Believe it or not, your About page is one of the most important, if not the most important page on your website. But why?
The About page is the place where you get to sell your brand
An About page can help to set your company apart from the competition. For example, many companies market themselves on price, but how many businesses stress their personality?
A lot of visitors that browse your website will be looking to strike up a long-term relationship. That means they will be looking for a company that is trustworthy, reliable and qualified. A company’s About page is crucial in giving a great first impression.
Make sure you know who visits your About page; it’s not just prospective clients and customers. Your About page will be of interest to all of the following people:
- Job seekers
- Journalists / Bloggers
- People who want to partner up with you
- Your employees and their friends (who have more influence on your employee’s supplier choice than you would think)
Try to identify the most important groups, and then aim to provide the information they need.
Having recently updated our own About page, we wanted to take a closer look at the this topic. We’ve broken down our ideal About page into a five-step creation process. Let’s look at these elements one by one.
Step 1: Tell A Story
Your website’s About page offers an unparalleled opportunity to share the key reasons why your company exists.
Think of it like telling a story. When you were just 10 years old, you might have sold comic strips at school – hence your logical progression to becoming a graphic designer. Or, if you’re an innovator, perhaps you couldn’t find product x on the market, so you simply created it yourself.
Make your company interesting. Not only to your clients or customers like stories but also journalists and bloggers who are always looking for something different.
Step 2: Highlight Your Employees’ Best Assets
Every great About page includes some details about employees. Offering some information about the humans behind the brand will allow your potential client to feel instantly connected.
Employee profiles are a great opportunity to have fun with content, marketing and promoting your employees’ skills and personalities as a true asset to your company. If you’re careful, you can make this section both professional and light-hearted.
If you can, include a profile for everyone on your team. Don’t be tempted to focus too closely on the management; mixing profiles will make all your employees feel appreciated and equally important.
Step 3: Use Photographs
In order to catch your reader’s attention, you must use pictures. Interesting photographs will bring your business to life.
Remember: on the web a lot of websites claim to be “real” businesses even though they are just a part-time, one person company. What these businesses can’t fake are real photos.
When including photos, don’t use stock photos. Use real ones, like pictures of your team members, your studio, your headquarters or an important event. Let photographs tell a story where it’s possible.
Step 4: State Your Goals And Objectives
All businesses have goals – whether they are to grow in size, take on more employees, sustain high service levels or expand into other markets. But some don’t actively publicize and market these goals.
By defining your vision for the business, you’re telling clients where you want to go and how they might play a part in getting you there. Make sure people know where you want to be.
Try writing an elevator pitch – a short, snappy sentence that describes exactly what you want from your business. Then place your mission statement front and centre on your company About page.
Step 5: Make Contact As Easy As Possible
After reading your About page, your visitor should (hopefully) want to know more about you. That means they’ll want to make contact right away. Make this as easy as you can.
Ensure that your contact details are published somewhere on the page, or position a clear call to action within your content. Make it absolutely clear how a visitor should get in touch and when you’ll be around to answer their message. You may also want to publicize your social media links.
More ‘About’ Page Tips
Hopefully this article will inspire you to work on your About page and breathe new life into the content.
As you review the five steps above, keep these tips in mind:
- Take notes in meetings: what do clients want to know? Close the feedback loop: use these discussions to shape the About page content.
- Do clients always ask the same questions? Do they have the same concerns? Providing a frequently asked questions (FAQ) section may help to capture some of those questions so that your visitor doesn’t need to pick up the phone to get the information they need.
- Regularly review the contents of your ‘About Me’ or ‘About Us’ page to ensure the content reflects the current status of your company. After each update, ask another member of staff to proof read your changes.
- Update the About page as soon as your business achieves something new, or when a member of staff gets a new qualification. Make sure you shout about everything that can be used as a positive selling point.
Here are some great examples of about us pages.
If you have any further recommendation or questions, please feel free to leave a comment!
Just like for regular companies, websites are essential tools for charitable organizations.
Not only do they need to provide up to date information to their supporters, but they also need to offer easy ways to give donations, which is another important aspect.
A few weeks ago, William Keffeler contacted us because he was looking for a way to update a website belonging to St. Anne’s Center, a homeless shelter in Ogden, Utah.
Requirements for the website
He listed the following:
- Link to money donation site
- Listing of current donation items needed
- Social media integration, primarily Facebook
- Current news links about the center
- Posting of photos about the center
- A section that provides up-to-date financial data
- Mission statement/Board member profiles
- Listing of services provided and to community services
- Calendar of events
- Section about our capital campaign efforts (new center)
- Contact information and email links
Even though it might look like quite a complex project, his requirements are within the scope of most website builders we've reviewed so far . External apps are only needed for some of the features, in particular the integration of a donation button, which William explains in more detail in our interview.
Based on his feature requests, we recommended that he check out Weebly, as their free plan is the most powerful and it’s very user-friendly. For possible alternatives, we mentioned Jimdo and Webs.
