Someone once told me NEVER to describe myself as organized. Because, they said, it can be hard for people to envisage an organized person as creative too.
But here’s the thing.
Great organization is REALLY important. Especially if you’re creative.
This holds true for your website. Your business. And also your sock drawer.
(Because you’ll never find the matching sock you need unless you get organized and roll your sock pairs together before throwing them in there. #Justsaying)
So for the love of all that is legible, and creative as you may or may not be, make sure that the copy on your About page is organized.
This is because – even though your About page copy needs to convey things like enthusiasm and purpose – it also needs to be easy for your website visitors to read. Even, if they’re time-crunched, to skim.
Bear in mind that the last thing you want to happen to your target audience is for them to feel confused or frustrated in any way while they’re interacting with your site.
Instead, you want everything to feel EASY for them.
To get you thinking about how to do that, here’s an effective and classic way of arranging your About page copy, together with three more unusual options.
(You’ll notice that my own About page doesn’t exactly fit of these models. So, okay, that’s a fifth structure to inspire you that I’m just throwing in there as a gift to you ?.)
The Classic Option
This is your little black dress of About pages. Or Aston Martin. Or whatever “classic” means to you…
1. A 1-5 sentence section near the top of the page where you clarify who you are, why you do what you do, who you help, and with what.
This could be your company’s mission statement, your “Hi, I’m [name] and I help…”-type statement, or a few sentences that explicitly relate to what your reader is looking for and wanting.
Basically, even if your website visitors click away after only reading these sentences, they should leave with a good idea of what you’re all about (and how you could potentially help them).
(Read Three engaging ways to open your company’s About Page for more help with your opening if you need it.)
This is followed by…
2. A longer section, where you talk about how your company came to exist, your values and/or anything else that you think positions your business as something kinda special.
You can keep it light here or go deep.
But don’t forget that reeling off lists of accomplishments can easily come across as a bit snoozeworthy/braggy and that your readers have come to this page because they want some human warmth and/or a good story.
So give the people what they want and flash ’em some personality here!
Examples of this kind of About page structure include:
- I think Tim Ferriss could tell his story somewhat better – it’s very list-of-accomplishments-ish – but he has an extremely clear short version/long version About page.
- Amy Porterfield’s page is a great example of this kind of classic structure – her opening sentence both implies a story (by referencing a journey) AND immediately lets you know what she and her business are all about. Then you can delve into her entire story properly if you want to keep reading.
- I’ve mentioned their pages elsewhere in this blog, but Marie Forleo has a beautiful – and very classic – About page, as does Warby Parker.
- Panera bread uses this classic structure in a really cool way by having a summary box up top, and then also integrating an infographic that both tells the company’s story and showcases some of their products.
The more unusual options
And you can tell they’re unusual because I haven’t been able to find any big companies who use these! If you find a relevant example, let me know in the comments…
Nevertheless, and unusual as they are, these structures can be very helpful to smaller companies. Even if you just use one of them to get the ball rolling and then adjust your approach later, they’re all definitely worth considering:
1. The FAQ format
This is an especially good option when you have a lot of information to communicate and you want to let your readers pick and choose what they’re interested in learning about. It’s an approach that I’ve used myself on my research website, which talks about the academic research and writing that I formerly did before I started my own business.
2. The “10 [adjective] facts about [your name/company name]” format
Make sure that at least half of these facts are related to your business, what you offer, and why you care/are qualified to do what you do.
But feel free to throw in some bonus, fun stuff too – again, don’t be afraid to inject it with personality! (Because, and I’ll hammer this home for as long as it takes, personality is kinda the point of your About page…)
3. An About page broken up into short sections with very clear labels
For instance: “WHO WE ARE” “WHAT WE DO” “WHY WE DO IT” “HOW WE WORK” “WHAT WE CARE ABOUT”
“OUR STORY” “OUR TEAM” “OUR VALUES” “OUR GOALS”
This format makes the page easy to navigate for your reader, and also encourages you to produce easily manageable chunks of text in a digestible format (which is helpful if you have a tendency to waffle…)
So which of these formats is most appealing to you? Share your favorite in the comments below!