The short version:
The About page is a critical part of your website. Lots of people have written great advice about how to write about us pages, so I'm rounding up the ones you need to read now. I also offer 5 tips that will get your existing About page looking better in a matter of minutes.
I’ve been thinking about a post about, well, about pages, for a while now. It’s a popular stop-off on any website, a crucial element in your branding, and luckily for you, super-simple to quickly and easily improve.
But when I got down to writing, I realized that the reason I’ve been thinking about it for a while is because everyone else has been writing about it for a while and, unfortunately for my article, some of those writers really know what they’re on about.
Instead, I’ve rounded up some of the best of these articles and briefly explained what it is that makes them worth a read. Then I’m going to give you 5 hacks to have your About Us page looking spiffing within 20 minutes flat.
Read these first:
Hubspot's always willing to provide food for thought, creative inspiration and probably just a little guilt-tripping. If these examples don’t get you inspired, there’s no helping you.
ImpactBND offers 28 Masterful About Us Page Designs Putting Yours to Shame - yet more ideas and inspiration.
Write your about page:
Copyblogger offers advice that’s particularly suited to about me pages, rather than about us. If you’re dealing with a personal or solo website, you might feel that it's more appropriate to take a homely approach (Hi, I’m Niamh!), but that doesn’t mean it has to read like a 6th-grade penpal introduction letter, either.
Inc.com’s offering is old but right on the money. Read it in the middle, after getting inspired, before checking your version ticks all the boxes. Depending on how you get on, the last point - Consider Hiring a Professional - might be (disappointingly) on the money.
Unbounce goes straight for the jugular, dissecting about pages to show how you can use them to acquire customers. They even have a handy takeaway that you can use to check if your own offering will bring home the money.
Inc.com appear a second time, with a post that’s especially helpful if you’re tasked with renovating an existing page, rather than creating from scratch.
Now tick the boxes:
Ever-reliable Moz offers 9 tips that are great to read after you’ve hashed up one or more prototypes. Run through their 9 points and see if your test page makes the grade.
Quick and dirty - 5 about page hacks
I promised 5 hacks to make your about page better in 20 minutes*.
*Disclaimer - I looked at this again after eating dinner - I was clearly feeling a little reckless, probably due to low blood sugar. Maybe an hour is more appropriate. An hour is still relatively quick and dirty though.
1. Add contact details and your links to social media profiles. You might also have a contact page, but what if I decide I need you now? If I’m visiting on mobile this is especially relevant - I might not have the patience to look around your website to find it. Add a link to email, a link to call (directly) and/or directions and clear, up-to-date opening hours.
Also, add those little social buttons - they’re discreet and will only take 2 minutes to enable.
2. Trim the fat. Almost as heinous as no about page is the "life story" about page. You know the deal - paragraph after paragraph detailing your work - or worse, personal - history since 1992. In some very limited contexts, a little personal detail will be relevant, but the key here is A LITTLE.
Get rid of anything that doesn’t help the reader understand what you are trying to get them to do now, on your website. Also, trim for general reading on the web purposes - cut hyperbole, remove excess words, add bold and blocking for ease of reading, etc.
3. Assess the media on the page. Is there a photo? Does it add anything, or did you decide it just looked nice and took up some white space? It’s ok, we’ve all been there, but if it's the latter, kill it. Photos and videos should give information or help communicate your brand’s “personality”, ideally while also looking nice.
If they’re not up to scratch, remove them and replace with something better. If you haven’t got anything better, call a photographer. Will something nice and bright like a graphic or infographic help illustrate your story? Call a graphic designer.
4. Test the purpose - send the about page to 5 friends (or 2, or 100. Whatever you think you can get away with), and call them shortly after (er, make this clear from the outset, or you might get taken off a few Christmas card lists.). Ask them to answer the 5 Ws - Who are you? What do you do? Why do you do it? Where do you do it? When do you do it - from the information contained in the page.
Not all of the Ws will be equally relevant - if one’s not applicable to you, you might need a H. How can I (owner of page) help you (reader of page)? If they can’t answer (and they’re not morons - don’t send it to morons), then the page isn’t doing its job.
5. Take critical inventory. From the articles above, make a list of things you should check/bear in mind. Sure, you might not be able to get all of them done in an hour, but you've definitely got time to make a list of future improvements. Is that cheating?
Eh yeah, maybe. Good luck!
Post originally published on Niamhly.com on August 20th, 2015 and moved to Clockwork Blog and edited substantially on January 22nd, 2018.