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Do You Make These Three Unforgivable Mistakes on Your ABOUT page?

about-pageWhat’s your about page like?

Does it boost your business?

Or does it chase potential customers away?

An about page is usually the second-most viewed page on a website. Only your home page gets more traffic.

Your about page provides a not-to-be-missed opportunity to connect with potential customers, to start a conversation, and to begin your selling process.

Let’s have a look at the three mistakes that can make you lose potential customers. Avoid these three mistakes and you have a good chance of generating more inquiries and winning more business.

Sounds good?

Let me tell you how…

Mistake 1: You’re Boring as Heck

How do you sound on your about page? Like a dull corporation? Or a friendly and approachable business owner?

When we write about ourselves in the third person, it’s easy to sound stilted. Corporate speak can turn potential customers away because, let’s face it – no one really likes corporations.

Avoid sounding impersonal and unnatural by trying these techniques:

  1. Imagine you’re having a conversation with your reader;
  2. Address your reader directly and ask him questions in your text; use the word you;
  3. Cut down on adjectives and adverbs because they make you sound pompous;
  4. Avoid superlative claims because they make you sound insincere; if you’re really the best, provide independent proof like a testimonial or test result.

Read your copy aloud. Does it sound like someone you’d like to do business with?

For more tips on telling a personal story and making a connection check out this post by Erica Lane on sticky About pages.

Remember: Your about page is the soul of your website.

Be human. Be yourself. People want to do business with you because of who you are.

Mistake 2: You’re Blabbing on About Yourself

Your about page is about your company, your products or services, and you. Right?

Wrong!

The harsh truth is that people are, for the most part, more interested in themselves. They want to know what’s in it for them.

Of course, you can share stories about your company, its history, and yourself. It will make you more approachable. But always consider: What’s the benefit for the customer?

A potential customer wants to know why they should work with you. Why choose you rather than someone else? That’s what you need to get across on your about page. Talking about yourself for the sake of talking about yourself doesn’t get you anywhere.

4 steps to creating an about page that connects and sells:

  1. Know who your ideal customer is. If your target audience is vague, your messages become wishy-washy, watery, and ineffective.When writing your about page, think about your ideal customer. Which questions will they be asking? What kind of humor do they appreciate? Which objections might they have to working with you or someone like you?
  2. Use the words your ideal customer uses. Because it helps you to engage. Avoid marketese and gobbledygook. If you’re not sure what this language is – research! Find other blogs and online spaces where your customer hangs out, and see how they describe things.
  3. Make it clear to your ideal customer that they’re in the right place. Tell them what you offer them and how they will benefit from it. How do you make your customers feel happier, healthier, or more productive? Which problems do you take away?
  4. Choose stories that build your credibility and help connect with your ideal customers. While they may be mostly interested in themselves – people also prefer to do business with those they like and trust – and sharing about yourself (when it’s for a good reason!) helps build that trust. Demonstrate through narrative why you are trustworthy, capable and skilled.

Remember: A good about page explains what you can do for your customers, and why they should choose you rather than someone else.

Mistake 3: You Don’t Have a Call-to-Action

On many about pages you can read about a company and that’s it. You have to go back to the navigation bar to decide what to do next.
Choice can lead to indecision and may chase your web visitors away.

If someone has just read your about page, it’s likely that he’s a potential customer. So make sure you encourage him to get in touch.
You could have a contact form, but an even better option is to get someone to sign up to your email newsletter. That’ll allow you to build a relationship and start your selling process.

Check out the Mirasee about page and see how you’re being encouraged to sign up to receive a free video training program.

Remember: your about page is a sales page. You need a clear call-to-action.

Two Awesome About Pages to Learn From

Example #1: MailChimp

MailChimp’s about page portrays the company as fun and approachable. The language is conversational and addresses you as the reader directly. This is how the page starts:

“More than 3 million people in 200 countries use MailChimp to create, send, and track email newsletters. Whether you’re self-employed, you manage projects for clients, or you work for a Fortune 500 company, MailChimp has features and integrations that will suit your email-marketing needs.”

You see how that immediately sets the scene? MailChimp provides social proof by referring to 3 million customers; and then it suggests that you’ll find that MailChimp can meet your requirements, too.

