Fact: The “About” page is super-important because it tells a quick story about what a company does.
So why are so many startups guilty of having terrible “About” pages?
I recently reviewed a bunch of startup Websites to put together mini-descriptions about them. The obvious place to get information was the “About” page. The problem, however, that many of them were confusing and incomprehensible.
Rather than quickly stating “we do A for B because we’re really good at C”, there were rambling stories about how the startup was created, or copy that went round and round without getting to the point.
It was like these startups were cutting off their noses to spite their faces. When there are potential customers, investors, employees or partners looking to discover what a startup does, the answers weren’t obvious.
In a fast-moving world, this is a major mistake. If information isn’t delivered quickly, people lose their patience. People want instant information and they don’t want to work to get it.
Why are so many About pages so bad? I think one of the biggest reasons is they aren’t seen as important as the homepage when, in fact, they are just as important. I suspect most startups treat About pages as after-thoughts rather than priorities.
Another issue is About pages are seen as a place to dump lots of information about a company’s products, history, founders, vision, mission, media contacts, press releases and how to contact. It creates data dumping ground rather than something useful for key stakeholders.
About pages don’t have to be boring, formal and dull but they have to be clear, engaging and educational. There is room for creativity and brand personality but avoid getting too cute or, worse, obtuse.
So what are the key components for a good About page?
As a starting point, they should answer these questions. At the very least, an About page should tackle the first two questions. does:
- Who are we?
- What do we do?
- When did we start?
- Why did we create the startup?
- What’s your vision or mission?
Here’s an example of a solid About page. Right away, Grammarly makes it clear about its vision and what its product does. This provides important context. Grammarly also offers information about how many people use its product and how many organizations have licensed it. The rest of the About page features a time of key developments over the past eight years.
Grammarly’s About page is short and sweet. It offers the combination of straightforward information about what it does with some creativity. It’s a model that startups can follow to quickly improvement their About pages.
Ideally, someone comes away from an About page with clarity about a startup’s story. It establishes a starting point for next steps because everyone’s on the same page. When an About page is confusing or fails to succinctly tell a story, it causes people to pause or, worse, move on. In other words, get to the point….and then you can get creative with videos, photos, timelines, etc.
Bottom line: Good About pages quickly tell someone what a startup does, who it serves and why it’s interesting. This is About 101. They need to serve multiple audiences so need to be accessible. Creativity and good design are important but telling people what you do should rule the roost. For more insight on how to best approach About pages, check out this article by Six Revisions.
If you’re looking to jump-start your startup marketing, I can help you make it happen – everything from messaging and brand positioning to strategic planning and content development. I published a book, Storytelling for Startups, that provides strategic and tactical guidance to entrepreneurs looking to embrace the power of story-driven marketing.