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About & Contact Pages: Website Workhorses

I’m working on a startup project that involves sifting through dozens of Websites. Aside from terrible messaging, one of the things that jumped out was how many Websites had poor or no About or Contact pages.

While people might suggest these pages provide little value, I would enthusiastically argue they rank among the most valuable pages on a Website. They may not be slick or glittery but About and Contact pages deliver a lot of utility and value.

What do you mean utility and value?

Here’s the thing: people are busy and they have little patience for Websites that fail to deliver the information needed to make a decision – whether it’s getting more information, buying or downloading something, contacting something, etc.

An About page thrives when it quickly and clearly tells someone what your company does, some reasons why it’s interesting and exists, and  information about when it was started and the people behind it.

It doesn’t have to more than 200 words but it still can deliver all the information needed to deliver credibility and confidence.

Too many startups drop the ball with their About pages because they either don’t have one (Big Fail) or it’s a convoluted, jumbled mix of corporate, product, vision and mission content that drops the ball on all counts.

If you’re looking for an example of a great About page, check out MailChimp, which, not surprisingly, injects a healthy dose of creativity. (Moz.com has a great one too.)

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So what about the Contact page?

If a startup manages to capture enough of someone’s attention that they want touch base with the company, a Contact page should make it a snap to, well, contact someone.

At the very least, there should be a phone number, email address and a form that lets people provide information. An address and the name/email address of an actual person would be a bonus. In other words, give people a variety of ways to contact you.

An example of a company that should embrace this approach is Montreal-based OmSignal, which just raised $1-million in venture capital. On its Website, there isn’t a Contact page (or, for that matter, an About page). And if you click on “Press” or “Say Hello”, it fires up your email client, which makes the user do the work.

While there may be good reasons why Omsignal doesn’t have About or Contact pages, it does leave the company a bit of a mystery or somewhat inaccessible.

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If Omsignal is looking for a company that does Contact right, it’s Freshbooks, which gives you all kinds of options.

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Another approach, which breaks some of my rules but still works, is Wunderlist. What I like is how each need is personalized.

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What do you think? Who does About or Contact pages right?

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  • http://dashthis.com/ Stéphane

    Maybe it’s just me, but beside well known larger companies like Google or Amazon, I always have a look at the “About us” and “Contact” pages before becoming a client. This gives me a sense of transparency and trust toward the company. Not knowing who is behind a website make me stay on guard. Even the smaller doubt can prevent someone to be a client. For what it costs to have an about / contact page, I’m not taking any chance.

    • http://www.markevans.ca/ Mark Evans

      I agree that they do a lot for credibility. I’m always cautious about companies that aren’t transparent on who they are and how to contact them. Thanks for the comment.

  • http://influitive.com/ Abdallah Al-Hakim

    Contact page is critical for collecting qualified leads and optimization is required the get the best conversion rates.

    • http://www.markevans.ca/ Mark Evans

      Couldn’t agree with you more. It is always surprising to see contact pages that are, frankly, bad. In particular, pages that have no contact info other than an option to send them an email via an email client. Thanks for the comment.