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  1. #1
    SitePoint Guru bronze trophy
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    We need to talk "About Us" ...pages, that is

    While not a fan of About Us pages, it is a valid copywriting topic. And there are a few companies who can talk about themselves in ways that help others understand the company and its philosophy.

    Howies conversational style presents a nice timeline of events and struggles. This hosting provider presents an alternative "Why Choose Us" page. A law firm gets the idea ...it's not about the company, "US" can also be about the customer relationship.

    If there's an "us" then customers must be "them." A way to shift the focus off the company talking about itself -- largely to itself -- is to write about why the customer should choose your company over competitors.

  2. #2
    In memoriam gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Schulz's Avatar
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    And don't forget Sara Smith's "Ask Me" plugin for WordPress.

  3. #3
    Carpe Diem = Fish of the Day fisherboy's Avatar
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    One effective way of achieving the customer-relevant focus is to write about your customers and their reasons for dealing with you in the first paragraph.

    e.g. Our Customers is the first header.

    It is also important to remember that the main purpose of the About Us page is to establish your credibility as a supplier. Answer the question "Why should you trust me?".
    fisherboy
    Web Site Design

  4. #4
    <code></code><WoW></WoW> nukeemusn's Avatar
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    Wow. That's actually pretty deep. Then again, I'm pretty shallow sometimes, so take that for what it's worth.

    Seriously. The part about the customer necessarily being "them" if we're "us" makes a lot of sense. This is especially true in the context of web development and related service-oriented businesses. To do our jobs successfully, we need to be a team with our clients. Man, I'm going to sooo use this. You know, the next time I get around to re-vamping my own site...
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  5. #5
    SitePoint Addict palgrave's Avatar
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    I just had this one out with a copywriter today.

    "about us" = "what we think of ourselves" in most cases.

    "what we can do for you" is more important IMHO.

  6. #6
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    An old idea -- The Platinum Rule.

  7. #7
    SitePoint Co-founder Matt Mickiewicz's Avatar
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    Any critiques on SitePoint's page?

    http://sitepoint.com/about/
    Matt Mickiewicz - Co-Founder
    SitePoint.com - Empowering Web Developers Since 1997
    Follow me on Twitter.

  8. #8
    SitePoint Guru bronze trophy
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    The SitePoint page has a little something for everybody. The timeline is a strong point, hitting lots of the milestones which give context.

    The weakest point is Media Enquiries, which pulls up a popup which gives the impression it's trying to sell me something. That's really off the point. Dismissing the popup reveals there's a simple form. My suggestion is -- if there is any offer -- it should be a press kit, no popups.

    The news section and archive are okay. The releases are pretty much standard fare. A nice touch is the "newsbite quote." A little skimpy in what I checked but okay.

    Profiles of the team left something to be desired. You can put together some kind of backgrounder by cherrypicking from the timeline, but there really isn't a backgrounder as such. A press packet offering could offer backgrounders, if there were one. Downloadable pictures are pretty standard, but missing here.

    Overall, it's pretty well rounded. Some ideas for inspiration would be quarterly podcasts of upcoming important events or milestones. I didn't look very far, but releases with more information value, including pics could be an idea. (Check this one for Red Lobster). A media calendar may also be something you want to consider. The decade mark is an opportunity for a lot of publicity opportunities.
    Last edited by DCrux; Apr 25, 2007 at 04:04.

  9. #9
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    Thanks for the information.

  10. #10
    Is Still Alive silver trophybronze trophy RetroNetro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Mickiewicz View Post
    Any critiques on SitePoint's page?

    http://sitepoint.com/about/
    Sorry Matt, reviews and critiques are only allowed in the reviews forum

  11. #11
    SEO/SEM Unkn0wnPlayer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Mickiewicz View Post
    Any critiques on SitePoint's page?

    http://sitepoint.com/about/
    I like the time line approach.

  12. #12
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    4 Reasons Why We Have More Repeat Visitors"

  13. #13
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    Hey guys,
    Interesting thread. But I have to be devil's advocate here, particularly in response to palgrave's comment and the concept of "About Us" setting up a "them and us" mentality.

    As a customer, I like About Us. When I go to a site, I am me, and you are "them". We are not a team. Most of the time, I've barely even heard anything of you besides your URL and (maybe) a comment or two from a friend or associate (or what appeared as the site description in a SERP).

