Guidelines for Writing a Good About Page

May 3 2010 by Jacob Gube | 73 Comments

Guidelines for Writing a Good About Page

The About page—just about every single website has one. The About page is where site users go to learn more about the site they’re on. If you want to convert visitors to users, capture opportunities to work with people, and give your regular users a deeper appreciation of what your site does, a well written About page is your ticket.

The About Page’s Mission

The About page is the section of a website where people go to find out about the website they’re on.

Readers will visit this section for many reasons and with various questions they want answered, but your objective is the same: to inform them why they are on the site or why they should be on the site.

Who Reads About Pages?

It’s helpful to define the audience you’re writing your About page for. I can name three types of About page readers.

Group 1: First Time Visitors

This group may have been referred to your site by a friend, or may have stumbled upon one of your web pages through a search engine result or social media service. They liked what they saw and they want to decide if they should keep coming back.

Your About page, then, is an opportunity to convert a visitor to a user.

Group 2: Regular Users

Your consistent readers or registered web app users want to know more about the site that they often use. The About page becomes a means to give them reasons to keep coming back and a way to develop a greater appreciation of your site.

Group 3: People Who Want to Work with You

This group can be advertisers, content contributors, site owners in your niche, job seekers, and researchers putting together a feature about you in their blog post, interview, or school paper.

This group is interested in two things: facts and your history.

For example, advertisers might want to know if your site covers the demographic they’re targeting. Content contributors will be interested in finding out about what your site publishes to determine if the content they wish to contribute will fit with your audience.

All three groups have one thing in common: they’re evaluating the website through the About page to decide if they’re in the right place.

With these audiences in mind, here are some helpful guidelines for writing a great About page.

Provide the Basics at the Top as an Overview

Your About page should answer the Five Ws:

  • Who are you?
  • What do you do?
  • When did you start doing what you’re doing?
  • Where are you?
  • How are you accomplishing what you claim to do?

It’s best to answer all these questions as a 1-2 paragraph summary at the top of your web page so that you can give your audience a quick overview of your website without giving them the burden of reading through a lot of text.

Let’s give it a shot: Here’s the Six Revisions About page introduction.

Six Revisions is a website that publishes practical and useful articles for designers and web developers. We seek to present exceptional, noteworthy tips, tutorials, and resources that the modern web professional will appreciate.

Six Revisions was launched in February 2008 by professional web developer/designer Jacob Gube (who now functions as the Chief Editor of the site). Articles are written by talented professionals from around the globe, and a high emphasis on quality, comprehensiveness, and usefulness goes into each of the articles published.

Let’s break it down.

Who are you?

web developer/designer Jacob Gube (who now functions as the Chief Editor of the site).

What do you do?

Six Revisions is a website that publishes practical and useful articles for designers and web developers.

When did you start doing what you’re doing?

Six Revisions was launched in February 2008

Where are you?

Articles are written by talented professionals from around the globe

How do you do what you claim to do?

We seek to present exceptional, noteworthy tips, tutorials, and resources…

I’ll be the first to admit that the current About page summary paragraphs can be better. Some fat can be trimmed off, passive voice can be converted to active voice, I could toss out some excessive adjectives and it could mention that we also run another website.

But it does answer the basic questions that people have when they’re gathering information—and isn’t that what About page readers are doing?

The Five Ws Applied in the About Page of MetaLab

MetaLab takes the Five Ws quite literally—they abandoned the paragraph structure and went with a list of phrases for answering the questions.

Here’s their About page overview.

The Five Ws Applied in MetaLab's About Page

Structure Your Content Using the Inverted Pyramid

The inverted pyramid is a writing style where you start with the most important information first, and then you work your way down to more detailed, specific, and less interesting information. It’s an effective web content strategy because web users are impatient.

Structure Your Content Using the Inverted Pyramid

Your 1-2 paragraph summary should be at the top of your About page. For most people, reading those paragraphs will (or should) give them enough information to decide if they’re in the right place or not.

