I’m introduced to new Web sites every day. A friend will send me an article to read or someone will post an interesting link on Twitter and I’ll click through. And after I’m done reading the information I was sent there for, my next click is on the About page. Your About page serves many purposes. It gives visitors important information about you, it’s a trust agent, it introduces them to your site and your company and it’s what differentiates you from all the other companies “like you” on the Web.
If a site has a weak About page (or they don’t have one at all), I’m probably not going to come back. If it’s compelling, well, they may just have a friend for life. And I’m not alone in that!
Your About page is what allows people to get to know you. It’s your introduction and their chance to look behind the curtain to see what lies beneath. You wouldn’t go to a party and stand around not introducing yourself, so why commit the same act on your site? Don’t forget your About page.
When you’re coming up with your About page, there are a few things you’ll want to include:
- Your photo: If you’re comfortable putting your person online (and with social media it’s becoming harder NOT to be), consider adding a photo to your about page. Doing so goes a long way to humanize your company and shows customers that there really is someone behind the site. When a customer sees your face, it sparks something in them. They remember you better, you become a real person, and they’re more willing to do business with you.
- Your expertise: You don’t need to post your high school and college transcripts, but do give a few sentence of background that tells people why it is you’re qualified to do what you do. How long has your company been in business? Where did you learn your skill? How do you help people? How d you stay up to date and current? Why are you doing what you do? Help them learn a bit about you and get comfortable with the idea of trusting you.
- What your site is about: Once you’ve given them a brief background on what you’re about, tell them what your site is about. Giving them basic information about your site or links to popular pages helps them to figure out what your purpose is. It gives them a reason to care and become invested in you. Your About page should give them enough information to make them want to dig deeper into your Web site. Pique their interest.
- Your contact information: Though you probably have this elsewhere on your site (like your Contact page, for example), make sure you include an email address, Twitter handle or phone number so that someone can get in touch with you should they need it. A lot of customers will search for that information here rather than look for it on a dedicated page. Just make it easier on them.
- Your personality: Your About page should look, feel and sound like you. If you’re funny, show people that you’re funny. If you’re professional all the time, then represent that. If you’re goofy and laid back, then make sure your About page gives off that feeling. Your About page is a chance to let your hair down and help readers/customers get an idea of what you’re all about and what they can expect going forward with you. Use this space to give them something to go on.
Your About page is one of the most important elements of your Web site. It’s your introduction to your customers and often one of their first points of contact with you. Make sure you’re doing it justice and tell your story.
Great suggestions. It is key that you give site guests the ability to get to know you and your site itself. I’m always amazed by the amount of sites that don’t give any info. It gives the impression that they have something to hide and I’m not too fond of that. Now I just need to double check mine again and make sure it’s up to par.
Infusing personality is the key to having an about page that is memorable (and doesn’t sound like a boring corporate bio). Consider ditching the formality a little and/or letting people in on a personal interest or two. Invite them to follow you on Twitter or connect with you on LinkedIn. Be the one who reaches out.
I agree of the importance of an about page. The content of the about page is pretty subjective. I think the important distinctions are whether you want to convey the ‘who’ or the ‘what’ of your company.
The former can be accomplished with personnel profiles, bios, and photos as you suggest. The latter (and what we use) is probably better accomplished with a company profile, brief history, and a mission statement. We’ve decided that as a software company selling and supporting time clock software BTB, the important thing is communicating who we are and what we’re doing collectively rather than individually.
I couldn’t agree more. Trust. It isn’t a hard and fast rule of mine, but close — if I don’t see a true, real, helpful, informative About Us page then I discount the company. If you can’t tell me about yourself, your co, your team, then why should I engage? Why should I trust you. Of course, there are lots of brands which we trust and that somehow overrides this because they’ve been around a long time, etc. However, I don’t believe you can have a successful co today without talking about your team and individuals.
I have called people out (Online AND Offline)about being so-called (Self-called, actually)”experts” and sending their web and blog links out-with no “About” page. In my book, there’s no credibility when there’s no About page.
These blogs and sites may as well be Google Adsense sites.
They usually are.
The Franchise King
i’m just now redesigning my site to reflect a new branding of my services. the goal: to connect better with my audience’s real needs (masked as website needs) here in east africa. i’m going to incorporate your 3 suggestions wholesale. 🙂
Nice article, with a lot of good ideas to think about. It seems to be skewed, however, toward a company that is built around a single person’s personality. It would be nice to have your take on what the About page should contain if the site is for a company that is built not on an individual, but on a team or a traditional company with different people in different roles.
Of your five bulleted items, the first and last don’t seem to have corresponding analogs for a company not based on an individual. What should a “real” company do in order to create a “killer” About page?
Companies still have personalities, we just tend to call them cultures. A light and informal about page would be out of place if you have to go through two levels of formal hierarchy to talk to a technical service representative, for example. And you can post pictures of your facilities, your customer service team, the factory floor, anything that’s central, if you want a little flash.
I actually like to put the about the site part first, especially if there’s a blog involved. If I land on a blog via search that’s obviously connected to a company I want to know the bigger picture of where I am before I find out about the blog’s author. That could just be me, though. It’s not something I’ve tested.
I think the About Me page is a great place to add a place for people to give feedback, whether it is about the site or a product or service. It is one way to make online communication more personable.
MSFT Office Live Outreach
About pages have always been a stumbling block for me. Thanks for the tips.
My about page is out of date and too much about the site, and not about me or the people. I’ve always liked reading about pages because many are quirky and give a little too much personal information, which adds character.
I’m really glad I read this article.
I never realized that the about page is that important but you make such good arguments that I have to agree with you.
I have to admit that when I visit websites or blogs I very rarely visit the about page.
It is because many sites if they do have that page they just put a general information there that is not saying much, kind of like a form letter.
But I can see the value of having an about page of the kind you are describing.
I will start working on one very shortly.
Thank you for the inspiration.
Great tips on how to create an informative About page. I will keep this in mind when I continue to work on my new site EgoSoleTrader.com. It is under construction so to speak… 😉
Joel Libava has a good statement:
“I have called people out (Online AND Offline)about being so-called (Self-called, actually)”experts” and sending their web and blog links out-with no “About” page. In my book, there’s no credibility when there’s no About page.”
I have seen this lack of information on several so-called experts.
This is some great advice, which I’ve now shared on my own blog. I have most of these things on my own About page, but I need to add more of “me” to make it more interesting. Yesterday afternoon I was listening to the webcast of Anita’s interview with Mary van der Wiel (on the Brand Reinvention Summit website) and realized that I hadn’t visited the SmallBizTrends blog for way too long. Thanks for posting such useful content here!
I never really considered the importance of having an engaging About page. Personally I haven’t really visited many About pages in the past, but this article is a wake up call. It would be helpful if this article broadened the focus from individuals to including businesses as well.
Good article and all necessities for a good about page. What if you posted a list of effective about pages to give users a good idea of what you’re talking about.
Feel free to review and critique mine