Only two weeks after our initial email conversation, we were impressed to see the result! Click here to visit St. Anne’s Center.
To encourage and inspire other charitable organizations, trusts and other non-profit organizations, we asked William a few questions:
1. What was your experience like creating a website with Weebly? Did you check out any other website builders?
Weebly proved to be a very intuitive and simple to use website development tool. They have done a good job of offering basic and understandable tools that offer enough flexibility to create a site that is professional looking.
I did look at other options, including Squarespace, but never tried them because in a number of cases they had a time limit for how long you could use them and then you had to move onto setting up payment options. I wanted something I could take my time with and not feel pressured to get something worked out.
2. Did you have any prior experience in website creation?
I did not have any prior formal experience with website development, other than some failed experimentation attempts.
3. How much does it cost? Did you connect an existing domain name or did you register it through Weebly?
So far, we’ve continued using the no cost version of the Weebly website. However, once we have finalized its development we will most likely move to the Pro version which is less than $10 a month - very reasonable compared to the nearly $500 a year we were paying before to host a poorly designed and hard to maintain website.
We connected to an existing domain name which we owned through Network Solutions, therefore, we did not use the Weebly domain name services.
4. How difficult was it to integrate the donation form?
Our donation form is accessed through a different location. Adding it to our site was extraordinarily easy; we simply copied the web address into the button tool and clicked the check box telling it to open a new page when selected.
We also include an integrated contact form which was very self-explanatory and flexible in that it even allowed us to add a drop down menu to choose a contact topic. The form is then sent to an email address you include. This is also found on their mobile app.
5. Is there anything that you are missing in Weebly?
One of the things I appreciate the most about Weebly is the "break neck speed" at which I can make updates and publish them. And as a non-profit, the cost, flexibility and efficiency factor is very valuable to us! I can honestly say, I have not run into anything that left me saying, “I wish they had that.” The Pro version offers a few options which I would like to have, but they are not necessary to develop and deploy an attractive and effective website.
Thank you William, we wish all the best for your organization and your website!
There are a variety of reasons to protect your website, or parts of your website:
- you would like to share photos with your friends,
- you want to show work in progress to different clients (e.g. a designer or a photographer),
- your goal is to make content available exclusively to members (paid or unpaid), for example, via a membership website with individual logins,
- you want to set up a social platform where members can communicate with each other.
But how can this be done in an easy way? Read on to learn more about the different options you have:
1. Simple password protection
With this method, you’ll provide a single password for all visitors, and you can choose the pages you want to protect. You’ll see this method on site builder tools like Weebly and Yola.
With Weebly, you choose one password for the entire site
Pros: easy to set up, little administration
Cons: no control of who has access to the site (password can be shared and there is no personal login), no password recovery mechanism, everybody has the same level of access.
2. Protected areas for different customer groups with different passwords.
This solution allows you to create individual areas with selected pages for your clients. You cannot create user names, so the user just needs the password to gain access. This is the method used by Jimdo, 1&1 and Squarespace (with limitations).
Pros: easy to set up, you can assign protected areas for different groups of customers
Cons: no control of who has access to the site (password can be shared and there is no personal login), no password recovery mechanism
With Squarespace, you can choose a different password for each page but you cannot create individual areas like you can with Jimdo.
Jimdo allows you to create several “page bundles” for different customer groups, each protected with a different password. In Jimdo Pro the limit is 5 protected areas. In Jimdo Business there's no limit (even in the free version you can create one protected area).
3. Members areas with personal login
Users have their own login to the website and can access protected areas within it. This allows you to share exclusive content such as video courses, ebooks or premium articles or subscriptions with your members. The payment process has to be set up separately, though.
Examples of this method include Webnode, WIX and Go Daddy.
Pros: Good control of permitted users, users can be added/removed individually, users can signup themselves, password recovery is available
Cons: more administrative work
Creating a new user login with Webnode
4. Membership site with user-management (social network, forum)
Users can interact with each other. Share thoughts, pictures, links, etc, effectively creating a fully functioning social network. Webs.com can act as a small social network; Ning offers a full-blown community.
Pros: Best solution for interaction in a private /exclusive environment, better data protection (compared to Facebook), Existing Facebook-logins can be used to sign up (Facebook connect)
Cons: A lot of administrative work, considerable effort required to start the service
Members profiles at Webs.com
Website builders offer pretty powerful features to create password-protected websites or membership areas, and most of all, they are fairly easy to set up.
Before you get started, however, you should have a clear plan that details exactly what you want to achieve, and you should choose a tool that fits. It’s very difficult to create a membership site if you've chosen the wrong site builder in the first place.
Ask yourself whether you have the time or resources to manage a social network. Is your goal to provide a platform that enables members to communicate with each other, or do you just want to provide access to VIP content?
In many cases, password-protected areas, or a membership area, will be enough. If you want to create a social network, expect to invest a lot of energy into it to get it off the ground.
