Does writing content for your about page make you sweat and fret?
Have you put it off because you are worried it will suck?
You are not alone – lots of website owners view it as being something that they are obliged to insert and not an opportunity. They see it as something that has to be written about you and your company that doesn’t interest anyone and can seem fake.
Have you visited your analytics and viewed how many people visit your about page if you have one?
The chances are that it is one of the most visited pages on your site. Therefore, it can be a real opportunity to set your about page up the right way to ensure it connects, converts and establishes your authority in the industry or niche.
Think about it – if you go to a blog you have not been to before and the content captures your attention. One of the first things you’ll want to explore is who the person or persons behind the blog are. I know I do.
This is a long article so feel free to skip ahead to a section via the table of contents below or read the entire article.
Table of Contents:
- Do you have an about page?
- Why do what you do?
- How to get your visitors attention?
- Why use your name?
- Why use your photo?
- How to revive your content?
- How to leverage visual media and or appealing design?
- How to use strategic bragging?
- How to make your mission and charm resonate with your audience
- How not to make your About Page all about you?
- How to invite people to stay in touch
- How to add calls to action
How about pages can engage and convert?
I think it is important that we first understand why they need to be conversion optimized and what makes for a good about page before we go any further.
Peter Sandeen and D Bnonn Tennant provides some perspective on this –
When you want to convert people, you need to understand their intention. And when you know what they want, help them get it with your conversion goal.
In the case of “about” pages, people want to understand what you can give them — that’s why they go to your “about” page. And you want them to join your list — that’s your conversion goal.
So, the page has to answer the question “What will I get and how will I benefit from listening to you?”
And the answer you give has to lead to a free resource that gives them a taste of the bigger results you can offer them.
You can tell them about your history and stuff. But even your “about” page should be about the readers more than you.
When you keep in mind that your goal isn’t to tell them everything about you—but instead, make them see why they should join your list — you’ll see results.
To write an about page that converts readers, you need to know why anyone reads about pages in the first place. And it is not to know whether you are a leading provider of solutions, or an innovative distributor of systems. It is actually for the same reason people want to know more about anyone they’re thinking of giving money to.
They want to know if they can trust you.
Not to find out how impressive you are. Or how long your history is. In fact, they know that if you use fancy language and long paragraphs to “describe” something, while somehow managing not to clearly say anything at all, you are probably being less than honest. They see this kind of obfuscation all the time from the people they trust least: lawyers and politicians.
Therefore, you must take quite a different approach.
Since the point of your about page is to show prospects they can trust you, you must do exactly what you would in a face-to-face conversation. You must open up to them.
That is a terribly scary thing for most businesses, who seem to think that being human is unprofessional.
But being human is the only way to really connect with your prospects—because they are human! And really connecting with them is the very best way to turn them into hot leads.
How do you “be human?” There are three simple ways.
The first is to tell a story.
Stories are how we think, how we learn, and how we relate to each other. And they don’t have to follow a 3-act structure to be interesting. When’s the last time a child complained that a story didn’t have a precipitating event and rising action and a point of no return and a climax and a dénoument? Actually, many of the most popular and successful stories are songs! They merely relate some event; or sometimes several—but not necessarily related ones, or in sequence. Sometimes they are downright cryptic, as in Don McLean’s “American Pie”.
The important thing is that a story must really tell. Many people write, but few are brave enough to tell, as one person to another, with all the undisguised feeling and colloquial language and dodgy grammar that goes along with it. But much of what is revealed in a story—much of the humanity your prospects are looking for—is not revealed in what the story is about, but in how you tell it.
Here is a brilliant example from Saddleback Leather:
I got my first exposure to real tough leather at a Mexican bullfight…and I was the one fighting the bull. I didn’t understand much Spanish then, but from what I gathered, they said to shake this cape thing and the bull would go for it. What they didn’t tell me (or maybe they did) was that if anything else were shaking i.e. my left leg, the bull might go for that instead. Well, he wasn’t real pretty, with one curved and one straight horn, and he wasn’t real bright either, but he was a fast learner. So the shaking thing worked…the first time.
There are two other powerful ways to write an about page that converts—but they won’t fit here. I explain them in my short report, “3 simple steps to transform your about page into a customer-creation machine”. You can get this report for free, here: http://learncopywritingbackwards.com/lead-gen-with-about-pages
With that in mind let’s look at some additional reasons that “about” pages are important:
They draw organic traffic
Let’s take a search for Amy Porterfield for example.
The search results includes a link to About Amy.
