6 Tips For A Better “About Us” Page

When someone clicks on your about us page they usually have one question in mind: “Who are these guys?” Your potential customers want to get a sense of the people behind your website. And they’re looking for signs of trust and credibility.

An about us page gives you a legitimate opportunity to talk about yourself. So don’t blow it by filling the page with hype, boring mission statements or meaningless marketing fluff.

Instead, you should use this page to start building a relationship with the reader. At the same time you can reinforce why you’re a better choice than your competitors.

Why your about us page matters

The about us page has an important role in providing visitors comfort and trust in your company and your ability to meet their needs. It exists to:

  • Put a human face on your company
  • Demonstrate to visitors you’re credible and trustworthy
  • Show your company’s passion, personality and values

This page is particularly important if you’re selling products over the web. People need reassurance that you’re a reputable business before they’ll enter their credit card details.

Here are six tips for what to include – and what not to include – on your about us page:

1. Company history

A brief company history reassures visitors that you have a solid track record as a reputable and experienced organisation.

Here are three easy ways to structure your company history:

  • Write a story about how the company got started
  • Focus on the background of the founder, and what led them to launch the business, or
  • Present company milestones in a simple chronological time line.

If your company is a start-up, the best tactic is to focus on the previous experience of the principals.

2. Profiles of key personnel

Visitors like to get a feel for the people behind the website. So introduce the movers and shakers on your staff with a brief profile. Include a photo if you can. If the profiles are too long to put all one-page, you can provide links to single-page profiles for each person.

Rather than reciting a dull resume, focus each profile on how that staff member helps satisfy customers’ needs. A meaningful quote from the staff member can also help create a connection.

3. Your credentials

Your about us page should include your credentials, accomplishments and recognition. You can break them out into lists and/or sprinkle them throughout the page text.

You can include details of:

  • Your qualifications
  • Membership of peak industry organisations
  • Awards you’ve received
  • Media recognition

4. Links to more company information

Provide links to other pages or sections of your site that include useful information on your company, such as your contacts page, customer service, company news, media releases, testimonials, investor relations and job vacancies.

5. What not to include

Here are a few things it’s best to leave off your about us page:

  • A generic and/or meaningless description of what you do e.g. “We provide cutting edge solutions for today’s busy professionals”.
  • Your mission or vision and statement – save these for your internal communications.
  • Hype, sales pitches and self-congratulatory fluff
  • Legal and regulatory information (if you must include this, put it on a separate page).

6. What do you call this page?

Usability guidelines recommend calling this page “About”, “About Us”, or “About “. Using non-standard labels such as “Company Information”, “Our Firm” or “Who We Are” only confuses visitors. You should also include a link to your about us page in your global site navigation.

Bonus tip: Show your green credentials

Nowadays many consumers prefer to buy from green companies. The about us page is a good place to outline your policies regarding key green issues in your industry.

Non-Blogging Ways to Improve Your Blog

There are plenty of brilliant bloggers out there on the internet. Unfortunately, few of them ever see much success. The truth is, a successful blog requires a whole lot more than writing a great post and hitting “publish”. There are loads of non-blogging aspects that go into a really successful blog.

Heidi Cohen, actionable marketing expert, recently offered some great ways to improve your blog. A few suggestions:

  • Get away from WordPress or Blogger sub-domains by using your own domain name and URL.
  • Build a community around your blog
  • Share your content on appropriate social media platforms.

For more great tips, see the full article here: 23 Tactics to Improve Blog Results Without Blogging

New Research on Social Media Trends for Consumers

Nielsen and McKinsey recently put out their Social Media Report, in which consumers were surveyed to find out how they most use social networks. Patricia Redsicker from the Social Media Examiner took a look at those findings in a recent blog post. Some prominent trends include:

  • Increasing use of mobile devices to access social media
  • Continued rise of Pinterest use
  • More customers are turning to social care rather than contacting a company by phone

Find out how these and others statistics relate to marketing efforts: 7 Social Media Trends for Consumers: New Research

The 4 Principles of Profitable Website Design

Simple, unobtrusive designs that support users are successful because they abide by the Web’s nature – and they make people feel good.
Jakob Nielsen, website usability guru

Many websites seem to be designed for the sole purpose of being cool, different or winning design awards. But a business website must be designed to meet its business objectives. Otherwise it’s a waste of money… even if it does look good.

