The About Page is probably one of the most highly viewed pages on your business website. On this website, it’s the second most visited page. According to my Google Analytics, over 80% of all visitors to this website view the About Page first or second. Pay attention to where you gravitate next time you surf a business web page. Whether it’s an S&P 500 company or a small start-up, we’re curious to learn more about the leadership. We want to answer two basic questions:
1. Is leadership credible?
2. Is leadership enthusiastic?
The second most visited page! The About Page represents a huge opportunity to brand the business, yet many organizations neglect it. Don’t miss the chance. Once you’ve covered the basic journalism facts of who, what, when, where, and why, don’t waste any more space. Share a story. A story will probably be more memorable and engaging than any facts and figures you can possibly spout.
So what are some of the attributes of an engaging About Us story? Cloud service Dropbox has a great example an About Page that conveys credibility and enthusiasm without beating the readers over the head.
“Dropbox was founded in 2007 by Drew Houston and Arash Ferdowsi, two MIT students tired of emailing files to themselves to work from more than one computer.”
The written story is retold consistently, such as this MIT Technology Review interview with Drew Houston.
“For me, it goes all the way back to MIT, where there is a campus network called Athena. You can sit down at any of thousands of workstations and your whole environment follows you around: not just your files but where your icons were on your desktop. Then I left and discovered that no one had really built that for the rest of the world.”
The breaking point for me was a bus ride. I went down to Boston’s South Station to ride the Chinatown bus to New York. I was thrilled to open my laptop and have four hours where I could finally get some work done. But I had that sinking feeling that something was wrong, and I started feeling in my back pocket for my thumb drive, and of course I could just see it sitting on my desk at home. So I sulked for about 10 or 15 minutes and then opened up the [text] editor and wrote some code that I thought would solve the problem. And I met up with Arash through a mutual friend at MIT, and he decided to drop out with a semester left, and we went to California and got to work.
Enthusiasm. We hear lots of emotional words, and nothing technical about servers in the cloud. (Tired, breaking point, thrilled, sinking feeling, sulked). This is visceral language we can feel, instead of product jargon and specifications. The sense of frustration that drove the founders is palpable, and we all can relate to not having access to a file when we need it.
Credibility. Drew and Arash went to MIT, so we assume they’re intelligent. Drew wrote the first lines of code on the bus! This is more effective than saying, “Drew is a really good software coder.” Saying, “We went to California and got to work,” tells us they are people of action. Through subtle, everyday language, we can infer that they are savvy go-getters without having to hear over-used terms like “visionary” or “innovative.”
Time, Place & Details. He isn’t just “on a bus.” It’s a four hour bus trip from Boston’s South Station to Chinatown in New York. Houston gives us enough detail to create a mental movie without making it so specific that we can’t join in. We can imagine feeling around in our pocket (sense of touch) for the thumb drive, the sense of anticipation builds, and then we can join in his dismay as we visualize the drive sitting on the desk back home.
Now take a second look at your organization’s About Page.
Does it tell a story that conveys leadership’s credibility and enthusiasm in simple language?