    Now, obviously, what I want to know about you will depend significantly on what I'm trying to buy. But as a customer I generally go to the About Us page to get a business's credentials, not more schpiel about what great partners we're going to be when I sign up to buy whatever you're selling.

    Take insurance, for example. What an insurer can do for me is a vastly different thing from who the insurer is and, to my mind, it should appear on a separate page. Of course, the fact that an insurer is underwritten by a large multinational organization which has been around for over 130 years (which information would presumably appear on the About Us page) is likely to influence my perception of that insurer and their ability to pay out any claims I make.

    For that reason I really like fisherboy's suggestion that Our Customers should be prominent -- if the insurer's customers are big deal organisations, I'm likely to be impressed, and my perceptions of the insurer's credibility are likely to increase. Of course, I'll also want to see something retail-oriented to convince me that the company is interested in supporting little old me in my flat on Suburban Street with my 5-year-old stereo, family-heirloom soup spoon and collection of Star Wars Figurines. And information to those ends, like all information on a sales-oriented site, should be presented clearly and accessibly.

    Basically, I think it's a bit of a pitfall to think that customers want to be reassured and invited into a "relationship" all the time. Lots of customers don't have time for schmoozing -- they just want the facts. Also, people like chunking -- it makes it easier to take information in -- which is another argument for making the About Us page actually be about the company, and not to blur the lines with too much touchy-feely cotton wool. Though again, the caveat here is that what they want form About Us depends on the product or service you're selling.

    Just my 2 cents.

    g

  14. #14
    Graphic Designer silver trophy Dache's Avatar
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    There has always been something with About Us pages which displeases me. I dont like seeing people being dishonest about their one person company by calling it "us". It creates a platform of distrust which will ultimately influence my global vision of said company.
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  15. #15
    www.logoraman.com electroskan.com's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Johnny Gulag View Post
    Sorry Matt, reviews and critiques are only allowed in the reviews forum
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  16. #16
    www.logoraman.com electroskan.com's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dache View Post
    There has always been something with About Us pages which displeases me. I dont like seeing people being dishonest about their one person company by calling it "us". It creates a platform of distrust which will ultimately influence my global vision of said company.
    I agree with that. Sometimes when a visitor comes to your site (a design agency) and see that all the work is being done by one person...they tend to think twice before they give you the work. Ofcourse if your work is of high quality then you may get the deal. What the client is thinking is that...OK this guy charges me the same as a design company....then why don't I give them the work because then I can expect a professional treatment of my work and the success of the company speaks for itself. Often design companies have a lot of work to show in their portfolio because there are many designers around unlike a one person company. Again I might be wrong about my perception of the whole thing....but this is what I believe.
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  17. #17
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    I admire the strategy of the hosting company. Especially the classification of their services into four groups.
    fash

  18. #18
    SitePoint Addict irkyo's Avatar
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    I think About Us page is important for customers. You should be intent by writing the content for this page. It's like a "face" of the company. I like "we" more and I think it's better not to combine customers and company into one team. It's my opinion.

  19. #19
    I hate Spammers mobyme's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by georgina View Post
    Hey guys,
    Interesting thread. But I have to be devil's advocate here, particularly in response to palgrave's comment and the concept of "About Us" setting up a "them and us" mentality.

    As a customer, I like About Us. When I go to a site, I am me, and you are "them". We are not a team. Most of the time, I've barely even heard anything of you besides your URL and (maybe) a comment or two from a friend or associate (or what appeared as the site description in a SERP).

    Now, obviously, what I want to know about you will depend significantly on what I'm trying to buy. But as a customer I generally go to the About Us page to get a business's credentials, not more schpiel about what great partners we're going to be when I sign up to buy whatever you're selling.

    Take insurance, for example. What an insurer can do for me is a vastly different thing from who the insurer is and, to my mind, it should appear on a separate page. Of course, the fact that an insurer is underwritten by a large multinational organization which has been around for over 130 years (which information would presumably appear on the About Us page) is likely to influence my perception of that insurer and their ability to pay out any claims I make.