For some—especially Group 2 and Group 3—the summary paragraphs might not be enough, so you can include more interesting facts about the website.

Anything that will enrich their understanding of the website is fair game.

Consider including the following:

  • Biographies of people that run the website
  • Website traffic statistics and interesting facts
  • How the reader can contact you
  • People you’ve worked with in the past
  • Technologies that run your website or web app
  • Your mailing address, phone number
  • Other websites that you run
  • Links to social media accounts
  • Graphs of website traffic
  • Your company’s values as they relate to your website

You might also want to preempt questions that all three groups of About page readers may have.

Possible Questions from Group 1: First Time Visitors

  • How often do you update your website?
  • How can I subscribe to your website’s content?
  • How do I register an account on your web app?
  • How can I contact you if what I’ve read here isn’t enough?
  • Are there other places on the Web where I can find you, such as social media services like Twitter or Facebook?

Possible Questions from Group 2: Regular Users

  • How can I engage with your site even more?
  • Are there more things I can do besides what I’m doing now that I may not know about, like subscribing to a mailing list or other RSS feeds?
  • Are there other places on the Web where I can support and follow you, such as social media services like Twitter or Facebook?
  • How can I contact you? Can I contact you?

Possible Questions from Group 3: People Who Want to Work with You

  • What are ways that I can work with you?
  • Do you publish advertisement, accept articles for publication, have a public API to use for my web app mash-up?
  • What’s your website traffic like?
  • What can I expect in return by working with you?

A Great Example of the Inverted Pyramid: Smashing Magazine

Smashing Magazine’s About page is a great example of the inverted pyramid strategy applied to an About page.

They start with a succinct overview about their website, answering the Five Ws in three paragraphs.

A Great Example of the Inverted Pyramid: Smashing Magazine

For people who want to know more, they’ve included plenty of information, structured from important and broad information, down to specific and auxiliary information, giving all three About page reader groups the information they’re seeking.

You should visit their About page to see it for yourself, but here’s an annotated outline of their About page.

Smashing Magazine’s About Page Outline

  1. Succinct overview: answers the Five Ws (for all Groups)
  2. Who Produces This Fantastic Resource?: a detailed biography of the Smashing Magazine team
  3. Interesting Numbers: website traffic statistics such as number of comments, articles, how many servers they have
  4. Credits: Other people who’ve helped with their site (their editor and regular authors)
  5. More Statistics: Even more detailed statistics, including a dynamic graph of website traffic
  6. A Smashing Time Line: A timeline highlighting important Smashing Magazine milestones (more for Group 2 and Group 3)
  7. Advertise On Smashing Magazine: Specific for Group 3
  8. Contact Us: Further down, they include more specific geographic information— their mailing address
  9. Sponsors: Shows Group 3 the people they’ve worked with before

Other About Pages that Use the Inverted Pyramid

Here are three other sites that use an Inverted Pyramid content structure for their About page.

37signals

37signals

They open with two taglines: "We make it easier to get work done" and "We make products for small groups." Terse, but effectively encapsulates what the company is about.

As you progress further down the page, you’ll see their philosophies, bios of team members, other stuff they’ve done outside their web apps (such as Getting Real and their company blog), a press kit (for Group 3), and how to contact them.

UX Booth

UX Booth

UX Booth opens with a succinct summary paragraph (in italics for emphasis). As you progress further down the page, you’ll get a detailed overview of the topics they cover, who they are, a list of their guest authors, core team member bios, and how to contact them.

MailChimp

MailChimp

The About page of MailChimp takes the inverted pyramid to another level by breaking up their About section into several pages.

The first page opens with their summary paragraph that answers the question, "What do we do?" The first page covers information for Group 1 and Group 2.

For Group 3, there are the Brand Guide, Press Releases, and Jobs pages.

Using the inverted pyramid structure gives our fickle web users a way to get just the information they need without alienating the more curious web users.

Write with Personality

How you write your About page is as important as what you put in it.