Good design is important on the Web. But if your site’s going to be a success, it can’t be designed in a vacuum. Here are four essential website design principles to help ensure your website is profitable:

1. Website usability

“Usability” is a fancy term that means “easy to use”. Website usability is important because people experience your website before they do business with you. If they have a good experience they’re more likely to turn into a loyal customer. If they get frustrated using your site, they’ll try somewhere else.

Here are four important guidelines for better usability:

Follow page layout conventions

Page layout conventions are like grammar for websites. They define the meaning of the page elements and give guidelines for putting them together. Your visitors will thank you for conforming to these conventions because it lets them focus on the task at hand, rather than learning how to use your site.

Write for scanners

People don’t read websites word for word. They scan the page looking for the information they want. Therefore your website content should be written for scanners.

Online text should have roughly 50% of the words you would use for print. Include lots of bullets, lists and meaningful sub-headings. Use links to break longer information up into parts.

Make text legible

Use a minimum 10 or 12 point font and allow users to adjust the size of the font in their browsers. Many over-40 folks struggle to read anything smaller than 14 point. Use dark text on a light background. Preferably black text on a white background.

Make links obvious

Make it obvious what’s clickable. Use coloured, underlined text for text links. Don’t underline non-link text. Change the colour of visited links so people know what they’ve already seen. Don’t open pages in new windows.

Usability is often the low hanging fruit when it comes to optimising a website. Research by Jakob Nielsen shows redesigning for usability improves key performance indicators by 83% on average.

2. Search engine-friendly

Search engines play a big role in your website’s success because they can bring prospective customers to your site.

Search engines catalogue the web using programs called spiders (or bots) which automatically index website content. You must ensure the design, architecture and coding of your site allow these spiders access to all your content.

Unfortunately, the average web design firm doesn’t understand the connection between site design, architecture and coding and search engine marketing techniques. This means you can end up with – unbeknownst to you – a website that’s invisible to the search engines.

Luckily Google has devoted a whole section of their website to this topic: Creating a Google-friendly site: Best practices. I recommend asking your web design firm to guarantee the site they build for you meets these guidelines.

3. Design follows content

Most websites are built backwards. Typically the developers create the design and then wait while the client scratches around trying to cobble the content together from old brochures and press releases.

This is not a recipe for success. Why? Because it’s the content that makes the sale. It’s what persuades people to pick up the phone, register for your newsletter or download your special report.

The function of the design is to complement the content. The design showcases your marketing message. The design should present the message so that it achieves the maximum impact. Design and content work hand in hand to help your achieve your website marketing goals.

Good website design is simple, clean, and used to draw the eyes to areas of interest where the visitor can interact with the site. But the content, not the design, is the most important element of your website. It should not be an afterthought. It should come before the design.

4. Design for credibility

People do judge books by their covers. And websites too. According to research by the Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab, 75% of web users make judgements about the credibility of an organisation based on its website.

Most visitors make a snap judgement on the quality of your business, your products and your service based on a quick glance of your website. Customers expect a reputable company to have a professionally designed and attractive website. Clear navigation shows respect for visitors and suggests they can expect high levels of customer service.

Your industry and target market should determine the “dress code” for your website. If you’re a financial planner your website design should be the equivalent of a navy business suit. But if you sell skateboards then a t-shirt and cargo shorts design is OK. Pay attention to layout, typography, images and colours.

The acid test

For some strange reason many people’s expectations of design quality are downgraded when it comes to websites. But if it’s got your name on in it, it must look polished and professional. A good test of website design is whether it would look good printed out as a brochure or magazine ad.

The Top 3 Strategies To Create Targeted Website Traffic

Targeted traffic is the lifeblood of every profitable website.

A profitable website depends on two numbers: the number of visitors to the site and the proportion that actually become customers. These metrics are known as “traffic” and “conversion rate”. Increasing either one means better results.

