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Tell others about you

There are two main reasons people visit a website – they want information on a topic or they want information about the business behind the site.

So why do some sites avoid sharing anything about themselves?

Add an about us page to your website and blog

About us page Word ConstructionsAs Chris Lake wrote, an about us page “is surely one of the only true rules of doing business online. I can think of no good reason why you wouldn’t have one.”

An about us page can be very simple but it can make a huge difference to people thinking of doing business with you.

For a stand alone blog, it lets readers know who is writing the posts – for instance, is it a business or an individual, is it by an expert or someone learning the topic, or is the blog focussed on a specific topic or just a collection of ideas.

For a business website, it can build enough credibility for me to do business with you – or not.

How ‘about us’ can build credibility

  1. you are being open and transparent compared to making me wonder why you are hiding things – no name on a website instantly makes me suspicious
  2. providing history shows the business is more than a fly-by-night – if you’ve been in business for a few years, you must have done something right!
  3. explaining how the business began or the passion behind the business will certainly give me a believe in the intent of the business and its owners
  4. introducing team members can give me an idea of what skills are available for me as a potential client
  5. listing values or just writing a personal story can show the company culture

I have an about us page on my website and as part of my blog, even though they are on the same domain, so it is easy for people to read about me and my business. I wonder if I’m brave enough to ask if you have read either of them!

How important is an about us page when you are assessing a potential supplier or service provider?

Adding the basics around your blog content

Last week I asked what features do we expect to find in a blog, beside the actual content. So this week I will answer the question 🙂

I think there are many features but using them all creates a cluttered look that can overpower the content so it is worth deciding which features best suit your needs and your readers. However, here are some of the basic features that I think are important and pretty much form the base level of reader expectations:

  • an about us page (regardless of what you actually call it) gives background information that can be really important and interesting. For example, it tells me if you are an expert or an enthusiast and whether you provide a service/product related to your topic
  • a search function is handy either because I only want to read certain information or because I want to reread something I read previously
  • previous posts gives me a better idea of what the blog covers – and confirms that there are actually other posts available (not so obvious in the essay-style posts I mentioned last week!)
  • a list of categories is something I find very useful in blogs I visit – it lets me read about topics I am particularly interested in rather than wading through posts on other topics. This is especially important in a blog with a broad appeal – for example, a blog on business may have categories of marketing, accounts and sales techniques which I could ignore if I just wanted their time saving tips
  • many blogs include a blog roll so therefore many people expect to see  one and I’m adding it to this list although I personally don’t pay much attention to blogrolls when I visit blogs

While perhaps not a basic, some form of subscription notice is also a common and useful tool to offer on your blog – make it easier for people to keep up to date with your blog and you are likely to have more loyal readers. You have various options – a RSS feed, email notifications or a newlsetter susbcription are probably the most common and obvious.

Are any of these features you find more important when visiting a blog? Any that you have chosen not to use on your blog for some reason? Why?

Having an about us page

When surfing around sites and blogs, you occasionally come across a site without an About Us page. To be honest, I don’t always look at an about us page anyway, but it really annoys me when I want to and there isn’t one there to look at.

Why do I want to look at an about us page sometimes?

  • I may want to know where they are based, and the contact us page doesn’t give enough information
  • I don’t understand something on the site and want to check a fact. For instance, if I am unsure if they do consultations as well as sell a product/service, I may check the about us page for details
  • if I want to contact the site/business owner (for example to suggest a joint venture or acknowledge something), I like to use their name and an About Us page is the obvious place to find their name
  • An about us page usually gives me an idea of the size of the business which can sometimes be important
  • I can get a better sense of who is behind the site/blog which can develop my trust/their credibility, or at least give me an idea if the person is speaking as an expert in their blog or just sharing their opinions

I also know many people who really like to know who is behind a business before they deal with it – they want personal stories on the about us page and would even prefer a photo of the owner and key partners/staff.

So, do you have an about us page on your site or blog?

As writing About Us pages is one of the most common web content requests I get, I really should post some tips for writing (or improving) your about us page!