Who the hell are you anyway? | Boagworld - Web & Digital Advice

Web & Digital Advice

Digital and web advice from Headscape and the addled brain of Paul Boag... tell me more

Paul Boag Posted by: Paul Boag On Friday, 22nd October, 2010

Who the hell are you anyway?

About us pages are the neglected step child of the web design world. This needs to change.

Content Strategy:
The estimated time to read this article is 4 minutes

I am fed up with boring about us pages that consist of the company history and a letter from the CEO. Nobody cares!

Everybody feels like they have to have an about us section, but few know why or what they should include. Too often they turn into long rambling documents which spout useless facts about the company. Instead (as with the rest of your site) they need to focus on users needs. So what is it that users are looking for in an about us section?

I believe there are certain questions users have in their minds when they turn to the “about us” section of your website. These include:

Are you financially stable?

If there is going to be some kind of financial arrangement between yourself and the user they wants to know that you are going to be around long enough to honour that arrangement. Will you deliver before you go out of business?

37signals

Who are the people behind your company?

Whether a user is judging the reliability of content or the trustworthiness of a supplier, they want to get a sense of the people behind the organisation.

clearleft website

What is the make up of your organisation?

Users may want to know how your company is organised. For example if the website is for a web design agency they may want to know how many project managers you have or whether you have enough developers to deal with their workload.

Erskine Design

What do you do?

Users don’t just want to know what you do they want to know quickly. They don’t want to read pages of copy. They want a one paragraph summary that gives them a quick overview.

tricycleinc.com

What is this company’s culture?

If the user is going to be engaging personally with your company (for example if you are a service based business) then they will want a sense of your company culture. Will they get on with you? Are you too formal or too irreverent? What kind of experience can they expect?

Two Giraffes

What makes you different?

With so many competitors in most markets and with them only a click away, users want a sense of what makes you different. The about us section should give a sense of that difference.

Greenpeace

Can they back up their claims?

Users are increasingly suspicious about claims made on websites. They may turn to the about us section to see if you can backup those claims by trying to understand more about the business behind the promises.

MailChimp

What do they stand for (and against)

Users care increasingly about the philosophy behind an organisation. They care whether your company takes ethical positions or have a particular approach to business. The about us section is an ideal place for showing that you care.

innocent drinks

Are they trustworthy?

Trust is a huge issue online. Users are hyper sensitive to the fact that a website can hide a multitude of sins. They hear all the time about scams online and the dangers of handing over credit card details. They turn to the about us section in the hopes of discovery whether you are a real organisation that can be trusted.

zappos

I actually found it very hard to find good examples of about us pages for this post. Do you know of any shining examples of well written about us pages? If so it would be great to see them. Post links in the comments below.

Become a web expert with our newsletter

Receive invaluable advice every three weeks and get two free video presentations for subscribing. You can unsubscribe in one click.

Blog Updates

You can follow all my posts by subscribing to my RSS feed or signing up to my email newsletter above.

Podcast Updates

Subscribe to the podcast via itunes or RSS. You can also subscribe to my quick tips via itunes and RSS too.

Social Updates

I am completely addicted to Twitter so try following me there. I also have a Facebook page which contains considerably less waffle.

Comments

Boagworld is a community, not just the voice of one blogger. You've read the post, now its time to get involved.