It’s a rule of storytelling that was drilled into us as soon as we could pick up a pen: Start at the beginning and finish at the end. Tell your story chronologically. Start as far back as possible, and move forward through time until you reach the most recent part of the story.
A lot of the time, it’s a good rule. But when people try and apply the rule to websites, they end up filling up the homepage with their company’s history. There are thousands of homepages out there that start with “From humble beginnings in 1832” or “For over 60 years, we’ve provided great service to our customers”. But – and don’t take this personally – when people view your website for the first time, they don’t care about this sort of thing.
The trouble is, as a business owner, you’ve lived your company’s history for years. You’ve been there for every meeting, every expansion, every decision along the way. Your company’s history is an integral part of how your company operates today, so it belongs on the homepage. Right?
Not from a consumer’s point of view. When they land on your site for the first time, the first questions they want answered are variations of:
- Does this company offer what I want/need?
- Can I afford it?
- How quickly/easily can I get it?
Without answers to these questions, any other information on the site is worthless. Until they know you can give them what they want, when they want it, at a price they can afford, a consumer has no reason to invest any time or emotion in your company. And they certainly won’t care that you’ve been around for over 50 years, or that you’ve got offices in every major city in England.
Of course your company history has a place on the site. If you’ve been around for decades, it builds your reputation as a long-standing company that’s served the local community for years. If you started your business five years ago, it shows just how hard you’ve worked to make a success of it. But it belongs on an “About Us” or “Company History” page. That way, customers can choose to read it once they know you’ve got something to offer them, and they’re prepared to spend a little more time getting to know your business.