Always Knew The Way About You

I was putting out my recycling last night when I realized that you can really learn a lot about people by simply looking at their recycling bins. Every Wednesday on my street it’s a sociologist’s dream when all the bins are lined up down the street, overflowing with information about you. It’s your real-life About Page!

About You

Yes, this is mine.

Are there lots of newspapers? Chances are there’s people over 40 living there. Lots of diaper boxes? Baby on board. Lots of craft beer bottles? Good chance I can be friends with you. You can see where people shop and where they get their pizza. You can learn a lot.

I am not voyeuristic. I generally subscribe to the notion that whatever goes on in your house is your business and I don’t walk down my street each Wednesday studying people’s bins. It’s just something that occurred to me this morning.

Some websites About Us pages are great. Others….not so much. Personally, I click on About pages all the time. Much like the outdoor recycling, it does give you a glimpse, though not a complete one, into who a company¬†is. I feel like an About page should be fairly succinct and much like a news article, get the most important information out there in the very first sentence or two.

With that in mind, this is how I crafted the about page at my last job. There’s plenty of info there for people who want to know more, but all you need to know is right there in the first paragraph. If I’d change anything about it, I might move the second¬†paragraph into the first, but people are cognitively setup to read further if the snippets are smaller.

Now I’m going to pick on my former employer a little bit. When you click on Ask.com’s About Link, you are taken here. This page is an IAC page, which is the holding company which owns Ask (among many other internet properties) but there is virtually NO information about Ask.com specifically on this page. This is a turn off. At least to me.

Are About pages going to affect your conversion rate one way or another? Doubtful. But don’t discount its importance – getting across your core personality, business and culture is really important, so take some time and construct something interesting.

Now, I beg you to listen to my favorite band from the ’90s, Teenage Fanclub.