Writing your About Page is the hardest page to write on your website. So many of my clients struggle with this page. And I do too.
And, to be honest, it is the page most people get WRONG (that and the services page – but that’s another post)
You don’t like talking about yourself. Maybe, like me, you’re British and were brought up that’s it is rude to brag. Maybe you used to work for a large organisation and had been taught it isn’t about you – it is about the company. And you just feel uncomfortable talking about yourself. You don’t want the spotlight on you. You just want to get on with building your business. Am I right?
But your About Page is a hugely important page on your website. Website visitors usually want to know more about you before they decide to work with you – it is about the know, like and trust factor. They say people buy from people. Actually, when you run a service based business people buy from people they think understand them.
They’re interested in YOU and they are looking to see if they think YOU can help them. And to be honest, we’re all a bit nosey!!
So what can you do?
Here are my 7 top tips to help you.
1. Think of it as the “why you” page
You might have heard some people say that this page isn’t about you, it is about your audience. But I don’t think that’s entirely right either.
I like to think of this page as the “why you” page rather than “about you”. You see the job of this page is to convince anyone who is wavering that you’re the right person to help them. That they can trust you.
And that’s the job of this page – to build trust in you as a person to help your potential clients. It’s a big and important job.
It doesn’t mean spilling the beans about everything you have done at all, it is thinking about what is relevant to “why you”
2. Write a list of what you have in common with your target audience
We’re more likely to trust people we have things in common with.
You know what it is like when you meet someone for the first time. You make small talk. You’re looking for the connections. You might ask where they’re from, what they do, if they have any holiday plans. And before you know it you realise you both have a love of Italy – the amazing food and wine and friendly people – and you’re swapping stories and they’re your new best friend. No? Maybe just me then…
But that is what a good About page does. Because we’re more likely to trust someone we have things in common with
On my about page I share that I used to work for someone else. I’m ex-corporate. I had a career change. That’s because my target audience did too. Of course I don’t restrict myself to just working with people who are ex-corporate, but my target audience is ex-corporate or ex-public sector. Their new business isn’t their first rodeo – it isn’t mine either.
And being ex-corporate brings with it a whole set of beliefs. Not all of these are helpful (although some are). And if they think I can identify with them. I can understand them. They’re going to be more likely to choose to work with me than someone else.
Similar with being a parent. I don’t talk much about my family for privacy reasons. I have 2 teens and they don’t want me talking about them. Barney my dog is less fussed so I share more about him – especially on social media. My target audience has caring responsibilities – they’re usually mums. It’s another connection point. As is having a dog – and non-urban living.
Now don’t overdo this – you want them to see the connection not be bored by endless tales of what your dog gets up to. You can leave that for social media…
3. What’s the main reason people should choose to work with you
This one is a bit trickier. I get that. Most entrepreneurs don’t have a clue. I remember chatting to one of my clients, Kerry, about this when I was building her website a few years ago. She was a pilates instructor. There are lots of pilates instructors. Many of them are very flexible, fit and live a very healthy life. Part of the green smoothie brigade if you like. They live, eat and breathe pilates. Absolutely nothing wrong with that. But that wasn’t Kerry.
Kerry was struggling with thinking about “what made her different”. She commented that she wasn’t. She was “just like you”. And that was one of the key reasons people came to her. She was just like her clients. She was warm and friendly, liked a few glasses of wine and loved cake. She was also fully trained in pilates and had a life long love of learning so was continuing to invest in her pilates – working with different instructors. That was why people came to work with her. They weren’t necessarily interested in being the best at pilates. They just wanted to move better. And spend an hour of doing something that was of benefit to them – in the enjoyable company of Kerry.
With a business like pilates location is important too. Don’t overlook convenience as it is a key reason people choose to work with one person or business over another.
4. Show your authority by Talking about your Experience, Qualifications and Awards that are relevant
The About page is not your life story. People don’t want to know about things unless they’re relevant to the “why you”.
If you have done something for 20 years that is not relevant then you don’t need to include it. Gaps in your life are absolutely fine on your About Page – this is not your CV. You don’t need to explain any parts of your life that are not relevant. But if you have relevant qualifications or experience then absolutely include them!
