1. Say the year something happened, not the amount of time since
The year something happened never changes, but the time from that event changes…well, every nanosecond.
If you say ‘We opened our first dog-grooming salon 8 years ago’, you now have the wonderful task of updating this sentence every year. Instead, say ‘We opened our first dog-grooming salon in 2008’, and you never have to look at it again.
2. Keep names out of it
If you’re describing the structure of your company or referring to specific roles, it’s a good idea to avoid naming names. People move on, new roles are added, and keeping this page up to date becomes harder and harder.
That’s not to say you should remove all humans from your site – just keep it to a manageable level, perhaps mentioning only the founders or the most senior people in the company. Or, create one page with employee profiles which everyone knows has to be updated if there are personnel changes.
3. Remember: what you’re doing now is not who you are
Say your company has just built a new dam in Italy – that’s great, well done you. On your ‘About us’ page, you shouldn’t describe yourself as a company that built a new dam in Italy.
Instead, use your current work as an example: you’re a company that ‘builds arch-gravity dams across Europe for the purpose of generating hydropower, including the STY-8827 Dam in Italy’.
Specific work quickly becomes last year’s news, whereas examples stay relevant for much longer. Remember to use the present tense for what you do, and the past tense for what you’ve done.
4. Be careful with words like ‘new’, ‘recently’, ‘radical’ etc.
Everyone in the company might be very excited about a restructuring or brand new strategy document. Or they might want to publicise what was discussed at the last board meeting.
But that kind of thinking leads to statements like:
- ‘our just-opened store in London sells brand new, start-of-the-art touchpad phones!’
- ‘at our recent board meeting, we debated whether the internet was here to stay’
- ‘our radical new strategy proposes new stores on the moon’
This hyperbole makes what you do sound exciting for a few seconds – after which it starts to make you look ridiculous (or way off target in your predictions).
5. Leave out detail that’s irrelevant to your audience
Copy that dates very badly is copy that should never have been on your website in the first place. Details that are so small that it was almost inevitable they would change, like:
- Boring team news
- Convoluted explanations of how one part of your company communicates with another
- Dull details about an ongoing project
When you’re writing your ‘About us’ page, think very carefully about whether the information you’re including is of interest to your audience.