Your About page.
It’s one of those requisite elements of your website that’s easy to overlook.
But really, is it even that big of a deal?
How many visitors will actually take the time to check out your About page?
Well, here’s an interesting statistic.
According to a study from KoMarketing, “52% of your visitors want to see an About page.”
Without one, you’re instantly creating some distance between your company and over half of your visitors.
That’s why an About page is more important than you may think.
And here’s something else I’ve noticed.
A lot of brands (even some of the bigger ones) lack in the About page department.
Some fail to include an About page altogether, and others halfheartedly slap one together without putting any real thought into it.
Such About pages often miss the mark, which throws a wrench in the overall sales funnel.
I want to be fair and say that not everyone needs an About page. But most companies, individuals, and websites do. It’s a standard thing to do.
And it can be really valuable. As long as you do it right!
For this post, I would like to discuss A) the importance of a well-crafted About page, B) what goes into a well-crafted About page, and C) how to tell a gripping story on your About page that will resonate with your visitors.
Redefining an About page
First of all, let’s start with a formal definition of an About page.
According to Your Dictionary, it’s
a type of web page commonly seen on websites, containing general information about the person or organization that is responsible for the website in question, usually a description of the site’s history and mission or purpose.
Most people probably would say this definition is spot on.
But in my opinion, it has one fatal flaw.
It talks about only the person/organization and doesn’t address the needs or concerns of visitors.
Of course, you’ll want to talk about your company, its history, philosophy, values, achievements, etc.
But there’s more.
A great About page will answer some major questions for your visitors.
What types of questions should I answer?
Copyblogger nails it in this article.
Here’s their take on things.
Some of your visitors’ unanswered questions are:
- What’s in this for me?
- Am I in the right place?
- Can this person help me with my problem?
Don’t send your readers screaming for the exit by talking only about yourself. Instead, make them want to pull up a chair, chat with you a while, and keep in touch long after the party.
How many times have you clicked on an About page only to hear a company ramble on about how awesome they are without ever answering any of the pressing questions of their visitors?
I see it happen all the time.
What you should aim for
The point I’m trying to make here is that the term About page can be a little misleading.
It shouldn’t be just about you. It should be about your audience as well.
And now, here’s my formula for telling a gripping story.
Know thy customer
I’m sure you’ve heard the Ancient Greek aphorism “know thyself.”
It speaks to the importance of an examined life.
But when it comes to an About page, you want to thoroughly know your customer.
And I’m not talking just about gender, income level, education, etc.
You need to know where your average person is at in the sales funnel.
And if they’re looking at your About page, it’s safe to say they’re in the earlier stages of the sales funnel.
The large majority will be prospects with some level of interest and minimal awareness of your brand.
Most are looking to become more familiar with you.
Not only do they want to know more about your product/service, many want to know if you share their values and beliefs.
Try to put yourself in the shoes of an average prospect and figure out what specific information they’re seeking.
This will guide your efforts.
Start with a killer headline
Your headline is everything.
If it pops, visitors will want to read on.
If it sucks, many will leave never to return.
What makes a great headline?
As I mentioned in another article on NeilPatel.com, you should make your headline simple, clear, and benefit-driven.
Here’s a good example from Yellow Leaf Hammocks:
You can instantly get a sense of what’s being offered and the benefits. In this case, high-quality, comfy hammocks.
Here’s another good example from Gini Dietrich:
Be authentic and transparent
You want to be professional with your About page. That’s a given.
But some brands are overdoing it to the point of sounding stiff and almost robotic.
Unless you’re in a super formal industry (e.g., you’re a lawyer or an insurance broker), I think it’s a good idea to “let your hair down” a little.
Paint a realistic picture of what your company is and what you do.
If you’re snarky, be snarky. If you’re quirky, be quirky.
No matter how teched out we get, business is still ultimately founded on people buying from other people.
And they naturally want to do business with someone they like and trust.
Authenticity and transparency are two major elements in gaining that trust.
I think that Pete Adeny (a.k.a. Mr. Money Mustache) does a great job of doing this on his About page:
His page instantly allows his readers to get a sense of who he is, his philosophy, and his sense of humor.
Provide a brief but compelling back story
You don’t need (or even want) to go into elaborate detail, but I recommend giving visitors an idea of where you came from and how your company came to be.
In other words, tell them your brand’s story.
For instance, on NeilPatel.com, I explain how I started my first website at the age of 16 and how I was disillusioned with the first marketing firm I hired.
That (and being broke) was the catalyst for me learning marketing.
I also mention some of my first clients and how my initial results helped me realize the power of marketing.
Just touch on some of the key points of your development that show prospects how you got to where you’re today.
Here’s how Dollar Shave Club does this with its own signature brand of humor:
Be clear about your values
This is a biggie.
You want to offer insight into your company culture and what distinguishes your brand from the rest of the pack.
Yellow Leaf Hammock pulls this off flawlessly as well:
As you can see, there’s a strong emphasis on being socially conscious, sustainable, and adventurous.
Wild Friends Foods effectively conveys its values as well:
The bottom line is to show visitors what you believe in.
Answer these 3 questions
As I mentioned earlier, most visitors will have three main questions:
- What’s in it for me?
- Am I in the right place?
- Can this person help me with my problem?
This is where a lot of About pages drop the ball.
You’ve talked about YOU.
Now, you need to explain how you can help THEM (your visitors).
Allow me to use my approach as an example.
On the About page of NeilPatel.com, I mention that I’ve helped huge companies such as Google and Viacom.
But I also point out that one of my biggest passions is helping small businesses succeed.
That right there answers the first two questions.
If a small business owner seeking help with their marketing visits my website, they can instantly see they’re in the right place and that I can help them increase their sales.
Later on, I point out that marketing doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult and that there’s a proven formula that gets results.
Since not having the financial means or marketing knowledge is a common problem for many small businesses, I quell their skepticism and let them know that I can, in fact, help them with their problems.
Regardless of your industry and your product/service, answering those three questions is your means of making the necessary connection that gets visitors interested and motivated to take action.
Exploring alternative formats
Here’s the beautiful thing about an About page.
You don’t have to limit yourself to any traditional format.
You’re completely free to use whatever format or combination of formats you want.
In fact, I skip the conventional text-based format altogether and use a brief video to explain myself on NeilPatel.com:
Moz uses an illustrated timeline to tell its history:
Don’t feel you have to stick with the same old tried-and-true formula companies have been using since the 90s.
If you’re looking for some inspiration, check out this post from Search Engine Journal.
It features 25 creative and engaging About pages that can get some ideas flowing.
An About page isn’t just about your brand. It also needs to be about your audience and how you can solve their pain points.
You must address their needs and concerns and position your brand as a trustworthy resource so they can feel comfortable doing business with you.
The key elements of your story should include:
- A killer headline
- A brief back story
- Your values
- Answers to visitors’ three big questions
It’s also important to customize your About page in a way that’s interesting and that represents your brand.
Often this means experimenting with different formats.
By hitting all the right notes, you can establish instant rapport, build trust, and motivate visitors to browse the rest of your site.
When it’s all said and done, this can positively impact multiple metrics, such as increasing the average time spent on site, lowering your bounce rate, and improving conversions.
What do you think is the most important element of an About page?