The fact that you have been on the same path as you take your clients on is particularly key. If you are the weight loss coach they’re not really going to be interested in when and where you were born, how many siblings you had or the first job you had on leaving school (unless it was in a biscuit factory!). Choose what you are going to write about based upon what is RELEVANT to them. They want to read the inspirational story of the person who struggled with losing weight, was successful, set up a business to help others and can hopefully help them too. Reading the honest story of their struggle. Where they were before they embarked on the journey. The ups and downs of that journey (including the days they fell off the wagon and ate a packet of hobnobs washed down with a tub of Ben and Jerry’s). And how life is now they are on the other side. They identify with it and warm to the author. It both shows your credibility and it satisfies their curiosity.
Likewise with any awards or press you have been in. We know that these say more about your PR strategy than about how good you really are. But clients like them. It reinforces their belief that you are GOOD at what you do (which you are!). These must be relevant though – your audience is not interested in any golf days you have won unless you are providing golf products or services….
I remember going to the Harry Potter studios a few years ago and visiting the house where the Dursleys lived. Just as fascinating, for me anyway, as seeing where Harry slept under the stairs though was the framed certificates in the hallway from his cousin’s school where he got certificates for “eating his school dinners” all week. A brilliant example of boasting about something rather than thinking about whether it is relevant to “why you”.
I’m working with a fantastic wedding cake maker at the moment. She has recently won “wedding cake designer of the year“ in the Kent wedding awards. We’ll include the logo on her home page but the about page is a chance to explain it a bit more. This award is a big deal. In part because it is judged by other wedding cake makers from outside the county – something I didn’t know until Deborah explained it to me.
Testimonials are another way to show your authority. This is other people saying what a great job you do. Again it is reinforcing their belief in you.
5. Write as if you’re talking to your target audience
Just like the rest of your website, you should write your About Page as if you’re talking directly to your target audience. None of this “Marie Brown this and Marie Brown that”, unless your target audience is corporates – and I mean corporate corporates like accountants, law firms and FTSE companies not your local sandwich shop.
Use the kind of language they use. I plan to do another episode on how to write the copy for your website
But use your “target audience voice”. I don’t mean the posh one you use on the phone (I swear I don’t do this but my children insist I do!). I mean the one you would use if your ideal client was sat in front of you.
I talk to my kids differently to the way I might talk to my girl friends over a glass of wine or the Queen – ok I’ve never met the Queen but if I did I don’t think I’d talk to her the way I talk to my girl friends over wine or my kids. I’d probably leave out a few details that might not impress her but would have my friends chortling at my mishaps.
In fact I often suggest to clients that they talk and record themselves. Pretend you have your Ideal Client sat in front of you and explain whatever it is you’re writing about. That recording is a good first draft which just needs the umms and the sos removing and a bit of polishing up.
And please never talk in jargon unless your audience will understand it. Few people are impressed by people talking above them.
6. Use stories
Use stories to demonstrate the point you are making. Stories are INTERESTING. You can use humour. Show vulnerability (people don’t want perfection – they want to see you understand their struggles). Show you are a human being. Just like they are. Your story will be different to theirs but there will be similarities that they can relate to.
The thing about stories is it makes people read more. It draws them in. They can get to know you more. And that is a good thing.
7. Use images to good effect
The last tip is to use images. Your audience want to see you. If you’re that weight loss coach they absolutely want to see the before and after. If you talk about your dog, or cat, or horse or whatever then try to include an image of you with them.
Images tell the story too. It’s hard to trust someone if you don’t know what they look like. No-one is noticing that your nose isn’t straight or you’re a few pounds heavier than you’d like to be. Just smile!
Writing your About page doesn’t need to be difficult. You just need to think about it as the “why you” page and write as if you’re talking to one of your Ideal Clients.
Think about what you have in common, why they might choose to work with you and show your authority by talking about your experience, qualifications and relevant press coverage. Then use stories and images to make this a more interesting read.
It really does make the difference in establishing the “know, like and trust” factor which is so important.