As an alternative, consider creating a private group on Facebook or LinkedIn. The advantage is that people are already on these platforms, and that means less set-up time and less administrative burden. However, using a third-party provider also comes with limitations. You won’t be in complete control of your data, and there’s in inherent risk that your chosen provider will close down at some point in the future.
> To find out more about Webs, Webnode, Jimdo, Squarespace and Weebly, please take a look at our detailed website builder reviews.
And if you have any questions, please leave a comment.
We recently received an interesting question via our contact form:
I would be interested to know how long the various site providers have been on the market – in other words, how “sure” can I be that my site provider will still exist in x years. Well, I’m not asking you to look into your crystal ball, but does such a thing sometimes happen?
That is an important question, which we would like to answer in some detail.
It is usual in the case of an online website builder for the web space, domain and website editor to come from one source. That can be very practical. However, should this provider ever pull the plug, then of course you’ll have a big problem.
There have in fact been cases in the past where website providers have suspended their services. These include the old timer service Geocities (Yahoo), Microsoft’s Office Live Small Business (OLSB was transformed into the fee-charging Office 365) and even Apple suspended the development of iWeb.
There are two reasons, which apply to all three providers:
- They did not know how to earn money with the concept in the long term
- The website builder was only a small element of the whole company and became less interesting at some point
How can I find a provider that will survive in the market?
If we look at website builders, we are interested primarily in the following:
- How established is the provider on the market? What information is available about its user numbers?
- Is there a sensible business model (e.g. paid packages)?
- Is the website builder the main business of the company?
Let’s take a look at two providers who each follow quite different philosophies:
Probably the world’s largest website builder which, with more than 40m hosted websites, has recently been acquired by Vistaprint. The founders received $117.5m on payday but are still working for the company. We won’t speculate about their level of motivation at this point. Vistaprint is a public company that must grow rapidly to please their shareholders. An effect we all got to know when Facebook went public.
Maybe for this reason they remind you on a regular basis that they also have paid packages and that their new mother offers business cards as well. Will Webs go out of business anytime soon? Nope, I am sure you’ll be fine.
According to their own information there are around 8 million Jimdo websites online. Jimdo does not provide any precise information about the number of paying customers. In our estimation the number must be in the region of 6 digits.
Jimdo claims to be profitable as a company. And, what is probably much more important: the founders plan to remain on board in the long term and do not intend to sell the company in the foreseeable future – an admirable attitude. Jimdo underlined this philosophy recently when it rejected an 8-digit offer of financing, because the founders felt that having fun with a great product is more important than a fat cheque.
What also stands in favour of the long-term preservation of the website builder is the fact that Jimdo is not a multi-product company. Jimdo = Website Builder.
It is certainly possible that a website provider builder might decide at some stage not to continue supplying the product. For this reason, you should consider very carefully who to get attached to. While it is certainly possible to move your website, this can take a lot of time and effort, especially if it is a large website.
At least in the case of Webs and Jimdo we are fairly sure that their products will still be around in 5, and probably even 10 years (although nowadays 10 years is an incredibly long time). But then with 3D optimisation and with Google Glass compatibility :-)
I hope that has answered your question, Bernd.
We have often been asked this question, which is enough reason to write a little blog article.
There are different reasons for wanting to keep your website shielded from public access. One of them is that it simply may not yet be ready.
A website generally only appears in search engines if another internet site has linked to it or if it has been registered manually with Google or Bing. The likelihood that people will find the site just by chance is very small.
However, in order to be completely sure, you can do the following:
Option 1: Only publish the website when everything is ready
Option 2: Set up a password protection
Another possibility is to protect the contents by means of a password. This option applies in particular to Jimdo, as there is no preview mode here for reasons of simplicity.
This means that you can provide friends and acquaintances with access to your website in advance and gain feedback, for example.
If you do not want the public to be able to see your website at all, you can of course place all of it under protection. Or you can protect just certain areas with a password, e.g. parts that only key customers should see.
With Jimdo the password protection can be found at Settings > Website > Password Protected Areas.
A password area is already included in the free package. It is possible to specify exactly which pages you want to protect. You can even create several password-protected areas, each with a different password.
The only things that cannot be protected are blog articles. These are always freely accessible as soon as they have been published (Jimdo has a preview function for blog articles).
Option 3: Exclude website from search engines
Some website providers such as Jimdo and Weebly also offer the possibility to completely exclude the website from search engines like Google and Bing.
With Jimdo this is a function that is only available in the Business plan (we find it quite difficult to understand why this function is not already available for Jimdo Pro or even Free).
It remains to be seen if all search engine will stick to that. In any case, password protection is definitely the safest option.
I hope this tutorial was helpful. If not, simply leave a comment with your question!
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Robert is the friendly face behind the Website-ToolTester blog. Enthusiastic about the business benefits of website builders, he's keen to be a useful source of information on the topic.