Your website “About Page” won’t be a common entry point for visitors. But it could be a common exit point.
Pity too. The About Page will be one of your most visited pages on your site. An inevitable stop for first-timers.
They’re narcissistic. They don’t move readers to feel or do anything. Generally, they’re boring.
If you don’t want the response to your About Page to be an “about face,” you’ll find some valuable ideas here. Let’s look at how to write your About Page, make it connect with readers and serve a purpose.
ABOUT, as an acronym, is a little formula I created to help guide you through five powerful ideas for creating an effective About Page (or section).
Imagine greeting someone for the first time and beginning the conversation by reading him or her a press release. Ridiculous, right?
I can’t tell you why so many companies shift into a journalistic-imbued writing style when it comes to crafting copy for their About Page, but I can tell you it makes for a dreadful first impression.
So faux pas number one for the About Page is writing it with a sleep-inducing tone. Don’t let your page sound like a funeral. Make it sound like a party.
You’re here. Woo-hoo! We’re excited to tell you why this is the place to be.
Let the party begin. The About Page on the Moz site kicks off the party with a fun headline, unconventional image and scroll-worthy storytelling-style content.
Great About Pages are warm, energetic, interesting introductions. Do everything you can to sound approachable. Nix the jargon. Nix the third-person voice. Nix the meaningless hyperbole and business clichés. Look your reader in the eye and belt-out a happy hello.
And please, don’t make the headline of your page “About” or any similar variation. Give visitors a reason to move down the page and expect to find some fun stuff.
Yes, the About Page is about your company. Your reader has come to learn more about what you do. But why? They have a problem they’re looking to solve. As they say in metaphor land, the customer doesn’t want a drill; he wants a hole.
A mission statement can be a real buzz kill, but Help Scout won’t have it. Their About Page promises to “help you build a company people love.”
To win the reader’s attention—and affection—you need to address the “What’s in it for me?” (WIIFM) question. You need to present a benefit, or several. What value do you deliver your customers?
Oh, how this simple idea brings communicators to their knees. It shouldn’t. Try this simple exercise. Fill in the blank.
How to ________________________.
I’ve always loved this approach. It works for headline writing, positioning and forging unique selling propositions. Here, it’s going to work for your About Page.
You can’t fill that blank in with a feature, product, service, or brand name. Only a benefit works.
I’m not telling you your About Page needs to include these exact words, but they need to communicate the idea. How are you going to help (a.k.a. the benefit) is really what the reader has come to learn. If your About Page doesn’t get the idea across, it fails.
The value you provide is what your company is about. Therefore, it’s what your About Page should be about.
Your website’s About Page content should be considered part of your lead generation plan and optimized for conversions.
On the Unbounce blog, a post on the conversion potential of About Pages goes so far as to say;
Your About Page should be a conversion-friendly hub where your visitors are directed to shop, jump on your email bandwagon or begin a free trial—all after being informed and inspired. If you’re not using your About Page to convert customers, you’re losing out.
About Pages provide an opportunity to tell stories, connect with prospects and build trust. These are keys to conversion.
A history page on the Vienna Beef website tells an engaging story of the history of the company highlighting its milestones.
If you’ve setup goals in your Google Analytics, your “all pages” report will include page values. This report from Orbit’s own analytics reveals their About Page is one of the site’s most important pages for contributing to conversion.
You’ve given your visitors a number of reasons to believe in your company’s abilities to deliver value. Tell them what to do next. Include at least one call to action (CTA) that directs the reader to move further into your website or enter contact information.
The GetResponse About Page offers CTAs including: meet the team; learn about the product; peruse the customers page; and signup for their newsletter. Your About Page doesn’t need to have as many choices, but if you want to optimize it to convert, it should have at least one.
It’s very easy to make your About Page sound generic…
We do this. We do that. We care about our customers. Our people are dedicated and talented.
But it’s hard to imagine you want to sound like your competitors.
Test your current About Page against this idea. Wherever a mention of your company appears, swap in the name of one of your top competitors. If the page works just fine this way, you have work to do.
Your About Page is an opportunity to tell a unique story. Much of your uniqueness can come from the voice of your writing.
“For some reason, when people sit down to write an About Page, everything they know about creating interesting content suddenly flies out the window. Their usually great writing style starts to suck.” – Sonia Simone, Copyblogger & Rainmaker Digital.
