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  1. #26
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    Connecting with the visitor on a more personal - rather than an elitist 'business' level - has always been more successful for me. People actually read my page, and I've heard feedback ever since I went to the "we're one of you" approach. We put ego aside. I know this can't work in everyone else's situation.

  2. #27
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    You want your about us page to be written with the demographic you are selling your product to in mind. If you are selling business to business, you'll want to stick with honest facts and goals of the company. If it's your website itself that generates your income, you'll want to make your about us page interesting and attractive.

    For my company, we are trying to generate sales from a customer that knows little about the field. So our "about us" page consists of some impressive facts and the goals of the company, and it's written in a language that's intentionally over-the-top to try and comfort a customer that knows little about the field (anyone that knows anything about our field already knows about us, therefore, the "about us" page isn't written for them). What you need to understand is that you are rarely the type of person that you are writing your about us page for, and while some things you write may seem cheesy to you, the average american consumer may be looking for that and buy into it. You just need to cite some facts to support your claims.

  3. #28
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    Lightbulb about us for a product development company

    My thoughts about writing an "About Us" page for a company that develops online internet products. I believe that the write up shud target... prospective candidates who wud join the company. I think they are the only group of people who wud actually read thru the page. Who else would be interested in the drab milestone history of a company.??

    Prameela

  4. #29
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    I'm with georgina on this one. I like About Us pages. It's often the first thing I look for at a site. It's like the Contact page - I expect to see it and I consider it almost mandatory. Call it something else if you really feel you need to, but unless it's just as obvious as "About Us", all a name change will do is make navigation less intuitive.

    I feel commercial psychologists go too far sometimes in their attempts to sound wise and innovative. There is nothing wrong with "us" and "them". They are simply words we use to describe the situation, and for most sites, "About Us" is perfectly accurate and in no way alienating.

    Just my opinion, but the whole thing sounds a little precious to me. I like companies that aren't scared to use the Queen's English to just say what they mean. Spare me the PC pussy-footing around.

  5. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by RDFrame View Post
    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*
    There first impression is already formed the minute your home page is loaded. Your site has to be inticing enought to get them to click on the about us page. That is why i think it is a bad idea to have so much sh** on the main page. way to much info on most sites.

  6. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by palgrave View Post
    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.
    about us = who we are, what we stand for and what we believe. It is the company's own testimonial, motto, etc. Sometimes customers decide where to spend their money by a companies morals and values. I know i hate to give my money to companies that could careless about the environment, those who practice racism and inequality. I'd rather support small local biz than major corps who take advantage of third world countries.

  7. #32
    SitePoint Wizard wheeler'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 think thats a valid point, but I have several reasons to slightly blur this line:

    - if I outsource a task, then the client is not strictly dealing with one person's abilities anymore, whether the task recipient is a permanent part of my business or not... and this is decided on a per project basis

    - I think giving the impression that you are slightly larger, slightly more established, slightly more reputable company that you actually are is a key step to getting established (and I think probably nearly everyone starting out is guilty of this)

    Don't get me wrong, I take my business integrity very seriously and there is definitely something wrong with flat out lying or deliberately misleading people - but I guess the "we" or "I" thing is kind of trivial in my mind, it can change at the drop of a hat anyway.

    On my site, I say this "we pride ourselves on providing ongoing support, training and consultation"

    If I changed "We" to "I pride myself on providing ongoing support, training and consultation" doesn't that sound dodgy?
    Last edited by wheeler; Sep 25, 2007 at 23:03.
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  8. #33
    winter is around the corner Tomer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wheeler View Post
    I think thats a valid point, but I have several reasons to slightly blur this line:

    - if I outsource a task, then the client is not strictly dealing with one person's abilities anymore, whether the task recipient is a permanent part of my business or not... whether I would outsource is decided on a per-project basis

    - I think giving the impression that you are slightly larger, slightly more established, slightly more reputable company that you actually are is a key step to getting established (and I think probably nearly everyone starting out is guilty of this)

    Don't get me wrong, I take my business integrity very seriously and there is definitely something wrong with flat out lying or deliberately misleading people - but I guess the "we" or "I" thing is kind of trivial in my mind, it can change at the drop of a hat anyway.

    On my site, I say this "we pride ourselves on providing ongoing support, training and consultation"

    If I changed "We" to "I pride myself on providing ongoing support, training and consultation" doesn't that sound dodgy?
    You're right. It sounds weird. I think if it's a business site, all text should be implied as a business would sound, regardless of the size of the biz [1 or 1,000 employees]. Writing everything "me" and "I", sorry but sounds very unprofessional. Not to mention that the size of a company has very little to say about its profesionality and service.

