The ‘About’ page on your website is one of the most popular pages on your site. When people come across your online shop, see your services, read one of your blog posts, or spot a product you have on offer, they want to know who the person behind the business is. They’re asking some, or all, of the following questions:
- Can this person help me with my problem?
- Have I come to the right place?
- What does this business owner value?
- Are they trustworthy?
- Do I feel some sort of connection with them?
- Would we be a good fit to work together?
The job you have when it comes to your ‘About’ page is to answer those questions by providing some insight into who you are, what your story is, why you started your business/ project/ blog/ NGO, what your values are, and most importantly, how you can help the reader.
There are as many ways to write an About page as there are different types of businesses, so it's up to you to put together something that shows off your particular style, personality, flair and values.
What I want to do in this blog post is give you some ideas about the kinds of About pages you can craft, a few ‘must have’ items to include on your About page, list some common mistakes people make when it comes to their About page, provide a ‘template’ for you to work from, and go through an example with you.
Different Types of About Pages
Because everybody’s business, project, NGO or blog is different, you’ll want to highlight aspects of your story and qualifications that suit the goal of your site. For professional services like medical services, the About page should help potential clients confirm that you know exactly what you’re doing, that you have legitimate expertise in your field, and that you have the qualifications to back up your claims.
For someone who is a life coach or counselor, in addition to knowing your qualifications and achievements, potential clients might want to know more about your approach, your coaching style and methods, and your values. They’re looking for that personal connection and a relationship of trust.
For those in creative fields like photography, graphic design and interior design, clients might want to know more of how you got into doing the work you do, your design style and aesthetic, as well as what it would be like to work with you. Do you stick to deadlines, are you a good team player?
Each profession requires a somewhat different approach so it's good to ask, ‘What is important for my potential clients, customers, readers and/or funders to know about my story, background and qualifications.’
Things you MUST have
Your About page should suit your business. Since every business is unique, your About page won’t necessarily be the same as anyone else’s. However, there are some ‘must haves’ that I would recommend you include regardless of the type of business you run. Here they are:
- Your name (that is, your real name)
- Your credentials
- A decent (and recent) photo of you
- Your location
- Up to date contact details
- Social handles (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook etc)
- Certifications, awards, memberships or other things that boost your credibility
- Some testimonials from happy clients
- A way for people to keep in touch in the future (newsletter)
How NOT to write your about page
1. A long boring chronological biography. “I was born in 1982 in a small town near the west coast of Australia, to my parents Bob and Joan. My early school years were spent at St John’s College for girls, after which I attended the local high school…”
People have very little time and patience to wade through unnecessary detail. Tell your story, for sure, but keep it interesting and stick to the highlights.
2. A bullet point CV (and that’s all)
- 2001-2003: worked as head chef at a downtown eatery
- 2004-2005: lead a small team of creatives to redesign a school library
- 2006-2008: started a llama farm
Although this shows your experience and possibly your skills, it also doesn’t necessarily read well or make a personal connection with your audience. You’re welcome to throw in a few lines about your work experience, especially as it relates to the services you offer, but don’t make this ALL that you have on your About page.
3. An irrelevant brag list
- Trophy for best dressed student 1999
- Second runner up in the egg-and-spoon race
- Gold star for line drawing
- 21km race in under 1:30
As with my previous point about your CV, do include items on your brag list but only insofar as they relate to your business and add credibility to the services you offer.
4. A Staff List
A staff list is not an About page. It doesn’t give your reader any insight into the heart of the company, why you do what you do, or what solutions you provide.
5. Forgotten Filler
We’ve all come across those sites someone set up using a template and all that’s there is forgotten Latin filler. It immediately communicates a lack of professionalism as well as a sense of disinterest in your own site. Watch out for that!
A Template: One way to write an About page
One way (and there are many!) to write an About page is to tell a story. Set the scene, introduce the problem, show how you take on the challenge, share your solutions, and describe what comes next. (I’ve adapted this from a great Shopify article called “How to Write an About us Page.”)
- Set the scene: introduce the characters or setting, talk about the way things were for you, your target reader, or your market. Start with an ‘imagine if’ question.
- Introduce the problem: what is the problem that required you to take action?
- Take on the challenge: how did you find a solution to the problem (how did you start your business, and what difficulties did you face and overcome along the way?
- Share the solution: talk about how your business is providing solutions the the problems you’ve described.
- Describe what comes next: paint the scene for the future of your company, as well as the future of a potential customer who works with you.
The Template as Applied to my Own Business
I took this template and worked through it for my own About Page (which has been sorely in need of an update). This is exactly what you can do for your business, so here's my example to get you thinking.
1. Set the scene
You’re starting your first, or second, business, you’re launching a blog, embarking on a new project, or have taken over the running of an NGO. One of your top priorities is getting a good-looking website that works like a dream. And you need it done yesterday.
2. Introduce the problem
Getting a website sorted out is just one item on a long list of things you have to get done. You’re already overwhelmed, and experiencing the lethal combination of information overload and decision fatigue. On a tight budget you can’t afford to make a mistake and choose the wrong solution for your business. On the other hand, you also can’t spend all your time agonising over this. You need clarity. You need step by step guidance. You need someone you can trust to take your ideas and make them come to life - soon. And once your site is up and running, you need to be able to own and run your website like the rest of your business, hands on, proactive, involved.
3. Take on the challenge
I understand. When it came time for me to build a website for my social media business, I was overwhelmed by all the options. Wordpress, Wix, Weebly, domains, emails, hosting, pricing. This list went on. And on. I wanted to know I was getting good value for money without compromising design features and a professional online presence.
4. Share the solution
Squarespace became my go to solution. They won me over with their focus on serving creative independent businesses from photographers, to health practitioners, and environmental consultants. Their emphasis on visual sites with great design that work across all devices and are easy to manage seemed like a winning combination. I built my own site, and then started building sites for other people, guiding them through what can be a daunting and overwhelming process. I used all the time, energy and lessons I’d learned to take clients step by step through the design process through to a finished product.
5. Describe what comes next.
People always ask me, ‘Is it going to be easy for me to manage my own site in the future?’ The answer is always yes! As the creative director of your business, blog or NGO, you need to be able to access to your site, make updates, write blog posts, and make the creative decisions that best suit you. That’s why once your site is up and running, it's yours. Full stop. I create a step by step tailored video tutorial on how to really own and use your website, meaning you take it from here.
Lastly, invite your readers to take action
What one thing do you want readers to do after reading your About page? Do you want them to sign up for your newsletter, book a consultation call with you, read a blog post, or fill in a questionnaire. Make sure you make that next step clear by adding a distinct call to action.
I’d also love to hear from you in the comments - What for you is is critical to have on your About page?
Here are some other 'Digital DIY' resources for you to have a look at, from Designing a Colour Scheme for your Website, to Creating a Moodboard using Canva. Enjoy!