Mentioned About Pages
Help the Podcast
Welcome to episode six of the Shopify Solutions Podcast. I'm your host, Scott Austin.
First I'll start off with a housekeeping note. I was not happy with the audio quality in episode five so I'm tweaking some of the audio settings for this episode. Let me know if you notice a difference. Thanks.
Now onto our episode, which is going to be on about pages. That is a plural pages as I believe most stores should have more than one about page. Here's what I'll be covering in this episode.
- The purpose of about pages
- The different types of about pages
- Measurements to use in determining where to promote your about content and to see if your about content has an impact on customers
- Best practices for content in your about pages
- Best practices for promoting your about content
- And lastly, I'll show you some examples of about pages in Shopify stores that I like
The Purpose of About Pages
So onto topic one - the purpose of our about pages. So this podcast is focused on Shopify stores. So it's fair to say that the purpose of the Shopify stores to sell products and services to customers. So your store's goal is to sell. Therefore, the purpose of your about pages is to help explain to your customers why they should be buying from you. Your content will be focused on telling your story and explaining your differentiators. You want to establish credibility and a relationship with your customers and help your brand stand out against all the competition. In today's world of eCommerce, it's dominated by the large companies like Amazon and Walmart. But for some reason your customer is on your site and it's probably because they don't want to buy from a large company. So your content on your about page is going to help explain to them how you're not a big Amazon style company and establish that personal relationship so that the customer feels comfortable buying from you and want to buy from you because of that personal relationship.
There's a motto out there that I fully believe is true with Shopify stores and that is that people buy from people. So you first of all have to have a great product, but the customer wants to hear your story. They want to know who they're buying from. And it's an important part of the purchase decision for them.
Types of About Pages
And now topic two, the different types of about pages. Remember that I believe that your store should have more than one about page. And for each business, you're going to have to decide which about pages are best for you. Not every store has to have all three. Some will use two, some will use one, some will use all three. But you know your business best. So it's up to you to decide which ones to use. Here's the way that I bucket about pages.
The first bucket is the about us page. For me, the about us page is about the people at the company. You see there are many big companies that your customer could buy from like Amazon or Walmart. Now for some reason this customer is on your site and not on one of those big stores. And one of the predominant reasons for that is that this customer would prefer to buy from people instead of a faceless company. Not every person buys this way, but the people that don't care about the people behind the products are already buying on Amazon and the other big stores. So your about page should focus on the people. You should talk about the owners of the company, the founders of the company and tell the story. As I talk to Shopify store owners, most of them think that their stories are uninteresting. But every time I dig in and understand more about them, each one of them has a real interesting reason why they're in this business and why they're selling the products that they sell. And your customers are going to find those stories interesting. It'll help your customers connect to you. And also on your about us page, about your people, you want to talk about all the people at your company. Many Shopify stores are for small businesses with one or two people. Some of them have 10 or 25 people. You should talk about all the people at your company and show the photos of your employees.
Now the second bucket is the about our process page. Your process is that way that you do business or the way that you make your product. So that could be something like we're a green company and here's how we make our stuff in an environmentally friendly way. Or it could be something about your process and how it's unique. We source our coffee in a transparent and traceable fashion. Or maybe you get your raw materials from interesting place or desirable location that your customers want to hear about. So your process page is going to go into the way that you make your product or the way that your business is operated and explain to your customers the things about those processes that will be interesting to them or desirable to them and help differentiate you from your competition who aren't doing those things.
And the third bucket is the about our products page. So on this page you're going to talk specifically about your products and what's unique about them. Maybe they've won awards. Or maybe they're designed in a unique way. Maybe the material that nobody else is using. Whatever it is that's unique about your products and differentiated about your products, you want to explain in your about your products page. And the nice thing about the about our process page and the about our products page is this content that you can also use on your product pages, maybe in a tab or an accordion format, to help explain to your customers the same information there.
And now on to topic three metrics.
First, I'm going to talk about two different things that you can do inside of Google Analytics, which I recommend every Shopify store use for analytics. Two things you can do in Google analytics to help measure how your about pages impact your business. The first thing to do in Google Analytics is to create a segment that you can use to filter down on all the reports that you're looking at in Google Analytics. And that segment should be for people, users that have visited your about pages. So what I always do with my about pages, because even I'm using all three for a store, I start the page name, which then makes the page handle about. So I usually use about us or about our team, about our process, about our products. Those kinds of things. But they all start with the word about. So when I create this segment, what I do in Google Analytics, I set up a filter for users. You can do users or sessions. I always set it up for users. And to include, and then below the include when you're setting up the segment when you get in Google Analytics, you'll see a field. And when you do, you'll select page. And then the next thing to that is contains. And then in the text box I type in forward slash pages forward slash about. So that text field of pages about, we'll include all of my about pages. Then what you have is a segment that will show you all the users that have looked at one or any of your about pages. And then you can in any report you're looking at, you can look at how your overall users behave and how your about users behave. So this can be an interesting way to see, do people that read my about pages have a higher conversion rate?
