Here’s How to Write Your “About Us” Page

When looking at a local restaurant website recently I came across the About Us page that listed the staff. I immediately yelled, “YES!! This is the way clinics need to write their staff bios!”

They are fresh and personal and reflect the unique personalities that we all are. Check a couple out…

aboutus2 aboutus1

What’s important to note is that people don’t like dealing with businesses. They like dealing with people… and people have personality. The more you get to know a person, the more you connect with them. These bios give you unique insights into the staff that makes you feel like an insider. You already know the server, cook and busboy before you even step into the restaurant. This familiarity gives you a certain level of comfort that you just wouldn’t have if you were to walk into this restaurant off the street.

For more examples, go to the Black Hoof website.

PS By comparison, here’s your typical massage clinic bio or about us page which just makes you want to yawn:

Susan graduated from the LaHands Massage Therapy Program in 2001. She has also earned a degree from UofT in Law, Policy and Government. She is excited to be applying her legal knowledge to the various Massage Therapy regulations and Health Profession Acts in order to improve their clarity and scope for massage therapists and the public. Susan is trained in Reflexology and Manual Lymphatic Drainage. Susan also has a strong interest in the benefits of massage therapy for those dealing with dementia. She has written articles for Massage Therapy magazine. Susan believes that massage therapy is an integral part of anyone’s goal to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Before and After: Sex and the Single Parent

I’ve done well over 100 web development projects with people often calling me to help revamp their websites so that they work to bring them traffic and customers. My latest makeover is for a comedy duo, Melissa Story and Precious Chong at http://sexandthesingleparent.com. Here’s a little glimpse into the thought process behind the changes.

Home Page: Before and After

before and after homeThe original site was developed as a WordPress blog.

Blogs by default show the latest posts on the homepage. But as you can see this doesn’t make for a visually interesting experience and doesn’t give the visitor who has just landed on the site a sense for the scope of the site and doesn’t give them reason to explore.

The new site is still a WordPress blog and still displays the most recent posts, but does it in a visually engaging way with custom images. I’ve set a featured post at the top to showcase their work. The primary goal or my most wanted response when someone lands on this site is to simply have them explore. This invites the visitor to scroll down and engage with the site. Although it’s not visible from this screenshot, each type of post (text, video, podcast) is represented by a symbol to indicate what they’ll find when they click through.

Blog Post: Before and After

before and after postVisually, the content takes a more prominent place with the redesign. And now that the visitor has expressed some interest in the content we want to invite a response from the viewer. If the viewer scrolls down the page, the large header disappears, but the top navigation remains (blue bar).

In the old site there were some social sharing buttons under the content. In the new site, the social sharing buttons are still there, but are more interesting visually. They are also dynamic and are always visible on the page if the visitor scrolls up or down.

Our new goal, once someone has expressed an interest in the content, is to get them to identify themselves so that they can be contacted either through email or social media (whatever they prefer). So once they click on any piece of content, they’ll see prominent green and blue buttons on each page. If you glance at the page quickly you’ll see that your eyes will naturally fall on one of these those two buttons.

The green one under the post says, “Never miss a post. Click for updates.” And the blue one says, “Behind the Scenes”. Both of these are designed to capture email addresses. The thank you pages and future emails will encourage them to connect through other social media channels like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.

Melissa and Precious are in the process of building an audience and need a way to reach them, so they can get them coming back to the site again and again and so they can encourage their audience to spread the word by sharing with their friends.

The email signup has some unique functionality and you can check out the site to see how it works.

Blog Post: Navigation

before and after category

In the old site, it was difficult to get any sense for the range of content that was available. It involved a lot of scrolling on the homepage until you reached some obscure navigation at the bottom.

In the new site there are several navigation items that always appear in a blue bar at the top of the screen to take people to the type of content they most enjoy: videos, podcasts or blog posts. And when they are on a category page the posts are nicely arranged for scanning eyes.

2014-07-04_11-50-48As well, every page, except the home page, has a clean navigation bar that opens to the right side of the page. The categories are listed near the top. But there’s also a clean tab system so that visitors can explore the site in a way that they want: By recent posts, popular posts, comments or a tag cloud.

Of course, the site is SEO optimized so that it shows up in Google search results. Google cannot read videos or audio files (podcasts) to understand the content, so besides the hidden SEO that you can’t see (i.e. metatags, authourship markup, etc.), I had the girls write a description for each video and podcast.

It’s difficult to convey the site’s functionality with these screenshots and you can get a better sense for how it all works by visiting the site:

http://www.sexandthesingleparent.com

Takeaways

  • Your website and your email list should be key elements in your marketing strategy. It’s vitally important to get it right. Make an investment in these two areas.
  • Make your site look good. It gives you instant credibility.
  • Have a clear objective for your site. Decide what your most wanted response is on every page and structure the page to make that happen.
  • Capture contact information. Work at getting emails and getting visitors signed up to any social media channels you use. You want to build an audience so you can drive people back to your site on demand and not wait around passively hoping someone finds it.
  • Make use of video. The web is becoming increasingly visual. People expect a multimedia experience, so make sure they get it.
  • Make it easy for the visitor to find the information they are looking for. Pay particular attention to the way someone navigates around the site. We live in a society of instant gratification. If they don’t get what they want right now they will leave. Wasting ten seconds of a visitors life is the eighth deadly sin.

I seldom do small web projects like this one, but if you have a large project or an interesting challenge you need help with feel free to drop me a note.

Did you like this before and after post? If so, check out my makeover of Laura Allen’s Educated Hearts website.