MailChimp’s about page includes photos of people working at the company, including its founders. Everyone is smiling but not in a cheesy way.

They also use quotes to underline the company’s personality:

about_mailchimp

I also love the big font MailChimp uses. The paragraphs are short. The text is engaging and easy to read. There are lots of pictures plus examples of customer e-newsletters.

Example #2: Social Triggers

The about page of Social Triggers features several pictures of its founder: Derek Halpern. But the text is not self-indulgent. The about page is clearly written with Derek’s audience in mind. This is how he tells you you’ve arrived in the right page:

about_socialtriggers

Derek Halpern goes on to explain how Social Triggers can help you get ahead in life and work. When he tells you about his blog posts, podcasts, and videos, he stresses what you, as his reader, will learn:

“Social Triggers, the blog, is where you’ll get proven scripts that you can use in your business and life. Some scripts are about negotiation. Others are about persuasion. Use any of them to get more of what you want.”

There’s hardly any information about Derek Halpern himself on this page. He only highlights his past experiences to build credibility at the bottom of the page. Moreover, logos of various publications he’s been feature in provide social proof.

Best of all? He encourages you to sign up to learn from him. Not once. Not twice. But three times! That’s how you get people to take action.

How to Create an About Page That Boosts Your Business

Don’t try to make yourself bigger than you are. If you’re a solo-entrepreneur, be honest and don’t refer to yourself as we – unless you’re a king or queen.

People want to do business with you because of who you are.

Let your personality shine through so customers can get to know, like and trust you.

Your passion is contagious. So: Be yourself and have some fun!

When you visit an about page – what turns you off? What do you like? What, if anything, do you look for?

If you have any more examples of great About pages – let us know in the comments!

About Henneke Duistermaat

Henneke Duistermaat is a marketer and copywriter. She's on a mission to stamp out gobbledygook and to make boring companies charming. Sign up for free copywriting and content marketing tips at Enchanting Marketing.

46 comments

  1. Shailesh says:

    Good points about the About Page. It is often put up as an after thought. As you and ProBlogger mention the About Page is one of the most frequently visited pages. I know that when I visit a new blog, I always check out the About Page.

  2. Eric B says:

    Great tips. I will be re-vamping out ‘About’ page NOW!! I like the Mail Chimp example, but for the 2nd example, I stopped reading at “Hey, What’s Up?” because whoever that dude is, he does not care what is up with me. Terrible mistake in my opinion. Fake, fake, fake.

    Thanks for this article!

    1. Henneke ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      Yes, I’m with you, Eric. The “what’s up” probably does speak to a lot of people, but it’s a turn off for others.

      Derek has a strong and loyal following, but he’s not everyone’s cup of tea. But that’s what marketing is about – finding your core audience and connecting with them strongly, even if that turns away other people.

  3. Henneke, in your post, you directed us to Firepole Marketing’s ABOUT page. After I looked at that page, I went to Firepole Marketing’s HOME page and noticed that their home page is their blog. What is the rationale for that? I would have thought that the information on Firepole’s About page would have appeared on their home page. Thanks for any insigut you can provide.

    1. Henneke ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      I’m not sure about the blog on the home page – it’s maybe because the home page targets repeat visitors rather than new visitors. I’m just speculating here. I’ll ask Danny and his team to comment.

      I see an About page as a kind of Home page in the sense that both should have a strong call to action and both explain what you offer to potential customers. The About page does this in a more personal way.

        1. Henneke and Danny, thank you for clarifying. Henneke, since you say that you “see an About page as a kind of Home page,” and since, at the end of your article, you asked for great examples, might I suggest that you take a look at http://www.wordhelper.com/?

          I also like your response to Eric B. If you use the spray-and-pray approach with your marketing copy and try to reach everyone, you’ll reach no one.

          1. Henneke ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

            Hi Michelle

            I love how you talk about yourself – your work experience, your voracious appetite for reading, who you are. It makes you very approachable. Great job.

            The form at the bottom of your page would be a turn off for me (but I’m not your target audience!). It feels like I have to fill in too many details for an initial contact plus I’m not keen on captchas.

