Ask any website owner to pinpoint one webpage that is hardest to write and you will hear the same answer, over and over again. The about page. There is something about writing an about page that makes most people break out in hives. We find this as challenging as writing a personal ad and we all know what can joy that can be.
What is it that makes writing an effective about page such a challenge?
One reason could be that we find it harder to sing our own praises, and about pages require us to sing our own praises – big time. Remember the saying; if we don’t think we are any good, why would anyone else? Your about page is essentially putting yourself in limelight. And how could it be an easy job?
Secondly, of all the pages on your website, this one probably has the longest shelf life. Think about it, your content keeps moving down and getting replaced by fresh content. Your sales page change. Your store front changes as you bring out new products and so on…
As far as you are concerned, putting anything down on an about page equals setting something in stone. Not to mention that this is the usually the second most frequently visited page on your website (second only to your homepage). Talk about putting yourself under pressure.
But as far as I see, most people like to overcomplicate things. And this is no different. There is no reason why writing your about page needs to be a hard process. You can make it as simple and painless as it can be, provided you know how to craft one. So in this blog post, I am going to give you peace of mind, once and for all.
I will call out all the mistakes business owners, and probably you, are making on their about pages. And, I will give you tips to counter in.
Mistake #1 You think the about page is all about you
Let me guess, you think your about page is about shining the light on yourself, right? It’s all about your products, your services, and your company. Well, guess again. Your about page is actually about your readers, clients, and customers. The people you are in the business of serving.
When somebody comes to your about page, they want to know how you can help them. Yes, they want to know about you but only in relation to how you can help them.
These people are busy (aren’t we all?) and they are taking a small risk spending time on your website. They want to be sure that their time, energy and effort will not be wasted. They want to know that they are in good hands. And they want to know what’s in it for them.
If you, on the other hand, go on and on about yourself, you are going to lose people. People do want to know about you, but as long as you stay relevant to them. First, they want to know why they should care.
When somebody lands on a website for the first time, they have no idea what you can do to help them. It is your job to introduce yourself properly and spell out the benefits. Once you have their attention, then you can start creating a connection with them and spill your story.
Mistake #2 You are hiding behind words on a page
You know what my biggest pet peeve is? Discovering a website that looks interesting, clicking on their about page, and then finding – nothing.
The person behind the website/blog has chosen to stay anonymous for some reason. They don’t even list their name. How can I possibly feel like there is a real person behind this blog? How can I link to them, or mention them in my tweet? Tell your readers your name, there is absolutely no reason not to.
There is no photo and it is very hard me to form a connection with someone without having an idea of what they look like, and I am not the only one. Put a smiling picture of yourself and of others in your team. Your potential customers and clients want to know you and by putting a face to your name, you are only increasing trust.
Secondly, you don’t list any contact details. You want people to get in touch with you right? You want them to contact you for a quote, make an enquiry or simply feel assurance that yes, you are a genuine business, then list your physical address and phone number. While the web forms can be great way to receive email, they are not 100% reliable. List your email address. If you make it hard for people to contact you, they won’t.
Mistake #3 You think putting up a video is enough
Some people like to slap a video on their about page and think that’s enough. It’s not, it’s lazy and disrespectful of your audience’s time.
When somebody wants to check you out, you want to make it as easy as it can be. You don’t want to ask for too much of their time. While a video is great, not everybody is interested in watching video. It requires a bigger commitment then reading words off of a page.
Keep in mind video doesn’t make sense in all environments as well. Lots of people check out websites on the bus, train, or at night. Sometimes they also do this at lunch breaks at work and it is not ideal to watch a video in those circumstances. They might not even have 7 minutes to listen to you.
Video can be great for creating instant rapport, but they are not a substitute for copy. If you want to upload an introductory video, keep it short so people can consume it quickly.
Wanna know something that is far more interesting? Pictures. Include some pictures on your about page. Don’t make it all text, break it up and give your readers something interesting.
Mistake#4 Your writing is boring
This one is big so let’s break it down.
It is too long. Your about page is not a place to write your complete life story. This is not a full length memoir and should not contain pages and pages of in-depth information. If you take too long to get to the point, people will lose interest.
You have to prune your writing and edit any unnecessary information. When in doubt, ask yourself this question, ‘Is this relevant to my client’s needs?”. Include it if it makes sense to do so. Still unsure, ask a trusted colleague or reader for feedback.
