The number one page visited on all websites (and social media) is the “About” page. Assuming your website passes the smell test (it’s well done, the user experience is good and navigation is simple) then the obvious question is, “Who is this person or company?” Done well, your “About” page will ease concerns, build credibility and give confidence. The biggest mistake most companies’ make is to NOT utilize the page well. Remember, your “About Us” page is NOT about you!
Now I know this sounds ludicrous (or as Mike Tyson would say… “ludicrisp”), after all, it IS titled “About Us.” However, while you are going to share information about you and your company, it IS about your visitor.
Writing a bio – whether company or personal – is a finesse play. Why? Well, your visitor DOES want to know your credentials, but what they truly want to know is what you can do for them. It’s never about you; it’s ALWAYS about them. So how do you tell them your qualifications while telling them what’s in it for them? You make it more a story, rather than a sanitized résumé.
There’s something magical about a story – people want to know the ending. Moreover, it humanizes a brand, and make no mistake about it, you ARE a brand. When you consider human nature, people buy from people they like and know (unless you are one of the Americana icons like Apple, Nike, Adidas, McDonald’s, Microsoft, Coca Cola to name a few, who can do almost anything and people will follow), you don’t have this luxury. And since there’s too much noise, people filter. You only have one chance to break through. You see, if your website doesn’t pull them in the first time and your “About Us” page doesn’t do the job, they are NOT coming back. It’s too big a mistake to make!
So your story has to show your accomplishments and credentials without being narcissistic. No one likes a blowhard; but humility is attractive. Therefore, as you write your bio, your story takes your reader through an abbreviated journey of how you accomplished it all, sprinkled with nuggets about your character.
I once wrote a bio for a client. He shared a story about how his faith was important to him that when he moved to Idaho with his fiancé, since he knew no one there, he married her upon arrival, so as to live together the proper way. However, he didn’t want to lead with his faith. So I wrote, “… upon arriving in Idaho with my fiancé to start the next phase of my career, we went to a chapel and got married right away. You see, when you love something or someone, you don’t want to cut corners – you want to do things right.”
That two-sentence narration showed his true character in life and business – and to think the two are separate is naïve and/or deceptive. One’s character doesn’t change when dealing with another or family. If he or she is caring, honest and meticulous with family, customers will get the same treatment – and that’s how the reader will perceive it as well.
Some people want to know all the nitty gritty about your qualifications. It’s okay to display it, but it’s in HOW you do so. I am a firm believer in hiding information in plain view. This serves three purposes:
I love using accordions. An accordion, as the name implies, hides information until clicked on, then it opens downward like, well, an accordion. It only shows a title so the reader knows what’s hidden. Here’s a good example from the Cox and Sanchez Law firm. CLICK HERE. You can put your résumé or an interview in an accordion, to add more substance and let them choose whether they want to read more.
If your theme doesn’t provide accordions and you don’t know how to add one, you can always provide a downloadable PDF document (a white paper, résumé or report). In the old days, people used popup boxes. However, with the prevalent use of popup blockers, it wouldn’t be effective.
So maximize the impact of your “About Us” page and show your personality. Depending on your profession, it can be a delicate balance; after all, an accountant doesn’t want to seem silly or emotional; he or she wants to be perceived as practical, logical and proficient. But even there, you can balance the two and deliver a powerful message. Be creative and remember, on the other end of the keyboard is a person who also has feelings. They want to be appreciated and work with a genuine person.