It’s not about you

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Many business websites have an “about” section. If you read enough of them you will notice a pattern.

Many begin with some information about when the business was founded, where it is based, and what service it provides or product it sells. It will usually include a bit of nebulous bragging too.

“Established in 1982, Acme Company Limited is based in Preston and provides industry leading solutions to the manufacturing sector,” runs a typically dull example.

Sometimes this will be packaged up into a “story.”

Here you might discover how the company founders met, where the idea came from, and when the business moved into its brand new purpose-built premises.

You might even be invited to read about the company’s mission or vision. Sometimes these are pithy and aspire to be inspiring. Other times they are interchangeable with minor cults.

All of this is fine and dandy if the intention is to provide a bit of scene setting and reassurance.

If a business is long established and employs lots of people in a fancy headquarters this might, in some cases, add credibility to the operation.

But sometimes this is all you get.

Sometimes the entire content of a business website can read like a self centred drunken bore at a dinner party from hell.

It does not invite questions. It does not pause to listen. It is not interested in you.

And that is the point. The about section of a website – and indeed the entire website – ought to be about the customer, not the business.

Because no one cares about what you do, they only care about what you can do for them.

The funny thing is that when you meet most business owners in person they instinctively know this.

Ask a successful entrepreneur about their business and they will almost always start telling you about how they love helping their customers.

They will give very specific and often fascinating examples of problems they have solved and times when they went the extra mile.

The enthusiasm is infectious and compelling.

And this is how a business website ought to read.

A version of this article was published as part of a weekly column by Guy Cookson on marketing, design, trends and strategy in the Lancaster Guardian, Blackpool Gazette and Lancashire Post. See our brand, web design and marketing recent projects.
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