Don’t ruin your website with the Never Asked Questions

“This is our brand new website”, the vice president of company ABC said with pride in his voice. “It states what we do here in the authority. What we do, who we are and what we stand for. Our website is totally transparent. We don’t hide anything from our citizens here. Everything is disclosed.”

The new consultant nodded slowly and pointed at different areas on the screen using a red Laser Pointer.

“Do you often get questions about this content?”

He turned his attention directly to the vice president.

“No, not so often, no..”, the vice president said. “It is not like that our clients go around asking about it, but we still need to show it… I mean, this is what we stand for and what if someone is looking for this piece of information and they can´t find it?”

“Well I guess they probably try to call you if they needed the information?”

“That might be a bit of a problem. You see, our Customer Service is flooded with calls from people having lots of questions all day long. If we would remove that information from our website, there would be even more people calling us than before. That is, no one would be able to get a quick answer from us.”

The vice president studied the consultant. He seemed to take notes on everything said in the room. He seemed ambitious, that was a good sign. Much better than his lazy precursors. Maybe this one finally was their guy.

“Mmhm”, the consultant murmured while drawing something on his paper. “And what about those people you mentioned having a lot of questions? Have you deleted the information they need or why do they keep calling you all the time?”

“Of course we haven’t”, the vice president said. “Since we get so many recurrent questions we decided they needed special attention on our website. We call it Frequently Asked Questions”, he said spelling it out loudly in the room. “You see, we always direct the ones calling us to this part of our website.”

The vice president pointed at the top question in the Frequently Asked Question column on the screen.

“This is my favorite question: What are your opening hours?. We decided to put that one on top of the list since Customer Service complained about all the questions they got on opening hours.”

The consultant added something on his paper and cleared his throat.

“Alright, folks. This is what I, and probably the main part of your clients, see when they visit your website”, he said and placed his paper on the middle of the table.

“This will be exciting”; the vice president said eager and removed his glassed. “Ok, there´s our logo on top and the Frequently Asked Questions… I am with you so far; he said and looked at the paper sketch.

“But what does NA stand for?”

The consultant took a deep breath and slowly exhaled. It looked as if he was counting to ten quietly to himself before answering.

“NA stands for Never Asked. That is, content that no one really needs.  And you seem to have filled nearly all you website with this NA-content.”

The vice president glanced anxiously at the only woman in the room.

“That was not a nice thing to say”, he said anxiously, “Martha here and her staff has been working day and night now for weeks to get all the content in place. And now you tell her that no one needs this? That she did all this work for nothing?”

The consultant nodded slowly.

“So you suggest we should emphasize more on the Frequently asked questions then? Make them bigger? Maybe put all our content in here?

“No. That is definitely not the answer.”,  the consultant said with a determined voice. “You have missunderstood the whole point of a website. Shut it down and we would all be better of.”

At that exact moment Martha started sobbing at the back of the room. At the front of the room the vice president started thinking about ways to end the contract with the consultant earlier than agreed. Much earlier actually.

Is Never Asked content blocking your users from finding answers on your website? Is your website a replica of your company? Are the frequently asked questions growing?

Then maybe you need to reconsider your content strategy:

  • Be aware of your users frequently asked questions.
  • Use your website to provide the answers. No one is looking for a question.
  • Your company is not the same thing as your website. Don’t sprinkle it with content Never Asked. That information can still be derived from customer service and other channels

PS.  If your users find what they are looking for right away, they don’t need to ask you the same questions over and over again.