You’re a small business looking for a new website designer. You come across the website of a local design studio and take a look at their past work.
You’re pretty impressed. Wanting to find out a little more about them, you look for the about section.
But wait, it’s not there: there's just past work and an email to reach out.
That, or the about page is a photo of them and a snippet of how much they enjoy eating goldfish with yogurt (it’s so good, by the way) and where they went to school.
You’re thinking: okay….but what about me?
For many, it's an afterthought, something they think they need to have because everyone else has one. For some, this page is seemingly worthless (the client is hiring you for your work, not your background, right?).
The thing is, the about section is so important to potential customers! So much so that it’s one of the most visited destinations on any website.
So, if your about section is anything but lead conversion friendly, don’t worry. Let’s walk through a few key elements of a successful designer’s about page.
What are three words that describe the feeling of you or your company? What do you want people to feel when they interact with you?
Lead in with something that invokes at least one of those feelings as they come to learn more about you.
Show your visitors that you know them, you know why they’re here, and you know how you can help: all in just a sentence or two.
Let’s take Love-Inspired, a branding and design studio, for example:
After the graphic (more about that in a bit) describing their company culture, the first thing you read is, “You’re a creative, dream-devoted woman who lives her life in the sweet spot of hustle and heart” and then “You’ve got sparkle to share and genius to give.”
Yes, yes I do!
If that doesn’t make you want to read on (as long as you fit that profile), then I don’t know what else will.
2. Relatable Statement
Let’s go back for a second to showing your visitors that you know them and why they’re on your site. Once you’ve drawn in your audience, really prove that you understand them by relating to them in some way.
Take a look at Kyla Roma, a marketing strategist, as an example of a relatable statement:
The headline of the page draws you in by identifying the benefits of her services right off the bat. Then, she relates with the reader by saying, “You’re ready for funnels, an engaged list, high converting sales pages and content that your ideal customers can’t ignore. But it’s hard to work on your business when your business needs you day-to-day.”
Right off the bat, you relate with her. Why?
She gets you. You’re crazy busy (aren’t we all, these days?), but you want to see some real frickin’ results from your marketing. Let’s keep reading to find out how!
3. Social Proof
Think about this:
When a business says “I’m the best!” do you believe them?
What if someone in your industry says “This business is the best!” Who do you believe more?
There’s a reason why advertising is dying out: customers don’t give a f*** about what businesses have to say for themselves. Everyone’s the best web developer, the best letterer, and the best designer; at least in their mind.
So where’s the proof, then? The evidence is in the reviews, the feedback, and the references by trusted individuals. You know the business is badass when everyone is talking about it; if not everyone, then at least someone.
DC Media, for example, does a great job at incorporating her clients’ feedback:
Danielle Coughlin, the owner and designer behind DC Media, uses a scrolling gallery of feedback from past clients.
This not only shows off the quality of clients she’s worked with, but also offers a piece of social proof to anyone who’s interested in working with her.
4. Personal Bio
In case you haven’t gathered by now, your about page isn’t really about…you. I know, sounds counter-intuitive, doesn’t it?
However, even though it’s not really about you, there still needs to be an element of personal connection by giving some insight to you, your background, and your mission statement.
According to Copyblogger, this page is a biography written in “the context of how you serve your readers.”
You should include the following elements in your biography stage:
A little bit about what you do (2-4 sentences; keep it short, sweet, and to the point!)
Your mission statement
A few short stories about your background that engage the reader
Here’s We Are Branch, a boutique design studio, and what they say on their about section:
They start off with their purpose, splitting it off into mission and vision.
Then, scrolling down a bit, you’ll see that they go into a section about the reader, a biographical section on Shauna (the founder), and ends with a portion on working together.
5. Visual Elements
Visual content is on the rise, and this is something that you should take advantage of as a designer.
As a creative professional in a visual industry, it’s your responsibility to ensure there isn’t just a wall of text that your readers need to sift through.
If you don’t have a lot of visual collateral at your disposal, make something!
Think of your about page as a client rather than an afterthought. This is the only way to ensure you give it the treatment it deserves. Don’t worry, it will pay off better than any of your other clients when your page starts converting like crazy!
The key is to show off what you’re good at while telling a story at the same time (a show-and-tell, if you will).
Remember when I mentioned referencing Love-Inspired again later in the blog? Well, here it is. I’m obsessed with their graphical representation of the company culture and values.
6. Opt In
By now, your reader is your best friend.
They want to work with you, they want to have coffee with you; hell - they might even want to bring you home to meet their parents!
They won’t be able to do any of that, however, without a way to hear more from you.
Collecting their email is crucial to being able to follow up with them, send them the latest updates from your blog, and ultimately keep you top of mind.
Put a couple of simple opt in forms on the page- one at the beginning, one in the middle, and one at the end. This way, your readers have ample opportunity to become a member of your badass squad #designsquadgoals.
7. Statement of Value
According to Copyblogger, there’s three questions website visitors ask when they visit this page:
What’s in this for me?
Am I in the right place?
Can this person help me with my problem?
Your value proposition should be clear from the moment they click onto your page. Your reader is there because they want to learn more about what your company can offer them, and the person behind it all. If your company can’t give them what they need, why should they buy from you?
Without getting too “sales-y” (authenticity is key, especially on this page!), show your reader why you’re the best fit for them.
I think Meg Long Creative’s website does a fabulous job at this. Upon logging in, the first thing you see is: “Website design that lets you shine”
Scrolling down, she’ll tell you that she doesn’t care about website design - a bit weird for a web designer, don’t you think?
She says that, instead, she works to see small businesses thrive.
Amen to that! Talk about a great portrayal of value by showing what she provides: assistance with helping small businesses succeed through awesome web design.
8. Great Writing
You’ve now got a lead in, a relatable statement, social proof, a short bio, lots of visual elements, a way for people keep in touch, and a value proposition. That’s a lot to fit on a page that’s meant to be short, sweet, and to the point!
There’s one final element that will tie all of this together: badass writing skills.
I get it: you’re a designer. You’d rather push pixels than type out words that are supposed to sell yourself and your business. That’s a lot of pressure! However, it’s crucial to making sure your clients never run dry.
There’s a couple of things you should consider:
People respond much better to stories than they do facts and figures.
They’re likely to remember stories a lot better than facts (they’re a lot more interesting to tell at parties!) and stories will evoke those feelings we spoke about all the way in the beginning.
There’s almost nothing worse than stumbling on an about page for a kick ass design company and forcing yourself to read industry jargon and dry language - the kind that forces you to read and re-read paragraphs over and over because you can’t help but space out halfway through.
To really captivate your audience, it’s simple: be human. Be authentic. Be yourself. Talk to them like they’re your best friend, because if you wrote your copy right, they will be!
One of my favorite and most authentic pages comes from content marketing unicorn Brittany Berger.
Reading her about section instantly makes you want to fly to NYC and binge-watch Netflix with a cup of hot cocoa with her. Oh, and you’ll probably also want to work with her. That too.
So...that’s it! Hopefully this guide has demystified about pages a little bit for you. Including these elements will not only help you convert those website leads at a much higher rate, but it will also allow you to stand out from your competition.
If writing isn’t your strong suite, no worries: I got your back. After a little collaboration, we’ll have you well on your way to creating content that sells you as the total design boss that you are!
Ashley Hoffman is a freelance content marketer based in Seattle who writes for businesses in the tech and design industries. She has studied digital marketing for over five years and has worked as a marketing professional for over two. She loves good books, awesome design, coffee, and natural disasters.
Find her on Twitter: @ashhmarketing