Many of today’s About Us pages maintain an uninspired, unoriginal existence. Most of them follow a cookie-cutter form that does little or nothing to help the customer OR your business.The proof of this inefficiency of About Us pages is in the numbers. Statistics demonstrate that About Us pages often account for less than 2% of the website’s entire traffic. Looking at the traffic over five years on the sites we manage, most don’t reach 1.5% of page views.
So why is the About Us page still present in website design? It may still be included because it has become part of the norm and so it’s expected to be there. Businesses feel the need to promote themselves, their accomplishments and their strategic partnerships. Since their competitors continue to include an About Us page, they get the impression that they must have it as well. Another possibility is that the entity building your site says it is needed, either because of the reasons listed above, because their “Template” requires it, or because it represents another item on the invoice. If you find yourself adding an About Us page for any of these reasons, it may be time to question its role in your website’s sitemap.
The Irrelevance of the About Us pages
The About Us page is, in no small way, irrelevant for a variety of reasons. The About Us pages may be poorly designed with content that says little to the customer. They are often filled with buzz words that sound good and look good but are meaningless. The focus of an About Us page is often more about your company than your products and services, and as such, customers searching for these products and services will often ignore the About Us page. Any information on your About Us page that might be considered a sales point, such as your service area, years in business, “commitment to customer satisfaction”, can be put to better use throughout your site to help support the conversion process.
Despite what some may claim, the About Us page is usually the last place customers will visit. The very title of the page does not initially attract clients because they are searching for a solution to their problem or a company who can solve their problem quickly. Why your company exists, why you have decided to be in the business, your company’s values, mission statement and personnel are rarely of any interest to the customer at this stage, as they are still unsure if you can even help them.
When About Us Pages are a must
There are some industries that are an exception to the rule. Their About Us pages tend to receive significantly more traffic, to the point where it may account for the majority of visits. One of the reasons for the higher volume of traffic is that their sites are all about the who. Other common reasons are that visitors want to ensure that they are dealing with a qualified professional, or they may be looking for information about facilities or resources.
Some businesses that we’ve seen fall into these categories are:
People looking for a Qualified Professional
- Life Coach
- Medical Practitioner
- Financial Advisor
- Legal Professional
- Personal Trainer
- Health Clubs
Where it really is all about the who
- Visual Artist
- Motivational Speaker
- Charitable Organization
Traffic isn’t everything. There may be a well-defined business reason why you must have an About Us page. One example is when you are dealing with investors, or shareholders. While these specific visitors don’t make up a large portion of the traffic, having an About Us page, and the information on it can significantly influence their decision regarding an investment in your business.
As a final note, in some of these cases, the information on an About Us page would be more effective on either a dedicated page or throughout the site. However, visitors are expecting to see it on the About Us page, and without that page, they wouldn’t know where to look.
If an About Us page is required, how can you keep it relevant?
Providing straight facts to your customers will go a longer way to getting clients than filling the content with your “unique vision” or buzz words that don’t tell your visitors what you are all about. Stating precise turn-around times and customer service policies goes a lot further than saying that you are a forward-thinking, environment-conscious company.
You need to show that you or your organization is real and staffed by qualified individuals. Presenting essential licenses, certifications, qualifications, relevant awards and experience all go towards establishing credibility.Stick to the facts and avoid getting too self-congratulatory.
To keep the About Us page relevant it is essential to update it frequently. Recognizable customers or projects, markets, locations, market segments and qualifications need to be updated quickly so that customers visiting your About Us page have the most recent overview.
So, in the end…
If a website is well designed, the absence of the About Us page will go unnoticed as most of the information found on an About Us page will be easily found on other higher trafficked areas of the website and in support of your conversion process.
Before making any decision to include or remove an About Us page, it is essential to take a look at your statistics and see how much traffic it really is getting. If you are getting very little traffic to that page, question if you really need it. If you don’t have the numbers, we recommend looking at your industry to see what kind of traffic an About Us page typically gets. We aren’t saying that you must have one, or that they are unnecessary, we are simply stating that, like all conventions, you should question its validity, and make an informed decision one way or the other, rather than blindly following everybody else.