    For that reason I really like fisherboy's suggestion that Our Customers should be prominent -- if the insurer's customers are big deal organisations, I'm likely to be impressed, and my perceptions of the insurer's credibility are likely to increase. Of course, I'll also want to see something retail-oriented to convince me that the company is interested in supporting little old me in my flat on Suburban Street with my 5-year-old stereo, family-heirloom soup spoon and collection of Star Wars Figurines. And information to those ends, like all information on a sales-oriented site, should be presented clearly and accessibly.

    Basically, I think it's a bit of a pitfall to think that customers want to be reassured and invited into a "relationship" all the time. Lots of customers don't have time for schmoozing -- they just want the facts. Also, people like chunking -- it makes it easier to take information in -- which is another argument for making the About Us page actually be about the company, and not to blur the lines with too much touchy-feely cotton wool. Though again, the caveat here is that what they want form About Us depends on the product or service you're selling.

    Just my 2 cents.

    g
    You have hit the nail on the head georgina. I think that is the most common sense post I have ever read on SP in the four years I have been a member of the forums. Fantastic; I am going to blow it up and stick it on my office wall.
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    The ones that learn by reading.
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    The rest of us have to pee on the electric fence.

  20. #20
    SitePoint Zealot tconley79's Avatar
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    Not a fan of the "us"

    Personally, I like sites that have about pages that say "About [Company Name]". This creates an appropriate detachment between the comany and the site since, after all, the comany is not the site. Even if the company is a dot com, the company is something intangible, it's an overarching idea.

    The website and other company collateral are vehicles to convey the idea of the company. So presenting a phrase like "About [Company Name]" removes the focus from the transient people/technology/products that run and exist within the company to the company itself.

  21. #21
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    I hate reading boring About Us pages!

  22. #22
    SitePoint Wizard mcsolas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tanjh View Post
    I hate reading boring About Us pages!
    So dress them up and put pictures on them .. they dont have to be boring. People like to know who they are doing business with, its worth spending a few moments to put a photo or two on that page!

  23. #23
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    Huh? Maybe I'm just too simple minded, but I don't really understand. With an internet comprising of billions of web sites, clients like to know who they're doing business with. That's what an About Us page is for. So the prospective client can get a first impression and feeling for the company, before deciding to contact them with any pre-sales questions.

    *shrug*
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  24. #24
    Carpe Diem = Fish of the Day fisherboy's Avatar
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    COntents of "About Us"

    Here's what I do. Remember I'm working with B2B for the most part so it may not be suitable for other site types.

    Our Customers
    Here I describe the customers we have and the customers we would like to have. This gives the visitor the opportunity to see if they identify with these groups. If we supply only large corporates, the individual customer with small requirements will probably go back to their Search results at this point. This is good ("qualification" in sales-speak).

    Who we are
    Years in business, our aims, financial abilities, whatever is appropriate. This is where we establish our credibility as a potential supplier to the visitor.

    What we do
    This is where we tell our visitor what we can do for them, outline our Unique Selling Proposition and guide them through our offers at a general level.

    What we don't do
    Only appropriate sometimes. This step helps to further qualify customers so we only get the ones we want and eliminate time-wasters, thus also saving our visitors unnecessary time. As an example I tell visitors to one of my site that we don't provide hosting or SEO services to the internet porn industry.

    Other items
    Could be "Where we are" if we want to emphasise national coverage or anything else we want to boast about.


    I use variations of this layout depending on the company and its message.

    In general, timelines don't interest me very much. I'm guessing most potential B2B searchers are not really interested in a full company history. "Can I trust this business?" and "Can this business help me?" are the two most important questions.

    I still like to write in a reasonably friendly manner and use "you" and "us" a lot. I do believe this kind of writing acknowledges the visitor as a person and does not limit the page to a fact sheet. It is important to engage your potential customer as far as is possible but take heed of georgina's statement about the actual gap between the visitor and you.

    In general terms it is important to be honest but please don't get tied up with the "one man business" versus the corporate world stuff. It really isn't important, IF you can do the job. If you can't do it, you shouldn't be putting in a price anyway. If you can do it, no-one cares. Your "About Us" page should have put off the customers you can't help anyway.

    Cheers.
    fisherboy
    Web Site Design

  25. #25
    Carpe Diem = Fish of the Day fisherboy's Avatar
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    Another thought.

    Don't forget to get some good keywords into the page title, headers and paragraphs in a natural way. The SEO content is almost as important as the persuasive writing and provision of factual information.

    fisherboy
    Web Site Design


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