Who the hell writes about whoever-self?

When someone responds to “how are you today” with “good thanks, and yourself?” … it makes my grammar fascist nerve-endings jangle.

“Yourself” here seems lumpy and affected. Why not just “good thanks, and you?” Or even “good thanks, and how are you?”

Who the hell writes about whoever-self?

(Or if we’re going to be truly picky here, it should be “I’m well, thanks. How are you?”)

Anyway to find out why it makes my innate grammar fascist want to spit fur and feathers, I did a little “proper research” to find out just when it is and isn’t comfortable to use that cranky “self” suffix. [Read more…]

How to write an “about” page for your business

How to write an about page for your businessHave you ever visited a company website and despite reading all about its products and services, couldn’t find out who and what they were … or where they come from?

It happens all too often. You go to the “contact us” page and you find a blank email form or boxes to fill that tell you nothing. You go to the “about us” page (if there is one) and all it tells you is that the company is the finest purveyor of whatever in the world. (Not where in the world, of course.)

How do these people expect to build trust and confidence in their business – especially in the anonymous twilight zone of cyberspace – without at least telling site visitors a bit about themselves?

Never mind who I am, just buy my stuff

Think about it. Would you approach someone at a networking event and say, “never mind where I come from or what my background is – just take it from me, I’m the best person to train your store staff…” ?? No. So why do it on your website, when you’re not even there in person to give people some idea of your identity?

Of course if your company is Kelloggs or Procter & Gamble or Coca Cola, you probably don’t need to worry too much. But given that our businesses and/or our employers’ businesses aren’t quite so well known, I believe we owe it to site visitors the courtesy of a short explanation to locate us in time and space.

It doesn’t have to be a 2,000 word essay, unless your company history happens to be very interesting indeed. You just need a non-sales, factual few lines that sketch out the background to your business, how it came into existence, where you’re based and – if appropriate – who its key players are.

However even when people do include an “about us” page on their site, often they use the wrong information and the wrong approach. Usually, that takes the form of a thinly-disguised piece of selling copy that contain few or no facts and only the vaguest of references to their people, establishment and ethos.

And the bottom line?

“About us” pages for business should not be “about us.” They should be “about why we’re in a position to deliver results for you,” our prospective customer. Most business communication should emphasise the “you” angle and be centred around the “what’s in it for them” concept.

Particularly in a business “about” page text, always keep focused on what’s in it for your reader – and you won’t go far wrong.

And depending on how “hard sell” you want your site or blog to be, you might want to consider offering readers a gentle call to action at the end of your text … giving them a clickthrough to your services page, perhaps, or asking them to sign up for your newsletter, or even directing them to your most recent blog post or news story.

Now – let’s get your  About Page right

“How To Write About Yourself”…how to make the most of yourself, whatever you need to write

“Business Writing Made Easy…everything you need to know about writing for business in English

“Banana Skin Words and how not to slip on them”…over 1,500 spelling and grammar tips to perfect your written English


photo credit: Marcus Vegas via photopin cc