Let's be honest for a minute. How many "About" pages have you read that actually got you excited about a business or brand? I'm guessing... not a lot.
The more common reactions to "About Us" pages are boredom, impatience, and strong feelings of being almost completely ignored. That is a huge problem, because the "About" page is one of the most popular destinations on any website. People click over to it all the time.
So why have we been ignoring the quality of this valuable space?
Maybe it's because we hate writing about ourselves. Maybe we don't know what in the world to put on that page, so we just copy the formula everyone else is using. Maybe it just doesn't seem that urgent.
Leaving your "About" page in sub-par condition is costing you more than you think. So let's get rid of lame "About" pages once and for all.
Your 'About' page is not about you
Let's get this out in the open right away: Your "About" page isn't about you. It's about your readers. Sure, you need to let them in on details about you and your business, but it's all about how your present it.
Most "About" pages are focused on the writer or company: their story, background, experience, and so on.
But it really needs to be focused on the reader: their needs, problems, worries, and questions.
Think about it. When you visit an "About" page for a company you're thinking of buying from, what are you looking for?
Are you really concerned about all their achievements, their dreams and goals, and every award they have ever won? Or are you looking for proof that they can help you solve your problems? Reassurance that they aren't going to rip you off? Evidence that they understand what you really need and care about helping you find it?
If you aren't providing those things for your website visitors on your "About" page, you'll leave them feeling ignored.
Third person was never a good idea
It used to be standard practice to use the third person when writing bios. Did we think it made us sound more professional? Was it easier to talk about ourselves when it sounded like we were talking about someone else?
Whatever the reason, bios written in the third person are no longer a good idea (but, really, were they ever?).
Your "About" page is supposed to help people connect with you. If you were at a party and you were telling someone about yourself, would you use the third person? Of course not, that would be creepy.
Your website isn't nearly as personal as meeting someone face to face, but you want to replicate that one-on-one experience as much as possible. And that just isn't going to happen if you keep referring to yourself by your first name.
Tell them a story
Boredom is one of those things you don't want your website visitors to experience. Most "About" pages are dangerously dull. How can you be different?
One of the best ways to create an "About" page that engages your visitors and addresses their needs is by telling a story.
A story that shows visitors how you can help them, instead of just telling them.
Take your visitors on a journey. Start at their issues: what they need solved that your business can help them with. End at the solution: how your business, product, or service is going to make their lives better.
Along the way, add details about who you are, what your business is all about, and how you've helped people (you're talking about you, but it's all about what you can do for them).
Stories are memorable. People can relate to story a whole lot better than to a bunch of facts.
Make an appearance
The Web can be a very anonymous place. But people want to do business with... people—not with brands or companies or mysterious websites.
Putting your picture on your "About" page is a smart thing to do. It makes you real to your visitors. They can picture your face and imagine having an actual conversation with you.
The type of picture you use is important as well. Don't crop your face out of any old group photo. Make it look professional. But, it should also match your "brand."
If you promote your business as conservative and reliable, then by all means button up a blazer and pose for a traditional headshot. But, if your business is modern and edgy, show that in your photo. If you're casual and friendly, dress down a bit.
Your photo should reflect your personality. The whole point is to show people who you really are.
Give them proof
What's way more effective than telling people you're great? Showing them actual proof that you are great. Specifically, you should give your visitor social proof that you know your stuff and that people like doing business with you.
Positive things that someone else said about you will be 100 times (at least) more compelling than all the positive things you could say about yourself.
Social proof is powerful, and it's also easy to implement. Here are a few of its common forms:
- Endorsements from other industry or thought leaders
- Follower and community stats (number of fans on Facebook, number of people blog subscribers, etc.)
Gather such proof and put it right on your "About" page.
Now that you have an awesome "About" page, I've got a bonus tip for everyone with an email list (and what business doesn't have a list, right?). Use the momentum you've built up with your captivating bio to get loads of subscribers.
You've just given people some great reasons to absolutely love you and what you do; now is the perfect time to suggest staying in touch.
Put a sign-up or opt-in form right on your "About" page. You will be surprised how effectively doing so will grow your list.
The key to a great "About" page isn't an elusive secret; it's all about the approach. Remember that you're creating this page as a way to connect with your visitors and address their curiosities and concerns.
(And if you like to learn by example, here is a great list of 12 great "About" pages.)
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