As trivial as writing an About page might seem, it is not.
On the Web, our words and the messages we send through writing are the threads that weave the fabrics of our own shared cyberspaces. From there, the process of writing an About page gets a much needed calibration of perspective:
- You are weaving words in an endless digital fabrics => weave wisely
- Your thread is to connect with your audiences thread seamlessly => weave with elaborate care for the person on the other side of the text
“What are you in the business of?” is a question to help you wisely get rid of a lot of unnecessary words from your about page. Are a company with 20 years of experience in blah blah blah blah blah blah, superb dada dada dada and extensive knowledge in yadda yadda yadda? Or are you in the business of doing X to help ME, the lost in cyberspace user, on MY quest for finding a solution to MY problem?
Weave with elaborate care for the person on the other side of the text
“Who are you?” is another question to help you be gentle and loving in your text, respecting other people’s time and attention spans. For that question to work, it is to be answered with a shift of perspective in mind: Who are you in the context of your customer’s need to find a solution?
“Who are you?”
Two days ago I was walking around with my little one wandering around the streets of downtown Sofia. As the flow with kids goes, we ended up at a place, totally different from the intended one. We were at the windows of a pottery studio where one can paint their own ceramic piece, as I would have later found out. What impressed me and made me think about its analogue in cyberspace, was the lack of any web address. What was that place? How could I extract information about it only from the immediate clues I got: pottery, interesting designs, unique paintings over them, some of the paintings as if painted but kids… And this is where I thoughtL what if I enter the studio, when it is open, and ask the people there: Who are you and what you do?
In cyberspace that would be me, visiting their page and looking forward to a short answer of a simple question, that spurred out of my curiosity.
To tie this to writing an About page, creating a space that is as much inviting as it is informative, is essential for web copy, and we all know this, it is just we sometimes forget to act upon this understanding and leave space for too much “US” where it is not needed. Also the nexus between inspiring and informing is not easy, but we need to find it. I think it is where the two paths any business is travelling, intersect: The path named “I am in the business of X to help Y do Z” and the path “I do A and B and C and if you need M, I can provide N”.
To dress the formulas above, let me share with you what I answered to the deceptively simple question “Who are you?”
My first try was: I am a web weaver, seeking to make the web a better text and write copy that helps us all on our way to good digital sense-making. I help companies tell stories about things in a way that connects them to the words and visions they want to have their business exist through.
And that was not a very nice try. It was too me! And it was a bit of blah blah blah – not to me, but to someone who is looking for a web writer and needs a solution for his web copy, not a dreamer with a penchant to changing the world. Not at this first encounter…
So, next, I tried to go “sine ira et studio” and here I was:
I am in the business of translating technology stuff into plain English to help businesses spread the word about their products in an engaging way. I do web writing and blog posts ideation and if you need copy that inspires and informs people, without chasing them :), I can provide a text. With a heart, beating in the rhythm of interconnectedness.
Hm, that last one was too me again, but at least, it was at the very end of the sentence, where only the interested ones would go.
What is your About page about? Is it more about me than it is about you?
Let me know, I care to hear from you!
Who are you?