In this episode I’m sharing with you a talk I gave recently to a group of vegan business owners and entrepreneurs on what to include on the ‘About’ page of your website.
It’s a question I get asked a lot by people, including my coaching and consulting clients and students on my Vegans in the Limelight online PR course and group coaching program, so I thought it would serve you to share this as a podcast episode.
It’s also available as a video and as a blog post below.
Among the things I discuss are:
• Why the ‘About’ page of your website is so important
• What NOT to include on your ‘About’ page
• How to make your ‘About’ page compelling for your customers and clients
• Why your ‘About’ page shouldn’t be all about you
• Examples of an ‘About’ page for a service provider and for a product maker
• Why your story as the business owner is important and you can no longer hide behind your company or brand
• And much more
Watch a video of this presentation:
And here’s a blog post based on the presentation:
First of all, everybody’s ‘About’ page is going to be different, depending on you and your business, the type of business, whether you’re a solo practitioner or you’re a larger company, and whether you sell products or services.
I don’t believe there’s a ‘one size fits all’ kind of template that you can use to create an About page because it needs to be personalized to you and your venture, but I’m going to give you some ideas about what to include and how to structure it.
Why your ‘About’ page is so important
The reason your ‘About’ page is so important is that it’s one of the most visited pages on websites.
There’s been some anecdotal research done and it’s been found that people will often click onto your ‘About’ page, anything from the second, third or fourth page as they’re going through your site.
One of the reasons for this is that nowadays, people want to know who they’re doing business with, a lot more than they used to in the past. People want to know a lot more about a business and about a company.
If you think about it, it’s true for us as consumers, so even though you’re reading this and you’re a vegan business owner, you’re also a consumer. We’re all consumers.
Some of the questions that your customers or your clients may be asking when they get to your ‘About’ page are:
- How big is the business? Is it an SME or a solo enterprise?
- Who owns or runs the business?
- How long has the person or company been in business?
- Where is it based, and does it service my location?
- Why should I buy from this particular business?
Don’t hide behind your business
It’s really important not to hide behind your company. I see this quite a lot with vegan entrepreneurs, and you just can’t get away with that nowadays. In the past, this was a thing that large, multinational corporations in particular would do. The CEOs would be very much behind the scenes, whereas nowadays, if you look at a lot of big companies, the CEO has got their own blog, and they’re much more prominent because people want to know or who they are.
And they want to know who you are, so don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and let us know who you are.
One of the key things you want to do with your About page is to inspire trust and connection with your audience. The way you do that is to let people know about you, who you are and what you do. They have to get to know you.
It’s a bit like meeting people in real life. You get to know somebody, and the more you get to know them, you start to like and trust them. That’s the kind of relationship that you’re wanting to build up with your About page. It’s the online version of doing that.
It’s not all about you
Now, having said that, your About page shouldn’t necessarily be all about you. What do I mean by that?
I’m going to give you a couple of examples, and I’m going to start with my own ‘About’ page on my Vegan Business Media website.
So, see how in those first few paragraphs, I haven’t talked about myself. I’ve kicked off with a question and made it about you, my audience. So, think about how you can do that on your own ‘About’ page.
Note in the image above how I’m answering the question, “How long has this business been going?” in the first sentence. After that I reveal my background bring in some social proof and credibility: I tell you that I’ve been a journalist for 18 years, and this is how I’m using my skills now to help vegan brands like you to promote yourself.
I also answer the question about what’s unique about me and why you should buy from me: I’m letting you know that I’ve been vegan for 22 years, so I’m not someone who’s just entered this space recently as it’s started to become trendy, and that I’ve actually spent the past few years doing the very thing that I’m helping you to do as well.
I then weave in some more social proof and credibility, and after that I answer the question about where I’m located and who I work with. I’ve made it very clear there that I’m originally from the UK. I say that because sometimes I get on a consulting call with someone, and they’re expecting me to sound all Aussie, and they hear this British accent. I explain that I’m currently based in Sydney, Australia but that I work with vegan entrepreneurs, authors and so on from across the globe.
I then include a sub-head with a list of ways that you can get free help from the site, within links to those internal pages, followed by another sub-head and list of how you can get more tailored, individual help.
The reason I’ve put those in is you don’t know who’s going to land on your website and who’s going to be looking at your ‘About’ page.
