By Gail Seymour
You're about to make a major purchase. You have three suppliers in mind, all with similar products, prices and turn-around times. Your decision comes down to which company you trust most, but all three are on the Internet, at distance from you. To help you make the decision, you visit the “About Us” section of each Web site.
How Visitors View Your “About Us” Pages
The first has the company logo graphic with generic text that fades in to Latin after a paragraph or two.
The second is full of glossy photos of company headquarters and mug shots of the key staff, has links to recent Press Releases and job openings. It even has links to accounting figures for investors, but it leaves you cold and feels impersonal.
The third company has all the same information, but woven through it are photos of the staff at work, a video interview with the CEO talking candidly and another of factory staff talking about their jobs.
Which company would you buy from? The one that hasn't bothered to finish the Web site, the one with a glossy front or the one that invites you in to meet the crew?
This is what your “About Us” section is all about. It's your chance to answer the questions your visitors ask when they arrive at your site. It's also your best opportunity to open a conversation.
Questions Your “About Us” Pages Need to Answer
- Who are these guys?
- Can I trust them?
- Do they know their stuff?
- How can I contact them?
Your Web site needs to answer these questions in a concise, believable way. A brief story of how the company was founded and its main offerings and objectives combined with testimonials and details of any awards or recognition, contact details and a map and directions to your physical location will answer these questions.
Remember your “About Us” section is not just for customers, though. It also serves as a recruitment tool and provides information to potential investors and the press. So include details of job openings and relevant figures and press releases or links to a news section.
Making Your “About Us” Section Compelling
To breathe life into your “About Us” section, invite the reader in and encourage interaction. Give a little bit of your character away.
It doesn't take much. Write conversationally rather than formally and include a few stories. Case studies and staff bios are great for this. Take snap shots of your staff at work, or interview them. Decent quality footage taken on a mobile phone will liven up the pages, and give an intimate feel, rather than a staged one.
Include links to Social Media sites like Twitter and Facebook Fan pages, and include links to your forum. Encourage your visitors to interact with you, and you will be that third company, the one that gets the sale.
About the Author
Gail Seymour has been a Web site designer for more than ten years. During that time she has won three Sitesell design awards, and has provided the content and copy for dozens of Web sites and over 50,000 Web pages.