Whether your website is a large online retailer or a special interest blog, you will invariably have an “About” page. This is the page that everyone feels they need, and yet people seldom put the right kind of information on it. If your website is a personal blog, there is a good chance that nobody will need to look at your About Us page to find this out. For most other kinds of websites, this page presents an opportunity to connect with a very important type of visitor – the visitor who is interested in knowing more about your site, or your business.
When Not to Market Yourself
Although the About Us page presents an easy opportunity to market to your visitors (clicking on the “About Us” link can be equated to saying “I want you to try and sell yourself to me”), that doesn’t necessarily mean that this is the place where you should put yet more sales copy.
Once a visitor is on your site, they are probably already interested in the products you sell or the services you provide. They don’t necessarily want to read more of the same thing that you have on your home page and in your product descriptions.
Why Someone Clicks on “About Us”
Most of the time, when someone visits your About Us page, they are interested in some of the following things:
- What exactly does this company do/who owns it/what is their business objective?
- Is this a legitimate business, and if I want to talk to someone is there a real person behind it?
- Where is the business based, and how did it start? (less likely)
These aren’t all the questions they could ask, but they’re good ones to begin with. You have to remember that most of the people who come to your site are probably not as interested in these things as you are.
Internet users have short attention spans, especially when it comes to big pages of text. Here’s how to give out the most information, make yourself look good, and not lose your reader’s interest.
Part One: The Facts
The first thing people want to know is exactly what your business is and what you do. This should be a simple sound-bite, no longer than one sentence. Put it in bold right at the top, and make it catchy. Some visitors will leave after reading that – it’s all they came looking for.
Part Two: The “Vision”
The phrase “Vision Statement” is a horrible 90s buzzword, but in essence you need to have one. It can come from your branding strategy, or just be something you made up on the spot. It should say something about what you hope to achieve as a business, and it’s your opportunity to get personal and create a rapport with your visitors.
If you can get them to identify with you and think things like, “you know what, these guys have a good idea and they’re trying really hard – I appreciate that”, you’ve very nearly won yourself a customer already.
Part Three: The Story
This is where you tell your little story about who you are, how the business started, and the journey you’ve gone on to get there. Don’t make it five paragraphs of epic narration – do it in under 100 words if possible, and make it punchy and interesting. Put it beneath a nice picture of you or the founding owners smiling, so that people have faces to put to names when they read your story.
That’s it – all you need to have on your About Us page. 450 words, maximum. Remember that you don’t need to sell your products here: you need to sell your business as a whole. If your About Us page can make visitors like you as people, it’s done what it needs to do.
The major temptation of any website owner is to sprinkle every piece of available whitespace with keywords. Your About Us page is not the place to do this. Not only is there very little scope for SEO with the page title and URL, but there are plenty of other places where your SEO efforts will reap much larger rewards.
Instead, use the opportunity to write some good words – elegant, simple, and catchy copy that will stand out to readers, and not to search engines.