FAQ-Tastic is a simple WordPress FAQ plugin. When I first had the idea for it, I didn’t realise that it would be popular and get an excellent review by Michel Fortin. It was simply aimed to fill a gap in the WordPress plugin market while also helping Internet Marketers create authority sites using WordPress.

The idea originally came about from some work I have recently been doing to help promote an NLP Training company. Having studied a little about search engine optimisation (admittedly, I am still a newbie in this SEO game!), the general message I was starting to understand was that search engines love sites that are “authorities” in a specific niche.

Thinking about how to create authority sites, I began researching and experimenting with simple solutions using WordPress and various plugins. It was at this point that I began looking for an FAQ plugin.

The thing that surprised me was the lack of WordPress FAQ plugins. Until the release of FAQ-Tastic, there was only 1 FAQ plugin for WordPress available – the WordPress FAQ plugin by VaamYob. Looking at various posts, it was obvious that there wasn’t any choice about the plugin to use even though people wanted more choice about the FAQ functionality for their WordPress sites.

The need for a good plugin was apparent. The time was right to create a new FAQ plugin but it still wasn’t the over-riding factor that made me choose to build FAQ-Tastic…

Using WordPress to build sites is something that I’m still experimenting with. For me, using WordPress as a way of making quick websites and a possible ecommerce solution still seems to be the logical choice of content management system (CMS) for a variety of reasons.

Thinking about building an “authority” site a little more, I was reminded of the Ask Dave Taylor website – this site provided the point of inspiration that made me convinced that I should build FAQ-Tastic.

I would like to say “Thanks” to Dave Taylor for his site. Essentially, the Ask Dave Taylor site is an FAQ on steriods. It’s a very simple and effective way of creating an authority site, a great business model and gives the answers to real questions asked by users. It taps into the issues that users really have. As it’s core, Dave Taylor’s site focuses on the 1 thing that all Internet Marketers are constantly reminded to ask themselves: “what is the problem that *really* needs solving?”. Only by finding “the pain” or the real issue is it possible to provide the most appropriate solution. And what better way to find out the problem, than by getting users to actually tell you what their problem really is?

If I were to “Ask Dave” a question, it would be “Dave… how do I get to ask a question on your site?” :P – is it anything to do with that huge red button on the right hand side?

The principle is the same with “fly-catcher” pages. You may have seen these. They start with “Dear [fill in niche here] enthusiast” and simply ask you to provide your “biggest question about [niche]“. The questions are then used to create an eBook. In return for your question, you’d get a free copy. It’s a really smart and simple way of creating a product.

These things made me realise that the one common theme running through both of these Internet Marketing problems was simply about “asking the right questions”. By understanding this concept, it was obvious that FAQ-Tastic could be used by the general WordPress community but also have an impact on Internet Marketers. Tiny features like the CSV export could be aimed towards making it simpler for Internet Marketers to send the questions to an eBook researcher for simple product creation. Other features like drag & drop question re-ordering were put in simply to make it simple to use.

With these ideas and realisations jotted down, I started looking for a Developer to set about the task of creating me an FAQ plugin for WordPress. (Notes: Yes, I did pay for this plugin to be built and I am giving it away for free! No, I can’t really afford to do this but I think people are charitable in nature so this will probably come back at some point!).

Thankfully, as an ex-Web Developer, team leader and Project Manager I’ve had experience of building websites and even managed to create my own bespoke CMS. Admittedly, my own CMS wasn’t amazing but it did teach me how to be able to spot a good Developer when viewing their code!

When I did find my Developer of choice, the one thing that really caught my eye was nothing to do with his code – it was the icons on the site. Usually, plugin developers do not pay much attention to minor details like this. Going on instinct, I had a sense that John had a keen eye for details. It’s this type of attention that is the mark of a really excellent Developer.

As the author of the FAQ-Tastic plugin, John Godley is really amazing. Trust me, I’ve worked with some excellent Developers in my time in 3 large ISPs in the UK. This guy is extremely talented. I wouldn’t have any reservations about recommending his services and would give him a glowing reference if he needed one. In fact, I would urge you to check out his range of Urban Giraffe WordPress plugins. I would also recommend that if you use his plugins, then please help him out by giving him a donation via PayPal.

I have to say, I feel privileged to work with John. He has a gift of taking the essence of my ideas, scrapping my suggestions of how to build something and coming up with solutions that are far better than any I could possibly have come up with! Not only did he code the plugin but he also came up with the name for it – I really couldn’t ask for more! It’s been great working with someone who is able to communicate brilliantly on a technical level. I have to admit, a part of me has really missed being able to chat about code and geeky things so this project has been great.

Anyway, I really hope you all enjoy using the plugin. I’s definitely been a labour of love. I know that both John and I have put a lot of thought and effort into how the FAQ-Tastic plugin should work. We’ve both tested it and now, with version 0.7 released (with a minor amend to help it pass the W3C Validation – try the new W3C Multiple-Page Validator), I think FAQ-Tastic is now close to perfect.

Because FAQ-Tastic was commissioned, there were some features that I would like to have added – you can see this on our FAQ-Tastic plugin wishlist. Unfortunately, I don’t have the funds to finish off the plugin and make it as good as I’d hoped – this is because I’m in the process of working with John on a couple of other plugins that, again, are going to be free. Am I insane? I don’t know. I’ve been called “a madman! A very big-hearted and generous madman” – but I’m taking that as a compliment :) .

Why am I doing this? To be honest, I’m still not sure. I really believe in the open-source community and that deep down people are essentially good-natured. I have faith that people will help out. And once you’ve seen what me and John have been up to, then I think you’re going to want to help keep us building better things!

Next week, I will be putting up a short video of a plugin that John’s been working on that’s just *killer*. I’ve been using it and it’s simply awesome.

And if you thought that FAQ-Tastic was good, then trust me – this new plugin will really make using WordPress FAN-Tastic!