Think back to the last time you visited a company’s website, one you hadn’t really looked at before. Sure, the first page you came to was the homepage but you didn’t hang about. You needed a quick snapshot of this company. Who are these people? Are they the type of folk you could do business with? What led them to build the site upon which you gazed? You probably headed straight to the About page, and just as probably didn’t realise how hard these can be to get right.
We’ve been lucky enough to work with some fantastically talented web designers over the years, crafting copy for businesses across a spectrum of sectors. The About page is always a tricky one to nail, so we figured that the time was right to share some tips for getting the most out of your site’s most valuable real estate. Five tips, to be exact.
1: Have one
The importance of an About page really can’t be overstated. Yes, if the rest of your site is put together well enough it’ll be possible for people to get a taste of what makes you tick. But why make it so difficult? With the attention span of the modern internet user purportedly rivalling that of a goldfish with ADHD, you need to put everything in one place for your audience to get the jist at a glance.
If you’re working with external designers and copywriters to build your site, the temptation to cut corners and save a few quid by leaving this page out can be tempting. Don’t make this mistake. A page like this keeps you in control of the narrative surrounding your brand. Without one, prospective customers will get their info second-hand through Wikipedia or review sites.
Don't feel obliged to make your page the same old stuff. Check out these examples to get some idea of how creative you can get when you put your mind to it.
2: Show your personality
You need to make the maximum impact in a concentrated space. Show who makes up your business by crafting copy which exhibits your personality. People buy from people, so you can’t afford to be shy about who you are and why you’re such a spiffing band of folk to do business with. Steer away from ‘safe’ business language and ambiguous jargon.
When working with a copywriter, spending an hour sitting down and giving them a concrete idea of the personality that drives your business will pay dividends when it comes to getting you a page which is lively, compelling and attractive to customers.
Sometimes, when an About page is missing or contains very little information it becomes a trust issue. It's important to get images in there so you know who and what you're going to be dealing with. On our own About page we've included pictures of the team to accompany the text (good looking bunch, eh?) Often if you come to a website where they're saying 'we' a lot but the About page gives very little away about who 'we' is, it can ring alarm bells.
3: Write for your audience
An extension to tip two. Yes, you’re conveying your brand’s own personality, but this personality needs to resonate with the audience you’re trying to reach. Imagine your ideal target audience, compare this with your actual audience and aim to write for someone who falls exactly between those two points.
Relevance is the keyword here. Don’t talk in vague, hyped-up terms. Give people facts which are relevant to them. Talk about awards you’ve won, big steps you’ve taken and happy clients you’ve left in your wake. Avoid self-indulgence and demonstrate to your audience that you’re good at helping people just like them.
With this page for heart health supplement, Ateronon, people wanted to know the science, so we give them the science. It's heavy on the facts, but easy to take in at a glance.
4: Tell your story
Just as important as where you are is how you got there. This is the perfect page to draw people into your world with the tale behind your organisation. Have you grown from one lone wolf working away in their cupboard into a streamlined pack? Was there a particular moment of inspiration that drove you to get started? It might all be old news to you, but newcomers to your site will find this kind of thing really interesting.
This is another point you should make time to discuss with your copywriter. Most of us are budding novelists, so the opportunity to bring the backstory of your organisation to life is a great opportunity for all involved.
With this page for Sutton Co we wanted to have a bit of fun. We wanted to reflect the creative side of this Cambridge graphic design business so a straightforward About page wouldn't have been right. Instead we went for an interview approach, crafting something which was a bit left-field but still showed off their passion and skill.
5: Link to social media
Finally, now that you’ve given visitors a full cross-section of your brand and got them all excited to be a part of your world, make sure it’s easy for them to do so. Make links to your social media presence easy to find and allow your audience to get involved with the conversation.
Remember that your About page is designed to create a sense of connection between you and your audience. It converts visitors into customers, but beyond that is the conversion from customers to supporters. Loyal supporters are the people who will shout about your brand just because they love what you do, so get them hooked up to social and let them shout!
By applying these five steps to your brand, you can be sure you’re putting the best of yourself on show to the world. From there you can branch out to the rest of your site and expand on the clear, energetic message you’ve given, safe in the knowledge that you’ve hooked visitors into wanting to know more.