Your Small Business Backstory Has Great Legs

Written by Debra Leitl on February 18, 2011. Posted in Search Engine Marketing

Creating a compelling About Us Page

A website is comprised of web pages that, collectively, express your business’ complete online identity. Each page has its own individual job to do toward that end, expressing your business’ personality, offerings and reputation in relation to its purpose. The page that bears the heaviest burden toward explaining the nature of your business to visitors is, not surprisingly, your About Page.

In the same way that your website is an advertisement for your business as a whole, your About Page is an advertisement for the rest of your site. An effective About Page should provide a succinct overview of your company, drawing the reader in with broad strokes, gradually delving into greater detail. Your About Page is your opportunity to tell your business’ backstory, so express it with enthusiasm and pride.

An effective About Page must accomplish several tasks:

  • Inform visitors as to who you are
  • Explain what you do
  • Mention from where you operate
  • Tell how long you’ve been in business
  • Describe how you accomplish your company’s mission

When considering the content to be included on your About Page, keep in mind those who will read it and their reasons for doing so. Make your About Page compelling enough to engage the reader’s interest until his or her curiosity about these questions is satisfied:

  • Does this site contain the information I’m seeking?
  • Why am I here instead of another site?
  • What else of interest might I find here?
  • How does this company interact with its customers?
  • How can I further engage with this company?

If your business has both consumers and industry professionals who consult your website for information, make certain to separate content that is for industry insiders from that of your consumers. Create separate sections on your About Page, one for customers and one for professionals. This will insure that these disparate visitors find the specific information they are seeking without plodding through irrelevant material.

How to write an About Page that will convert visitors to regular users:

Compose a short biography of your company - Write a few paragraphs about the basics of your business. Be specific but avoid technical or legal terms or industry jargon. About Pages are for information-gathering, so avoid the temptation to “sell”.

Example:

We are YourFeet.com, a manufacturer of comfortable, state-of-the-art athletic footwear. Our footwear is for everyone – the weekend jogger to the professional athlete. The YourFeet.com team is dedicated to providing fitness foot fashion with flair with hundreds of styles from which to choose and an extended size range.

Founded by physical therapist and trainer, William LeFoot, we manufacture athletic shoes from the finest polymers which support your fitness goals. We specialize in the perfect fit and our footwear experts are available 7 days a week to help you with individual footwear consultations.

Since 1991, our team of scientists and designers working out our factory in Minneapolis, Minnesota, have proudly manufactured and shipped our athletic shoes to happy feet in 43 countries around the globe.

YourFeet.com is a proud sponsor of the Boston Marathon. Our athletic shoes have been worn by the likes of Olympic Triathlete John Runningman and Bicyclist Sue Thirdgear. The American Heart Association officially recommends our footwear in its Heart Healthy Lifestyle campaign. We proudly donate the proceeds of our yearly “Create Your Own Shoe” contest to inner city physical education programs throughout the United States.

These first paragraphs establish who the company is and why the reader should care. Should the reader be interested in learning more, provide links to additional content such as:

  • Biographies (with photos) of Company Founder and Board
  • Company mission statement
  • Contact information
  • Specialized “tools” on the site which encourage engagement and provide further information
  • FAQs
  • Photo Gallery
  • Subscribe to website
  • Email subscription opt-in
  • Facebook/Twitter accounts

Establishing the appropriate tone when writing your About Page:

Ideally, the tone of your website matches the personality of your business. As an extension of that, your About page should match the general tone of your website. Your About Page has an important story to tell – so make sure it expresses that story in friendly and accessible language. In many cases, your About Page will be the first page viewed – after whatever page the viewer landed on – so make it welcoming, informative and compelling. Remember, the goal of an About Page is to tell – not sell. Conceptualize it as a genuine conversation with your visitor about your business in general.

An effective About Page tells the reader what they need and want to know about your business. Simply telling your business’ backstory in a straightforward and engaging manner on your About Page creates a powerful advertisement that can turn a visitor into a regular user.

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