Do people that come from different sources have more inclination to read my about pages? So it's a nice way, whenever you're looking at any of the reports that you use in Google Analytics to say, well, what do my about page viewers do and is it different than the normal users on my website?
So let me explain the second report that you can use in Google Analytics. For this one, you want to go to the behavior section of the reports and expand that menu out. And then go to site content and expand that menu out. And then click on all pages. Now you're going to do two things to the all pages report. The first one is there's a search box at the top of that report over to the right hand side for most people's Google Analytics. And I'm talking about desktop here, I've never even looked at Google Analytics on a mobile phone. But when you go into all pages, what you want to do is type into that search box /pages/about just like we talked about with the other report. So this will show the page views for all of your about pages. Then the second thing you want to do to this report is to add a secondary dimension and that happens at the top of the report over to the left hand side. So open up that pull down menu and then just type in previous page path and select that when it shows up. So now what you're going to see, for whatever time frame you select, is you're going to see how many page views your about pages got average time on page and the normal things that show up in the report. But it's also going to show you what page your customer was on that took them to the about page. And this becomes a very interesting report. Because this is the way you can see where people are trying to learn more about you.
And for most stores what happens is people don't go from the homepage to the about page. They're deeper in the shopping experience. When they get deeper in now they want to learn who they're thinking about buying from. For many stores you'll even see that people will be in the cart, they've already added products to the cart and now before they click the checkout button, they want to learn a little bit more about the story about this company, this brand and these products. So then they'll click on the about pages and read that content. For some people that happens in the product pages and throughout the site experience. But from this report you'll be able to see where customers are in their shopping experience when they have the question pop in their head like, I want to learn more about this company. I want to learn more about their process, their techniques and that information that you have there.
So those are two reports that you can use inside of Google Analytics. But it can be really hard to understand how your about pages affect your overall business goals of sales. So some of that evidence you're going to be looking for, it's going to be anecdotal. And one of my favorite places to find that information is in reviews. What you'll see in the comments that your customers write is if your message, your story, your differentiator is getting out to them and something that they think about when they write about you. So if you see the words and the story that you describe in your about pages showing up in your customer's words when they write reviews about you, like I like the way that these guys source their products from Peru or whatever your story is. If you see your reviews comments with the story that you're putting in your about pages, that's one way to know that your about pages are being effective.
Content Best Practices
So now let's move on to topic four - best practices for content in your about pages. So the content on your about pages falls into three simple buckets. That is copy, photos and videos. So let's just do some best practices for each one of those. Remember what our goal is with our about pages is to have a personal connection with our customer.
So for your copy, it's important to use a conversational tone. When you talk about yourself, you want to use the word I. When you talk about your customer, you want to use the word you. And for many people, writing conversational copy is hard. That's just a natural thing. We've all learned this very structured way of writing. So one trick to write conversational copy is actually to just record your voice, talk to somebody about what you want your content to say. Just say it to them, record it, and then transcribe it after the fact. And you'll find that that's an easier way to come up with your conversational copy. Here's an example of copy that I see in a lot of about pages for really small companies and it just, it doesn't have that personal tone to it at all. So I just wrote some fake copy here to illustrate some of the things that I see that just sound stiff, right? For example, our corporate mission at Spacely Sprockets is to the most innovative sprockets for your sprocket needs while providing unsurpassed customer support resulting in industry-leading sprocket expertise. For me mission-centric about content like that sounds like hollow rhetoric. And it doesn't fulfill the purpose of the about content, which is to explain why your customers should buy from you and establish that personal connection. So try to avoid that mission statement or corporate sounding, too formal tone in your copy. Make it much more personal, make it much more conversational.
Now let's talk about your photos. Your about pages should have lots of photos. We all know the old adage of a photo is worth a thousand words and it's absolutely true. Many photos interspersed with your copy will make your about pages much more compelling. And as we did with copy, you should also have your photos not seem so stiff and so structured. They should seem more candid and more lively. People should be smiling and having fun instead of standing and posing for their photos.