Your writing style infers many things to your About page readers, such as:

Where you’re from

Australians might say "favour" instead of "favor" and Texans might conjugate "you all" to "ya’ll" (and maybe even show you a photo of their pick-up truck).

What audience you’re targeting

Your writing style might be different if your site was for biochemists versus Cubs fans.

That nature of your website/web app

Are you a professional and serious company, or a fun and playful one?

Pretend you’re having a conversation with your audience in person. Read your current About page out loud: Is it how you’d address your audience if you were, say, in front of them speaking at a conference?

Perhaps most importantly, when writing an About page, you’re showing your readers that the site isn’t run by robots—there are people behind this show. This is why it’s also a good idea to add a photo of you or your team in your About page.

The OnWired Story

OnWired, a web design agency, gives their About page a lot of personality by using humor. Their first couple of sentences? "In the beginning, Al Gore created the Internet. Websites were without form, and darkness was upon the face of the Web."

The OnWired Story

Their About page readers—potential clients—receive clues about what it’s like to work with the design agency through their writing style.

It also hints at their willingness to take risks, as shown by them going off the safer path of marketese verbiage.

What do they infer to their About page readers by writing with personality?

  • They’re fun to work with
  • They’re willing to take risks for innovation
  • They’re not a huge corporation, they’re people
  • People who’ve worked with them are also fun, innovative, and small to medium-sized

Prospective stuffy suit-and-tie clients might balk at the humor, but I’m betting that’s not the types of clients they’re after.

By writing with personality, they’ve inferred many things that an astute reader will be able to tease out.

Some More Reading About… About Pages

What are your tips for writing a good About page? What should you include in the About page?

Related Content

About the Author

Jacob Gube is the Founder and Chief Editor of Six Revisions. He’s also a web developer/designer who specializes in front-end development (JavaScript, HTML, CSS) and PHP development, and a book author. If you’d like to connect with him, head on over to the contact page and follow him on Twitter: @sixrevisions.

73 Comments

Maor

May 3rd, 2010

Thanks for sharing this great guide!

abhishek

May 3rd, 2010

Hi,
Thanks for such an article. I am a beginner in blogging. I started less then a year back. I have done a little work till now.
I have nothing in my about me page, but after reading your article I can add some more details on about page which will my readers to understand why I am doing this.
Thanks again

Dan

May 3rd, 2010

I always tend to write my about pages about my current state entirely, only to re-read it a few months later and realise it’s all completely wrong! It’s important to keep your about page focused on your past, your goals and achievements.

ARTisani

May 3rd, 2010

Thank you for this splendid explanation.
reading your guidelines made me think of rewriting my own.
Getting a good impression for first time visitors is very important.

Agence web

May 3rd, 2010

Very Instructive

jashim uddin

May 3rd, 2010

Mr. Jacob Gube Great article . I wish I had something more insightful to see but you have pretty much covered it all here. ThanX

Rilwis

May 3rd, 2010

Very helpful instruction. I’ve learnt a lot from this and I’m starting to rewrite my About page. Thank you very much.

Jordan Walker

May 3rd, 2010

Great article sir, a very important concept.

nices

May 3rd, 2010

nice job

Deb

May 3rd, 2010

What timing Jacob what timing! Just when i am writing content for my internal pages :)

Ray

May 3rd, 2010

I feel as if we have a fairly decent about us page.

Bryan

May 3rd, 2010

Did you guys read my mind?
I was just looking for this yesterday, thanks!
Ill be implementing most of these ideas :D

Matthew Kammerer

May 3rd, 2010

Thanks so much for featuring our about page, we sure are proud of it! :)

Sid

May 3rd, 2010

A very well explained article. Yes the about me page is a very important piece of information and must be treated well.

I wanted to ask whether we should have a separate About-Us and Contact (like Six revisions Uses) Or like most others we can include a contact form in it.

Is a separate Contact Page Needed ?