    - Tomer

  9. #34
    Graphic Designer silver trophy Dache's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wheeler View Post
    If I changed "We" to "I pride myself on providing ongoing support, training and consultation" doesn't that sound dodgy?
    It seems more honest to me and I (client) get the feeling I am gettin personal attention.

    It's marketing in the end.
    | identity | print | webdesign | typography |
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  10. #35
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    It's usually not about I or we alone. The "we" people will then go on to that staple of web design - Stock Photography. Fashion models pretending to be employees you don't have, occupying glass clad futuristic office buildings you don't have offices in.

    Most About Us pages are full of what I'll call "sweet nothings." Let's eliminate the first part of the sentence entirely and concentrate on "....providing ongoing support, training and consultation"

    Okay, nineteen out of twenty times, this isn't about you. It's an industry norm. We -- in the industry -- provide support and training and you're getting just about what you'd be getting anywhere.

    This I versus We quibbling is what I call splitting hairs on the elephant in the living room. If the difference between I and we is all it takes to make your About Us page take a hit in credibility or effectiveness, then you've got a serious problem.

    Here's what I thought about the sentence "We pride ourselves on providing ongoing support, training and consultation" ...So what?

    Test this "You will be given an intensive three tier support and Microsoft (or whatever credential) certified training. When you become a customer, you're supported in three ways nobody else in the industry offers..."

    That is About Us because it doesn't say "we pride ourselves" it explains something to the reader actually worth being proud of. What you're all quibbling about is not About Us, it's "Me Too." The user doesn't know why you'd be proud, you have to give the reason why.

    Guess what. Users are going to an About Us section -- among other things -- to see how hyperventilatingly self-centered the company is. You know, the kind of navel gazing where you put up a dozen posts in a thread talking about I versus we, when it's always about how an About Us page takes internal stuff, like support and training, and turns it around to focus on the customer.

    If you outsource, do you outsource discriminantly to the lowest bidder? Or do you have a hand picked team of people who do their job well, and have all passed a twenty point checklist. Do you monitor the work you outsource or is it "let the buyer beware."

    Honestly, whether you use I or we is rather far down the list of reader concerns. And that is a testable proposition you can be shocked by in the privacy of your own office.

    C'mon. You know if an employee was this self absorbed when you asked them to tell you something about themselves and what makes them right for this job, you'd never give them a second look. When you ask an employee an "about us" question, you're trying how to find out what about them makes a good fit with you. Believe it or not the About Us page is an interview question your potential clients are asking you. They're really thinking about how what they find relates to their situation.

    Generic, undefined "me too" support and service, or industry leading support and service which is you-centered? Or I versus We? You decide.

    Related:

    The Feature-to-Benefit translator clinic... Just like the rest of most websites which is either I or we, About Us pages are about you. Nobody cares how long you've been in business, the feature. They care very much about what your time in business has taught you. Just one of many "I" problems About Us pages suffer from.

    Don’t we we all over your prospects Thinking an About Us page gives you license to self obsess is a mistake, and a big one. Making an About Us page about the company talking to itself, about itself, neglects the reason the user is going to that page. Take the features of your company and turn them into benefits for the user visiting an About Us page.
    Last edited by DCrux; Oct 4, 2007 at 05:48.

  11. #36
    SitePoint Wizard wheeler's Avatar
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    good post DCrux... in a way I guess alot of us already knew the good points raised in this thread, its just when your writing about yourself the brain tends to misfire in ways it wouldn't if you were looking at it from a 3rd person perspective.
    Quote Originally Posted by DCrux View Post
    C'mon. You know if an employee was this self absorbed when you asked them to tell you something about themselves and what makes them right for this job, you'd never give them a second look.
    Thats an excellent point.

    Now to jump into the prospective clients skin and view everything with a "so what" attitude... this is going to be a bloodbath
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  12. #37
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    This makes me recall an interview with Mark Hamil (Luke in Star Wars).

    After filming a scene -- I think it was just after the trash compactor scene in episode VI -- he remarked to Ford that it was a "continuity error" for everyone to be dry after just being submerged in water.

    Ford, in that way Harrison Ford has, said "Kid, if the audience notices that ...then this film has much bigger problems."