Your About Page is where readers go to figure out who you are and if they like you. The things that make you unique define who you are and certainly affect your likability.
Orbit made a video that takes you “Inside Orbit” to meet the team and learn about the company culture and its values.
Let your constituents have a say. You have real customers, partners and collaborators—and they contribute to your uniqueness. Make a place on your About Page for your extended family to chime in with testimonials or any content you believe prospects will value.
I don’t mean talk about how you value results or ROI or something predictable that everyone values. I mean highlight what you stand for.
What you’re doing to make a difference is likely going to make you different.
While it’s probably the topic of another article, it’s likely the things you say and do on social media channels reveal the true character of your company. Your About Page is a perfect place to get social. I’ve seen quite a few engaging About Pages featuring company and/or employee Instagram feeds—and that’s just one idea.
On Orbit Media’s About Page they link to their culture page. It has a stream of tweets and Instagram posts from the Orbit team (a.k.a Orbiteers).
The most undeniably unique thing about your company is the people who work there.
Your company is your employees. No other company has them. This means in an effort to be approachable and unique (“A” and “U”) your team is worthy of spotlighting on your About Page.
Why did the MailChimp team bring a “K” to the photo shoot? You got me, but the company appears to be proud of its team and features them on their About Page.
I’ve seen team pages done in many interesting ways. However, more often it’s a yawner with name, title and mini-resume featuring previous jobs and college experience.
You can make profiles of your staff members more interesting—and great conversation starters—by showcasing interesting things about each person.
Fun stuff on the Wanelo team page. Deena likes Mexican and Peruvian textiles, sushi, llamas, Pilates and things that are impossible. Sean has a pillow doppelgänger.
Another useful tip for showcasing your team, from an earlier post here on the Orbit blog, is to set up an individual page for each team member you want to feature. This will give your About Page a larger footprint and present pages that may rank when people search for a specific name.
Yes, your About Page affords you an opportunity to talk about yourself and is the place where readers expect you to. But on your About Page, and any page on your website, your challenge is to engage visitors so they feel compelled to do something. You accomplish this by telling your story in a context that serves your readers.
Is there a checklist you use to create the perfect About Page? No.
Your About Page should not be exactly the same as someone else’s. It can feature whatever you want. In fact, the more you commit to making it original, the more effective it can be.
What content do you include on your About Page? What’s working? How might you update it to better serve your visitors?
Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Thank you for sharing this. I think that about page is an underrated thing in peoples mind when they thought about site building. For example look for more info at this scribendi review and it’s simple design. Maybe video lesson would be more understandable for the wide numbers of people. At least I think so.
Barry, I’ve learned more from you and Andy about effective design than from any source. I find myself coming back over and over–and sending your posts to friends, prospects, and clients. When I’m i a foggy funk, something on the Orbit media blog often clears me up, shakes me off, and sends me back out with renewed hope. Thank you.
This is great and super helpful. Only problem on my end is this “Don’t let your page sound like a funeral. Make it sound like a party.”
Easier said than done when you’re a funeral home 😉
This is going to be very helpful with future projects. Love the acronym!
Great advice. Why did I write my About page? For the same reason most of us do. Because I read the gurus telling me I needed to write one. Well, nobody has to do anything a guru tells them to, but that’s a different discussion. When you do something, if you’re doing just enough to check it off your to-do list, of course that’s going to show. Then, if you hold it up as proof that About pages don’t work, that’s misguided. If you do something, do it right. And then, we hope, your About page will be one of your popular features.
Barry, nice post. Includes some good ideas. I agree the About page deserves a lot more attention than most companies give it. Companies really should tell more about who they are, and do it so it is not so ho-hum or just a bunch of corporate speak. Thanks.
Have to do some work on my about page also. I’m planning to make it like a timeline, my website journey so far.
Thanks for Sharing..Content actually Matters!
Barry. Great info. Your article cleared my doubts and gave me clear idea for my website. Thank you. keep the good work. Balwan
Thanks Barry. This was an interesting article, have never seen any quite like it. To think we usually think that ‘it’s just an about us page’.
Thank you for the insights
Great article, I am just about to develop an “About Page” so it is both timely and relevant to me.
Hey, where’s the thumbs up button?
Thanks for sharing this. You helped me discover that I have some important work to do.
What are your thoughts?