So, what’s this all about? People want to know.
It’s the page on your website that gives people information about you or the business. We know this. We also know first impressions count as the visitor lands on the Homepage.
Which is more important the Homepage or the About page?
Using the Web should be fun and informative. Now it’s an obstacle course to get to where you want to go. The information is buried somewhere within a minimalist opt in to a free signup. This is the new business model, for a while, until the next one comes along.
There’s a good book you should read if you want to get your content read; Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug. How usable is your Website? Technology and Design move fast, style’s change, and new trends develop all the time. What doesn’t change is the way a human being wants to be treated, yes, even on a website.
Endless meetings and discussions go on about what is inside the person’s head as they come to your website. It’s a guessing game. Instead of spending so much time trying to figure out what the visitor is thinking, think about the information you’re presenting to the visitor.
Do they want to sign up for your newsletter before they know what you’re about? Are they comfortable paying you money before they know you are who you say you are?
Online Interaction Overload
Before I can get to the About page I have to land on the Homepage. Unless, the Homepage has everything on it:
- Portfolio links
- Newsletter signup
- Latest workshop signup
- Book offer
This is interaction overload. The Homepage makes the visitor think too much. One glowing paragraph about you and what you do isn’t enough to build a relationship with a total stranger being introduced to you for the first time.
The About page is where I should find extensive information about you. I am most interested in this because this page introduces you to me. I can start to get to know you.
What do you put on the About Page?
Remember, you must offer your specific, unique services so as not to overstep the boundary and then infringe on someone else’s territory. If you copy then you’re plagiarizing. If you emulate, you adapt the content to fit your style. Your own style.
Return to the simple and find the definition of the context. The word “about” means with reference to, relevant to, and on the subject of. You’re the subject of your website. Even if you have a team of people you still have to tell people what you’re about.
About is the story of the business and how it originated. This story starts to build the relationship with people who might be interested in what you do. The context should clearly explain what you are about, but without selling.
Keep the context related to: who, what, and why.
The About page is the spotlight. Stand firmly in the center. The Internet is the marketplace, the public square. Everyone who gathers in this place can speak to those who want to listen.
Use a current picture. No matter how old or young you look if your picture isn’t what you look like in real time, people will not trust you. In a time when we have megapixel cameras there’s no excuse not to have a current picture of you. If you hide behind an image it’s worse. If there’s a blank avatar image and no photo of you, there’s no connection.
If you put pictures of your family instead of you, the visitor knows it’s family first and they’re second. Of course your family comes first, but you’re still conveying a message that’s not about you.
Don’t use a character picture without your real picture nearby. The icon graphics although they’re cartoonish, they don’t promote realism. When you’re looking for the person behind the website you want the real person.
Your kitty isn’t you…
The visitor uses the web and they’re well up on information. Any exaggeration or sales context sets up a barrier between you and the visitor. You don’t know the visitor. If you set up analytics and tracking you know about their use of the site. What you should be concerned about is the context of the information and communicating to the visitor.
When you respect the visitor, this is you chance to build a relationship. When you meet a person face-to-face, there’s nowhere to hide. Online there’s the opportunity to hide, exaggerate, or be untruthful.
Have you ever visited an About page on a website that’s just too good to be true? The person has one too many celebrity pictures or endorsements. They’re so over the top that while they might be well-known, how well do you know them. Instead, you’re shown their value based on the celebrities not on them.
Your About page is the most revealing page in your entire website. Never underestimate the user of the web, they’re smart.
The story of how you started what you do is what the visitor is looking for. It is the capture point. Every child listens to the story and continues listening. Your story is the identifying element and brings the context about who you are, what you do, and why you’re doing it. If the visitor identifies with your story they will connect with you.
Every interaction online is person to person. There is a human being on the other end of the keyboard reading what you wrote. I never tire of thinking about that as I write online. I am communicating to someone who wants to know about the About page.