James Gill

May 3rd, 2010

This is an awesome article – especially handy as I’m working on our new About page right now. Thanks very much :D

Sanket Nadhani

May 3rd, 2010

Very in-depth article. Thanks a lot for this Jacob. An About page definitely shows off the personality of the company and what it is like to work with the people in it.

We recently added an About page to our website and it looks like we are doing most things right: http://www.fusioncharts.com/about/

Zhu

May 3rd, 2010

For quite a while, I had a very basic “about me” page. Eventually, I decided to come up with something better, and I did notice that not only this page became very popular, but more people contacted me.

It is definitely worth it.

carlos correza

May 3rd, 2010

Thanks for the great article. My about page needs some serious attention.

designi1

May 3rd, 2010

Fantastic article!! Going to careful read when it comes the time for my about review!! congrats.. and thanks!

Ed

May 3rd, 2010

Who woulda thunk it? Now that’s a pretty detailed breakdown of something that seems pretty simple.

Jacob Gube

May 3rd, 2010

To everyone: glad you liked this post, and thanks for reading it.

@abhishek: Definitely. I think it’s very important to let your audience know who you are. It gives them an idea of who it is that’s giving them advice, information, etc. The Six Revisions About page is the second most visited page, the first is the home page. This tells me that people want to know about the people who run this site.

@Dan: Great advice, thank you. I’m not saying that you should remove any personality from your about page, but first and foremost, the About page is informational. If your current state of mood gives your readers an idea of what your site is and who you are, then I think you’ve achieved the goal of your About page. I think though that it should at the very least, answer the Five Ws I mentioned in the articles.

@Deb: Sure thing. I feel like some of the things mentioned here can be applicable to other static/internal pages.

@Bryan: Awesome, great to have inspired you.

@Matthew Kammerer: Thanks for stopping by Matthew, well done!

@Sid: Short and simple answer: Separate them, but also include instructions and a link to your contact page from the About section (and even, vice versa as well). Most people who want to contact you will be looking for the “Contact Us” page.

However, if contacting you isn’t critical to the operation of your website, then a section in your About page should work. In Six Revisions case, contacting us is critical: we rely on it to get news, inquiries about working with us, and messages from our readers letting us know about issues and bugs on the site.

@Zhu: Thanks for sharing and validating my assumptions about how critical an About page is.

@carlos correza: Good luck with the About page re-write. Don’t be afraid to stop by here and ask for suggestions.

Matthew Heidenreich

May 3rd, 2010

Great article Jacob! I think many websites don’t focus much attention on the about page because they feel it isn’t as important as it really is. So it’s nice for you to outline some things users should look towards when creating theirs.

Charley

May 3rd, 2010

That is a great article. You just made me add another item to my to do list on my site. LOL!

Nikhil

May 3rd, 2010

Wow! this is really interesting read. Inspired me to update my current About page. But I think my current page is proper in above basic matter. Just need little bit changes. Can you tell me some suggestions on this: http://nikhilmisal.com/about/

My favorite About page is Jacob Cass’s: http://justcreativedesign.com/about/
It inspires me a lot!

JuliannTrott

May 3rd, 2010

I was thinking about the interest of an About page. I’m now convinced

Hami

May 3rd, 2010

Very nice article.. this helped me getting more out of mu About Page.

Operation Technology

May 3rd, 2010

Nice article. We’ve had to do a few rewrites for a client of ours and they can’t seem to capture all they like to say and this will be a good read for them.

istinspring

May 3rd, 2010

Very helpfull article. I’ll going to try to use your tips for my own blog.

Alok @ TruVoIPBuzz

May 3rd, 2010

Thanks for the great heads up. Another important thing is to keep revisiting the About page periodically and keep it fresh. Although the page may not change very frequently, but there are certain things that you may want to change….

Murlu

May 3rd, 2010

The About Us is such a crucial overlooked section of your website.

I used to never really looked at them until I really wanted to find out more about the websites I found myself frequenting.

Now it’s one of the first things I check.

