The Dirty Little Secret Behind “About” Pages

Writing About Pages

 

Whenever I discover a new site, I immediately head to the “about” page, because I’m keen on connecting with the brand owner.  And the statistics show that I’m not alone in that desire. Web gurus say that approximately 80% of all site visitors click through to the “about” page of a site.

 

An apt analogy, if you please: When I arrive on a new website, I feel as though I’ve strolled into someone’s home. And it feels infinitely awkward to roll into your living room, take off my shoes, pour myself a glass of wine, make myself comfy on the couch and put my feet up on your coffee table without knowing whose house I’ve just set up camp inside.

 

Your “about” page is your own cozy corner of this bit of craziness we call the internet.  It’s where you offer your readers a peek into the heart and soul of your brand. It’s where you share the passion. It’s where you establish connection. It’s where you build loyalty. It’s where you infuse soul. It’s how you differentiate yourself from everybody else making stationery or handbags or soap.

 

When was the last time you took a critical look at your “about” page? I propose some TLC and a little rehab, if need be. Because if your page is missing or anemic, then you’ll to have to work harder than necessary to establish that connection, capture sales and generate leads.

 

So, here’s the dirty little secret of these pages: Your “about” page really isn’t about you at all. Yes, it’s designed to communicate your passion and authenticity to potential buyers and compel them to purchase your products, but your “about” page isn’t actually about you. It’s about them. Your customers and readers.

 

What needs do they have and how can you satisfy those unique needs?  Your “about” page should be laser focused and speak directly to those people to express that you have exactly what they need. Making your page customer-centric will yield massive results!

 

“People want to see you, and they want to see reflections of themselves in your brand. They want to know who you are, what you stand for, and what made you. People want to be touched by you.”

– Bernadette Jiwa

 

 

 

THE BUILDING BLOCKS OF A SUCCESSFUL “ABOUT” PAGE

 

There are five essential building blocks to include:

 

1. IMAGES: Of you, of your product, and especially your creation process.

 

2. YOUR BRAND STORY: The what, who, how and why behind your brand. Don’t underestimate the power of that why… it’s a potent piece!

 

3. SOCIAL PROOF:  A set of indicators which support a particular person or offering. That social proof can be communicated via several incarnations: press mentions, customer testimonials, products reviews and more.

 

4. A CALL-TO-ACTION:  Tell your readers what you want them to do next. View your bestsellers? Read your five most popular blog posts? Lead them deeper into your brand.

 

5. EMAIL SIGNUP: Ideally, you’re collecting the names + email addresses of your site visitors. An email signup form on your “about” page is one the highest-converting locations. Omitting that form here represents a missed opportunity!

 

THE PROCESS OF WRITING AN “ABOUT” PAGE

 

Before you begin writing, start by asking yourself how you want your readers to feel. That’s the core of the page and it sets the tone for the whole she-bang. Next, ask yourself what makes you different. Finally, research other “about” pages and take notes on what works and what doesn’t (see below for heaps of inspiration).

 

About Pages Construction

Once you’re ready to write, start with a bold opening statement or a captivating quote. Make it big… literally. Enlarge the type or use a different font to make it as prominent as possible.

 

Next, tell the reader who you are and what you do. Then explain how you got there and why you’re creating these products. To keep things interesting, I recommend sprinkling in head shots, pictures of your team, your family, and snapshots of your creation process.

 

It’s so very easy to get stuck on the square that’s featured in the middle of the graphic above: tell the readers who you are and what you do.  I’ve seen some fantastically brilliant souls get hung up on this particular facet.  In fact, they make it the bookends of their page. It’s both the alpha and the omega. They tell the reader who they are and what they do aaaaand… that’s it. Nothing more.

 

That’s a hell of a lot like making a bowl of romaine lettuce and calling it a salad. That’s not a salad, that’s a bowl of romaine. Salads need spinach and pecans and blue cheese and dried cranberries and slivers of red onion, drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette. That’s a salad. I want your “about” page to be a salad with a capital “S” rather than a bowl of romaine!

 

“ABOUT” PAGE INSPIRATION

 

Need some inspiration to start the wheels turning? Here’s a short list of a few of my favorites.  When reviewing them, pay close attention not only to what’s said, but the tone of the page. Does the brand personality shine through? What’s the layout like? How do you feel when reading the page? Does the page effectively create a sense of intimacy between you and the brand? What imagery is included? What social proof is present?

 

Betsy & Iya

Byrd & Belle

Constellation & Co.

Sycamore Street Press

Hedley & Bennett

Emily Ley

Danielle Laporte

Meanderworks Jewelry

S.W. Basics

Studio Patro

Three Little Figs

Lucky Break Consulting (bias freely admitted, but you’ll definitely see my formula in action here!)

 

DOWNLOAD MY FREE WORKSHEET

 

I created a simple checklist designed to ensure your “about” page is complete, effective and elegant. Download a copy of my worksheet and discover how to write an effective “about” page that does the heavy lifting for you!

 

About Pages Worksheet

 

 

Do you have a favorite “about” page that rocks your socks off? Post a comment below…I’d love to see it!

 

If this worksheet proves helpful, I’d love to know about that, too. Post a link to your updated “about” page and let’s raise a toast together to celebrate!

 

9 comments

  1. Love your tips, and they’re very timely….I haven’t gotten around to even DOING my About page, which I know is a huge omission. I have a particular question though — I continue to wrestle with whether or not I write (not just in “‘About,” but all my marketing) in 1st person singular, or plural. Singular is more accurate since my business = me and not really anyone else, but I have this fear that if clients find out it’s just little ol’ me before I’ve had a chance to wow them, that they won’t give me that chance. (My business is an upscale gift sourcing / custom gift box service.)

  2. Lela your article has my brain humming and the links you shared above are sparking new things for rewriting my about page- so excited at the ideas running around. Also sparked some ideas for blog posts. THANK YOU!

  3. I’ve re-read this post about 6,000 times, redesigned and rewrote my ‘About Us’ section. I have never been so proud of it. I cannot thank you enough for sharing your tidbits of knowledge!

  4. Hi Lela – I saw you at CSW last weekend, but was in the soap lab. I can’t wait to see the virtual presentations of everything we missed. I’m working on a real webpage as we speak, so this is wonderful advice with perfect timing. Thank you for doing what you do! I’m digging in right now!

  5. Thank you Lela! I’ve been struggling with getting my new website together and launching my freelance business. This is great, actionable advice and I will put it to good use! I’m also interested in your business model, which brought me here in the first place.
    It’s a ll very refreshing. Thanks again!

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