The first three ingredients of a profitable website – simple and effective strategy, high-quality design and customer-focussed content – all relate to raising conversion rates. So it’s no surprise the fourth ingredient is targeted traffic.

That’s because your website is like a billboard in the desert. It doesn’t matter how good it is, if no one sees it, it’s absolutely worthless. So you need a strategy to attract targeted traffic your website.

The most popular way people find websites is through search engines such as Google, Yahoo and msn. You can expect a large proportion of your website traffic to come from these search engines.

But people can also find out about your site in other online and off-line media. For example, they might visit your website after you give them a business card with the URL on it. Or they might see a print advertisement encouraging them to visit your site.

Here are three powerful strategies to ensure a steady flow of targeted traffic to your website:

1. Search engine optimisation (SEO)

Just in case you didn’t know this already, high rankings in search engine listings don’t usually happen by accident. They are often a result of a concerted effort by the website owner to get their website to rank highly.

The higher your rankings the more traffic you’ll received from search engines. This is because most people don’t look beyond the first two pages of listings.

An eye-tracking study by iProspect in 2004 found most attention is paid to the first three listings. Forty-one per cent of searchers don’t go beyond the first page of results, and 67 per cent of searchers will stop looking by page two.

Make it relevant

People generally search on two- or three-word key phrases such as “laptop computer”. Search engines deliver search results based on what they consider are “relevant” web pages. Search engine optimisation (SEO) is a process of developing a web page so it’s considered relevant to a particular key phrase by the search engines.

There are three important elements of SEO:

  • “On page” factors are directly related to the content and structure of the website. Placing relevant key phrases in strategic positions on the web page – such as the title tag, meta description, headlines, and sprinkled throughout the text – helps the search engines know what your web page is about.
  • “Link popularity” refers to the number of links to your web pages. If lots of sites link to a web page then it’s considered more relevant – especially if they use the key phrase in the link text. Search engines also give more weight to links from better quality sites.
  • Having a search engine-friendly site. Search engines catalogue the web using programs called spiders (or bots) which automatically index content. You must ensure the coding of your site allows the spiders access to all your content.

2. Pay-per-click advertising

There is an alternative to SEO for getting your site listed on the first page of search engine results: pay-per-click advertising.

The three major search engines – Google, Yahoo! and msn – show small text ads on the top and right hand side of their search results. The ads shown are determined by the key phrase the searcher enters.

For example, if a person searched for “pool cleaners in Sydney”, ads for pool cleaners servicing Sydney would most appear alongside the free listings. The ads are labelled “sponsored links”, “sponsor results” or “sponsored sites”.

Pay-per-click ads

When a searcher clicks on an ad they are taken to the advertiser’s website. Advertisers pay only for “click-throughs” i.e. when a searcher clicks on their ad to visit their website. Hence the name “pay-per-click”.

Geographical targeting technology means your ad only appears in the regions you select. So it’s easy to target customers within, say, 20 kilometres of your business.

The fee for each click-through is determined by a bidding system. Generally speaking, to get your ad higher up the listings you must bid more. Also, the more people bidding on a particular key phrase, the higher the bids will be. Advertisers control their costs by setting a maximum budget.

3. Drive to web

People can also find out about your site in off-line media. For example most people know that you should put your site’s URL on your business cards, letterhead and all the ads and brochures you create.

But if your site is designed to capture visitors’ email addresses (and it should be!) you can use off-line media, such as direct mail, print ads and even radio and TV advertising, to build a house email list.

It works like this: you include a compelling offer on your site to entice visitors to register their contact details. Offering a free report, guide or white paper is a tried and tested method of obtaining prospects’ email addresses.

You then use direct mail or ads to drive traffic to your website using your free offer as bait. For example, you send a post card to a targeted list of prospects telling them they can get a valuable free report when they visit your website.

Once you have a prospect’s contact details you can deliver stay-in-touch marketing – online and/or off-line. Over time you will convert prospects into customers.

One more thing: once you’ve got your free offer/email address capture system set up on your website you can also promote it online e.g. from your email signature line, in your e-newsletters, from articles you get published online, in ads in other people’s e-newsletters, or even using pay-per-click ads.