I love to know there is a real human behind a blog or website. Jump into their lives for just a moment, read their story and see if you can identify with the person.

I recently created an About Me page on my blog. I tried to keep it a bit casual but also made sure to tell what I wanted to do with the blog and why I started it.

Matches Malone

May 4th, 2010

Sounds too much like my 9th grade journalism class. And the fifth W is why…. How is considered the 6th, actually.

Grün Weiss

May 4th, 2010

good details for the about page. thx

Quentin

May 4th, 2010

Very nice ! Thank you

Basch

May 4th, 2010

The About Page of Smashing Magazine is the only one, which is really good, imho. Other pages, like the one on this site, start with the name of the site. Also, every new line starts with “We” or the name of the site. It feels somewhat “egoistic”. Keep that in mind when writing the About Page.

jigen shah

May 4th, 2010

Hi there,
i have created my blog just 15 days back and its empty till now, i was about to write about us , contact us pages etc this article will help a lot . . .

Shawn Rubel

May 4th, 2010

Solid advice Jacob! It’s funny how we all tend to forget a lot of the common sense stuff when it comes to the representing our brands. I’ve got a lot of work to do with our pages :)

CP

May 4th, 2010

I wanted to thank you for this timely read. We were right in the middle of revamping our ‘About’ copy and this post helped steer us in the right direction. The end result is here: http://knoxify.com/about/

Aline Couto (@alineideias)

May 5th, 2010

Excelent post. It really helped me! About us appears to be simple but it`s not. Thanks!

Mike

May 6th, 2010

Very handy and useful, often i have seen many web sites to ignore about us page and have very less contents, i think this page can increase your sales and conversion very naturally and gives more trust to your visiters

Leandro

May 6th, 2010

i will change my about me after this!
thanks

Jaspalsinh

May 6th, 2010

Nice article. Thanks

Inspirationfeed

May 7th, 2010

Great article, very informative.

TomPier

May 8th, 2010

great post as usual!

TheAL

May 9th, 2010

A great read. I consider the About page on my site to be a draft, and I plan to follow stricter guidelines when I revise it in the near future.

Ulrike

May 9th, 2010

Great and helpful article. I am trying so hard to increase my on-line profile with my website and my blog, and you have some very useful tips that I think could help me. Thank you.

Tom

May 10th, 2010

Thank you, now I need to go and update my About page :)

Kim | Money and Risk

May 10th, 2010

Fantastic article Jacob. Thank you for the detailed breakout. I’ve been working on an about page offline to replace the one I threw up from the heart day one (it’s rambling and not focused). This will help me a lot.

An about page is the first thing that I read on a website. It’s one of the ways that I use to determine whether I want to work with someone or whether to come back to the site.

I look for credentials (experience) that I will use to validate or invalidate the information on the site. For examples, I’ve seen people giving financial advice and their only experience is being an unemployed construction worker 6 months earlier. I think it’s great that he is sharing ideas but it’s rather scary to know that people are blindly taking advice without thinking the source through.

Alyssa

May 12th, 2010

Great post! Thanks for the tips

Jason

May 14th, 2010

These tips will most definitely come in handy…especially the comments regarding what people are looking for and what impresses them. Get at me!

Wil

May 14th, 2010

Great article and timely, as not only am I re-doing my own about page, but this will help in focusing my clients about pages as well.

Jeff Hahn

August 19th, 2010

Nice Article. I’ve been using this style of explanation for years (inverted pyramid) and you have articulated it quite well. I’d only suggest the labeling of “least interesting” may diminish the value of the meaty details that can help with long tail keyword searches as well that specific content that can seal the deal for the customer who is further along in their buying process. Nice work!

Craig

September 17th, 2010

Very helpful post with great guidelines and instructions to get the most out of a websites About Us page. Will look at updating my current page and will look to use these recommendations future pages. Thanks!