It is written in third person. The best practice is to write your about page using the first person’s voice, unless you are a company with multiple partners. Especially if you are writing it yourself. When you write in third person, you seem out of touch and your speech sounds stilted. Your readers don’t expect people to talk about themselves in third person, so why should your about page be any different?
You don’t use your voice. You either write in a dry, dull corporate tone or you become too cute or clever (which is fine if that’s who you are). If not, think about who you are a person and how you communicate with your friends, and then do the same. You don’t want someone to pick up the phone, talk to you and get a big shock because you don’t sound anything like how you appear on your about page. There shouldn’t be any disconnect.
Mistake #5 You don’t tell your story
Stories are awesome. They pull us right in and make us root for anyone who stands for a bigger vision and has jumped through hoops to get where they are now. What made you start this website? Why are you in business? What do you stand for? Tell us your story, we want to know, we want to believe in you. Get personal, don’t hold back. Craft a compelling marketing story for your business.
But don’t take things to the extreme. If you are going to share personal titbits, make sure they are on brand. Any struggle you had to go through, make sure it leads to a lesson or something that your audience can identify with. Don’t turn this page into a confessional. Don’t talk about the mischief you got up to when you were a teenager if it doesn’t send the right message.
Don’t make it too long either. Long stories are boring, especially when they are told by amateur writers. Even if you are a fabulous writer, this is not a novel. Nobody wants to read a 2000 word story starting from your birth – trust me.
And if you are that rare person who has an epic story to tell, write it as a blog post and link to it. Don’t turn your about page into a scroller with never ending paragraphs.
Mistake #6 You don’t showcase your experience
People want to know whether or not you are qualified to do what you claim to. List your credentials and experience. Mention the results you have gotten for your clients. Tell us about your media or speaking experience.
You don’t necessarily need to save your media or speaking experience for your press page. You can and should mention on your about page and link to the press page. When you include this info, this signals to customers and media that you have authority and not just making it all up.
Avoid superlative claims, it makes you look pompous and insincere. Back up your claims by proof.
A potential customer wants to know why they should hire you over your competitor. This is what you need to get across on your about page. Don’t leave people wondering what makes you are the dream solution to their problem.
Mistake #7 You don’t include any credibility building elements
When people are checking your about page, they are essentially looking for reasons to start trusting you. And you have to use this opportunity and give them as many reasons as you can.
Build your credibility. Do you have an impressive clients list? (Don’t lie. Don’t list Nike as your client if you have never worked with them. Don’t create hype). Do you have case studies you can link to, testimonials you can sprinkle on your page? Use them.
List the places you have been featured in, interviewed on or been published in as a guest writer. Proudly showcase your ‘as seen as logos’. Again, don’t be deceitful. People will Google you to see your work and they can figure out pretty quickly if you are lying.
Lastly, don’t forget social proof. Social proof is a super powerful motivator. You can feature comments from your readers to show that many people are reading your awesome content. You can quote your buyers saying what a helpful person you are. Got thousands of people reading your newsletter? Well go ahead and say that.
Mistake #8 There is no call to action
When people reach the end of the about page, what do you expect them to do next? Close it and move on? Turn to your navigation bar to try and find something interesting?
Your about page should result in leading your reader to a different page on your website. It should result in their taking an action of some kind.
Think about what you want them to do next: Sign up to your newsletter? Buy an entry level product? Ask for a quote? Dive into content? Follow you on social media?
You can ask people to do all those things. When you talk about your life story, link to that post. When you mention the fact that thousands of people already receive fresh content from you every week, ask them to get on your list. You say you love Facebook? Ask your people to like your business page and connect over there.
When you don’t ask people to dive into your site and add no links, that’s what they are going to do. Invite them to explore your site. Don’t just tell them who you are, what you do to help them and leave it at that. Tell them what to do next and be explicit.
Mistake #9 You don’t have a formal bio
You do need a formal bio if you want to get noticed by media/influencers. If you are product based company, if you rely on other bloggers to talk about you or press mentions are a big deal for you, you need a formal bio ready to go.
Your bio should be no longer than a few paragraphs and highlight who you are, what you do and why you are qualified to do it. Then add it to the bottom of your about page so it can be easily accessed by media/influencers and anyone else who is interested in quoting you or linking to you.
So, those are my top 9 mistakes you are making on your about page and what to do instead.
Did you find it useful? What would you change on your about page?
Leave a comment as we’d love to know.