            I’d only say that your first couple of sentences could be more focuses on the reader. Maybe include a question. And shorten the very first sentence, so you’re easing the reader into your story. I’m being super-critical here. Overall I really like your About page. Your picture is good, too! If I’d needed an editor or writer, then I’d feel comfortable and encouraged to get in touch with you. Great job.

          2. Thanks for your feedback, Henneke. The page I was referring to was http://www.wordhelper.com/, not http://www.wordhelper.com/about-us, because the former is the page on which the content focuses on the reader. In other words, the Wordhelper home page is really the About Us page. While you said, “I see an About page as a kind of Home page,” I guess I’m flipping that on its head and see a Home page as an About page.

            I do agree with you that the first sentence on the About page should be shortened. I will work on that.

            As for the Captcha function, I had to add that because I was getting a lot of spam. I guess I could do as Danny does and just use that clickable box below his “Submit” icon.

            Thanks again for the great article and the feedback.

  4. Iain says:

    Holy cow Henneke I’m seeing you everywhere this week. Copyblogger, Firepole Marketing and Unbounce. I think that’s the idea 😀 I picked up your book the other day. I haven’t gotten a chance to read it yet, but I will.

    When you visit an about page – what turns you off? What do you like? What, if anything, do you look for?

    One thing that turns me off is when I see a grammar mistake. I know no one is perfect, but it is something to keep an eye out for.

    I really like seeing personality in an about page. Also, I want to know how you can help me. People are selfish. They want to know what’s in it for them.

    I don’t have anything particular thing that I look for in an about page.

  5. Mike Martel says:

    Henneke,
    Good points about the About Page. It is often put up as an after thought. As you and ProBlogger mention the About Page is one of the most frequently visited pages. I know that when I visit a new blog, I always check out the About Page.

    I do think you have to have a plan and an objective before you construct your About Page. I personally like pages that tell about the person and who they are. I know you have to speak the customer’s language, but don’t lose your own voice along the way.

    1. Henneke ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      Yep, I completely agree. Don’t lose your own voice – especially if you’re a solo-entrepreneur or small business. It’s your voice that makes you stand out and that helps to connect with the right customers.

      Thank you for adding your thoughts, Mike.

      PS I also think it’s often an after-thought because it’s the most difficult page to write.

  6. Amandah says:

    When I visit an About page what turns me off is if it reads (and looks and feels) like a long sales form. 🙂

    I like About pages that are informative, yet interesting. I appreciate humor too.

    I think writing an About page for an author may be different than writing one if you’re an entrepreneur selling (fill in the blank). I think readers want to know about you, the author. I enjoy reading an author page where I learn about (no pun intended) an author’s journey to becoming an author/writer. Why does he/she write what she writes? Yes, it must appeal to readers, but I think readers want to know more about an author.

    About pages I like

    Fresh Books http://www.freshbooks.com/about.php
    National Geographic http://www.nationalgeographic.com/about

        1. Henneke ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

          Great job, Katherine.

          Two ideas:

          As someone who’s new, it took me a while to understand what you’re doing. You might want to mention how you help people a bit higher up the page.

          You already have your sign-up form in your sidebar – that’s great. But if people read your whole about page, they can’t see that anymore. Maybe add another form at the bottom of your page (before the comment section)? Or make your signup form into a cloudbox (so it moves with you down the page when people are scrolling – just like the free book pictures to the right here).

          1. Katharine ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

            Thanks so much!
            I’ll do what I can. I’ve thought about a stationary sidebar, but don’t really like them because I’m just one who likes stuff to stay put. However, if I’m wrong, I’m wrong, and am willing to do a test to see which I truly prefer.
            And, hey, I just discovered that if I go down a steep hill to our Guest House, I can get 2 bars of 4G.
            One never knows!
            I will definitely work on the second sign-up, which I do have, but which OBVIOUSLY is not noticeable enough, eh?

            Thanks again

  7. Steve eMailSmith says:

    Visuals certainly help a LOT!

