Better About Pages

Jakob Nielsen reports seeing a 9 percent improvement on company About pages. I rely on About pages when looking at companies either for research or for buying from them. I still run into the following problems:

  • Struggle to find the About pages when they have one: they shouldn’t be buried or hard to find. “About” deserves top level navigation because it’s about earning trust and credibility. I shouldn’t have to use the search box to find them.
  • Receive little valuable information: many companies provide only an overview that tells nothing about the company and what it does: sometimes it sounds like the company posts its useless vision or mission statement, which rarely makes sense to most of us (and sometimes employees, too!).
  • Find no information about employees or executives. It helps to have some bios on the site along with photos. This puts a human face behind the company.

When looking at About pages, I expect to find the following (at a minimum):

  • Instant understanding of what the company does. I shouldn’t have to read the whole page to figure out the company’s business. Unfortunately, this is common. The home page should also make it obvious what the company does.
  • Contact information: Some companies put this on a Contact page, but it should also appear on the About page. Depending on the business, it also helps to have contact information on every page — it could be a toll free number for businesses selling products or an address for stores.
  • Bios and photos: Again, people make the company and it adds credibility. I’ve seen too many sites selling products without bios — which doesn’t give me much comfort in shopping with them. Whose bio should appear depends on the company. Small companies might list all employees while large companies list the CEO and vice presidents.

Other useful About content (not all of these would appear on the About landing page), but not a requirement of all companies:

  • Fact sheet: Basic information about the company including when founded, milestones, key bios. Sometimes referred as company backgrounder.
  • Press page: This contains press contact’s information, media kit, list of press releases (linking to the full release), list articles appearing in (with links to full article or a file containing the article), photos, and logos.
  • Company history: Where the company came from and where it is heading.
  • Investor information: Provides the information investors want to see such as financial reports.

What other things do you look for when researching a company or considering doing business with them?

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