Does your website content need reworking?
Catherine Every, copywriter at Pippin (and on many of RI’s web projects) published an article on how to tell if your website content needs reworking.
She brings up two interesting points
An FAQs page means your website isn’t telling people what they want to know
A search facility means you think your readers will be looking for a needle in a haystack
I agree that your site content’s aim is to provide the information visitors want to read and that the company wants to be known, if done correctly you shouldn’t need a dedicated FAQ’s page. The answers should be placed within the copy where people need them.
With search though, it gets a little tricky. In most cases people use Google (other popular search engines are available) to search the web and happen upon your site. Searching again after reaching a site that should be well matched to the query might mean that someone (most likely the site owner) has got things wrong.
However a search facility can be valuable to cater for regular users of a website who know what they are after and find it quicker to tap a code in rather than navigate menus. Or even your own team who use the site as a sales tool rather than their dreadfully slow internal system – some of our clients do this!
I don’t think search is necessary on most websites with low returning visitors (check your Google Analytics Audience Overview report for this information) but where your customers need to find information quickly or you have a large ecommerce website, that search field might well prove useful. Take it away at your peril!
Photo credit: Taber Andrew Bain – Frequently Asked Questions (Self-Portrait #41)