So it could be that I’ve got people who are quite new, maybe they haven’t started their vegan business yet, and they just want to gather some resources and get some free stuff. But other people may have heard about me and they’re actually ready to buy and keen to find out how they can work with me perhaps one-on-one, or they might want to inquire about some done-for-you PR services or join my online PR course and group coaching program. It gives people an option no matter where they’re at in their particular stage of their journey to start a relationship with me.
You do NOT want to list your entire resume on your ‘About’ page as you’ll send people to sleep! What you can do is add a link to your LinkedIn profile (if you haven’t got one, set one up!). This is probably more applicable to you if your main market is corporates who may be keen to know your work history.
If you want to expand on your story, you can either have a ‘My Story’ or ‘How I Got Here’ sub-head, and talk a little bit more in depth about you and yourself and how you got here, how you got to running your business.
Alternatively you can create a separate page for that and link to it from your ‘About’ page because some people will just want to scan your ‘About’ page, while others will want to read all of it and really get to know you.
I also have some testimonials on my ‘About’ page, which I’ll talk a bit more about later in this post, followed by a link to my online media kit for journalists, producers and event bookers, which has all my official bios of different lengths, information about me, my business, my book and photos in one easy place.
I’ve just given you an example of my ‘About’ page, but you might be thinking, “Well, that’s all very well, but you’re a service-based provider, and what if I just sell products?” So, I’m going to give you another example, which is Pana Organic, a vegan, organic, raw chocolate brand from Melbourne, Australia and sold internationally.
See how they’ve created an image in your mind. They’re telling us a story on their ‘About’ page. They’re really hooking us in. When I gave a talk on this topic recently to a group of vegan business owners that I hosted, and when I read this out, people were gushing “Oooh, ahh’ and having a visceral reaction to the description. That’s another way that you can use your About page to tell your story to hook people in.
Then, when you scroll down Pana’s website, we’ve got a subheading and a section called Our Story, which explains where the business started and its aim. See how they’ve weaved in the fact that while it was founded in Melbourne, it’s available worldwide.
What to include on your ‘About’ page
You want to be very clear:
What does the business do? What do you provide?
Do not be cryptic on your ‘About’ page. There’s nothing worse than landing on a company’s website, and it’s not clear what the business does, so don’t try and be clever or cryptic. Everybody’s time-poor nowadays. We want to know what it is that you do.
What’s unique about you or your business?
Remember, I answered that question on my own ‘About’ page, the fact that I’ve been vegan for 22 years and I’ve been a journalist for 18 years. And with Pana, we saw what’s unique about their business: these original and unusual ingredients they put in their chocolate, as well as it being raw, organic, and some other free-froms as well.
What benefits do customers or clients get, or what problem do you solve?
Remember, people want to know what’s in it for them from doing business with you.
How long have you been in business?
I often hear from new businesses and startups, who say, “Oh, I don’t want it to sound like I’ve only just started out or that I’m quite new.” Don’t shy away from that. For one thing, startups are perceived as quite cool, and what you can do there is just own it and say, “Hey, look, we’re a new company. We’ve been going X amount of time. This is what we’ve got on offer at the moment, and these are our plans.” There’s no need to shy away from that.
Also, from a media perspective, it’s important to include this. For example, with my podcast, Vegan Business Talk, one of the criteria for guests is that they have to have been running their business for at least three years – ideally more, but at least three years because I want them to have been in business long enough to share really useful and important nuggets of wisdom, experiences and strategies.
There’s been too many times where I’ve seen a business or a company, and I thought, “Oh, they might be a good guest for the show.” I’ve gone onto their website and I can’t find how long they’ve been in business. With some, I’ll check their social media, and I still can’t find it. Often when that happens, I just think, “You know what? It’s too much trouble. I’m going to go on to somebody else.” They’ve lost out on a potential media opportunity.
So don’t be afraid to let people know how long you’ve been in business and when the business started.
Where you’re based and who you service
I touched on this earlier in this post. So on my ‘About’ page, you’ll remember that I let people know that I’m currently based in Sydney, Australia, but I work with people from across the globe.
Why do you do it?
Include your ‘why’ on your ‘About’ page: a couple of sentences or a short paragraph why you do what you do. If you’ve got a longer mission statement or a vision statement, or a statement of purpose, what you can do is put a link from the ‘About’ page with text such as, “To read our full mission statement or vision statement, click here,” and then you take visitors to a separate page.
