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May 12 2010

6 Ways To Make Your About Us Page Say More About You

For the vast majority of organizations, the "About Us" and "Staff" pages are among the most visited ones on the site. But too often, these pages are afterthoughts when it comes to writing content. Considering how much of your audience will visit those pages at some point, wouldn't it make sense to make them say more about your organization?
6 Ways To Make Your About Us Page Say More About You

Carrot Creative: About Us

For the vast majority of organizations, the "About Us" and "Staff" pages are among the most visited ones on the site. But too often, these pages are afterthoughts when it comes to writing content.  Considering how much of your audience will visit those pages at some point, wouldn't it make sense to make them say more about your organization?

After all, isn't your organization more than a mission statement and a collection of job titles? It's a passionate group of real people doing great work, right? Your About pages should show it.

Keep it Simple

Sometimes less is more. Describing what you do and why you're so awesome in just a few sentences can be much more powerful than a wall of details or a written-by-committee mission statement. Then from that brief description, you can link to deeper "about" content with more details. 

Sightline Institute does it well on their About page. So does Unstoppable Robot Ninja, the personal website of Ethan Marcotte, a designer at Happy Cog.

Tell A Story

People love a good story, and the About Us page is the perfect chance to tell yours. Why does your organization exist?  What was the need someone saw, and what have you done about it?  A concise, compelling story could be the perfect framework to explain what you do -- especially it if makes your visitor want to be a part of it.

Mailchimp does this well. Their about page tells the story of how they got into the email business. In the process, they communicate their values, expertise, and personality.

Let Your Freak Flag Fly

Your staff isn't just a collection of job titles -- they're passionate, interesting (and probably quirky) people too. Giving visitors a sense of the real people behind your organization can make them much more interested in getting engaged. Try a creative format that gets staffers out of the formulaic bio -- like a checklist, or a personality test, or mad lib style.

One of our favorites is Carrot Creative, which combines fun pictures, great writing, and little surprises that make you feel like you've been hanging out on the office couch yourself.  Unfortunately, we couldn't like directly to the About Page, so you'll have to start at their home page and navigate to About, then Staff.

Paint a Picture (or Make a Movie)

Remember that thing about a picture and a thousand words?  It's true. Photos can give visitors a real sense of the people and personalities behind your organization.

One nice example is the draggable photo at Teehan + Lax  -- although it would be cooler if you could click on people and learn something about them. Still, it looks like a bunch of friendly, real people that you'd want to work with, doesn't it?

The Dogwood Initiative takes this idea a step further. Each staff member created a short video on the theme "This is what I wanted to show you," sharing something special to them. The result is a very personal look at great people doing great work.

Make Connections

The majority of people who hit the staff page on your website are probably looking for contact information.  Make it easy to find, and while you're at it, make it fun. Offer a few different ways to get in touch, and make it clear which person to contact with what issue. You can also include a downloadable VCard for each staffer so that visitors can add you directly to their address book.

The University of Nebraska Alumni Association does it well.  Besides the nice photos of some very friendly-looking Nebraskans, it's easy to figure out which person to call.

Grassroots Power

If your organization wields serious grassroots power (or if you just have a bunch of really cool fans on Facebook), why not show it off on your About Us page?  A big Facebook fan box is one option, but with a little tech help, you can do a lot of neat stuff with photos of your Facebook fans or Twitter followers. 

Email marketing firm Campaign Monitor nails it on Fix Outlook, a site protesting Microsoft's decision to use the Word HTML rendering engine in Outlook 2010 -- every person who retweets their message gets added to the wall of faces, making a powerful impression.

Have a favorite About Us page? We'd love to check it out.

3 Comments
These are really helpful tips! Thank you. We are hoping to give our site a minor makeover, and most of these are totally doable.
Chris, Carrot would love to invite you over to snap a pic of yourself with our "Director of Comfort", the famed orange couch. We're tickled that you like our Freak Flag, we fly it proudly every day. Fun fact, our site is actually made in Javascript, not Flash, thanks to our technology ninja Kyle MacDonald. Swing by whenever you like. Love, @carrotcreative
Hey Carrot, I've corrected my Flash faux pas -- my apologies to your tech ninja. See you next time I'm in Brooklyn!

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