Melissa

November 12th, 2010

I like how you used inverted pyramid for this article. Helped me and saved me time : )

button badge

November 30th, 2010

Thanks a lot, it does help with the site i’m building now . great article !

Rinat

January 13th, 2011

Hail! My blog’s in Russian and it’s on web-design. The article is really very informative & usable. After reading this I’ve rewritten my About page. Thank you so much Jacob for such a comprehensive post.

Jorges

February 19th, 2011

Hello!
Jacob: I take this post like a tutorial and development class – lessons. xD !! thak you.
I’ve noticed and other friend told me the same: a lot of people- visitors don’t read. people want just SEE info, don’t read info. Even they don’t read a lot of times the 3 lines in a contact form! example of mine: “please include details like size, paper, colours or quantities for the product you are looking for” even, I receive telephone calls when the people still is browsing the website. People don’t read, only they give clicks and sometimes “see” images or info but don’t read or they don’t notice the info they are looking for is placed there. some competitors websites (I sell bags made of paper) have very long “about us” page and they DON’T SAY WHAT THEIR WEBSITE offers, why or how their webiste is useful to me, they don’t post how cool, good or helpful the WEBSITE is: theis “About Us” don’t show iF I’m in the right place, only they expose. Based on the posts found thorugh internet (including this by you, Jacob) make me see a very high number of websites have long and bored AboutUs. and again: people don’t read! I don’t think people is interested in read these long paragraphs lines ! People don’t read or: read less day by day. I’m working I’ve been working on this issue and “about us” thing :) Thank you again!!

vio

March 13th, 2011

Thanks for such an article.

Elle Billias

April 19th, 2011

I love these examples – currently working on a few About pages for different projects, do you have any more resources for writing a more friendly personable About page – kind of like the last one (which was excellent and unique) Thanks!

Ryan Mason

May 2nd, 2011

Excellent blog post! Just working on a revamped site for work and needed to write a robust About page and your blog post was a great starting point. Thanks!

Daquan Wright

May 24th, 2011

Wow, stellar! I need to make an about page, so this will help. :)

Ajay

May 27th, 2011

You should be awarded PhD in “About us Page Creation”.
:)

I like to keep About us page brief to give visitors an overall picture of what it is all about. Normally it works all the time. If I’ve to add more content then I would rather create more pages and may be add link from the about page or add these pages in the menu.

Jatinder Jain

June 14th, 2011

Hello Team,

I just want to say Thanks to provide me the guidelines about the some but very crucial pages of our web site.

I’ll follow the guidelines as you mentioned and i believe that ‘ll be a great experience for me and my Website.

Thanks & Regards
Jatinder Jain

James

June 24th, 2011

Thanks for this, its easy to get a bit lost in copywriting when developing your website.
Good to have a checklist to keep on-track

Sopheak

July 16th, 2011

This is so helpful article I’ve read before. I mean this is great enough to give a thumb. Thank you so much Jacob!

Kathy

July 26th, 2011

Very good article. I’ll be sharing it with my students. Thanks!

andrew

August 12th, 2011

thank for your post

Karen

August 13th, 2011

Oh heck I’ve just written probably my seventh attempt at an about page and thought it was really good but now I can see lots more effort needed hmmmm
thanks for the ideas

Kent Anderson

October 9th, 2011

JACOB, LOTS OF GOOD “HOW TO” ADVICE WITH EXAMPLES AND A PLAN TO FOLLOW. JUST WHAT I NEEDED. THANKS.

Maria

October 12th, 2011

Thanks. Very helpful even after a year since it was written.

Laurie Eno

November 5th, 2011

This is an awesome resource, very happy to find it.

I’ve been blogging successfuly for over two years without an “about me” page. It’s definitely time!

Raheem

November 10th, 2011

I’m planning to design my web page. My first question was, what should be my first page and how to design it. Eventually I foud the answer after reading your article. I hope that I can do something better now. Thanks a lot.

Monica (@mieletcharme)

March 5th, 2013

Just wanted to say thank you. Very well written and and helpful article.

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