An FAQ will be a great addition to your topics but it also requires strong technical writing skills. Here, I’ll provide some key tips that help you build an effective FAQ.
Make Sure They Are Actually Frequently Asked
You should keep in mind that FAQ pages are not a place where you share some tips because your boss asks you to create an FAQ. It is important to remember that an FAQ exists to answer your customers most common questions, not just to tell random things. That’s why, you should do a research to keep your questions on-topic and customer-focused.
For example, as a technical writer, you can interview your support team to learn what your customers frequently ask. Moreover, if your help authoring tool provides internal statistics, you can examine search queries report to learn what your customers are interested mostly.
Use ‘I’s for Questions
Usually, FAQs include questions written in the first person, and there is a reason for that. To understand it, just compare the following examples and choose the one that sounds more appealing:
“How can I style my content?”
“How can you style your content?”
They’re both the same, but if you want to create a user-oriented FAQ, you should think like a user, you’re much likely to go with the first option and not with the second. The first question format works better because it matches users thoughts and how they actually think through the query.
Here is a good example of the FAQ questions set.
Start with a Question Word
As you can notice, FAQ lists consist of questions with answers because it’s the most convenient form of providing additional information since people ask your support team about something (like ‘How can I style my content?’) but they don’t use statements (like ‘Style my content’). So, it’s better to start each point with a question word: what, how, where, can and so on.
Write for Your Users
An FAQ is an important part of your documentation along with topics because it gives additional information and helps to reduce the time that a support team spends on answering. That’s why the rule ‘write clearly and concisely’ works here too. An FAQ should not contain jargon or technical terms because it should speak the users language.
If you’re a technical writer, you already know the words and the language your customers use for asking questions. All you need to do is to reflect the same in your FAQs. You can pick words from the user’s support tickets or queries to make your FAQ more effective.
Keep Them Organized
An FAQ can be considered useful if their questions are well grouped and categorized — questions should be broken down into common categories, so visitors can easily find the necessary part.
If your answers are long, it’s better to use show more boxes, so all answers will be hidden and a user can open only the necessary one, so your list will not look messy.
Here is an example:
When you write questions and answers for your FAQs, think like a customer to make connection between your company and clients more effective.