Do you have a website? If you do, do you have an About (or About Us) page? Yes? Good, please go and have a look at your About page and relook at how you can improve it. Here’s one thing that never made sense to me: people make websites so others can find out more about them, but most “About Us” pages absolutely suck. They’re either really long and boring or really short and mysterious. Not many people understand the best way to go about these pages.
Many believe the “About Us” page is an afterthought because everyone wants to see the work or the products or read up on the services. And while that’s true, providing the right history and information can increase a website’s effectiveness.
The importance of telling your story
As designers and developers, we can spend a lot of time focusing how we want a web design to look and how we want to present the content. The meaty stuff takes up most of our focus so the extra pages like the about page and contact page are just a formality. But no longer!
We live in a time where people desire a deeper connection. Brands are successful when they’re consistent with their message, they know what they represent, and they have a story that connects with people. We love Tom’s brand shoes because they have a purpose in enriching the lives of those less fortunate. We love Apple because they desire to innovate not just technology, but culture. We love various musical artists because of they came from nothing and created something for themselves and their surroundings.
But why do these brands do this? What make these brands tick? How do they make these connections? If you take care of your “about page”, you can easily attempt to start managing your brand there.
Find what they care about
There’s a reason someone comes to your website. What you have to do is figure out what that purpose is and cater to that. Let’s take the freelance web designer for example. Why are people coming to your website? They mainly want to see your work, know who you’ve worked with and maybe know your background.
The most important thing potential clients go to web designers’ websites is to see the work and see who they’re working with. Most times, they want to know they’re working with someone who has a personality and understands their needs as opposed to someone who has several degrees, accolades and awards. It sounds crazy, but in a creative field, if a client can make that connection first, everything else seems to follow.
If I’m coming to your website to learn about your product, do I really care most about the CEO of the company or how the product came about? Well, it all depends on your representation, but most times I’m most interested in the product. That doesn’t mean the CEO does not matter, it just means that most of the time spent needs to be about the product. Don’t fluff on other things that almost a non-factor to your audience.
Use the right voice
You have to figure out what voice works best for your line of work. Again, if I’m a freelance web designer that specializes in corporate websites, my jargon is going to be that of a corporation. Not only should my portfolio reflect that, but the words I choose and the voice I choose should be easy to relate to. In my about section, I’m not going to talk about how I love pizza and other quirky things.
This builds consistency and trust with your brand. If I’m purchasing luxury jewelry from someone, in their about page, I first want to know about the jewelry. Secondly, I want them to speak to me as if I’m spending luxury money on luxury items. Don’t speak to me informally because that may allow me to question my trust in the brand.
No sales zone
The about section is the time where you build relationships with your audience. It’s not a time to push your agenda of money making on them. This is the area where you can put your guard down and allow people to really see inside your company. You may be a clothing retail chain that sells edgy, trendy clothes. Your about section however, may be able to pull back that edginess to show how you actually care about different issues.
At no time should you be begging anyone to purchase your product. In some cases this alright: Perhaps you’re a web designer who has published a book at some point. You don’t have to point out that the reader should purchase your book, but you can make them very aware of your product, especially if the remainder of your site is not based on this book.
I think it’s also in good taste to capture information in your about section. Perhaps you have a newsletter or want to send free information. This is a great place to put an information capture because now people know more about you and may be even more interested.
Personality through images
This is probably one of the more obvious points, but please add imagery. Maybe you want to add pictures of your studio or your brick and mortar shop. Maybe you want to add a pleasant picture of you or maybe even a quirky picture of yourself, if that’s your game.
Again, you have a story to tell and it’s extremely important that you add imagery to that story. You don’t want them guessing about you and making stuff up, so just give it to them straight up. If you’re a fashion designer, add a couple trendy pictures of yourself. If you’re a serious entrepreneur, add some pictures of you at work in a suit tie — not in cargo shorts and a sweatshirt.
Now, some folks like to create a new page for their client list or even testimonials and that’s definitely alright if you have tons. If you do not, please add them to your about page. Again, you want to build credibility and trust with your potential customer or client. Word of mouth marketing is some of the best marketing you can find. If you have someone that will sign on to your talents, feature them and maybe even their story so customers can get a better idea of how you work.
Getting testimonials is not a tough thing to do. After a project, I tend to send out a survey that allows my clients to give me feedback. I have a place for them to share any positive feedback, and any of those I like can be used as testimonials for my work. If you don’t want to do all that, then just ask for one!
Examples of good ‘about’ pages
NEST is a thermostat maker and it has an overall simple but informative website. Their about page is spot-on in introducing themselves, showcase of their team members, board members and investors. You can check out their About Page here.
NURUN is a global design and technology consultancy company. Their website is one of the best example in telling a story about them. From the top scrolling to the bottom, one will get what they do, who they are, and many more information in a storytelling fashion.
Andrew Reifman is a graphic designer based in Washington D.C. In the his About Page, he listed out the information about him in a simple and yet orderly fashion, and also listed out his strength in a easy-to-understand bar chart.
gummisig is a website designer. His about page is quirky that utilises text and font to capture the attention. gummisig does it really well here by starting with a joke and progressively moving the text size down as it gets more serious. He ends with a bunch of testimonials.
ING Entertainment about page is the best example of “Under 140 characters or less”. The top section give the main point of what ING Entertainment is about, and if you want to know more, you can find it at the bottom. It is no-nonsense type About Page that is both easy to understand and captivating.
There you have some of the best examples of About Us page. Have you looked at your About Us page and see how you can improve it?
If you are not sure how you can improve your About page, please feel free to contact us and we will be more than happy to assist you.