Branding Best Practices: “About” Pages that Rock

Tadeusz Szewczyk
by Tadeusz Szewczyk | Last Updated Apr. 8th, 2015 0 COMMENTS

store-owner*

One of the most neglected parts of many websites is still the about or team page. To establish credibility from the start it has to be very appealing though.

I have collected some good examples to show you so that you can follow in their footsteps.

The about page ideally makes you likeable, memorable and trustworthy.

Do you live in a remote village? Then you may have only one store in you vicinity. You may know the store owner by name. You know the whole family. Your kids may play with them. In such circumstance branding is not necessary. Everybody already knows who the store owner is. Also there is no competition you have to differentiate from. So why bother?

The exact opposite is the humongous corporation. Whether it’s Walmart, Nike or Apple we know their brands and what they stand for unless of course you look behind the scenes. Their branding is the result of enormous advertising budget earned on the backs of millions of minimum wage workers. These companies manufacture or rather buy products from third parties for a few bucks and sell them for ten times the money they paid. So they have a lot of funds to spend on their image.

You are in-between the two. As a small business owner you are like the store oner from the first example, you want to get known and liked by the people but you have to get the word out without a spectacular budget.

The global village is very crowded with businesses similar to yours.

It’s extremely hard to differentiate them let alone remember them. You may be just one of dozens, hundreds, thousands or even more depending on the context. Locally you may one of a few, in your region you will probably already compete with dozens. In the whole country hundreds of other vendors may try to get the attention of potential visitors.

 

Design the about content

One of the issues I often encounter with websites is that the designers do not want to design the actual content. They prefer to put some “Lorem Ipsum” dummy text on your site instead of copying the actual one from your old site for example. While there are design and readability best practices that always apply

you can’t expect proper branding from your about or team page when you just replace dummy text with some of your own.

In most cases the actual content is also so different from the Lorem Ipsum standard that it doesn’t even look good at all let alone leave a positive impression on your visitors. When planning a redesign do not forget the about page or require the designer to provide a custom made one from the start.

Adapt the web design to the actual content, not the other way around. Websites are like trucks, without content they are empty and do not really work. It’s the content that makes them useful. You wouldn’t break up your furniture to fit in the delivery truck would you?

 

Display your core values

You do not only want to appear different by the way your site as a whole – and the about section specifically – are designed. You also have to express why you are actually different than the others. You are not Walmart or a franchise so that you have to consider what your core values are and how express them. Otherwise you can only compete by location and price.

On the Web without branding you would have to rely mostly on generic search traffic.

You can’t compete with the global players who will move from China to Bangladesh once their workers in China demand to get a living wage. Sustainability can be core value. Doing business without killing the planet. Availability 24/7 can be. Just think firemen. Even excellent customer service can be one. Caring for the people who trusted you once.

In case the only reason you started a business is to make money you are doing it wrong. Consider how you want to change the world to the better and communicate it.

 

Show who you are

simply-measured-team-holds-hands

On the Web anonymity and identity can be a slippery slope. As a business person it is often advisable to show your face, your real one. You ideally hire a professional photographer to take pictures of you. There are also other ways to show yourself and more importantly who you are too. You could hire an illustrator who can draw you and your team members. You can even dress up like on Halloween.

curalate-meet-us-dress-up

It’s crucial to prove that real people are behind your business. Nobody trusts generic stock images. Usability studies even have shown that such images get ignored straight away. It’s the same effect we know from banner blindness.

You can show your tools, machinery or team at work while actually doing something.

zomato-strangers-vs-friends

It’s important to be real and prove it. Without real life images your business may be just another website someone built using a free template. Even free templates may be good but they need to be filled with actual representations of real people, be it drawings, videos, illustrations.

In case people are not an option (you may feel too old, ugly or shy for example) items you work with may be sufficient proof that the business is operating for real.

  • Tools
  • machinery
  • your products

may be attractive enough to be shown off and give the reassuring impression of a real business “not jut a website”.

push-people

On the other hand you don’t need to be a model to have your image shown on an about or team page. I love how the people from Push look both perfectly natural and not like a bunch of hipsters so they are even more trustworthy. They are both young and old for sure and some exceptionally pretty women are among them but the lady above left is the “Director of Finance”, a job you wouldn’t entrust a young inexperienced girl would you?

 

Tell your story

Studies have shown that storytelling is one of the most important factors to make people listen to you and remember what you’ve said. That’s why we prefer to watch movies with heroes fighting against all odds instead of factual but boring representations of “big data”.

Yes, I know. Captain Obvious strikes again but the latest data hype had me almost convinced that it’s all about about numbers these days.

It’s not. We’re still humans. We want to deal with other people not companies and we want to know who they are by learning something about their background.

curalate-story-video

What is your story? It can by anything worthwhile to tell about you and your business. It can be the difficult path you had to walk through before starting your business. It could be the process you went through to come up with your actual product idea.It can be the historical or personal context.

push-chris-robb-story

 

More Resources on About and Team Pages Elsewhere

  1. Guidelines for Writing a Good About Page
  2. Creating Creative ‘Meet The Team’ Pages (With 13 Awesome Examples)
  3. How to Create a Great About Page
  4. 20 Creative & Useful “About” Pages
  5. Are You Making These 7 Mistakes with Your About Page?
  6. Write a Better About Us Page – It’s Not About Us, It’s About You!
  7. How To Use Your ‘About Us’ Page To Acquire Customers

 

 

* Creative Commons image by Foo Connor