Reading Time: 8 Minutes.
Immediately Actionable: Yes!
When people land on your website, there is certain information they want to find quickly.
They want to know that they are in the right place and how what you have to offer is going to benefit them.
They want to get an idea of whether they can afford your products or services (and whether they are worth paying for).
They want to understand how quickly they can get their hands on those products or services.
They want it to be easy for them to contact you to find out more detailed information or buy the product or service.
Make it clear and simple for them.
Considering you have seconds to make a first impression and just minutes to hit all the points above means that you need to grab their attention, hold it and provide them with the information they are looking for at the right level of detail.
Welcome to the world of copywriting for the web.
Whether you like it or not, sooner rather than later you are going to need to write some information for your small business to appear online. Whether this is a Tweet, a product description or an email newsletter you are going to be doing this for the rest of your time promoting your business online.
Content is what makes the world wide web what it is, so it’s time for you to add yours.
For most small businesses it is the homepage of the website that people will see first. The second most trafficked page will be your ‘About’ page, and in effect this is a secondary landing page for your business and another chance for you to guide visitors towards the action your want them to take. This could be to sign up for a mailing list, contact you or buy your product directly from your website.
To get the most impact from your about page, you need to structure it effectively. Many businesses and blogs get this wrong, so I’ve written this post to help you to understand how to structure your page.
How Many About Pages Should I Have On My Website?
When I work with small businesses, especially in the service provision or consulting area, I find that they can be guilty of having too many individual pages which talk about their business that would be better rewritten in to a single, well structured about page.
Here’s an example – you will often find businesses have a page that talks about the business (when it was formed, what it does), how they do business (what processes they use), what they do (the services they offer), their customer case studies (successful campaigns to date) or some combination of the above. In certain industries it may indeed be necessary to go in to this level of detail, but the more pages you have on your website, the more points you have for information overload and turning potential customers off. Keep it simple and remember each page on you website has a single goal and you need to focus your content around that.
A Single About Page Focused On A Goal
In my preferred structure that I encourage clients to write for themselves, or I write for them as part of my services, I have a simple and effective structure that I like to use for an effective about page. This page will be dedicated towards achieving a pre-defined goal, which in the case of most of my clients in the services small businesses arena, is people getting in touch to discuss buying their services.
The Structure of an Exceptional Small Business About Page
A great small business about page will be structured with the following content, in the same order as presented below.
1: How Your Business Helps Them
Make it personal, not about you, talk about their issues and problems and how your business will help ease their pain.
The reason businesses exists is to provide products or services that are solutions to peoples problems. Airlines provide a solution (air travel) to the problem (travelling thousands of miles in a limited time) that people have.
Your business will provide a solution to people with a problem. The opening of your about page is therefore to grab the readers attention by describing how the products or services you offer will provide them with the benefits of overcoming their problems.
Benefits Not Features
You can talk about the features of your product or service in deeper pages of your website. On your about page, you want to focus on the benefits you provide. Let’s take my goals for this blog as an example. The features of my blog are that it provides information and action plans for small businesses to grow their online presence. The benefits I like to aim to provide are that it saves busy small business owners time by providing them with simple, actionable resources to help their business to grow online.
What benefits does your business provide to what problems?
2: Why They Should Pick Your Business?
This is where you actually start to talk about your business, as opposed to theirs. The aim here is to persuade people that working with your business will provide them with more benefits that another business. You also need to provide evidence of why they should pick your business.
The things to emphasise in this section are the credibility indicators that make your business trustworthy. This will usually be a combination of three things:
i) Testimonials from Existing Customers.
ii) Membership of Credible Organisations, and Awards.
iii) Significant milestones and achievements for your company.
Remember the focus of this section is to convince people that your business is the right one to pick. The best way to do this, rather than talking about the how of your work is to show the social proof, primarily from third parties (existing customers, review sites, awards) of why your business is worth trusting.
What will convince them to do business with you?
3: Optional: The ‘How We Work’ Section
This is more relevant for service focused rather than product businesses and you may choose either to include this section in your about page, your home page (if it is nice an concise) or a deeper page on your website or blog post if it is truly necessary.
People seek to save time before contacting a business by trying to work out whether it is the type of company they would like to work with by checking them out online.
Providing information on how you work, emphasising benefits and significant engagement features (such as trials, free consultations) helps answer their questions. This extra information could be the difference between them contacting you to do business or clicking the back button.
Keep it short, linking to a deeper page on your website if necessary and provide a simple overview that will reassure potential customers that you know what you are doing and will get them the results they want.
How does the way you work get them better results?
4: Brief Information About Who You And Your Business Are
This is the section that most people would have as their whole about page.
Here is where you talk about you and your business, providing a little background of any relevant detail which isn’t covered in the above sections. It is great to add a little dash of personality in here and a photo of yourself or your team is great as it adds the human touch and slightly breaks the barrier interacting with a computer by showing that there are people behind it. Focus on how you and your team are experts and passionate about what you do and close with a friendly statement which will have people itching to get in touch with you to do business.
Why are you great to do business with?
5: Calls To Action
As I said earlier in the article, it is important to decide on a single goal for your about page. Once you have this, you need to provide clear and simple calls to action.
There will be one at the end of this page in section five, but I would also highly recommend that you break up each of the above sections with a call to action. This could be an email sign up form, or a link to your contact page or a specific ‘free consultation’ or ‘free trial’ application page that you want them to use.
The aim with a call to action, to make taking that action the only option they have, and one that they want to take.
There you have a nice structure to work with to create a high converting about page for your business. I would recommend that you minimise the distractions on this page as much as possible by removing anything that isn’t related to taking the single action you have for that page. This will probably mean removing the sidebar and going for a full-width post in WordPress.
Make sure you keep the content as concise as possible, try if you can to keep below 500 words and break up the text with gaps (white space) and a couple of well placed images if appropriate.
Where talking about people it is great to include pictures to bring out the personality behind the computer screen. Make your calls to action clear and simple.
The only thing that remains is to you review your about page on a regular basis to provide the latest most relevant content, and up to date testimonials and customer feedback.
If you follow this structure you will have a more effective sub-landing page for your small business websites on one of the most highly trafficked and critical pages on your site.
If you have any questions let me know in the comments below.