You can also include your values. Again, you can do the same thing there, with a short paragraph about your values, or you might include on your About page your top five values, or if you’ve got a much longer document, then again, you can put, “Click here to see our values,” and send people to a separate page for that.
What this does is give people the option to find out more about you without making your ‘About’ page massively long.
History/timeline of the business
This is for those of you who’ve been in business for a long time. You’re not charting every single year, but just take some of your key milestones. If you’ve been in business for quite some time, then your business will have evolved over time. There’ll be developments in it, so just highlight some of the major ones. Again, you can do this by creating a separate page, and then linking to it from your ‘About’ page.
Remember earlier, I said don’t hide behind your business or your company? We want to know who you are. What’s your story? We love stories. Human beings love stories, and we want to know what yours is.
If you’ve got a family business, for example, tell us who you are. Don’t just say, “We are a family-owned business.” Who are the members of the family that are involved in running it? What do they do? What are their particular tasks? Where are you from? If you’ve emigrated from one country to another, tell us a bit about where you’re from and why you emigrated, why you love working together.
We want to be entertained and we’re curious, and we want to know who you are so that we can get to know, like and trust you. Did you leave a high-flying corporate career to start your own business? People love this kind of transformation-type story. Recently, I was pitched a vegan business to be a guest on the Vegan Business Talk Podcast, and it was a particular type of business that I already had a couple of other similar ones in the pipeline to do an interview with, but then I noticed in the pitch, it said that the person who runs this business actually left a high-flying career as a senior executive from a well-known finance company, and so that immediately grabbed my attention.
I thought, “Oh, that’s interesting. I wonder why they left that to do this”, because it was quite a big change. If that’s you, then make sure you include that on your ‘About’ page. Again, it’s helping us to get to know you as a business owner.
Think about some anecdotes that you can include. For example, if you’re in health and fitness, if you suffered from a particular condition, and then you’ve overcome it yourself, and now, you help people to do that.
It could be an interesting incident that happened in your life. Maybe you met somebody famous, or perhaps some achievement that’s quite monumental such as climbing Mount Everest. This adds color to you and makes you a bit more interesting as a business owner.
It’s a good idea to include some testimonials on your ‘About’ page. On mine I’ve got a sub-head called ‘What Previous Clients Have Said’. What I’ve done is just taken a handful of testimonials from the various other parts of my site and put them on the ‘About’ page.
This is particularly important if you offer more than one service or product. In my case, I’ve got testimonials relating specifically to my speaking. I’ve got testimonials related to my online PR course and group coaching program, Vegans in the Limelight, and I’ve got testimonials for my consultations. I’ve got those on the relevant pages on my website, but what I’ve done is just taken a couple of each of those and put them on my ‘About’ page. Again, it’s about adding that social proof and credibility.
Call to action
Then, you also want to include some kind of call to action on your ‘About’ page. Your ‘About’ page is not a passive page. You actually want someone to take action while they’re on there.
If you remember with my ‘About’ page, I’ve got several call to actions because I’ve got different ways to get free help as well as how to work with me for more tailored options.
Your call to action on your ‘About’ page could be something quite simple, like, “Sign up for my newsletter here,” or, “Sign up for my free item,” so you might have a lead magnet, which is a free product, usually a digital product, that you can set up to go out automatically every time someone opts in to your email list.
Your call to action could be, “Book now to make an appointment.” It could be, “Click here to find out locations of where our products are sold.”
Order and structure of your ‘About’ page
As I mentioned earlier, every ‘About’ page is going to be different, but one thing I will say to you in terms of the order and structure is:
Make sure you put your best and most relevant information for your audience first
When people land on your ‘About’ page, some will scroll the whole way through and read every word, while others are just going to very quickly scan, and others might not go beyond just the first part of your ‘About’ page, so you want to make sure you’ve got your really good stuff at the beginning, and it has to be for what’s most relevant for your audience.
In journalism, there’s a phrase called, “Don’t bury the lead,” and that means don’t bury the juicy part ie the main story three paragraphs in. If you look at news stories, they follow what’s called an inverted pyramid structure. The most important information goes in the headline, and then the intro, then the first paragraph and so on in descending order of importance. That’s what you want to be doing on your ‘About’ page.
Again, that’s going to be different for everyone. For example, my partner, Tracie, who’s a clinical hypnotherapist and psychotherapist, asks everyone who comes to see her how they found her and why they chose her. The vast majority of them say her credentials, her experience and her qualifications.