Given that a search for her name draws about 1000+ visitors a month based on this article there is a pretty good chance that people will be looking at the about page as well. You can get more details for your own about page by looking at your analytics.
They reveal your solutions
The page is a chance to reveal more build trust and to educate them. Once this has been done you can then offer solutions to ease your ideal clients problems.
Check out this example from Twelve Skip
And this one from Top Rank Blog
They improve brand image
About pages also have ability to inspire your audience and increase trust by way of a proven track record.
Neil Patel does this on his QuickSprout about page. He includes references to companies he has worked with, awards and recognition received.
Cindy King approaches it differently by referring to pivotal experiences that have shaped who she is while at the same time providing a proven track record.
Pat Flynn added an optin form to a number of pages and found that the About page resulted in the most number of conversions. In fact he saw a 446% increase in subscribers.
Iggy also did a similar thing and has since found that the opt-in form on the about page converts 30x higher than other forms on the site.
How to create an about page that convinces and converts
Does your About page engage your readers and convinces them without a doubt that you are the person they should do business with?
To do this, you can’t afford to follow “what everyone else is doing”.
Think about the number of times you have clicked away from a website. Chances are that it had a little too much Me, Me, Me, much like a person at a party who brags so incessantly that you desperately try and avoid them for the rest of the party.
Your about page needs to build strong trust-based relationships with your readers, and that means allowing for a two-way conversation.
It also means being able to provide value to your readers. They are coming to your about page with questions like
- Am I in the right place?
- What’s in it for me?
- Can you help me with my problem?
Qualities of an engaging About page
Having looked at hundreds of about pages over the past week, it would be worth qualifying what makes for an appealing about page.
- They get the point across. The content and layout all lead the reader towards that point. The goal is to tell the reader who you are and show them what you can do for them and others.
- They provide the information you need.
- They give you social proof, testimonials and give examples of why your site or blog is worth reading.
- Design aids the purpose and goal of the page
Critical elements to write an about page
So now we know what is required to write an about page, let break this down further by asking 12 critical questions which you can find below.
1. Do you have an about page?
Is your “About Page missing? Or have you called it something else like Experience, Story, etc.?
This might seem like a silly question to some, but there are sites that don’t have an About Page.
Simply because the owners find it too hard to do up the content for it.
As Steve Krug, author of Don’t Make me Think says –
when it comes to an interface on your website or blog, don’t make your audience wonder where they can find more information on you, what you do and why they should read your site.
So keep it simple (create a page if you don’t have one) and call it About
2. Why do what you do?
One of the hardest questions for most people to answer is why you do what you do. Yes given some thought there can be a lot of interesting details that audience could identify with. So tell them.
To help you flesh this out a bit more, consider the following.
- How would you or your clients describe your work
- Why you work the way, you do
- What makes it personal?
- How did you learn your skills and gain expertise?
- What do people often say about your work?
- Have you been mentioned in the media or by industry?
- What do you have to offer visitors?
- What inspires you and keeps you going?
- Is there a particular achievement you are proud of?
- Consider adding some personal facts such as the place you live or family, random funny facts, etc. As long as they do not take away too much from the purpose of the page but can provide a different perspective on you.
3. How to get your visitors attention?
According to a study from Microsoft Corp, the average attention span is about 8 seconds or less. So how do you get your visitors attention in the first place to keep them reading?
Here are a few critical elements you can incorporate.
Capture attention with the design
In thinking of your about page design consider these consumer centric statistics on web design :
- 48% of people cited a website’s design as the number one factor in deciding the credibility of a business
- 94% of people cited web design as the reason they mistrusted or rejected a website
- 62% of companies which designed their website(s) for mobile platforms increased their sales and 64% of companies that designed their website for tablets increased sales.
- Colors increased web recognition by 80%. Sites with dark color schemes increased growth by 2% whereas sites with lighter color schemes experienced 1.3% growth
A great way to distinguish your self and keep people reading is through a great design.
Yellow Leaf Hammocks for example have an about page that visually and textually tell their story that is consistent with their branding and colors.
A large photograpgh of yourself and or your team can leave a lasting impression if done well. For example consider Mike Kus’s about page:
Another aspect to consider is the layout or organization of information on the page. For example consider Jason’s about page which is clean, organized and personable while at the sametime providing the impression that he is an authority in his field.
Optimize your about page
In other words optimize the content so that it shows up in the search engines when people search for you.
Say for example you wanted to optimize for the term WordPress Developer. Be sure to insert related terms on your page.
For example, if you searched WordPress developer Ireland. Robert Ryan’s page comes up as the first Google search result.
