The previous post about Establishing a Brand for your site is one of the many methods to build trust and establish a relationship with customers. This post covers another way of building trust, and that is through the About Us page.
"About Us are important for establishing trust because they let customers know that there are real people and a real organization behind an otherwise virtual world"
We learn who to trust and who to become friends with only after getting to know the person. Questions like – what are your interests, what kind of job do you have, why you like or dislike something etc, helps us to determine if we like the person and want to continue a friendship with them. One could consider the About Us page to be equivalent to a 10 minute speed dating session with the company or professional in which you have only that amount of information and time to get to know them before deciding if you want to put your faith in them and give them the job or business.
Websites are a shop front for businesses, professionals and individuals. They are a virtual representation of the person or people or products that are featured. Because websites are representations, they need to appeal and reach out to the target audience. Not just through the design and usability of the website, but also to allow the audience to get to know the people it represents and to build that rapport between seller and buyer. This rapport and trust is best built through a website’s About Us page.
Don’t underestimate the importance of an effective and attractive About Us page. That is the place where you can reach out to the audience/viewer and allow them to see who you are, what you can do or offer and why they should put their faith in you. Like mentioned in our earlier post Establishing a Brand, trust and credibility is essential when trying to establish a good relationship with customers. With the About Us page, you are trying to build that trust and credibility by letting your customers know you better.
The About Us page provides a company’s background and history. In the case of a designer’s portfolio, it allows potential clients to get to know the designer on a more personal level. While the About Us page can be a personal touch to the website, it also has the very important task of providing practical information about the company or professional the site belongs to. This article highlights the information the About Us page should have and will showcase 12 great examples of professional About Us pages.
The ‘About Us’ Page – Information It Should Contain
Viewers look out for these three main items when they want to know more about the company or professional the website represents. These are the questions the About Us page needs to address:
- Who are you?- The company history / Personal background
- What do you do?– Brief introduction to their services and products
- Why should I trust you?– Promise of quality or mission statement/ Credentials
Providing assorted background information, the About Us page gives viewers a better idea about the people, organization or company they will be dealing with if they choose to work with or purchase their products and services. Not all About Us pages provide exactly the same types of information. It should be tailored to the intended demographics based on their interest and needs. Here is a list of things that are commonly found on an About Us page:
- Organizational Profile
- Contact Information
- Disclaimers and Legal Information
- Customers and Partners
- Employment Opportunities
- Public Relations
- Investor Relations
- Community Relations
- Site Credits
- Frequently Asked Questions
This is not an exhaustive list, as it is subject to changes based on the type of website you have. However, there are ten items in this list and we will now elaborate on these items to help give you a clearer idea of what should be included in the About Us page.
1. Organizational Profile
When you join a match making service, they always get you to fill out a form so that they can do up a profile for you to show potential candidates or to match you with their other clients. The organizational profile works the same way. It describes who you are and what you do. The profile might also include a brief introduction to the members of the team behind the website, a summarised paragraph on the history of the company, an overview of the products and services you offer, and maybe a mission statement that communicates your character and worth to the viewers of your site.
Each website’s About Us page provides unique content as the profile needs to be written from a customer-centred perspective. If yours is a law firm, you will identify the types of law your company practices. If you are a consulting firm, you will list your strengths and specialities you can be approached about. Do not take for granted and assume that the viewer knows who you are and what you can do.
2. Contact Information
Every company must provide their contact information on their About Us page to be able to sustain their business. Contact information can be in given in the form of telephone and fax numbers, email addresses and a physical mailing address. Having a physical address listed on your About Us page is more important than you know. With the internet, it is hard to tell if the company the site belongs to is a proper one or just a fly-by-night company. Providing a physical address with a street address and directions or even a map to your office helps to allay some of your customer’s fears.
Phone and fax numbers are important for the same reason. A customer might have a problem that needs to be addressed late at night or the customer’s order could be wrong. Or it might be that the customer prefers phone and fax over email or having to physically go down to the store or office. For these reasons, it is crucial to provide numbers that your customers can use.
On the other hand, some customers prefer email. They may want to report a Page Not Found error, or require some tech support, or want to compliment you on your website’s usability and great design.
Whatever the reason, you need to have an email address your customers can send questions, comments and suggestions to.