Now, that’s going to be different for me. Most people don’t care about what my qualifications in journalism are, or what professional associations I belong to, whereas with Tracie, for her clients, that’s important, so she’s got that quite high up on her ‘About’ page.
So, have a think about what the most relevant information for your audience is, and make sure that you lead with that.
Write for your audience
Make sure you write your ‘About’ page and every page for your website actually, for your audience, so using language, style and words that your audience recognize.
For example, if your audience is predominantly male baby boomers, you’re going to use very different language, style and words than if you’re writing for millennial women.
If you have a broad audience, a good rule of thumb is to keep your ‘About’ page conversational and friendly. Even if you’re your audience is corporate, yes, you obviously going to want to use language and words that they recognize, but you’re still writing it in a conversational way, and so that you’re addressing the person who’s sitting reading your site.
Use ‘I, we and you’.
If you’re a solo practitioner or there’s just you, then say, “I do this,”, “I am this,” or if you’ve got a small team, then you might say, “We do this,” or, “We are this.” When you’re talking to the person, make sure you use the word ‘you’. What I mean by that is you don’t say ‘I help people’, you say ‘I help you’.
This is important because no matter who it is that’s sitting at the other end of the computer, they’ve landed on your ‘About’ page, even if they’re an HR director for a big corporation. It’s still that one person that you’ve got that relationship with, and you want to be speaking directly to them. They want to feel special, just as we all want to feel special.
We want to feel like someone is talking to us, so I liken this to when you’ve just met somebody and you’ve sat down over a dinner table or over a cup of tea, and they say, “So tell me about yourself then, Katrina.” If I then said, “Katrina Fox is a vegan PR Consultant and journalist with 18 years’ experience,” you’d think I was a bit bonkers! Why would you talk about yourself in the third person?
Basically, the ‘About’ page is the equivalent of sitting down across the table having a cup of tea with someone. It’s different to your official bios in your online media kit. They are written in the third person, but for your ‘About’ page, keep it friendly and conversational.
Break up the text with sub-heads and visuals
This is really important online. With print, it’s different and we’re used to seeing larger chunks of text, but not online. Apparently our eyes work differently when we’re online and we scan more. I’m sure you can relate when you’re on social media and someone leaves a comment on a post with no paragraph breaks and just a massive chunk of text. I personally won’t read those.
So, make sure that you break up that text using sub-heads and visuals, such as photos or videos (just as I’ve done in this post). Here’s an example from Vegan Style, an online shoe store:
See how they start their ‘About’ page with a picture. They’ve got an image of one wall with shelves showing lots of different styles of their vegan shoes, so you can see straight away, as soon as you go on their ‘About’ page, exactly what they’re about and you immediately get a visual.
They’ve then got a little bit of text and answer the question as to how long the business has been running. It’s showing that they’re an experienced company. There’s a little bit of information about their company, and they’ve used bullet points here as well, which is another good device to break up text.
We’ve then got a little bit more text about where they are, and then we’ve got another photo, two photos next to one another, a male shoe and a women’s shoe. We got a nice, lot of colour there and imagery.
We’ve then got a sub-head, “What makes a vegan shoe?” followed by a couple of lines of text explaining what that is, and then we’ve got another sub-head, “Want to take a look inside our store?”, and then there’s a video. You can press play on the video, and it will give you a virtual video tour of the store.
That’s much more user-friendly and much easy on the eye with those subheads and visuals and likely to keep people on your page longer.
Update your ‘About’ page regularly
Your ‘About’ page is not a static page. As your business grows and develops, there’s going to be changes. You’ll maybe add new products or services. You might remove some products or services. In fact, when I was preparing this presentation, I actually had to update my own ‘About’ page to tweak a few little things.
Need some help with your ‘About’ page?
I hope you found this information helpful. Now, maybe you’re thinking, “Well, actually, I could really do with some individual, tailored help with my ‘About’ page.”
I can help you out with that in a one-to-one consultation via Skype or Zoom where I’d look at your page before we get on the call, perhaps email you some questions, and then when we get on the call, I will go through your ‘About’ page with you and give you some suggestions and guidance of how you can improve it.
To book a session with me, click here.
Alternatively, if you join my Vegans in the Limelight online PR course and group coaching program, this is one of the things that we do on the monthly live group coaching calls.
Enrol in the program here.