Company websites are supposed to be informative; factual; straightforward. Right?
Well, the structure of the average website is fairly standard: Home page, About page, Products or Services page(s), and a Contact Us page.
But many people find it extremely difficult to talk themselves up in their About page – it’s like answering the ‘What are your strengths?’ question in a job interview.
The result is that we either come across as too ostentatious and boastful, or too self-deprecating and modest. And so, most people either fill their About page with a long (and slightly boring, if we’re being honest) history of the company or a biography of the person behind it. Others don’t know where to begin with telling their own story and, therefore, put it off until they resort to the first, boring option anyway.
And it’s easy to disregard your About page altogether, saying that people who visit your website will be more interested in your products or services or getting your contact details. But that is where we make a grave mistake.
The current consumer wants to know the brand that they are interacting with, and they want to know that the brand’s values align with their own. The current consumer wants the experience of getting to know your business, and to not just be bombarded with information which is not important to them.
The people you can expect to find looking at your About page are your potential customers, your new clients – not your regulars. And they are there to learn about you before they can even think about making a purchase.
This is why your About page is one of the most important pages on your website, even though it might not be the most visited.
And in terms of SEO, if you meet a potential client and tell them the name of your business, when they look up your business name online, your About page will most likely be the second item on the Google search results page, after your Home page (because they share the same keywords).
So here’s the low-down on what you should (and probably shouldn’t) do in order to create the perfect About page for your website.
First and foremost, your About page is there for you to tell your story.
Do: Tell it in an interesting and engaging manner.
Don’t: Make it sound like a history textbook.
You can be as personal or private as you need to be, telling your audience your complete backstory and motivation including names and details of founders, or telling a story about your industry from a more zoomed out perspective.
Either way, your story needs to have a point and be well-written – keep nothing that doesn’t serve your readers. Read more about how to curate your copy like a pro in our blog Haystack How-To: Get your content right in 2021.
Your voice and tone
Some companies want to be taken seriously and often resort to talking in the passive voice in order to do so.
Haystack Hats was formed in 1995 by H. Stack to alleviate a demand in the hat market.
Compare that with this active voice:
Founded in 1995, Haystack Hats uplifts the hat industry as much today as it did when it started.
Both are serious and professional, but one gets you to the end of the sentence actually wanting to know more.
Furthermore, the serious tone might be great for a serious company, but a colloquial tone might be more relatable to your target audience. You can be professional without being boring; serious while still accessible.
A jokey and light-hearted tone, on the other hand, can align well with a fun brand. But imagine a fun brand that sells novelty party outfits and accessories, but has no sense of humour. You don’t have to imagine it, because we see this kind of incongruence between brand and tone all the time. And it is as jarring to us as it is to your potential clientele.
At the same time, consistency is key. You cannot have a super fun About page, but then have a sombre and serious Home page. Always remember the overarching brand that you are building when writing your web copy, social media posts and blogs – there must be a golden thread running through them all.
Believe it or not, your About page isn’t only about you.
It is also about how you can help the reader by solving their problem; about how you have done that for others in the past; and about why you do things the way you do.
It’s all well and good to read about why your company started, but the reader wants to know why they should choose your company over another – what makes you different?
So if you can tell your readers that while still telling them who you are, you’ve got yourself a successful message.
Your look and feel
Unfortunately, you can have the most perfect messaging, tone, voice and story, but if it is not presented in an easy-to-read and engaging format, readers might not get past the first sentence.
You want to use graphics, the right colours and contrasts, images, and well-demarcated sections with headings to guide your reader’s eyes.
For example, if you’re a long-established company, you can use a graphic timeline to illustrate the start of your company and all its milestones since. You could put quotes from the CEO in boxes or panels, or you could show and explain your logo evolution over the years.
As a start-up, you can use graphics to show your vision, values and purpose and add pictorial metaphors along with it.
Your options are endless!
At Haystack, we’ve perfected the humble brag on behalf of our clients. Have a look at our About page for some inspiration.