This article was originally posted on Codica Blog.
A question within socials is likely to start the debate that will go on and on with a little pay-off. Luckily, there are websites to ask questions that can save you a huge amount of time.
To stay in the game, Q&A websites have qualities that other research tools don’t.
What are those? Read our text below to find out.
Q&A platforms overview
To put it short, a question and answer website is an online platform that serves as a knowledge repository driven by user-written topics. Unlike socials, it should provide the most accurate answer in return for a higher rating.
Practically, the most upvoted comment lets readers know that the problem is solved. So now, let's dive a bit deeper into the peculiarities of question and answer websites:
- Evergreen content The content on Q&A websites remains continually relevant, regardless of passing time. Backlinko found that a post on Reddit is far more likely to become evergreen when compared to other platforms.
Even if users deactivate their Reddit or Quora accounts, their content remains live. However, future visitors won't see who it came from.
- Accurate answers
The purpose of Q&A websites is to solve problems, not voice opinions. So If your answer is unreadable or unhelpful, an algorithm will likely filter it out.
- Acting anonymously
There are many reasons people stay anonymous. Mostly they don't feel right about asking particular questions openly. But others would like to talk privately about what goes on behind closed doors.
- Fan engagement
Willing to spend time involved with beloved celebs are closely related to Internet activity. For example, with Cameos on Google well-known people can see questions Google users would like to ask. Once a question is chosen, a user can reply by recording themselves on video.
- Marketing tool
Users ask questions trying to find a solution to all kinds of issues. Therefore, a business will likely find its potential clients and identify how to help them.
- Unreal names and bios
Fake profiles are a drawback of any platform that involves user-generated content. For a limited number of people, you can use checkmarks. On Quora, they are available for high-profile writers and public figures as you see below:
Building a Q&A platform: a step-by-step guide
Functionality a question and answer website needs
Apart from email sign-up, allow visitors to register via Google or Facebook accounts.
Ask a user to pick topics they'd like to contribute to or know more about. Enable them to edit subscriptions anytime like on Quora:
Allow visitors to find information by keywords narrowing the results with topics.
Build a predictive search functionality — autosuggestions that pop up once you start typing. If a question already exists, you'd easily check the answers.
Make two feeds for different types of content:
- Recent activities for questions that are trending.
- Subscriptions for those question categories or people you follow.
Let users scroll content filtered by date range and users who wrote certain keywords.
Posting a question
Add a preview layer for potentially irreversible actions such as question posting. Prevent users from altering the meaning of their texts afterward.
Before hitting "Submit," allow them to attach imagery or set a current mood emoji.
There are several ways of making a question slightly more entertaining:
- A poll. Select the most suitable answer.
- Checkbox. Choose several possible answers.
- Image poll. Pick images from the list.
- Dropdown. Choose an option based on your previous answer.
Let registered users post their suggestions on a question page in the comment section.
As a side note, building hyperlinks is a good way to show where the information originally comes from.
Let users follow each other. A profile may display a short bio, the activity within a website, and topics a person is subscribed to.
Let readers vote or downvote answers by selecting thumbs up/down. Since reputation points act as a scoreboard, the most upvoted answer will become visible on top of a comment section.
Business models used on websites to ask questions
Donation. The community can be grateful for your project and improve it with money. Make it easier by integrating popular gateways like PayPal, Stripe, and Dwolla.
Profile upgrades. Make question pages customizable with mood status, extra images attachment, dropdown questions, etc. For instance, joining Reddit Premium gives you ad-free and more unique usage in return for a monthly payment.
Self-service ad platform. Enable users to run ads and view analytics by accessing a self-service toolset. With ads on Quora, for example, you can initiate promotion of any type:
Ready-made vs. custom solution
When it comes to the development approach, you have next options to choose from:
- Ready-made solutions;
- Custom software development.
There are many solutions to launch your Q&A website quickly, without coding from your side. Besides, out-of-the-box solutions are noted for their cost-effectiveness and integration with third-party platforms.
Custom development, in its turn, can be pricey. However, it offers undeniable benefits that will reduce costs in the long run. You can also expect higher data protection and there's no need for license fees.
In time, you will need to scale your business to stay afloat. And fortunately, custom software will enable a set of functions tailored to your business needs.
The Internet helps bring many's concerns to light. A Q&A platform, in its turn, can find you a solution to a problem. On top of that, the quality of the content is valued far more than the speed at which the information shares.
To see more statistics and insights about Q&A platforms, check our full article: Question and Answer Website Development: Functionality and Best Practices.