3. Disclaimers and Legal Information
4. Customers and Partners
We all have resumes to show off what we can do and who we have worked with. Listing some of the more prominent customers and partners helps establish your credibility and can be considered your online resume. Providing links to past and present customers and partners is akin to the references one lists in their resume. It also illustrates your reliability and alludes to your dependability should potential customers choose to work with you. This will give you a leg up and encourage potential customers to put their trust in you and what you can offer them. Be sure to ask for permission from all the previous customers and partners you wish to mention before listing them. It is common courtesy and the widespread practice.
5. Employment Opportunities
This page provides information regarding the types of job openings or internships that is available at your organization or company. Large companies often use advanced database searches that not only differentiate the various positions available but also details the responsibilities and geographic locations that have openings. Smaller companies on the other hand do not need to be as sophisticated. Often, they will just list the open positions available and a contact address and person to reach should they be interested in the position.
6. Public Relations
Public opinion is very important for any company. The public relations page provides the tools to give customers/viewers a good impression. It contains information published by, as well as for, media outlets. Some of the things included are
- Press releases about new products, new partners, changes in management, and general news regarding the company
- Links to or excerpts of media coverage about the website or company
- Awards & recognition achieved
- Contact information of the company’s public relations personnel
7. Investor Relations
Not every website will have a page with their investor relations. This page is commonly found in larger companies and contains relevant financial literature about the company. Items such as the company’s annual reports, Securities and Exchange Commission filings, analyst coverage, and positive media coverage regarding its financials are included in the page.
8. Community Relations
Giving back to the community reflects well on the company and companies who do so will wish to show how they do so. The community relations page will often include past charitable events they’ve been involved with as well as what they can provide for future events such as software, hardware, services, time, manpower or money. It is also useful to explain how the public can reach the company to request for assistance.
9. Site Credits
It is common courtesy to give due credit to those who are deserving of it. The site credits page acknowledges the web team who developed the web site and also offers some form of free advertising for the design firm or the designer.
10. Frequently Asked Questions
Companies will receive many questions from customers and often, there are plenty of repeated questions always asked. As such, most websites consolidate the questions that customers commonly ask and provide the answers to them in the Frequently Asked Questions or FAQ page.
An Example Of Google's About Us Page
As mentioned before, each website is unique because they cater to very different audiences. With all that the About Us page should cover, you need to be very organized to ensure that the information is presented clearly and is easy to find.
Google’s About Us page is unique because it specifically targets several customer groups. These groups include people interested to learn more about search engines, site owners interested in advertising and improving their ranking in search results, and prospective employees.
12 Captivating About Us Showcases
These 12 websites show different features an About Us page can have which varies from site to site.
The first impression of Teehan+Lax's About Us page is that it’s upfront, warm, and welcoming. They have indicated their rates, which most sites would have not done.
Adidas U.S Site
The Adidas U.S About Us page uses an interactive approach for users to understand the history of its brand. It also includes their corporate information such as careers and press on the right side of the page.
Crafts Council's About Us page provides comprehensive information about their organization.
Ala Dadan is a clean and simple example of a freelancer's About Us page.
For small creative studios like Rainfall, their About Us page gives users a sense of trust worthiness because of the testimonials.
Fantesca Estate and Winery
Fantesca Winery's has a list of sub-links under the About Us page. It includes items like their blog and even the history of wines.
By including awards, achievements and interviews in Duoh's About Us page, they will help build trust and increase credibility of their company with their clients and visitors through their site.
Having his skill set rated, explaining his approach towards his job, and elaborating more about his interest has made Thomas Prior's About Us page both personal and credible.
Lyndsey Hamilton Events Company has an About Us page that is split into 2 links - 'Who' and 'What'. They have introduced the people in the company, mission and philosophy and most importantly the packages they offer. This aptly caters to the audience they are targeting at.
The About page for 84 Colors has everything you need to know about the person behind the website. One interesting quirk about 84 Colors’ site is that Cristiana has also added a list of things she can't do for her clients.
Barclays, a well know international bank, has a very comprehensive About Us page. For those who are working on corporate websites, you may want to refer to this for some inspiration.
Graze has a list of links under the About Us page. It ranges from Press and Job vacancies to step-by-step information on how to purchase your graze box.
When working on About Us pages, start by collecting background information. These pages should help people learn more about who you are, what you do, and why they can trust you. Include things like an organizational profile, contact information, disclaimers and legal information, customers and partners, employment opportunities, public relations, investor relations, community relations, site credits, and frequently asked questions.
Although the specific content for About Us pages will vary from site to site, these pages should always be easily accessible from the homepage portal and form the very essence of your website.