You have less than 30 seconds to impress someone to keep them interested enough to stay on your website, which is why nailing the “About” page of your website is so vital.
The “About” page of your business website is arguably the most important section to get right. Why? This section allows potential clients to get to know you, as well as to get a sense of what you’ll be like to work with. After all, people do business with those they like, know, and trust. That’s why you should use the “About” page to shine and really toot your own horn. There’s no need to be “salesy”: you’ll want to be specific and brief, since there’s little time to impress those who visit your page and read about you for the first time. You have less than 30 seconds to impress someone to keep them interested enough to stay on your website, so it’s crucial to get this piece right. That’s why nailing the “About” page is so vital. People want to know who you are and how you’re qualified before they hire you to translate a document or interpret for their next meeting.
To get an idea of how to construct this page on your website, you can always see what other colleagues have done, but here’s where I would tell you to stay in your own lane. What do I mean by that? Just this: use your research on what others are doing, not to do something similar, but to show how you’re different. Remember, you want to stand out from the crowd so a client will choose you over another individual who provides the same or similar services.
How Do You Use Your “About” Page to Stand Out?
The answer lies in something I mentioned earlier—use the page to give potential clients a better idea of who you are and what it’s like to work with you. It’s easier to do this when you know who your ideal clients are. To determine this, consider the following:
- What specific needs do you fill with your services. Who will benefit from having these needs filled and how will your services improve their lives? That’s your ideal client.
- Who values what you offer, and who do you value? That’s your ideal client.
- What potential gaps do you fill in the translation and interpreting industry? Who is the person who would want these gaps filled? That’s your ideal client.
- Who is willing to accept your non-negotiables. For example, do you dislike working on the weekends or after 6:00 pm? Is it your policy to decline last-minute jobs unless the client pays a rush fee without balking? That’s your ideal client.
- What’s your differentiating factor (or “X-factor,” as I like to call it)? This is different from number 3 above. Your differentiating factor is what sets you apart from everyone else in your language pair or field. Which client loves you for this? Yep, that’s your ideal client.
Keeping the questions above in mind, here’s an example of a truly different and effective description for the “About” page.
Olá! My name is Susan Duncan. I’m a small-town Portuguese-to-English translator who serves big-town clients all over the world by delivering translations of their marketing and communications content. I’ve found that companies in Portuguese-speaking countries struggle to find professional translators who really understand the corporate culture when they start to do business and market their products in the U.S. I’ve helped numerous clients refine their email campaigns, advertisements, internal and external communications, brand identity, and social media messaging so that they can conduct business successfully in the American market and gain peace of mind in the process.
It’s easy to see that Susan mentions all the key areas of her work that a client would want to know about: her profession, language pair, and the type of translations she is qualified to handle. Susan also touches on a pain point that she knows her clients have (i.e., finding a professional translator who understands corporate culture), as well as how she can solve this problem for them. The copy is effective because Susan tells clients that when they work with her, they will gain peace of mind and be able to conduct business successfully in the American market. This type of language not only taps into the emotions of the buyer, but it also builds confidence within the reader.
Where to List Your Degrees and Qualifications
Notice that you don’t see a long litany of degrees, training sessions, workshops, certifications, or other credentials listed in Susan’s description. Yes, those things are important, but they are probably not the first thing a client wants to know when visiting your website. Instead, use the space to tell potential clients what you can do for them. Save the prime real estate of your “About” page for the actual sales pitch. By keeping the “About” section brief and above the fold (i.e., the area of the website that’s visible when someone first lands on the page), Susan is able to capture the attention of the reader. Once readers decide they want to know more, they will click to other pages on the website to gather more information.
So, where should you put things like your education, trainings, achievements, memberships, etc.? I would argue that these are fine to put below the fold on the “About” page (i.e., the area of the page that’s seen once the reader scrolls down), or even on another page of the site. For example, some people like to list these items on a page called “Credentials” or “Bio.” It’s up to you where to place them, but just know that a potential client isn’t going to visit your site to soak in all the degrees you have. (Tip! To avoid long lists or bulky paragraphs, consider using logos to represent education, memberships, and other key information.)
If you’re an interpreter, you could do something really creative on your “About” page. Instead of writing a description, consider recording a brief, but professional video with your pitch. Video is a very effective form of marketing these days, and what better way to allow your clients to hear how you speak and see your professional demeanor firsthand than through a video in which they can get to know you better?
How to Drive Traffic to Your Website So You Can Put Your “About” Page to the Test
Finally, don’t forget to utilize the “About” page in other ways. Link any directory listings and profiles you have from organizations to which you belong back to this page or to the “Home” page of your website. Utilize every platform where people can find more information about you and drive all of the traffic from those platforms back to your website. This is key to getting more work from the clients you want to target.
The “About” page of your website is bound to be one of the pages with the highest number of views, so you should always make sure it’s updated. Over time this page will change, just as your business does, as you do, and as your ideal client does. You may not always have the same type of ideal client. This is yet another reason to continue to update your “About” page at least once a year. Remember to include the type of work you want to do. This might not necessarily be the work you’re doing now, especially if you’re just starting out or if you’re looking to shift your specialization(s). This is why it’s essential to craft a description of yourself and your work that will benefit you in the long term.
Madalena Sánchez Zampaulo, an ATA director, is the owner of Accessible Translation Solutions and a Spanish>English and Portuguese>English translator. She joined ATA’s Public Relations Committee in 2012 before becoming its chair in 2014. She has also served as administrator for ATA’s Medical Division (2011–2015). She has a BA in Spanish from the University of Southern Mississippi and an MA in Spanish from the University of Louisville. She is also a consultant for the University of Louisville Graduate Certificate in Translation. You can read more of her articles on her blog at www.madalenazampaulo.com/blog. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.