While optimizing your page for keywords is good practice, stuffing your page with keywords is never a good idea, instead work on building relevant and authoritative links to your page.
Another aspect of optimizing your page is the load time. Studies have shown that increases in load time do affect conversions as the graph below shows. This is especially important given that a lot of sites are now accessed on mobile devices. So reduce clutter on the page and keep image file sizes to a minimum.
Optimize your headlines
Simple, clear and benefit-driven headlines help capture attention and convert better.
There is a good chance that your visitors come to your page with a particular problem that they wish to solve. You, therefore, have the opportunity to provide the promise of a solution to their problem. This benefit must be part of all content on the page from the headline to the call to action.
Ian Brodie’s about page, for example, highlights the benefits in a few places to reinforce the advantage of what readers can get out of the site and the page.
John Corcoran starts by asking a question to let people know what they can expect.
Keep important information above the fold
With attention spans being what they are keeping valuable information for your audience above the fold is critical. Research from Neilsen Norman Group shows that user viewing time for above the fold information was 80.3% as compared to below the fold that was 19.7%.
So grab your audience’s attention by showing value, benefits, and energy to keep them reading and to turn them into subscribers.
So use emotion inducing words like D Bnonn Tennant does on his About page.
Make your value proposition clear
What do you do? Who does it serve? How are you different?
These are some of the questions that visitors have in their minds as they read your about page, and the best way to address them is through a strong value proposition. Like this one from Wrightwood Furniture which focuses on being eco friendly and cost.
There are a few definitions and acronyms similar to a value proposition but this one by Peter Sandeen on the Kissmetrics blog is a lot more useful in that it can guide your marketing messages and content.
“a believable collection of the most persuasive reasons people should notice you and take the action you’re asking for.”
Take Basecamp, for example, they use social proof to validate their claim.
Optimizely, on the other hand, doesn’t waste words or time and gets straight to what you can get from them.
Don’t get too wordy
Crafting your About page is important so that the benefits to your desired audience is clear. However, it also needs to be simple, clear and concise.
Take the Pinterest about page for example. It just tells you what you need to know to get started and what you can expect from the service.
On the other hand, a big business like the National Australia Bank provides different resources for their audience.
So you see, there is no one correct way to write your About Page or capture their attention.
The way to do it right is to focus on the why. In other words emphasize the value and benefits to the desired audience.
4. Why use your name?
What chance do you have of someone linking or tweeting something cool about your site or blog if they can’t find your name?
By name, I am not talking about some made up name like Mr.X or Money man. I mean your full name. As in “What do I say when I introduce you?”
Having said that – some people do prefer to keep some distance from readers for various reasons including that of security and privacy. And that is fine. After all people like James Chartrand and Terry Starbucker use a professional pseudonym.
5. Why use your photo?
If your readers want to refer you, recommend you or even pass you some readers they probably feel more comfortable if they have some send of who you are.
They would get this from your writing voice and your photo.
Use a photo instead of an avatar or cartoon. Sure there have been successful bloggers who have used cartoons or avatars but they tend to be the exception. Give your site every advantage and use a photo.
Consider this –
Research shows that we have an inborn tendency to follow people’s gazes. This helped people discover threats more easily and is still very much a part of our make up (Emery 2000).
This tendency can be used to direct readers gaze to key parts of your page like a headline or call to action much like Jared Christensen has done on his about page.
However even having a forward looking photo helps people to match a name and makes it easier for people to remember you.
Take for example Nathalie Lussier’s About page.
And this one from the Sales Lion, which used to feature the lion only but now has a photo of Marcus Sheridan as well.
6. How to revive your content?
The fact is that most About pages on the web are boring. For some reason when people write an About Page everything they know about creating compelling content seems not to apply, and the writing style doesn’t resonate with their audience.
The fix to this problem is simple:
- Be yourself and use your writing voice.
- Cut out the fluff, jargon, and business speak.
- Don’t be afraid to use humor, if you can pull it off and that your sense of humor won’t be viewed as offensive.
Another way to connect with your audience is to center the content on the team or person behind the organization. I provided some questions to help you with this when we looked at the why. So use storytelling to make your About page a compelling read.
Take for example Steve Kamb’s About page on Nerd Fitness. He tells the story of his journey with fitness and how his experiences useful to the reader that in turn leads to subscribers as they identify with him and his journey and like what he is offering them.
Danny Iny on his about page talks about the “wrong turns” he made in his journey that later led to success.
7. Leverage visual media and or appealing design
According to a report by Eye View Digital video on landing pages (including about pages) can increase conversions by 80%.
How is that?