    People like worrying about trivialities. If they do it long enough, they manage to convince themselves all the big serious issues must be covered. While it's nice to care about some details, make sure you're not using them to mask out serious problems.
    Related:

    The Destructive Role of Denial in Web Design How many people worry about their site validating ....then haven't a clue whether or when the content is going to show up. Which also means the content is essentially irrelevant to the design decisions behind the layout -- and is really just there to keep the Divs from collapsing.

    Content has become the "spacer gif" of the modern CSS layout.

  13. #38
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    Content has become the "spacer gif" of the modern CSS layout.
    So glad to find out somebody else is noticing. Down with all the self-fluff, it never really sells anyway. I like how DCrux has changed it, give what's going to happen, let the page say what the viewer ought to expect this company.

  14. #39
    [Biped] LJK's Avatar
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    Hi -
    Just had to say "thanks" for helping me to re-think
    this just as a new site version was about to go up.

    Certainly hair-splitting but hey, what're forums for?
    F-Fox 2.0 :: WIN :: el design :: US

  15. #40
    SitePoint Member Ellia's Avatar
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    "About us" page- interesting topic
    Let's say - just put yourself in the customers' shoes..the way they
    see your company -can they trust you, what they are looking for.
    Did you manage to grab the prospects' attention immediately?
    Ask yourself and refer again to your "about us" page - it's the face of your company

  16. #41
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    just put yourself in the customers' shoes
    That is infinitely easier said than done. That's like saying to be a champion ice skater, just put one foot in front of the other ....and throw in a twirl or two for show.

    I've seen hundreds of websites, and perhaps 5% are even close to looking at things the way customers do. Worse yet, "About Us" caries the seeming license to forget about who is going to be reading the page, or why.

    In other words, if it were as easy as "just putting yourself in the customer's shoes" this thread probably wouldn't exist. It certainly wouldn't be as popular.
    Last edited by DCrux; Nov 12, 2007 at 11:54.

  17. #42
    SitePoint Evangelist old_expat's Avatar
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    One of my new sites reviews hospitality venues that I have personally experienced, so I decided my "about" page should tell precisely what "I" am doing .. complete with photo.

    All my reviews are positive ones because I don't want to waste my time on rants. Some other folks do that much better than I do.

    Besides the "about" page being written in a relaxed personal and conversational narrative, the reviews take more of an ancedotal approach than "just the facts".

    I figure it gives "my" reviews .. and an occasional travel experience "of mine" .. more credibility than a cookie cutter site.

    The site is naturally more limited than standard review sites, but that is part of the experiment.

    It may sound more like a blog than a standard site, but I intentionally avoided the blog approach and appearance.

  18. #43
    Word Painter silver trophy Shyflower's Avatar
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    Old_expat... for some reason your urls aren't loading for me. I'd be interested to read your about page. I don't believe because it is "about you" it's blog-like. In fact I disagree with the statement that an about page should be what to expect from the company. That's part of their sales message.

    About pages should be "about the company", hence the name. When I access an about page, I "expect" to find out about the history, experience, and growth of the company that wants my business. I don't want to be sold on their future plans. I want to know what makes them credible to get my business right now.

    From what he says, old_expat has a good handle on what should be on an about page. The home page tells you what a company can do for you (service), how they do it (product and/or service), why it's important to you (benefits) and where you can find it on their site. The about page (or section) tells you about their experience and expertise. It shows you who they are and why you can trust them to do what they say they can do.

    When I read an about page that's just more sales hype, I back out of the site. If they can't tell me who they really are, I'm not going to divulge my personal information to them whether it's through my email in a contact form or my credit card purchase through their shopping cart.
    Linda Jenkinson
    "Say what you mean. Mean what you say. But don't say it mean." ~Unknown

  19. #44
    SitePoint Evangelist old_expat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shyflower View Post
    Old_expat... for some reason your urls aren't loading for me. I'd be interested to read your about page.
    Sorry, my sites were down for a couple of days due to a server move.

    http://www.thailandhotelpicks.com/about.php

  20. #45
    Word Painter silver trophy Shyflower's Avatar
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    well written.
    Linda Jenkinson
    "Say what you mean. Mean what you say. But don't say it mean." ~Unknown

  21. #46
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    thailandhotelpicks is a useful example for study. Note that there is a lot of "I" yet it is personal. In contrast the use of "we" in execution often comes off as generic (we in the industry) or, worse yet, the royal "we."

    As in, "We shall now allow you to do business with our personage."


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