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How to re-write your About page

It’s highly likely that you already have an existing About page. It’s usually something that’s bashed out at an early stage of your business and then never revisited again. As your brand evolves and develops, your About page has likely remained static.

But this is a missed opportunity. Your About page is an opportunity to bring your company to life for your audience and helps set the tone for what they can expect as they journey through your site.

This guide will give you the tools needed to write an effective About page. If you don’t have this page on your website yet, it will also help you write one from scratch.

Why is your About page important?

Your About page is likely to be one of the most visited pages on your website. 

Over half of people want to see a business’s About page when they visit a website, according to a 2015 report.

When people visit your About page it tells you something about where they are in their customer journey with your brand.

They may have found you via a web search and want to know more about what you do, or they may be interested in your products or services but want to know more about your ethos first.

What does your About page say about your business?

An About page is an opportunity for you to convey your brand’s unique identity and values.

It tells a story about how you help people, and what motivates you to do what you do. Stories are a very powerful way of making your brand memorable and fostering an emotional connection with your audience.

An effective About page generates an emotional response from your users. It also gives valuable context to your products and services. Your About page is an opportunity to show the people behind the products. This puts a relatable, human face on what you do.

How to re-write your About page

Before you start writing your About page there are various things you need to do in preparation. The first is to refamiliarise yourself with your brand. A good way to do this is by creating a scoping document that will contain the research with which you will create your About page.

Writing a scoping document

The first thing to do is to write a document that outlines in as simplistic a way as possible who you are and what you do. This is not the end product, this is a preliminary document that you will later turn into your new About page. 

Outline your USP

Write a list of everything your company does for your customers. Then research the top 5 or so competitors in your niche and list what they do. Put a link to each of their About pages in the doc. This will be an essential part of positioning your copy. What are you offering that they aren’t? This is a good way to discover a USP that sets you apart.

Present your team

Write a list of the key members of your company or team. The ones who are at the forefront of your brand, or the behind the scenes people who make the magic happen. Describe what it is they do, and why they do it. Grab any existing headshots or avatars they use and include them in the document. These might come in handy later.

Describe how you work

The way you go about your business can be as important as the end product. People want to feel good when they utilise your services or buy your products. They want to feel like they’ve made a solid investment in your brand.

Your scoping document should outline how you work, as well as what you do.

How does your business operate? Are you artisans making quality handmade products? Do you use ethical supply lines? Do you offer bespoke services for clients?

What does your workflow look like? Do you work collaboratively with your clients? What can they expect when they hire you?

By now you have a solid foundation on which you can build your About page.

But there are a few more things we need to take into consideration before the writing can begin.

Who is your audience?

Before writing your About page you need to know who is likely going to be reading it.

Business professionals?

Marketing managers?

Small business owners?

Entrepreneurs and CEOs?

Make a list of who your readers are likely to be. It will be helpful to look at your existing customer base and to also think about people you’d like to target in the future.

What is your tone of voice?

Just like every individual has their own tone of voice, so too business can have a tone of voice.

Go back to your list of competitors and check out their About pages and other site copy. What sort of tone of voice do they use? Make notes of what you find effective and what you’d like to avoid.

As well as looking at your competitors you should also make a list of brands that you admire that aren’t necessarily direct competition. This is a good way to help you differentiate yourself from others in your niche as the aim is to develop a tone of voice that fits for your company, not to copy other people’s. 

Lots of big brands have publically available style guides. These are usually long documents. You probably don’t need something on this scale, but it gives you an idea how to describe yourself. Here’s how Skype describes their tone of voice:

Skype has a playful, humorous tone of voice. It works for them but it won’t work for everybody. Shopify, on the other hand, take a different approach:

Skype is writing for an incredibly general audience, because anyone might want to use their service. Shopify on the other hand are writing for an audience of online retailers. These factors all influence the tone of voice brands use.

Writing your About page

It seems like we’ve gone through a lot and we haven’t even started the “proper” writing yet.

This is because there’s much more to writing than bashing out words on a page. To write effectively you need to understand your aims and objectives, the context you’re writing in, who you’re writing for, and decide on tone of voice.

Once all of this is done, we now need to think about putting the words on the page.

How long should my About page be?

The length of an About page can vary widely. A general rule of thumb is to not say more than you need to. The Apptopia About page is only 120 words, including the title and strapline.

By contrast, the About page of SEO experts Moz is 490 words, including title and strapline.

How should I format the page?

Formatting is another style choice; there’s no one way to do it. But here are some general rules of thumb for the best reader experience:

Use lots of white space. People are put off by large blocks of text. Paragraphs on the internet are often much shorter than those found in books or magazines. Experiment with breaking the page up into paragraphs of different lengths until you find a format that works best for you.

Write short sentences. Just like writing for the web requires short paragraphs, short sentences are also much easier to consume online. When you’ve written a body of text, re-read it line by line. Are there sentences that can be broken in half? Consider doing that. You can always put them back together again. Again, this is a style consideration; if longer sentences work best for your style then go with that, along as it’s a deliberate choice and not just your default way of writing. Notice that this paragraph had different line lengths and is longer than other paragraphs? That was a deliberate choice!

Consider subheadings. Subheadings are a good idea if you are writing a long About page, it makes it easier for people to get the gist of your story from skimming the headings and makes scrolling down the page less daunting because new sections are clearly signposted. Again, it’s up to you whether you want to structure your About page using subheadings or by breaking it up into distinct sections without headings.

Add images. Images help bring your About page to life, and help foster a personal connection between your audience and you. This can be a headshot if you’re a solo operation, a pic of your team, or a “hero shot” of people enjoying your brand experience.

Your About page is not really ABOUT YOU

If you’ve followed along with the above advice you are in a really strong position to write an About page that shows your company in your best light.

But there’s another way your About page can go the extra mile. And that’s to grasp a fundamental rule of website copy: it’s not about YOU, it’s about what you can do for your audience.

When a potential customer reads your About page they want to know how you can help them solve their problem. They are not really interested in the year you were founded, or whether you have a dog-friendly office. They want to be given a vision of how they can live a slightly better life.

The power of YOU

When writing your About page try and talk to your audience as directly as possible. Find opportunities to use the the word “you” and “your” to open a direct line of communication to readers. People pay more attention when they know you are talking to them. It feels more personal. It feels like you care. As with all copywriting techniques, don’t do this all the time or it will probably feel a bit annoying or like you’re trying too hard, but it’s a good way to make your About page more readable.

I can help you write you About page

By now you should have a solid understanding of what goes into writing an effective About page. Need help writing the perfect page to tell your brand’s story? Get in touch with me through the form below, or leave any questions you have as a comment.

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