And the last piece of content is video. And most stores don't have video on their sites, especially in their about pages. But it can be really valuable. It's a really great way for you and your company to express yourselves and to make that personal connection that is the goal of our about pages. And most people don't put a video up on their site because high-quality video does take some time and effort. Here's the interesting thing. You don't have to have high-quality video. If you have the resources to create high-quality video, that's awesome and it'll pay off. But if you don't, because of the world of self-publishing through Youtube and Instagram and all the other channels that we have out there today, the actual quality bar that is acceptable in a business setting is much lower than it used to be in the past. So you can actually use your cell phone, shoot a video, and post it, and it's perfectly acceptable in your about pages.
And one last point about your about content. And that is to be authentic. Be honest, be true. One example of that is to embrace your size. Some people listening are a one person company. Well, let your customers know that. There's strength in being a small business. People love, you know, family-owned businesses, they'd like to hear that story. If you're a 25 person company, then be honest with that also and show your size there. Usually, this is more for the people who are trying to hide the fact that they're a small operation. Most of your customers will actually find your small size as a positive, not a negative. So go ahead and let them know.
Promoting Your About Pages
So now let's talk about topic five - promoting your about content. And here, all I mean is where you show your about content on your site. There are exceptions but the first rule I'm going to give you is don't put your about links in your header navigation. Your header navigation should be reserved for your shopping experience. If you look at all the big stores out there that are training customers about how to shop online, they have their about content in the footer and that's where you should put it too. If you have three different about pages, put a link for each one of them in there. Now there is one exception to the not showing your about content in the header navigation rule. And that is when the about us, which is your personal or team-based page, when the about us content is an important part of that shopping experience from the beginning. And the usual place that this is true is for artists. I've built several sites for artists and I've always put the about us or about the artist in the header navigation. And we see that in the shopping experience, many people land on that homepage or any page that they land on. And do you want to see more information about that artist first before they actually look at the products that that artist is selling. So that's an exception for putting an about link in the header Nav.
But you should also think about where else to put your about content promotion. We already talked about on your product page, how you might include content from your about our process or about our products pages on the product page. And to be clear, you should have that content on the product page, not linked to it from the product page. You don't want to take your customers away from your product page to your about page because they may get lost in that that loop and not get back to where they were. So bring that content from your about pages into your product pages. I do that sometimes like an accordion functionality or a tab functionality and just show the same content, so you write at once on the about page and it shows up in both places. So you don't have to edit it twice it. Remember we talked about that Google analytics report. The second one I think it was that we talked about which is the previous page viewed. Look at your previous page viewed report on your about us pages. See where people are in their shopping experience when they're looking for the about content. And that's where you should make it easier for them to find that. Now that might change over time as you develop your content and promote it in different places. So your going to have to watch that report as time goes on to see how your customers are changing their behaviors as you are changing your site.
Okay, and now for our last topic, positive examples of about pages. This will be the funnest part for me. What I'm going to do is include links for each of the examples that I mention in the show notes. You can click on those links and see these examples that I've been talking about. And I'm going to give you five examples of about pages on Shopify stores that follow the guidelines that I've been talking about in this episode.
The first example is for VizArtInk, which is a Shopify store for artist Gregg Vizintainer who has a studio in Carlsbad, California. As Greg as an artist, there's a link in the header nav called About the Artist. The about page is all about Gregg. There's seven photos and multiple videos of him giving talks. And there's a lot of text that tells Gregg's story about how he got into art and developed his own style.
The second example is Firefighter Turnout Bags located in Oceanside, California. In the about us page, the owner Niki Rasor talks about how she got started making her unique products 11 years ago and the journey of her business since then. The page has four photos of her, her husband and children.
The third example is Pura Vita located here in San Diego. Their about page tells a story of two college grads who went on a surfing vacation in Costa Rica and had that turn into the Pura Vita business. The page shows six photos of the founders throughout the years and the team. It also has a video.
The fourth example is Solti, also located here in San Diego. And yes, I'm in San Diego so I tend to favor local examples or companies that I've worked with. Back to Solti. I like their team page. It has a photo of every member of the team with their name and email address. And the people are listed in alphabetical order of their name, not by their job title, which I like. And they have a video of the team in action making their products.
And for my last example, let's leave California and look at Scripted Jewelry in Missouri. On the about page, the owner, Caroline tells the very personal story about how she got started making her line of jewelry with handwriting engraved on it. The page has photos showing Caroline, the making process, and the final products.
Like I said, I'll include links to all of these about pages in the show notes so you can see them for yourself.
That's it for this episode on about pages. Thanks for listening.