This is Part 4 of my continuing Series on "requisite pages" for your website.
This article goes in depth on what you need to know about creating your "About" page, why you must have one, & a simple formula for what to include.
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It's finally time to write your About page...
...and quit procrastinating!
How do I know you've been putting this off?
That's easy! If you're a new website owner, you're terrified about writing this one page, because...
Well, you think it's all about YOU! And that's completely understandable since it IS called "about!"
But, I have good news for you! It's really not about you...and I explain why in this article, what to include, and how following a simple content formula will boost your credibility and reader trust!
If it's not about YOU...
I hear you! It's confusing...
If the "About" page is not about you — the website owner, business owner, solopreneur — who is it about & why is it called an "about" page?
The page name is inherited from conventional usage over the preceding 20+ years of websites... when it really was about the business owner...
Now, however, competition is massive and consumers — your readers — are much more demanding & sophisticated than they were just 2 decades ago!
Simply, this important page is about what you can do for your readers...
Put yourself in your readers position: when you search for anything online, you're looking for a few possible scenarios...
- You want to know how to DO something
- You want to know WHY something occurs
- You want to know HOW much some product or service costs
- You need to know HOW to fix something or prevent something from recurring
In short, you have a problem you need solved!
Your readers are looking for exactly the same thing, be it a personal or business problem.
You need to illustrate on your About page just how you can help your readers solve their problem...
How to Create Your Own "About" Page
#1: Your About page IS a WordPress page!
#2: Understand Your Readers' WHY...
You need to fully understand the various reasons WHY your readers will want to read your About page...
I touched on this above, when I said you need to put yourself in your readers' position...what you might be looking to solve when doing any online search.
But, there are several more likely reasons your reader is going the extra mile by clicking on your About page link:
Now, there is a slightly tricky balance to maintain here...
As I said in the beginning of this article, your About page is really NOT about you! It's about how you can help your reader solve their current issue. It's tempting to make the page seem "all about you" unless you craft it carefully!
Here are some of the best ways to do just that:
Your Unique Backstory
Your About page is the perfect place to indicate in more detail your journey to the present... Remember, your reader has likely already viewed at least a few important pages on your website, such as your HOME page and possibly an article or two... They want more information.
This is the perfect place to give your readers a deeper insight into you and your business. Telling a brief "backstory" is the perfect way to maintain that important problem-solving focus and still let your reader see your journey.
Every journey will be different, but here are some things to include:
- Your own path to overcome specific obstacles along your journey to NOW: what those struggles were, how you overcame them, what uphill challenges you encountered, etc. These help to create a connection with your reader, while helping to establish that you understand their current challenges because "you've been there!"
- Who you primarily serve & why (this is essential: you need to explicitly inform your readers if they are NOT in your key demographic... Example: you have a "boutique consulting firm" that delivers premium consulting — and a dedicated client consultant (providing a fair amount of 'hand-holding') — so your prices are going to reflect that premium service level & likely wouldn't be suited to mid- to low-pricing structure
- What differentiates you from others in your niche: how you work, how quickly results are delivered, personal attention, a dedicated team (PRO TIP: don't make this a pricing war! If you position yourself in regard to the value you provide you will be lightyears ahead of the competition...because there will ALWAYS be someone who comes in "cheaper" than you... That's a losing battle!)
- Your personal & business values: your own personal WHY... (Why are you in business, why you do the work you do)
- What causes you support (think Starbucks, Tom's Shoes, & Bomba Socks)
NOTE: Your own "Manifesto" is also perfect for this type of content... You can view my Manifesto here. If your journey has been fairly direct and brief — not too many twists & turns along the way — you may want to combine your Manifesto with your About page... I have chosen to create a separate Manifesto, but there is no hard and fast rule about this.
If this is your first experience at writing your About page, you might be tempted to get sidetracked by which client/customer challenges or obstacles to address in your About page. Here's a simple way to keep your focus:
- Identify the top 3 problems/obstacles/challenges your clients typically express to you. Don't spend time on every possible problem.
- Now, put them in some type of order that makes sense to your niche/client base... This could be the severity or urgency of the problem. Alternatively, it could be a "beginner" problem, beyond which the client can make no progress or take any new action.
- Finally, provide examples — using the content strategies in this section — to illustrate just how you have solved those questions for others!
A great process is to ask new clients about their top 3 challenges when you first have an individual meeting with them. Then, keep track of these in a note-taking app such as Evernote or Google Keep. Over time, you will learn exactly what problems to focus on in your future marketing. This is also a great way to build an FAQ over time...
If you publish success stories on your website, linking to them within your About page is a great way to demonstrate exactly how you have helped other clients.
f you have a significant client history — and you are not currently publishing such examples on your website, you may want to consider doing so.
Make sure you have explicit (& written) client permission for publishing such information. One way to encourage client participation is to feature them in your published case study, with a photo or two & include a link to their business. Of course, you'd only want to do this with non-competitive businesses...
Public Speaking/Conference Presentations
An excellent way to generate trust and authority is to include photos of you giving presentations, teaching classes or seminars, or giving TED talks.
These work very well, because you are illustrating that other organizations have confidence & trust in you and your authority in your niche.
And, you can demonstrate these with minimal fanfare, just by including an event photo with an explicit and descriptive caption: name the event, provide a date, name the organization, etc.
#3: "About" Page Design & Formatting
Just like other pages on your website, your About page should be designed for scanning readers! In fact, it's even more important on this page, since it can tend to become "text-heavy," considering the types of content you'll need to include.
Here are some strategies to help with make this page highly scannable:
'About' Page Example & Teardown
Here's my About page from this website. I've labelled the various sections to illustrate some possible ways to implement some of the content strategies I've described above:
Now, you're ready to take on your own About page!
By following a few simple content strategies and the example format I've shown above, you should be able to finally stop procrastinating and get your all-important About page published.
If you have any questions about how to build or write your own About page, please leave them in the Comments below!
In Part 5 & articles in this Series, learn exactly what to include on other critical pages...
I discuss: Home, Start Here, FAQ, and more...
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