    A great photo, or even a funny photo could help connect with the new visitors, much better than any ‘corporate talk’ or some such…

    Cheers,
    Steve ✉ Master eMailSmith ✉ Lorenzo
    Chief Editor, eMail Tips Daily Newsletter

    1. Henneke ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      Agreed, Steve. Visuals make a huge difference. I’ve just made an appointment with a photographer to get my about page finally sorted 🙂

  8. Oh yeah.. good points. I started thinking about “About” pages when Derek talked about them.. Plus adding the optin form. I think he said that’s one of his most highly converting spots for his optin.

    OK.. I’ll bite!

    You asked for examples of excellent “About” pages. Here’s mine: http://blogboldly.com/about/

    What do ya’ll think?

    It is short and sweet. Is it too short?

    ~ darlene 🙂

    1. Henneke ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      Great job!

      Also, you got some great testimonials on your contact page. Why not add them on your about page? Or maybe even merge the two pages and add your contact information, too?

      1. Hi Henneke!

        Good idea.. I think to add testimonials to my “About” page I need some new ones, tho..

        I’ve thought about having me sidebar do like Danny’s where it stays stationary as the content scrolls down.

        Appreciate the feedback. darlene 🙂

    2. Pamela C. says:

      I think it’s perfect, Darlene. Clean, inviting. It’s just the right length– told me only what I needed to know to interest me, in an openly friendly way. I didn’t hesitate to opt in! Thanks, I’m looking forward to learning via the lessons you offer!

      Pamela C.

  9. Coco says:

    You’re right- the about page is second only to what landed someone on my site in the first place. It gets clicked on a lot.

    My aim on that page is to “put a face to a name” and give the reader a glimpse of an actual person, since that’s what I’m looking for when I visit the same sort of blog as mine. I want to know the who behind the stories and opinions. I had a friend from a writing group tell me that when she first read my about page, she was so relieved to read the “not so good” things I’d listed (along with “the good” and “the irrelevant.”) She said she could relate to me.

    If it’s a business or how-to site, I want to see faces along with finding out about their credibility. I think it used to be fine for businesses to be formal and faceless, but it sure isn’t anymore. I have one client whom I’ve yet to convince that she needs her face on her brochure and her site! She says she doesn’t “take a good picture” and we’re stuck there, in spite of my efforts to change her mind for the sake of her customers being able to relate to her.

    Cold graphics, being wayyyyy too long, and having no personality turn me off on an about page.

    1. Katharine Trauger ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      Has she tried a “glamor shot”?
      I once knew a lady who was, truly, not very pretty, and whose attempt at smiling for a camera was, umm, embarrassing even to me.
      Yet on her piano sat a photo of a beautiful woman. I asked who it was and it was she, an incredible, beautiful rendition of her personality in a frame, proving the beauty of her soul and the beauty that resides in each human.
      It’s worth a “shot”.

      1. Coco says:

        I did suggest to her that it’s all a matter of getting a good, flattering shot, but I didn’t call it a “glamour shot,” so that’s a great idea. And you’ve also given me the idea that maybe a picture of her at work, doing what she loves- close up so that it’s clear who it is, yet she’s not looking directly into the camera, which is what she really doesn’t want to do. I bet we could get a great shot that way!

        Thanks for the great post!

        1. Henneke ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

          I like the idea of a “glamour” shot.

          I also think it helps to use a good, professional photographer – who takes the time to put someone at ease. When people are at ease and feel positive and happy, they immediately look more beautiful!

  10. Aleks George says:

    A very important and often neglected area. Every page should pull the focus back onto the ultimate purpose of your website. And of course, what’s in it for your audience. Great tips!

  11. Yoshiko says:

    Henneke, thank you for a great and timely reminder to focus on my customers and their needs as I’m building my website.

    Seemingly inflated claims and self-glorifying profiles (even if they’re real) are turn-off. Friendliness almost always works for me.

    I’d love to see great examples of “about” pages from other readers.

    1. Henneke ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      Thank you, Yoshiko.

      I find it really useful to write a one-page description of a website’s ideal reader (or buyer persona or avatar) before creating a site.

      In the description I include simple demographics, details of favorite books, websites or movies, plus what the ideal reader dreams of achieving and what keeps him up at night. I give my ideal reader a name. While writing (or reviewing other people’s copy) I ask myself “Would John say it like this?” or “What would Mary ask?” or “Does this really matter to Danny?”. It’s really useful!

      Good luck with building your website!

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