meet the needs of the customer.
      – Pass around both documents to staff – ask for them to review and comment, and sign off that they not only have read, but understand what they have read.

      This can be a lot more valuable then writing it all yourself from scratch, and a lot easier.

      There are many other approaches including buying templated employee manuals and customizing as needed, but those do not have as much addressing of the specifics of your business’ situation. So I would recommend looking at them to see what is covered, and to create potential outlines for your presentation that you will record.

      I hope this helps.

      Comment by SeoDamian | July 27, 2009 | Reply


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