It helps build quick rapport, trust and eliminates objections. However not everyone may want to watch or have the time to watch your video, so be sure to keep it short and interesting and couple it with text on the About page.
Ramsay Taplin does an excellent job of this on his about page.
Words form an important part of an About Page, but they don’t compensate for a lack of photos or visual media. They have the ability to set a scene and show off your organization’s personality as Wistia’s class photos does. (tip: move your cursor over the images)
Moz uses a timeline design to describe their journey and evolution.
8. How to use strategic bragging?
The About page is not about you. It is actually about the person clicks through to view it. Instead of bragging about yourself why not use storytelling and what others say about you and your business.
So talk to the readers about why your journey and experiences form what and who you are. And how that puts you in the best position to help your audience. Tell them a story.
Storytelling can pull readers in and engage them and can help change people’s minds.
Studies and research over time has shown that people’s brains are more engaged when stories are told and so are quite effective in moving an audiences with you on a journey that engages them. Robert Ryan’s page is a good example of this as he weaves a story around his experiences and how they make him a great WordPress developer and social media marketing expert.
Let others speak for you by providing testimonials and social proof so readers can picture becoming a part of your community. It could hold more weight than anything you say about yourself.
Melissa Cassera leverages this extremely well on her site. She includes humor and strong professional endorsements all of which help make you know like and trust her a little bit more.
Carol Tice on her blogs About Page includes a Reader Raves section that includes tweets and a testimonial before she even talks about her blog.
So be sure to provide testimonials and social proof, to speak on your behalf and to give your readers a taste of what it would be like to be part of your community.
Jeff Goins has a section titled what people are saying which includes testimonials from authority figures in the industry all of which make you know, like and trust him a little more.
9. How to make your mission and charm resonate with your audience
Empathy skills are vital. Understanding your audience is important but coupled with empathy you can get right into their heads and almost make them think that you are reading their minds.
So consider tapping into the deeply held beliefs and values of your audience to get people to rally around you and your mission.
Avoid marketing or industry related mumbo-jumbo and filler words that lack any real meaning. Try making your mission genuine and human.
Consider Evernote’s mission –
And this from Warby Parker.
10. How not to make your About Page all about you?
Most site owners seem to miss the point that the About page is actually about the person who clicks through to view it.
So talk to that person about why they should bother reading your site.
- What they are interested in
- The problems you resolve
- How you can help
Talk about yourself but only in the context of how you can serve your readers.
Let me put this another way. Your visitors aren’t interested in the fact that you have the skills to back up your service or that people love your products. They just want to know these things in the context of how it will best serve them.
How do you do that?
The way you frame a statement or argument, even a question, has an impact on how people perceive it. Psychologists Kahneman and Tversky (1981 study) found that by altering the way they phrased questions about the risks of various treatments of a deadly disease, they could influences the choices people made.
Take Insightly’s about page as an example. The headline, subheaders and text are all aligned around how they can help and benefit their target audience.
11. How to invite people to stay in touch
If your readers are successfully intrigued and are on your About page then ask them to stick around and get more of the good stuff by subscribing to your email list.
Pat Flynn and Derek Halpern suggest giving readers more than one opportunity to sign up for your email list on your About Page. Their suggestions include having a signup opportunity after you have told them who you are and what you do for them and why they should care. The next after your social proof and yet another opportunity to sign up at the end of the page after your personal bio.
Another way to do this is with a lead magnet that helps your desired audience in some specific way. In doing this, the lead magnet needs to be very specific to attract the right kind of people and something that can go on to lead to your product or service.
Consider educating your audience. Copyblogger started off using this principle to grow its audience, increase sales and get ranked on the search engines. Moz does it as well with Rand Fishkin’s Whiteboard Friday videos.
12. How to add calls to action
With every visit to your About page come the opportunity to move people into your sales funnel. Your About Page is a great place to encourage people to take the next step you would like them to take.
So provide them with lots of reasons to believe in you and your business and then make it quite simple and painfully obvious as to what they should do next.
Decide what action you want your visitors to take when they come to the end of the page and tell them. Run A/B tests on your call to action copy to determine what works most efficiently in terms of conversions.
Buffer has a very clear call to action at the end of their About Page. They use a high contrast color for their CTA along with copy that makes clear that they want readers to try their product for free.
Stop turning visitors away
At times a few tweaks is all an About Page requires to transform it into a valuable hub that attracts leads and clients.
Don’t treat visitors like faceless pixels but rather write and design as though you were having a conversation with a real person.
What would they ask you and want to know about what you do?
What impression would you like them to leave with?
What changes do you need to make to get started?