Before and After: Educated Heart Website Makeover

Your website represents you and your practice. If your website looks bad, you will be judged accordingly. Visitors will think that your service is  cheap, outdated, disorganized or unprofessional. I know that seems so superficial, but that’s the way it works.  Massage is intangible after all. So people can only judge you by the tangible things that surround you, like your website. 

Recently, I recreated Laura Allen’s Educated Heart website.

The Educated Heart is a fantastic book and in my opinion has one of the best (and most readable) approaches to the topic of ethics. It was originally written by Nina McIntosh, but taken over by Laura Allen when Nina passed away.

Take a look at her original site. At a glance, what are you initial impressions? Is this book a credible book on the topic of ethics? Does it look unique? Is the book engaging and easy to read? How knowledgeable is the author? Does this website inspire confidence that the author knows what she’s talking about? Is it even clear at first glance that the site is promoting a book?

Here’s the “before”…

Educated Heart Website Before 1

Your impression is likely that this book is nothing special. Probably written by a lonely person in their basement. And if you go into the site it gets worse..

Educated Heart Website Before 2

The disorder and lack of attention to detail (even look at the frames around the images) indicates that this is not a professional book that deserves my attention. If the writing or thoughts in the book are half as cluttered as this page, there is no way I’m picking it up.

Laura, of course, inherited this existing site and was very aware of the issues. I love the book that Nina’s written and felt it deserved to be showcased better, so I offered to help Laura recreate the site. Here’s the “after”:

Educated Heart Website After 1

Educated Heart Website After 2

With this makeover, it’s clear that the site is about a book. The professional look of the site immediately changes your perception about the quality of the book and the value of the information it contains. The book in this new site is credible and deserves your attention.

I didn’t take a before shot on mobile, but it was unreadable. Now when anyone accesses the site from a smart phone or tablet, the site detects whatever device they are using and shows a mobile-friendly version of the site that displays beautifully.

I’ve created well over 100 websites for massage therapists, as well as sites for software developers, educators, restaurants, industrial manufacturers, consultants and more.

Would you like me to know some of the elements that go into making an effective massage website – one that works to get more clients through your doors? If so, Like or Share this page. Or if you have specific questions or topic areas you’d like to know more about, post them in the comments section below. If I see that there’s enough interest, I’ll share what I know about making your website work for your massage practice through this blog.

Thanks to Laura Allen for allowing me to share this makeover with you.

And because I know some people will ask… I’m sorry to say that I no longer create simple sites for massage therapists, but if you have a bigger web project you need help with, feel free to contact me and we can chat.

This post can now be found at: http://upsidebrown.net/before-and-after-educated-heart-website-makeover/

Tell people what to do on your website

There is a really simple rule in all advertising where you want a response from the reader, whether that’s a print ad, classified, Yellow Page ad or even your website. The rule is this…

Ask the reader to do something

In marketing books they call it a “call to action”. Whatever you want to call it, research says loud and clear that when you tell someone what to do they are much more likely to do it.

When it comes to your website, the conventional wisdom is to put this call to action at the top of the page or “above the fold” where it’s clearly visible without them having to scroll down the page. However, I’m an advocate for putting my call to action at the bottom of every page.

Why?

Because people need to find out a little about you and what you offer before they’ll take action. To do that they typically scroll down the page and read (or at least look at the pictures). Hopefully by the time they’ve reached the bottom they appreciate your expertise and understand how you can help them.

So what’s the next logical thing that they should see?

Instructions for the action they need to take to benefit from your product or service. So that’s the logical place to put a call to action. In a world where your competitor is only a mouse click away, if you make them work to get back up to the top of the page, they’ll likely forget why they are scrolling to the top of the page before they click anything.

Here’s what one experienced web developer found out with a little testing…

For a lead generation site we had a nice tight form with benefit statements alongside and it was doing quite well. After some debate, the media was added to a test page which forced the conversion actions to below the fold. After over a dozen rounds of testing, a very clear pattern emerged: conversion rates were higher when the call to action was below the fold.

No one could believe the findings. So another dozen rounds of tests were implemented. The results did not change.

What’s the takeaway?

Forget about what the experts say. Think like a customer. Put yourself in their shoes and go through your site like they would and do what makes sense.

In the case of your website, it just makes sense to put a call to action at the bottom of every page.

Sidenote: If you liked this blog post you’re mostly likely to share it after you’ve just finished reading it; not before. Notice how I’ve put my “Like” and “Share” buttons below. See them? It makes sense to have them here, doesn’t it? Implement this on your site and please share this post with your colleagues using the buttons below. (That’s my call to action.)

Share Your Website on Facebook

How can you get customers and Friends to share your company website on Facebook even if you don’t have a Facebook account?

It’s simple!

Just send an email to your clients and friends and let them know that you’d like to let more people know about your business and ask them as a favor to share your site on Facebook.

Then give them this link to click:

http://www.facebook.com/share.php?u=XXX

Be sure to replace the XXX with the URL of your website or a specific page of your website, i.e. http://bodyworkbiz.com/web.php. So your link will look like this:

http://www.facebook.com/share.php?u=http://bodyworkbiz.com/newsletter.php

Click the link to see what happens. And if you want to follow the process through and share it you’ll see how it gets posted to your Facebook Profile (and I would be eternally grateful for you sharing with others.)

You can also put a share button directly on your web site. Use the image in this blog post and simply link it to the share URL that you’ve created.

Click this share button to see how I’ve linked it to my Facebook Page instead of my website…

It’s likely that most of your clients are already on Facebook.  Why not get those happy clients to spread the word for you and refer you to others?

If you like this idea, click one of the sharing buttons below and share with your friends…